Sunday, June 13, 2010

Royal Ascot 2010 - Tuesday

A quick write-up compiled on Sunday evening with a copy of Raceform's Royal Ascot Guide at my side. Unfortunately I'm having to post this earlier than is ideal - I assume the ground will ride good / good to firm.

The opening Queen Anne Stakes over a mile looks exceptional with the big trio, Goldikova, Paco Boy and Rip Van Winkle, taking each other on; at the time of writing the books make the five-year-old mare Goldikova 7/4 favourite. Fillies and mares have a poor record in this race - no wins in the last ten years - but trainer Freddie Head seems very confident. Paco Boy won this last year and has two Group wins to his name so far this season; handler Richard Hannon is on record saying his charge will struggle to give three pounds to Goldikova. At the weights there's nothing between Rip Van Winkle and Goldikova but Aidan O'Brien's colt hasn't been seen out since finishing down the field when sent off favourite for the Breeders' Cup Classic last November. The form of Ballydoyle runners has been a little in-and-out this season but I'm leaning towards the four-year-old Rip Van Winkle [see important footnote*]; four-year-olds have won eight of the last ten runnings. Of the other runners Dream Eater (50/1 in places) is worth a mention. Connections were bullish before the Timeform Jury Stakes at Haydock where the easy going went against him. I'm still not certain he stays a stiff mile - he finished fifth in this last year - but a wind operation carried out over the winter may help the cause.

In the King's Stand Stakes Australian raiders Nicconi and Gold Trail will attract plenty of attention. The former is currently priced up favourite but has shown hints of temperament in the past. Total Gallery won the Prix De L'Abbaye at Longchamp in October but is drawn wide here. Kingsgate Native beat Equiano half a length in the Temple Stakes at Haydock three and a half weeks ago (Borderlescott, Spin Cycle, Total Gallery and Blue Jack all behind) and is fancied to confirm the form - Kingsgate Native gets the vote. Should Blue Jack take the spoils, England fans will hope it's a good omen as the bay gelding is part-owned by footballer Michael Owen.

In the St James's Palace Stakes English 2000 Guineas winner Makfi represents better value than Irish 2000 Guineas winner Canford Cliffs, while each-way thieves could do worse than check out that well-known highwayman Dick Turpin.

I like to spot old friends (and foes) from the jumping game at this meeting - they tend to turn up in numbers in the long distance races. The Ascot Stakes at five o'clock contains entries from Unleashed, fourth in a maiden hurdle at Worcester ten days ago; Plumpton winner Tyrells Wood; Worcester winner Ghimaar, trained by Nicky Henderson; Woolfall Treasure, previously registered to Harry Findlay, I think; Callisto Moon, a juvenile hurdle winner at Cartmel back in 2007; Junior, who has spent the first half of this year novice chasing; Sleepy Hollow, famous for running out two from home when still holding the lead in the Neptune at the Cheltenham Festival and Bon Spiel - a modest third in a maiden hurdle at Fontwell the last time. Who said it's all champagne and strawberries at Royal Ascot?

*Footnote - added 13.40 Monday 14th June.
Lead story in Monday's Racing Post - Aidan O'Brien expresses concerns over Rip Van Winkle's fitness.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

The RP article was bang on - Rip Van Winkle drifted to 4/1 in the betting and weakened at the furlong pole to finish sixth; Dream Eater (50/1) collared third near the post. Freddie Head's confidence was not misplaced as the spoils went to Goldikova (11/8f) who held the fast-finishing Paco Boy (11/4) a neck on the line.

Plenty of money for Kingsgate Native (5/2f) but his chance had gone when bumped a furlong from home - he finished sixth. Equiano, previously beaten by the selection, won at 5/1.

11/4 joint favourtie Makfi failed to pick up and finished a disappointing seventh, the race going to the other joint favourite Canford Cliffs; stablemate Dick Turpin (5/1) chased the winner home. Connections reported later that Makfi had 'scoped very dirty'.

Junior (8/1) took the Ascot Stakes in some style, making all to win unchallenged.