Sunday, June 16, 2013

Royal Ascot 2013 - Tuesday

Things will be different at Royal Ascot this year...

Firstly, Sir Henry Cecil, with 75 winners the most successful trainer of all time at this meeting, will not be present. His passing has been mourned by racing people around the world.

Above all else I will always associate the trainer with the Ascot Gold Cup at a time when the race and the great stayers were adored by the public. Le Moss beat stablemate Buckskin in 1979 and repeated the trick the following year beating Ardross three quarters of a length in a thrilling duel inside the final two furlongs.

Ardross was subsequently sold out of Kevin Prendergast's yard in Ireland and in 1981 turned up to collect the spoils, this time trained by H.R.A. Cecil. The following year the horse came back to win the same race on his fourth run of the season, breaking the track record in the process. Marvellous memories indeed...

This year sees Channel 4 cover the meeting for the first time, with every race scheduled to be shown live; presenter Clare Balding received an OBE for services to Broadcasting and Journalism in the Queen's Birthday Honours on Saturday.

Traditionalists have bemoaned the arrival of Royal Ascot coverage interrupted by advertisements but times have changed... The racecourse has struck its first sponsorship deal for this meeting in 302 years - Swiss watchmaker Longines is Royal Ascot's 'official partner' in a five year deal worth £7 million.

Reassuringly, other things are likely to remain much the same as ever, such as the below-par performance of the blog's tips. Here are brief comments for Tuesday's card...

In the opening Queen Anne Stakes 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom looks the one to beat but he'll be no price. Those looking to oppose will point out the trip is shorter than ideal and connections wouldn't relish soft ground if rain came. The each-way value about Elusive Kate disappeared in the week.

Shea Shea will be a warm order for the King's Stand but only two favourites have obliged in the past decade (Miss Andretti 3/1 2007 and Scenic Blast 11/4 2009). Currently priced at around the 2/1 mark, I'm not tempted.

It was a surprise to many to see Dawn Approach declared for the St James's Place Stakes after his performance in the Epsom  Derby two and a half weeks ago. Aidan O'Brien's Irish 2000 Guineas winner Magician looks a threat but a minor setback in the past few days is a concern - Coolmore has also declared Mars, sixth in the Derby, as insurance. Connections have long been sweet on Toronado but he has enough to find on the book. Dawn Approach, racing back over a mile, is the percentage call but you couldn't have foreseen that performance at Epsom on Derby day - I'll watch from the sidelines. The favourite has obliged on six occasions in the past ten years.

My each-way chance in the Coventry is Wahaab at around 12/1.

I always like one with NH form in the Ascot Stakes (5.00). Last year Simenon took the spoils for Willie Mullins and then four days later added the Queen Alexandra Stakes for good measure; I'll look closely at Simenon if he goes in Thursday's Gold Cup - he met trouble in running last time in the Chester Cup. This year Mullins saddles Midnight Oil, rated 135 over hurdles in Ireland, and the Motivator gelding is the each-way suggestion at 10/1. On a line through Bondage this one wouldn't have much in hand over Philip Hobbs' Big Easy (fifth in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham off a mark of 136) but Hobbs' charge was slightly outpaced that day and that is a concern here.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

Wahaab (16/1) finished seventh behind War Command (20/1) in the Coventry; Midnight Oil (10/1) plugged on at the same pace to finish tenth in the Ascot Stakes behind the Jonjo O'Neill trained Well Sharp (9/1).