So it looks like a Heavy track for Saturday, hopefully no worse than what we finished with on Friday.
Morning update - no rain after 8pm last night, ground is Soft, Heavy in places.
Betting summary for Friday - more seconds, this time Tasman Bay and Boomshalaa, getting rather sick of those!
1430 - Chesham Stakes
Point Lonsdale looks the standout here, he recorded a massive RPR on debut, bolting in at the Curragh in a maiden. This brother of Broome looks like the stable Derby colt for next season already. The ground shouldn't bother him but the fact the stable hasn't landed a swathe of winners like most years is a slight concern. Great Max only debuted last week but lengthened stride nicely when clear and has a future. For a roughie, Withering's run home on debut at Lingfield was exactly that, he was miles back on the turn and flew home. This will be a tougher task but he's unfashionably bred, from a low profile stable, and consequently over priced.
Point Lonsdale, Great Max, Withering
1505 - Jersey Stakes
Her Majesty the Queen goes in double-barrelled and might be successful with the ultra-consistent Light Refrain. She was just behind Rohaan and Commonwealth Cup winner Dragon Symbol in the Sandy Lane on heavy ground at Haydock a month ago, and being a daughter of Frankel should have no trouble with the step back up in trip. The more obvious one is Khartoum for Aidan O'Brien. Two starts on heavy for two wins puts him in the frame and Creative Force defeated Britannia Stakes winner Perotto two starts back, while William Buick has gone for the stablemate Naval Crown who ran fourth in the 2000 Guineas.
Light Refrain, Khartoum, Creative Force
1540 - Hardwicke Stakes
This is a great G2 with plenty of chances - several horses not quite good (or not consistently good) enough at G1 level and others rising through the ranks and taking their chance at a serious prize. Wonderful Tonight is the equal highest-rated horse in the field, yet has barely raced in the UK. She finished her 3yo season by winning a pair of G1 fillies & mares' contests on the big days at Longchamp and Ascot on heavy and soft respectively. This will be her first time racing against the boys. Ilaraab is the rising star, winning six of his seven starts but this is his first race in Group company. He won nicely at York in the Jorvik and shouldn't have any issue with the ground. He's earned a crack at these. Albaflora won a Listed race here by seven lengths on soft going six weeks ago, posting a career best but might have struggled with the shape of Epsom last time. Most have a chance, ticks and crosses against all of them to be honest.
Ilaraab, Wonderful Tonight, Albaflora
1620 - Diamond Jubilee Stakes
An even G2 sprint without any superstars, which leaves the door open for rising handicappers to bridge the gap. The obvious pair are Dream Of Dreams and Glen Shiel who have met in the Haydock Sprint Cup and Champion Sprint late last year, splitting their ledger one apiece. Glen Shiel loves to jump to the front and lead. At Haydock, Dream of Dreams (5/2f), who always seems to travel well, was able to settle in behind, ease into the race a furlong out and win impressively from GS (25/1) holding on for second. Next time at Ascot, he (3/1f) was caught on a limb and when he cruised up to challenge, the tank was empty. Meanwhile Glen Shiel (16/1) led, was challenged by Oxted who went too early, regained the lead and held on, fending off a late challenge from Brando. Both have had one run this season, Dream of Dreams won impressively at Windsor, matching his career-best RPR. This will be his third crack at this race, he has been beaten a head by Blue Point and Hello Youmzain the last two years, yet despite now being a 7yo, appears to be at his absolute peak - however, there's the rain to deal with. His last two wins have been on soft, but in the 2019 Champion Sprint, he flopped on the heavy, not seeming to settle being out on a limb again. He was gelded soon after, and in his five starts since has recorded four of his five best RPRs.
Since reverting to sprinting last campaign, Glen Shiel has leapt from a good handicapper to a G1 winner, going 2121121 over 6f last season, but he could only finish fourth resuming in Ireland last month. Has won and been close up on heavy, but he needs to bounce back to his best. Trainer Archie Watson will be desperate to win his first Royal Ascot G1 after losing one with Dragon Symbol on Friday in the stewards' room.
