Monday, June 15, 2009

Royal Ascot 2009 - Tuesday

The feature on the opening day of this year's Royal Ascot meeting is the St James's Palace Stakes, a Group 1 event run over a mile. Mastercraftsman will be a warm order to collect, having won the Irish 2000 Guineas a little over three weeks ago. That day Delegator was nowhere to be seen, patently failing to operate in the heavy ground. Conditions are likely to be on the fast side tomorrow; I'd expect a much better show from Delegator, now ridden by Jimmy Fortune, but the stats point to Mastercraftsman and I'm not inclined to look elsewhere for value. Mastercraftsman is the selection, although at the likely cramped odds I won't be having a bet.

Over the years Godolphin have done well with their runners in the opening Queen Anne Stakes; tomorrow they field two, Gladitorius and Alexandros. On official ratings Gladitorius is the one to beat and he has been installed the 2/1 market leader; no favourite has won this in the last ten runnings. Paco Boy would probably prefer some cut and there's still a niggling doubt he may not stay this tough mile - I think he's better over seven furlongs. Main Aim won a Group 3 last time out and tries the mile for the first time here. A fascinating race that isn't easy to call - I'm going to have a small each-way interest in Alexandros who may well have won the Lockinge had Dettori not dropped his whip inside the final furlong. The horse will appreciate the quicker surface and Frankie rides Ascot well.

Favourites have a poor record in the five furlong King's Stand Stakes too, only one winning in the last decade. Henry Candy's three year old Amour Propre has a decent draw but is taking on tougher, older opponents here; expect plenty of comment from John Inverdale if this one obliges as he owns a share. Australian runner Scenic Blast is out wide in berth fifteeen so I'm going to chance Jeremy Noseda's filly Fleeting Spirit, a close third in this last year; she has been trained specifically for this race.

Canford Hills is a short-price for the Coventry Stakes (4.20). Peter May's speed figures in Raceform's Royal Ascot Guide highlight the chance of Barry Hills' Red Jazz. The colt is expected to appreciate the step up to six furlongs and is 9/1 with Totesport this evening; at that price I'll have an each-way bet.

Plenty of old jumping friends go to post for the Ascot Stakes (4.55). In a wide open event, I'm going to keep faith in Venetia Williams' Cheltenham Festival winner Kayf Aramis. No selection in the finale but I draw your attention to the fact that the horse carrying the eight number cloth is named George Baker, is trained by George Baker and will be ridden by George Baker!


Noel Bell said...

Tough card on Tuesday, but good to see Mastercraftsman outstay Delegator.

GeeDee said...

Not the best start to the meet for yours truly. A thrilling finish to the St James's Palace saw Mastercraftsman (5/6f) fight back and collect the spoils after Delegator had nosed ahead inside the final furlong; this was a much-improved performance from the runner-up after disappointing in the Irish 2000 Guineas.
Godolphin inmates were thin on the ground at the business end of the Queen Anne where Paco Boy (100/30) made my comments about his staying a mile look ridiculous by winning with something in hand. 9/4 favourite Gladiatorus went off like a scalded cat but was a spent force at the two furlong pole. Alexandros (13/2) made some limited headway three out but weakened quickly and Dettori was not hard on his charge once the chance had gone.
A decent effort from the filly Fleeting Spirit (7/2) but she had no answer to the pace of the Australian speedster Scenic Blast (11/4f), coming home three quarters of a length behind the winner.
What an impressive win for Canford Hills (7/4f) in the Coventry; the official wining distance was an incredible six lengths! Red Jazz (11/2) had every chance two out but didn't appear to stay the six and faded to finish seventh.
Kayf Aramis (15/2) dead heated with Harry Findlay's Woolfall Treasure for sixth, running up with the pace for much of the race and regaining the lead two out but running out of petrol in the final furlong. Jane Chapple-Hyam's 13/2 chance Judgethemoment ran out the winner.