There is rain – possibly heavy – due to hit Ascot overnight and into Thursday morning but will it be enough to significantly alter conditions which remained good to firm on Wednesday? Clerk of the Course Chris Stickels has a difficult decision as to whether he waters after racing on Wednesday just in case the rain does not arrive.
I have no strong opinion on the opening Norfolk Stakes but would be sweet on the chance of Mohaafeth in the Gp 3 Hampton Court Stakes if the ground was good or quicker. The colt was taken out of the Derby at the 11th hour by trainer William Haggas on account of the ground – officially good to soft – which was not deemed quick enough for his son of Frankel. With a minimum of 6mls forecast marginal preference is for One Ruler (3.05) who must give 4lbs to his eight rivals but does have the form in the book and will not be inconvenienced if the rain arrives.
The selection looked a non-stayer when sixth in the Derby earlier in the month having occupied the same position in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket previously. This intermediate 10f trip on rain-softened ground looks ideal and he was beaten less than a length in a Gp 1 on heavy ground over a mile as a juvenile. He lacks the brilliance of Mohaafeth, but he should have his optimum conditions and gets the each way vote at 11/2 with MansionBet.
Noon Star’s (3.40) second to subsequent 16L Oaks winner Snowfall is the best piece of form in the Ribblesdale Stakes and this beautifully bred filly looks sure to appreciate the step up to 12f for the first time. James Doyle takes over in the saddle which will be a disappointment for Richard Kingscote who has been in the plate for both her starts so far this term. She has won on soft ground as a juvenile but good – or quicker – ground would be ideal. The selection is 3s with 10Bet.
Divinely would have finished second in the Oaks with a clear passage and she represents a big danger. A sister of the great Found she looks the type to keep improving and she looks a big danger. Note trainer Aidan O’Brien would have had several entries for this race, but she is the sole representative for a stable who have won four of the last seven renewals. Note she also had to be supplemented for this Gp 2 contest.
There is no question that Stradivarius’s form tailed off last season after his hat-trick in the Gold Cup last season when he thrashed his opposition by a long looking 10 lengths. He bounced back to his best on his reappearance here at the end of April, however, and last year’s facile success did indicate that he is effective – if not at his brilliant best – on a soft surface.
I am a huge fan of Subjectivist (4.20) however and I hope to see a changing of the guard in the staying division. The selection has won three of his last four starts – disappointed in the St Leger – and was visually very impressive when winning the Dubai Gold Cup last time over two miles. Yes, he must show he stays this additional half a mile but goes on any ground and is an each way alternative at 7s with BetVictor to the odds-on market leader.
Summa Peto has been my fancy for the Britannia Stakes for some time now, but his action suggests he will always need fast ground to be seen at his best and I have jumped ship in lieu of the forecast.
My two against the field – one from either side of the draw – are Air To Air and Raadobarg (5.00) with marginal preference for the latter. The each way recommendation has won all three starts so far this term including on handicap debut when he ran away with a Haydock handicap from an 11lbs lower mark. He has won on fast and soft ground so far this term and Roger Varian saddled the winner of this corresponding race last year. The selection is 9/1 with William Hill 4 places.
Air To Air – 8s with BetVictor – represents the excellent George Boughey and is another who comes into the race off a couple of wins on different types of ground and looked one to follow when scoring at Doncaster from an 8lbs lower mark last time. That was his first start at a mile, and he was given a typically patient ride by Jamie Spencer who keeps the ride this afternoon.
My shortlist for the King George V Stakes consists of Surrey Gold, Surefire and Siskany (5.35) with marginal preference for the Godolphin runner who has won both starts so far this term including a fluent success at Sandown last time on soft ground. The ew selection – 10s with Boylesports – has been raised 10lbs for that win over 10f and he steps up to 12f for the first time this afternoon. Note he was entered in the 10f handicap here on Saturday, but connections have decided to go for the longer trip. There is plenty of stamina on the distaff side although he is a son of Dubawi.
Surefire is weighted to reverse Windsor form with Siskany on the revised terms and he looked a real stayer when scoring at Leicester last time when he was one of the first off the bridle. Slow ground would be an unknown for Ralph Beckett’s contender while the more rain the better for Surrey Gold although his draw in stall 19 is a worry.
The three-year-old Aldaary is likely to be all the rage in the concluding Buckingham Palace Stakes having finished well having been given plenty to do at Goodwood last time. I hope to see the other Shadwell runner Danyah (6.10) reward each way support – 12s with MansionBet 6 places – for Owen Burrows.
The selection gets a mile and this demanding 7f trip should suit the 4-y-old who ran a terrific race when runner up in the Spring Cup at Newbury in April although he is deserted by Jim Crowley who favours the market leader. Note the selection would not want soft ground although she does have winning form on good to soft.