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Royal Ascot Friday preview

A complete wipeout on Thursday with the day bookended by 150/1 and 50/1 winners. Bookies in clover!

ALBANY STAKES

Some very fast fillies in here, with quite a few unbeaten from one or two starts. On figures from UK races, Carla's Way, Jabaara and Soprano set the standard with a trio of Irish fillies - Matrika, Navassa Island and Porta Fortuna, representing a strong visiting contingent. Of that group, it's the one runner who hasn't yet won a race that I most like.

Navassa Island was a huge run at Naas, motoring home late to just be denied against Porta Fortuna. She is a half-sister to the G1-winner Lazoo who runs later in the Commonwealth Cup. Like Carla's Way, she was an expensive breeze-up purchase who has been aimed at early success.

Jabaara really knuckled down well at Newmarket when given full rein while Flaccianello might be yet another Amo Racing juvenile with talent. She didn't have much idea what she was doing at Catterick and still won, despite being ridden by Cam Hardie who rides winners about as regularly as every full moon. The jockey taking over, Rossa Ryan, already has two winners this week despite just one of his 12 rides at Royal Ascot starting at under 20/1. His winners started at 22/1 and 150/1 with placings at 20/1 and 50/1 - that is a jockey riding way above market expectations.

VERDICT

Navassa Island, Flaccaniello, Jabaara, Porta Fortuna


COMMONWEALTH CUP

Little Big Bear will be the banker of the week for many, a winner of five from seven with his only failure being the 2000 Guineas where he didn't stay, didn't appreciate the tacky ground and pulled up sore. He won the Sandy Lane at Haydock easily when dropping back to 6f, ahead of Shouldvebeenaring (an eased down 1.25L) and a further 8L ahead of King's Stand winner Bradsell. Should be too good for them, but we've seen shorter-priced fancies get toppled this week.

Another runner whose only failure was a dead last behind Chaldean is the Julie Camacho-trained Shaquille. This colt has surged up the ratings this season with two impressive wins at Newmarket and Newbury respectively. Swap him into a high-profile stable and he'd be half the price here.

Lezoo had an impeccable record going into the 1000 Guineas but didn't stay so connection have dropped her back to 6f, a distance she won the G1 Cheveley Park Stakes ahead of Meditate, and just failed to Mawq in the Duchess of Cambridge during the July Festival. She is very quick and can be right in the mix here.

Marbaan could be a smokey at a big price - he ran second in an all-age Listed race recently at Salisbury, just behind Run To Freedom and ahead of talented sprinters such as Khaadem, Sandrine and Rohaan - all of whom are in Platinum Jubilee on Saturday.


VERDICT

Little Big Bear, Marbaan, Shaquille, Lezoo


DUKE OF EDINBURGH

Teumessias Fox looks a worthy favourite, winning both starts this season quite comfortably. This full brother to Zabeel Prince (and half-brother to Puissance de Lune) can continue on his merry way.

HMS President looks to have improved a few lbs for leaving Eve Johnston Houghton for Alan King. Or perhaps it's just that man Rossa Ryan aboard. A win and a second in his two starts in the new stable see him at a career-high mark. He could sneak into the frame at big odds.

Al Nafir went chasing the rich 3yo staying handicaps last season and finally cracked one on October, the Old Rowley Cup at Newmarket, beating at least a couple of these rivals. He went off for the 'snip' after that and resumes here, off a mark of 10lbs higher. This looks like a target race.


VERDICT

Teumessias Fox, HMS President, Al Nafir


CORONATION STAKES

Surely Tahiyra can't be beaten here? Her only defeat was a close second to Mawj in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, a long way clear of the rest of the field. Meditate couldn't go with her in the Irish equivalent and there's no real reason to expect that result to be overturned.

Queen For You has just the two runs under her belt and is regally-bred, while Mammas Girl was impressive in a Guineas trial but then perhaps didn't handle the tacky ground at Newmarket.


VERDICT

Tahiyra, Queen For You, Meditate, Mammas Girl


SANDRINGHAM

Plenty of chances in this devilish fillies' handicap. 

Unless looks the right place to start, royally bred by US Triple Crown winner Justify out of a G1-winning full sister to Churchill. It took her seven races to break her maiden after a string of seconds, but she might just be the type to take a big step forward now she has tasted success. Wayne Lordan takes the ride so she's either stable second string or Ryan Moore wasn't too keen on riding at 8st8.

I'll stay down the bottom of the field with Marksman Queen who suffered her first defeat last time out. She looks to have plenty of scope to improve.

Eximious for Roger Varian is another lightly-raced type with great scope to improve. She resumed a fortnight ago with a close second at Newbury, a bigger field should enable her to make her move late in proceedings off a much lighter burden,


VERDICT

Unless, Marksman Queen, Eximious


KING EDWARD VII

Arrest's run in the Derby was too bad to be true. He started favourite but sweated up, went too hard too soon and sprung a plate. Expect better back on a flatter track.

King Of  Steel was an enormous run in the Derby but I wouldn't go jumping all over him at the price based on a small sample size and erratic gate manners.

Dubai Mile also ran a shocker in the Derby, could be better suited here.


VERDICT

Arrest, King Of Steel, Dubai Mile


PALACE OF HOLYROODHOUSE

Good luck deciphering this one, can make a case for most of the field. A few at the bottom have strong chances - Conquistador has won both starts since being transferred to George Boughey and gelded, beating Radio Goo Goo on Boxing Day (has since won five of next six starts), and Kerdos who reopposes here.

Tawalla needed a win at Kempton last start to get into the field, after taking his maiden at Ripon the time before. He knuckled down well to fight off all challengers, there's more to come from him. 

Rocket Rodney was just beaten by Little Big Bear in the Windsor Castle last season, a return to this track could see him return to his peak 2yo form which would put him right in this race. 


VERDICT

Conquistador, Tawalla, Rocket Rodney

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