It's been a strange Royal Ascot so far, with the draw bias being extremely potent on the straight course. Beat Le Bon was a welcome 20/1 placed horse for us, and Kyprios was a NR after he attempted to escape the stalls, and he was heavily punted into 4/1 from 10s!
One race from me at Ascot today, as it looks tricky. Hopefully the two runners at Ripon can be winners as well.
Though this is only a Class 5 (0-70) contest, it's still a cracking little race as a lot of the horses in the race are in great form.
The horse I'm siding with is, ATIYAH, who is a speedy filly. Even though she hasn't won on her last two starts, she has run extremely well in defeat, and both of the races have produced a lot of winners. The form of her 2nd at Nottingham has produced subsequent winners from horses who finished 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th. Also, you'd have to say the race in which she contested at Redcar, which was a Class 5 (0-75), it was full of horses who were better than their marks. The front 5 of that race produced RPRs which were better than their ratings, with the front 3 producing RPRs which were at least 9 higher, which suggests it was a strong race for the grade.
This race looks to be competitive, but not on the same level as what she has previously contested. She likes to race from the front, and I think she will be able to get the lead in this race, and hopefully she'll grab the rail and be hard for catching.
HARLEM SOUL is a short price for this four runner race, but I think there's plenty more to come from this lightly raced son of Frankel.
His seasonal reappearance was a good pipe-opener for Mark Johnston's horse, who probably needed the run, as he got tired late on. He had the lead, but was worn down late on in the race. I think that he'll get the lead again today, with it being a small runner race, and he seems the horse who will want to take the lead.
He has a cracking pedigree, being by Frankel, out of a Group 2 winning mare, who has produced some quality horses like Ispolini & Vivionn. Both of those horses progressed as they went up in trip, and today Harlem Soul gets another furlong, which should suit. He seems like a typical Mark Johnston horse who could keep rising through the handicaps and progress as he races over longer distances.
Stradivarius will obviously have a lot of supporters, as he bids for his fourth Gold Cup in a row, but I think that his time might be up. At the prices, I think it could be worth siding with a potential improver, a horse who hasn't run over this distance before, and might find a lot of improvement for it, which is why I'm backing EMPEROR OF THE SUN.
This son of Galileo is a big outsider, and going by the odds you'd have to say he'd have no chance of featuring at all, which I can't understand. This 4yo has some good pieces of form, which has been on show when finishing behind two subsequent Group 1 winners in Princess Zoe, and Galileo Chrome who won last years St Leger. On a lot of his runs, he has been running on strongly in the dying stages, which is why I think this marathon trip could be what this horse needs.
He won well over 14f last time at Leopardstown in a Listed Race, where he beat some nice horses in Search For A Song and Twilight Payment. Search For A Song finished 2nd at Ascot on Champions Day where Stradivarius came second last, but was also a Group 1 winner last year when she won the Irish St Leger. Twilight Payment was last years Melbourne Cup winner, so that race stacks up quite well.
At the Age of 7 I get the feeling that Stradivarius' time might be over for the top of the staying division. It's a bold call, but the fact he ran a stinker at Ascot at the end of last season, and they blamed the soft ground seems ridiculous, as his best performance came on soft ground in last years Gold Cup! At odds of EVS I think you're a brave man to back him, when there is potential improvers in the field who could run some nice races.
Like I said at the start, this is a tough ask, but I think Emperor Of The Sun can definitely outrun his odds of 25/1, for a cracking young jockey in Gavin Ryan, and a young Coolmore trainer in Donnacha O'Brien.