Of the others, Art Power can be competitive but I think the track will blunt his speed. Nahaarr is promising but must be doubt on the ground, Starman is unlikely to run, and Sonaiyla, who finished just ahead of Glen Shiel in third at the Curragh, followed that up with a G3 win in a fillies & mares race. She would need another step forward to threaten for the major spoils.
Dream of Dreams, Glen Shiel, Sonaiyla
1700 - Wokingham Stakes
The strongest formline here has to be Rohaan, who beat temporary Commonwealth Cup winner Dragon Symbol at level weights on a heavy track at Haydock last month. But because he's a gelding, he couldn't contest the Commonwealth Cup and this open age 30-runner handicap was the only option for 6f this week. He was sold out of the George Scott yard for £20k last October, new trainer David Evans has taken him from a handicap mark of 55 on December 1, up to his current mark of 112, a remarkable transformation! On top of a career-high mark and facing older rivals for the first time, he also sits back and bursts through the pack, which is not the easiest plan to execute in a field of 20-30, when the biggest field you've faced before is 13. This is a great story and I hope his star keeps rising but there's a lot against him here even before factoring in any draw/pace bias.
Pendleton is a super-consistent sprinter, he's had one poor run in his life, and after missing his entire 4yo season, recently resumed with a nose second here and a comfortable win on the soft at York. The Michael Dods-trained gelding has had two starts here, each time in a big handicap down the straight, winning once and beaten a nose in the other. His last four runs have all been new peaks and his best RPR is still 7lbs above his current handicap mark - i.e. there's more to come from him. Expect him to go forward on the inside rail.
Fresh is the horse who beat Pendleton by that nose, and this time will be 5lb better off. Countering that, Pendleton has won since and was resuming after 560 days, so the gap in weights seems appropriate. With only nine starts under his belt, there should be plenty more to come from him, but he hasn't seen heavy going yet. His dad Bated Breath was known to swerve it but damsire Kyllachy has a strong record in the mud with his progeny.
A mudlover with a shot is Air Raid, his wet stats are four wins from seven on soft going and one from one on heavy. He took his chance here last year but the rain never came, and he punctured quickly after leading the slower outside group. Conditions will be ripe for him but poor stable form is a concern.
And for another to throw in exotics at a huge price - Snazzy Jazzy. Making his first start for Lawrence Mullaney, he has two big field handicap wins on heavy going, at the Curragh and Ayr, when trainer by Clive Cox. He also recorded two of his career RPRs last summer before being sold, so he's not ready to be pensioned off just yet. Has gun apprentice Laura Pearson aboard, she claims five and is on top of the world after winning at Royal Ascot with her first ride on Wednesday, and ran a close fourth in the last on Friday. Top weight is hard to overcome, but that 5lbs claim will be vital.
Plenty of other chances and for this race in particular, be careful of the rain and racing patterns.
Pendleton, Snazzy Jazzy, Fresh, Air Raid
1735 - Golden Gates Hcp
Visualisation looks the one to beat here, has won three of his past four starts, mostly in the wet, and the only blemish was second behind Khartoum, who will go close in the Jersey. He beat older horses last time at the Curragh on heavy ground. It'll be first time at 1m2f for him, and while he's by sprinting sire No Nay Never, there's plenty of staying blood on his dam side from Sadler's Wells.
Seasett sneaks in at the bottom of the weights with a solid chance. First and second at his most recent starts, those career-best runs were on soft and heavy so this will suit him down to the ground stepping up in distance.
Sir Rumi might be Amo Racing's last shot at claiming a Royal Ascot win, his form is consistent and while he hasn't seen a wet track yet, progeny of Gleneagles are flying in the wet so there's reason for confidence in him handling it, in yet another competitive handicap.
Visualisation, Seasett, Sir Rumi
1810 - Queen Alexandra Stakes
It's not in the Placepot, you've almost certainly lost for the week so stop chasing and go home! :)
(also known as I hate this particular race and really can't be arsed doing the form for it)
EW nibbles on Snazzy Jazzy and Withering