Thursday, June 16, 2011

Royal Ascot 2011 - Friday

Pressed for time this evening so I have concentrated on the Queen's Vase, a two mile race for three-year-olds which is due off at 5 o'clock. The current going is good to soft, soft in places, and with further rain forecast this will represent a tough test for these young horses.

Henry Cecil has won seven previous renewals and Aidan O'Brien two of the last four runnings while Mark Johnson has trained the winner of this race on five occasions in the past decade - he saddles three this year. On official ratings likely favourite Regent Street is the one to beat. The Galileo colt won his maiden over 11 furlongs in December and his third behind Recital in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial reads well given Recital subsequently finished sixth in the Epsom Derby, beaten under five lengths. He doesn't appear entirely straightforward, having tried blinkers for the first time last time out; here connections have opted to try cheekpieces for the first time. Namibian looks the pick of Mark Johnson's runners, beaten under two lengths trying to concede 16lbs to stablemate Eternal Heart at Musselburgh a fortnight ago. Namibian has been kept busy in contrast to the same stable's relatively unexposed Halifax. Henry Cecil's Solar Sky, another Galileo colt, merits attention. His second to World Domination on his racecourse debut caught the eye but he was only workmanlike the next time when winning a Haydock maiden at odds of 2/13. The Weeknder reports Cecil holds this one in some regard; World Domination runs in the King Edward VII Stakes at 3.05 and may provide a pointer to Solar Sky's chance. Of the remainder Roger Varian's Ittirad looks intriguing and has shown he can handle soft ground.

The Mark Johnson stable is respected but a strike rate of 7/79 (8.86%) in the past fortnight is a little below par. Ittirad, a Janaury foal, has enough to find on ratings but is less exposed than one or two of these and rates the tentative each-way suggestion (8/1 with William Hill this evening).


GeeDee said...

A disappointing effort from Ittirad (9/1) who raced a bit too keen early on and then failed to find much from three out, weakening to finish a well-beaten ninth.

Namibian (7/2f) held Solar Sky (9/2) a neck in a rough finish. After a stewards' inquiry winning jockey Silvestre De Sousa was given a three day ban for causing interference.

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