THE ground at Royal Ascot has come in favour of KING OTTOKAR (3.05), an impressive winner of a Conditions Stakes at Newbury on soft in April. He didn’t get home over 1m 4f when well beaten by Sir Dragonet at Chester and this drop to ten furlongs will suit the son of Motivator much better.
Sangarius caught the eye when a staying-on third to King Of Comedy in the Heron Stakes over a mile at Sandown and Sir Michael Stoute’s colt looks sure to benefit for this longer trip. He won his first two races as a juvenile before running fourth to Too Darn Hot in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket last October. Frankie Dettori gets the leg up.
Cape Of Good Hope should go well, while Fox Chairman’s third to Circus Maximus in the Dee Stakes at Chester puts him into the mix in an intriguing Hampton Court Stakes.
In the Gold Cup, Charlie Appleby throws down the gauntlet to reigning champ Stradivarius with his Melbourne Cup winner CROSS COUNTER (4.20). The ground at Flemington was described as heavy, which offers encouragement that he will handle conditions. Far-travelled Cross Counter clocked up extra air miles when toppling stablemate Ispolini in the Dubai Gold Cup and Appleby believes the 2m 4f distance is not insurmountable.
Mark Johnston knows what it takes to win this marquee event, saddling Royal Rebel (twice) and hugely popular Double Trigger. He has campaigned last year’s Investec Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee with this race in mind, landing the odds in the Matchbook VIP Henry II Stakes at Sandown on his last outing, and the four-year-old adds significant lustre to a much-treasured race.
Stradivarius just keeps on winning but deep ground must concern his connections.
KING ADEMAR (5.00) should give his backers a good run for their money in the Britannia Stakes. He was beaten a neck by Ouzo at Nottingham trying to give the winner 13lb. Ouzo has since won again.
Motafaawit gave 13lb and a beating to Awe (winner since) over seven furlongs here last month when the track was riding soft and is 4lb better off.
SINJAARI (5.35) can go close for the Haggas yard in a fascinating King George V Stakes. Soft ground is an imponderable but his colt ran a belter in the London Gold Cup at Newbury when pipped by Headman. That contest always throws up winners and Sinjaari is taken to overcome a tricky wide draw.
Fox Premier looked good when drawing clear of Sameen at Sandown, while Mark Johnston’s middle-distance horses are always to be feared. The Middleham handler has despatched impressive Sir Ron Priestly, Persian Moon and Summer Moon with sound prospects.
Group 3 winner Constantinople holds Ballydoyle stablemate Antilles on their run at the Curragh but will do well to score under top weight.
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