KING OF THE TIPSTERS ON KING GEORGE DAY: This year has been Daqman’s year, with a massive sequence of jackpot winners at 16-1, 14-1, 12-1 (twice) and 10-1 (twice) up until June, then an amazing run of naps with a triple July hat-trick. Which is to be today: nap or jackpot? Or both?
NINE OUT OF 12 NAPS UP: Daqman’s nap was second yesterday so that he’s now on nine out of the last 12, with a profit of 166 points from this sequence: 120112111101112
Even the bookies are baffled by the King George. Don’t look now but one big-race book is as low as 101%. No time to panic Betdaq fans, it’s only a loss leader before the same firm canes you with a 130% overround on the handicap!
The-in-and-out form, and lack of top three-year-old contenders, has subdued the ‘race of the century’ merchants but the five-horse Ascot race has that anything-can-happen smell of a tactical event.
1.30 Ascot: An important race for you to check out any effect of the draw. Top Irish women jockeys, Katie Walsh (First Cat in 20) and Nina Carberry (Divine Call in 12) may get most to do from Don’t Call Me (in 15) and The Queen’s Discovery Bay (in 7).
That’s 7, 12, 15 and 20, a good spread across the track: watch them and see who gets the breaks, who takes her horse where, and what is the result by stall. Don’t Call Me won on this card last year and is 9.6 on Betdaq as I write for a tickle from the ladies.
2.15 Newmarket: Classic Punch goes for back-to-back wins at eight years old. Nothing of that age wins it but, then, nothing of his seven years last season had won it either! Three-year-olds have the best record, and Club Oceanic has the form in the book if the ground stays reasonable.
2.40 Ascot (Princess Margaret Stakes): With the exception of Russian Rhythm (Sir Michael Stoute, 2002), winners of this have not subsequently reached Group-1 level in the last decade but most had had Group experience before this race.
That really only applies to today’s Stoute runner, Russelliana, second in the Cherry Hinton, and the stable would love to get this one in the bag before the King George.
In the way of that is Regal Realm: runner-up by a head in her Newmarket May maiden was Gamilati, who beat Russelliana a length and a half in the Cherry Hinton over the same CD.
2.45 Newmarket: Three-year-olds are 3-1 up in this and, though it’s a bad race for favourites, and she has all her form on top of the ground, it won’t stop them backing Sun Chariot entry Instance.
It says it all about the race that the 10st top-weight Folly Bridge has won only at class-3 level this year. He is handicapped to dead-heat with another class-3 winner, Golden Delicious, receiving around two stone.
It suggests that 14.0 Folly Bridge is wrong. It also suggests that the favourite, with a Group-1 entry, is a worthy one.
3.15 Ascot: Two of the last three winners of this had Group-race experience; others in the decade were prolific handicap scorers. Yet none was favourite, with SPs at 7-1, 9-1, 12-1 and 14-1, with the exception – again – one trained by Stoute, who seems sure to have the favourite today in Albaasil.
But Mariachi Man and Stage Attraction are the ones with soft-ground form, with – at this stage – 9.0 offers on Betdaq the attraction (pun intended) at the weights.
3.50 Ascot: In the Victoria Cup over CD, the result by stall was 7, 3, 4, 15, 1, 9, 10, 6 out of 28, so that seven of the first eight home were drawn 10 or lower. Though the protagonists raced down the middle, they came from the far side.
But, since then, on the soft at Royal Ascot, the CD Buckingham Palace Stakes resulted in 29, 28, 2, 23, 32, 31 and 25. This time the stands-side draw raced down the middle!
I would suggest that, adding the two together, you forget the middle. Nothing over the age of five – in fact, seven out of 10 aged four – in the decade, suggests that half the field can stay in the stable anyway.
So it is that stats and draw give me a short list of Hawkeyethenoo (high in the weights now), Imperial Guest (all wins at 6f), Brae Hill (best form on firm), Excellent Guest (well in with Manassas and Brae Hill), Reignier, Leviathan, Bronze Prince, The Confessor and the potential improver, Kingscroft.
The Confessor, three times a winner last season, likes cut in the ground and has had bad luck with the draw on his reappearance runs.
The same thing happened to Leviathan at Sandown, after his win on the soft at Salisbury. Reignier was hampered twice behind Brae Hill at Newmarket.
So I find myself choosing from stalls 1, 3, 5, 7 and 10. I want a Victoria Cup re-run! At the offers, Leviathan at 19.5, Reignier at 20.0, but The Confessor (12.0) and Bronze Prince (29.0) are the unexposed horses of the race, though there is no money for the Prince.
Granted no further rain, the straight course could have dried out enough for Reignier who, like the one-two Keys and Colour Vision, who came five lengths away from their field yesterday, is a stone ahead of the handicapper, now officially rated 104 and with a 3lb claim off the 93 he’s set today.
4.30 Ascot (King George): The Press set up St Nicholas Abbey as a champion after a 2009 hat-trick, culminating in the Racing Post Trophy, but he was beaten even-money favourite in the 2010 Guineas, redeeming himself somewhat this year, notably in the Coronation Cup, but now easy to back for today’s race.
They set Workforce up after his Derby but he flopped in last year’s King George, only to redeem himself (again only ‘somewhat’) in a roughhouse Arc de Triomphe.
I was ready to say, and I did, that a Derby and Arc winner must surely capture the 2011 Eclipse. He didn’t. So You Think did.
So what do we think now? Point one is the market demise of St Nicholas Abbey, point two the return to form (somewhat) of the Stoute stable. Three, the threeparts of a length edge that Rewilding has over Workforce, if he could repeat his Prince Of Wales’s ‘steal’ down the Ascot straight.
But that takes you back to stable form: Workforce’s yard has been below par until now. So You Think was below par when Rewilding beat him. So it must be Workforce today over an excitable St Nicholas Abbey who has looked ready to boil over again for the season.
In the good old bad old days, you could safely assume the three-year-old allowance would solve your problems by handing it to a top second-season colt, but that’s no longer true (four year olds are 8-2 up in the decade) and, even if it were, Nathaniel has no Group-1 wins to his name so, seemingly, is not a ‘top colt.’
That there is only a head between Nathaniel and Irish Derby winner Treasure Beach on trial form possibly negates that view but the race was at Chester, a track notoriously difficult for a long-striding galloper to handle: Treasure Beach didn’t like it so Nathaniel, who beat a maiden and a Group 3 winner in the King Edward over today’s CD, was probably flattered. Workforce wins the races.
BET 2.3pts win DON’T CALL ME (1.30 Ascot)
BET 3pts win CLUB OCEANIC (2.15 Newmarket)
BET 1.4pts win and place FOLLY BRIDGE, and 1.4pts win (stake saver) INSTANCE (2.45 Newmarket)
BET 2.2pts win STAGE ATTRACTION (3.15 Ascot)
WIN-40 JACKPOT: 3.6pts win THE CONFESSOR, 2.1pts win on each LEVIATHAN and REIGNIER (3.50 Ascot)
BET 12pts win (nap) WORKFORCE (4.30 Ascot)