MORE MUD AND HAYDOCK CANCELLED SO NEWBURY PREFERRED: Haydock was called off this morning, while Nottingham and Yarmouth passed inspections, though it’s another day in the mud. That leaves Newbury Daqman’s preference this afternoon and Leopardstown tonight has the going on top.
ASCOT COUNTDOWN: DAY 3 SETS UP TWO CRACKING CONTESTS: Today Daqman checks out some star names for the third day at Royal Ascot next week, with stats and facts to aid your ante-post analysis on a fascinating Ribblesdale and the challenge to Stradivarius in the Gold Cup.
THE POWER OF SIR MICHAEL STOUTE
3.40 Royal Ascot, Thursday (Ribblesdale Stakes) The Royal Ascot ‘Oaks’ has a strong draw bias. Even with several double-figure fields, eight of the last nine winners came from stalls 1 to 6, five of those out of 1, 2 or 3.
The level you are looking for is fourth or fifth in the Epsom Oaks, with some of the better winners of the Ribblesdale off 103, 104 and 105 in the last six years.
That suggests that Pink Dogwood, after her neck defeat at Epsom pushed her up from 104 to 112, and the Epsom third, Fleeting (now 110), are riding high.
Even the Epsom Oaks seventh, Mehdaayiah has 105. Manuella De Vega (fourth) is now on 108; Frankellina (sixth) on 105.
Yet the morning favourite is Queen Power (rated only 100), who skipped the Oaks but won the Fillies’ Trial at Newbury. The one she beat a neck that day? Lavender’s Blue, who afterwards finished stone last of 14 at Epsom (led early).
Such is the tricky punting world of fillies. You might just as well side with Entitle, a half-sister to the mighty Enable. Entitle (now off 101) split Nausha (now 102) and Frankellina in the Musidora at York.
It all seems to add up to a cracking Ribblesdale, with the (Queen) Power and skill of Sir Michael Stoute surfacing yet again, but bear in mind that low stalls numbers may be vital in your consideration of this race of quality form.
STRADIVARIUS PULLS THE STRINGS
4.20 Royal Ascot, Thursday (Gold Cup) While many Derby winners last only a year, like annuals in the garden, the Cup horses are perennials, and the public take to them like brothers.
Yeats, Fame And Glory, Trip To Paris, Order Of St George, Big Orange, Stradivariius. They didn’t let you down or, at the very least, gave you more than one chance of a hit.
But, with colossal bonuses flying about, more and more young horses are trying for the two-mile-plus prizes.
There are 11 four-year-olds left in the Gold Cup at this stage (that age group has won five out of six), among them the Melbourne Cup winner, Cross Counter, the 2018 Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee, Irish St Leger winner Flag of Honour and Queen’s Vase scorer, Kew Gardens.
They have shared three wins and five seconds this season as they lined themselves up for this crack at the 2018 winner, Stradivarius.
Eight out of 10 of the winning Gold Cup ratings (just two bad years) were 124, 122 (twice), 120, 118 (twice), 117 (twice).
This year: Stradivarius 120, Kew Gardens 119, Cross Counter 118, Dee Ex Bee 115, Flag Of Honour 115, Magic Circle 114, Capri 113, Southern France 113, Thomas Hobson 112.
Leading trainers: Aidan O’Brien (7), Saeed Bin Suroor (6), Mark Johnston (3). Jockeys: Frankie Dettori (6), Ryan Moore (2).
Stalls: Despite the marathon trip, seven out of 10 winners in the decade were drawn from 1 to 7.
TUESDAY UPDATE Circus Maximus replaces Magna Grecia in the St James’s Palace Stakes (4.20), with Magna Grecia switched to the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown (July 6).
THERE’S GOLD IN SOUK’S PEDIGREE
It’s been a pinstickers week! Form has been right out of the window and down the drain as low-level racing has been flooded with poor horses and torrential rain.
Is it right to divert our attention to Royal Ascot; will the great meeting survive bad weather and threatened transport strikes? For the sake of every punter’s sanity, we do hope so.
2.00 Newbury today The only English course that didn’t need an inspection for today, and where only light rain was forecast.
William Haggas, currently 6-14, has saddled only four two-year-old runners this year so far (one win) but his colt, Baadirr, has had an outing.
Swinley Forest is unlikely to be ready first time, and Mottrib is from staying stock. Wren is an interesting newcomer against the colts; her dam won the Cheveley Park.
Ryan Moore is booked for the Hannons’ King’s View who will be well prepared, but the blue-blood is Gold Souk, half-brother to Dee Ex Bee out of a sister to Dubai Millenium.
3.00 Newbury The Sea The Stars filly Sea Of Class won this last year on her way to taking the Irish Oaks and the Yorkshire Oaks before running Enable close in the Arc. They have to decide whether to run her in Wednesday’s Prince Of Wales’s Stakes or the Eclipse.
John Gosden has won this Listed three times, and he describes Terebellum – also by Sea The Stars – as having ‘a lot of class’ but a late developer.
On her fourth in the fillies’ trial here at Newbury recently, Star Terms would have little chance in the Ribblesdale against the winner that day, Queen Power, the royal race’s new favourite.
Antonia de Vega has to catch up 244 days on a promising career, first run back after fracturing a pastern in the Fillies’ Mile.
3.35 Newbury Interesting to see what David Elsworth can do with Leader Writer, an intake from Henry Spiller’s yard. A good enough run first time for him but the Newmarket yard is quiet right now.
The softer the better for Sod’s Law (BETDAQ 4.4) but I fancy a bingo bet on Jackpot Royale, 20.0 this morning, early mouse.
Second at Newbury last summer, and a winner here on soft in the autumn, with a third Newbury run in mid-May to get him ready for a new campaign.
HAS BYRON THE SMILES THAT WIN?
7.40 Leopardstown You don’t have to look at his age, just his record (16-98), to appreciate the lively racecourse longevity of Gordon Lord Byron, 6.0 in the BETDAQ lists this morning.
I don’t get on well with these old-timers. If I oppose them on the grounds that youth will prevail, youth doesn’t! If I tip them, they finish second and, while they get high praise for effort, I get a thumbs down at the next meeting of my fan club in the old red telephone box near Godalming.
It’s more than two years and 25 races since ‘Byron’ won but his Group 2 third at the Curragh (dropped a grade today) looked good.
Once upon a time, in July, 2015, Flight Risk was only fifth to Gordon Lord Byron at the Curragh; same thing in July, 2016; and behind him again – though neither was placed – in the same race in 2017.
Flight Risk, now eight, is down 4lb in the ratings since then and ‘Byron’ has deteriorated 8lb, according to the handicapper. There’s less risk in Flight as a comfortable winner on the last day but will he put two wins together at his age?
And can the pair of them beat the Classic generation (three-year-olds have won two of the last six), with Inverleigh weighted to beat both old-timers, but needing to bounce back from a low-key effort on the last day. I’ll carry on supporting the young bloods at 4.3 in the orange.
2.00 Newbury (win 10)
BET 2.5pts win GOLD SOUK
3.00 Newbury (win 10)
BET 11pts win (nap) TEREBELLUM
3.35 Newbury (win 20)
BET 5.75pts win SODS LAW
BET 1pt win and place JACKPOT ROYALE
7.40 Leopardstown (win 20)
BET 6pts win INVERLEIGH
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