THOMAS HOBSON (5.35) can bring the curtain down on Royal Ascot week by landing the 2m 5f Queen Alexandra Stakes.
Willie Mullins’s dual-purpose performer hacked up by six lengths in the Ascot Stakes on the Tuesday of last year and was brought out four days later to chase home Oriental Fox in this marathon. Mullins has brought him to England a fresh horse this time round and he will take a power of beating under Ryan Moore.
HARRY ANGEL (4.20) has yet to register a victory at Ascot from four starts but that is a rare blemish on an illustrious CV which should be corrected this year in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
He made a confident start to the new season in the Duke Of York Stakes, giving weight and a beating to Brando. Clive Cox’s sprinter split Caravaggio and Blue Point in the Commonwealth Cup 12 months ago and probably has Aidan O’Brien’s Australian recruit Merchant Navy as his main rival.
Fillies look likely to dominate the Chesham Stakes and Mark Johnston’s Natalie’s Joy has been a hot favourite ever since she romped home by six lengths at Goodwood. Equally impressive last time out was Godolphin’s BEYOND REASON (2.30), a four lengths winner at Kempton over six furlongs. She seems sure to relish this extra furlong and will be hard to knock out of the frame.
QUEEN OF BERMUDA (3.40) looks to have as good a chance as any in the Windsor Castle Stakes following wide-margin victories at Windsor and Thirsk.
AYR puts on a cracking Saturday card and MAKSAB (2.20) can reward Mick Channon’s long journey from Berkshire by landing the 7f handicap.
Maksab had to dig deep to outpoint well-touted Yafta on quick ground at Newmarket a fortnight ago and a 6lb rise shouldn’t be enough to stop an action replay.
Another southern raider, MORDIN (2.55), was turned over at short odds by Plutonian at Windsor but compensation awaits in the 1m 2f handicap. The front pair pulled clear and Simon Crisford has his string in great shape.
The locals could have plenty to cheer as well, with Jim Goldie saddling two of his stable stalwarts NICHOLAS T (3.30) and EUCHEN GLEN (4.50).
In-form Balestra looks dangerous in first-time cheek-pieces but Nicholas T won this race last year off a 2lb lower mark and really needs fast ground/sharp gallop to show his very best. He got precisely that in the Zetland Gold Cup at Redcar when just run out of it by useful Big Country, so the harder they go the better.
That remark applies even more so to Euchen Glen, a talented but frustrating individual as he pulls too hard for his own good. Thankfully, there is good reason to expect a very solid end-to-end gallop in this top-notch 1m 5f handicap, with confirmed trailblazers Brandon Castle, My Reward and Star Of The East all going to post.
If that quick-pace scenario works out, Euchen Glen should settle much better and last year’s Shergar Cup winner at Ascot could arrive late on the scene to strike at a nice price. Sir Chauvelin’s excellent run at Royal Ascot yesterday confirms the yard remains in top form.
- Royal Ascot 5.35 – Thomas Hobson (6-4, Ladbrokes, Coral, bet365))
- Royal Ascot 4.20 – Harry Angel (3-1, McBookie, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, Coral))
- Royal Ascot 2.30 – Beyond Reason (6-1, McBookie, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, bet365))
- Royal Ascot 3.40 – Queen of Bermuda (7-1, bet365)
- Ayr 2.20 – Maksab (3-1, Unibet)
- Ayr 2.55 – Mordin (6-5, Unibet)
- Ayr 3.30 – Nicholas T (9-2, bet365)
- Ayr 4.50 – Euchen Glen (8-1, Ladbrokes)
Johnb's Saturday Ascot Tips
- 2.30 NATALIE’S JOY 11-8 NAP
- 3.05 IDAHO 6-1 1/4 odds 2 places
- 3.40 SABRE 10-1 ee 1/5 odds 5 places
- 4.20 REDKIRK WARRIOR 4/1 NB
- 5.0 GROWL 14-1 ew 1/5 odds 6 places, DREAMFIELD 4-1
- 5.35 NEARLY CAUGHT 12-1 1/5 odds 4 places
Johnb's Other Tips
The good thing about having a big meeting like Royal Ascot is horses at other meetings can go under the radar – Mrs Gallagher is one of those horses.
Last time out she ran in the Temple Stakes, although only ninth she wasn’t disgraced and takes a drop in class here. Her two other runs this season has seen two wins at Listed level where she beat horses like Different League, Mrs Danvers and Mabs Cross and I am expecting Mrs Gallagher to dominate these rivals from the front.
The price of 7-2 is above average value and I can’t turn that down although the drift on her is a bit worrying.
- Ayr 4.10 – Mrs Gallagher 7-2 paddy power NAP
On a good mark here for her handicap debut as she is a well-bred daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar who has the potential to go on to better things and she is stepped up slightly in distance here which will suit. She should improve again here, the odds are a bit on the skinny side but there is still slight value.
- Down Royal 4.15 – Kalaxana 6-4 NB