Yesterday was an exciting day and we kicked off the day with a winner at 6/1 and a placing at 9/1 in the first two races giving us the chance to play with some house money. Today things look tough again as you would expect but by looking deep in to form and class we might be on to something, other than the obvious horse in the Prince of Wales who has to be backed today.
2.30 The Jersey Stakes – Group 3 for 3yo. 7f
In a field of 21 it is hard to be dogmatic as much can happen to horse between 2 and 3 and what you are looking for is someone who has picked this race as an easier option than yesterday’s St James Palace but has the class to run in a race like that. I have found three that I think fit that bill. The first is Ibn Malik. As a 2yo he was just 3/4 length behind yesterdays St James winner, Galileo Gold in a Group 2 race and his easy win in a listed race over 7f on rain softened ground first time out this year tells me he is primed for today. Hugo Palmer must be over the moon with yesterdays success and he brings Gifted Master to this race who he has always believed would be a lot better at 7f so today he has that trip if not the perfect ground. I don’t think the ground will be an excuse if this one doesn’t win. My final horse is Ribchester, 3rd in the Guineas, wouldn’t have turned that form around yesterday but will certainly have a lot to offer in this race for Richard Fahey, who doesn’t have many from Godolphin in his stable and will want the big stage winner. One of these three will win this race as long as there isn’t a draw bias. I have a sneaking suspicion that middle to high will prove to be better and all of course are drawn low so that may be cause for concern. If this proves correct then Thikriyaat will win. However I think these three are very good so lets back them all.
3.05 Queen Mary – Group 2 for 2yo Fillies 5f
Not a race to get heavily involved in. Clearly there will be a lot of money for Wesley Wards’ Lady Aurelia as she looks very speedy on the evidence of her one US run. Can she last home? What does she look like? The French trained Al Johrah is 2 from 2 and will find conditions ideal today and the lurker for me is Clem Fandango for Keith Dalgleish. Keith is a trainer going places and this one came from a wide draw to just lose the Hilary Needler over this trip at Beverley, a stiff 5f. Overlooked in the betting but not by us,. I expect her to run a big race for us in the face of the obvious.
3.40 Duke of Cambridge Stakes Group 2 Filles and Mares 1 mile
Another really compelling race which I have narrowed down to 6 horses from 14, all for whom I could make a compelling case. The logical first one is Usherette, she was a good winner over 9f at Newmarket and beat a proven Group 1 horse in Arabian Queen who was having her first run over a trip short of her best but this horse is 3 from 3 and the Newmarket figure was very strong. Lucida is my over the cliff horse, she was given a stinker last year by Manning but she is talented, has had a prep race and this drop in class is well within her grasp. Miss Temple City was just behind Lucida last year and she is again a class dropper having run her best ever in the season pipe opener at Keeneland, winning a Group 1 race. Will the slower ground suit – if so then she will take all the beating even with her Grp 1 penalty. Always Smile is progressive but will need to improve about 6lbs on what we have seen so far to win this – and she may, Devonshire will love the ground and in another year would be short to win this but this is a Group 1 in all but name and she may just come up a little short. If there is more rain Maimara will run really well. She has won black type races on heavy ground in her career. A great race. So lets have two against the field.
4.20 Prince of Wales Stakes – Group 1 1 mile 2f
Found, Western Hymn, My Dream Boat and Tryster are all very good horses. The Grey Gatsby is a Group 1 winner but isn’t at his best on rain softened ground and probably wont run and for that reason A Shin Hikari, who won his last race on soft ground by 10 lengths is a certainty. You have to get on. I expect this horse to start at 2/5 today so hoover up anything bigger than that for as much as you can lay your hands on. His price is so wrong that I have double checked and triple checked all my figures to ensure I haven’t missed something that bookmakers know – I havent!!!
5.00 Royal Hunt Cup – Class 2 Hcp 1 mile
The annual Cavalry Charge and always difficult. Funny how we spend so much time trying to solve this riddle. I will just go with 3 in this race and try to cover the track, high, low and middle draws. My three are, the top weight GM Hopkins (Drawn 18), so impressive winning a listed race on soft ground against proven Group horses and last years winner. Despite top weight he may well have improved again and he loves big fields and travels so well. Hassanour (Drawn 8) looks to be ready to take a hand in a race like this for the in form Irishman, Michael Halford and finally the Sir Michael Stoute trained Convey (Drawn 33) is the ideal type of horse to win something like this. That should give as a run in each part of the track. Lets see.
5.35 The Sandringham Listed – Fillies – 1 mile
Not a race to spend too much time on as this is really difficult. The unbeaten Persuasive is the worthy favourite but on breeding and ground I think this mile will test her. I had a liking for Czabo who might have had the class and experience to win a race of this nature and ran a big figure to win in France on soft ground and looked to be over priced however she doesn’t go so lets take the horse she beat by a length, Class Vendome. In a tough race she will be my selection. Proven trip and ground horses with a touch of class and experience at big prices for Nicola Clement and Stephen Pasquier.