Friday, June 17, 2011

Royal Ascot 2011 - Saturday

Saturday is the final day of Royal Ascot...

Await The Dawn will be a warm favourite in the Hardwicke Stakes (3.05) but I intend to have an each-way wager on Harris Tweed. The gelding was beaten ten lengths by St Nicholas Abbey in the Ormonde at Chester run on fast ground - that one has since gone on to claim Epsom's Coronation Cup. Willie Haggas' charge is better on soft and although he has improvement to find with several in the field he rates a value bet at 16/1.

At two miles five furlongs and 159 yards Ascot's finale, the Queen Alexandra Stakes, is the longest race in the Flat calendar; Bergo took this last year - I'm concentrating on horses with form over the jumps.

American Spin, second in a maiden hurdle at Uttoxeter last time, is priced up at 150/1 and has the look of a social runner. Lady Green's brown mare Dayia has form in Irish bumpers and finished fourth in this race last year. Degas Art appears to have been sold out of Howard Johnson's yard after winning a Hexham seller; now with Lucinda Russell, he went on to take a handicap hurdle at Perth off a rating of 120. Willie Mullins saddles Deutschland who was eighth in this last year and has had a couple of warm-ups while Font is something of a character who bounced back to form on his first run for Lawney Hill. Tim Vaughan's Grand Art has been mixing codes and racing over a variety of distances but hasn't won since May 2009 while Halla San found the obstacles getting in the way last winter. Ladies Best appears best on fast ground and won an Exeter maiden hurdle last month; the King's Best gelding has his first run here for James Given. Not Til Monday, owned by The Three Honest Men, races from the front and has a 19 furlong Lingfield Novice Hurdle on soft ground to his name as well as K.Fallon in the plate. Overturn will be popular for obvious reasons but it's worth noting he isn't guaranteed to stay this trip. Swingkeel may prefer better ground while Kayef ran well last time at Haydock but didn't appear to stay Sandown's stiff two miles on heavy ground in January. Elyaadi was second behind Junior in last year's Ascot Stakes and has the look of a mare laid out for this.  

In the past 10 years the winner has come from the top five in the market on nine occasions. Those of interest are Elyaadi, Overturn, Dayia, Swingkeel, Degas Art and Deutschland. Dayia is discounted as she hasn't seen a racecourse since last October and Swingkeel as he appears to prefer top of the ground. After Overturn Degas Art is the highest-rated horse in the race but it's difficult to envisage the recent winner of a Hexham seller coming home first here. I prefer Elyaadi to Overturn as the Singspiel mare has winning form over two and a half miles and Overturn was allowed a relatively easy time up front in May's Chester Cup. Elyaadi is the pick with Willie Mullins' Deutschland the each-way suggestion for those looking for something at a bigger price.                  

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

Richard Hughes gave Harris Tweed (12/1) a fine ride from the front, kicking on off the home bend to go two and a half lengths clear. Await The Dawn (4/6f) showed his class to collar the selection before the furlong pole and stay on to beat Harris Tweed three lengths.

A case of what might have been in the finale as jockey Fran Berry took Eyaadi (4/1f) to the front two from home in a move that looked as though it would land the spoils. Ted Durcan had other ideas as his mount Swingkeel (11/2), handling underfoot conditions much better than I'd envisaged, battled to the front at the furlong pole and stayed on better than the mare to win by three and a half lengths. Deutschland (11/2) weakened badly three out to finish eighth, behind Dayia (fourth at 13/2), Font(sixth at 25/1) and Degas Art (seventh at 14/1).

Both Overturn and American Spin were non-runners.