Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Royal Ascot 2009 - Thursday

The highlight on Ladies' Day is the Ascot Gold Cup run over a trip of two and a half miles. Aidan O'Brien's Yeats is something of a standing dish, having won the three previous runnings; tomorrow he attempts to win this for a record-breaking fourth time. The big question is whether age is finally catching up with this eight year old. His first run of the season at Navan was bitterly disappointing; sent off the 4/5 favourite, he finished a well-beaten sixth behind Alandi. On that occasion the vet reported the horse blowing hard after the race. If the real Yeats turns up tomorrow, the 9/4 generally on offer could be the value; he started at 11/8 last year and 8/13 the year before. Second favourite Geordieland showed a resolution we haven't seen too often before when handing out a five length beating to Patkai in Sandown's Henry II Stakes three weeks ago. My reading of the form book is that in the last two renewals of this race Geordieland has been outgunned in the final furlong - he has stayed on at the one pace. For that reason he's passed over. Patkai likes Ascot, looking mighty impressive when taking the Queen's Vase at this meet last year. Malcolm Heyhoe, writing in the Weekender, thinks he will reverse Sandown form with Geordieland as Ryan Moore committed his charge too early. Having said all that, this is his first try at the trip and on official handicap ratings he has enough to find with the principals. Of the three Godolphin runners Veracity makes most appeal but the manner in which the stable's Gladiatorus and Alexandros faded in Tuesday's opener is a cause for concern. This race poses a lot more questions than it has in the recent past. I'm not overly confident but I will chance Yeats returning to his best; if he does, there won't be a dry eye in the house.

I was ready to put up the top-rated Take The Hint for the Ribblesdale (3.05) until I noted the form of John Gosden's yard - just one win from thirty two attempts in the last fortnight. I know these runs have to end sometime but I have to side with Sir Michael Stoute's well-touted Leocorno.

No bet for me in the opener but if you're prepared to take the cramped odds, Richard Hannon's Monsieur Chevalier looks the one to beat. The stable had a fine double here on Tuesday with Paco Boy and the exceptional Canford Cliffs.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

How did we ever doubt the incredible Yeats(6/4f)? Racing up with the pace, Johnny Murtagh committed his charge three furlongs out and quickly established a four length lead over the field. Patkai (9/2) gave chase but was three and a half lengths down at the post. Yeats, at the age of eight, becomes the first horse ever to win four Ascot Gold Cups. Betfred stood out by offering 5/2 about the winner first thing this morning; if you bet the winner I hope you took the 9/4 which was generally available in the early afternoon. Paddy Power reckon this result has cost them £1.5 million.
15/8f Leocorno lost her unbeaten run, finishing fourth behind Godolphin's Flying Cloud. Did Frankie just nick this one? Shaken up two furlongs out, Flying Cloud quickly went clear; the form book notes Leocorno could 'not reach leaders'.
Monsieur Chevalier (6/4f) also lost the unbeaten tag but looked rather unlucky, being badly hampered a furlong out as he mounted a challenge; he finished fifth. 10/1 shot Radiohead collected the spoils.