RUSSIAN EMPEROR (1.50) can give Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore a fourth Hampton Court Stakes victory on day two at Royal Ascot.
The colt was given a good work-out only eight days ago, just failing to run down trailblazing stable companion Cormorant in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown. Russian Emperor wasn’t knocked about and O’Brien is clearly happy in his well-being.
Juan Elcano sets the benchmark on his fifth in the 2000 Guineas, leading three out before being swallowed up by the principals. Kevin Ryan’s colt ran third to Threat in a Group 2 contest at Doncaster last September and should be just as effective moving up in distance. This is a quick turnaround on the back of a fairly hard race at Newmarket and he could be vulnerable.
The Queen’s First Receiver, seven lengths winner of a Kempton maiden 15 days ago, will prove popular for Sir Michael Stoute and Frankie Dettori, and will almost certainly improve again now handed this sterner stamina test.
Berlin Tango relished the step up to 1m 2f when a clear-cut winner of the Kempton Classic Trial a fortnight ago and has solid each-way claims.
Andrew Balding’s gelding showed smart form as a juvenile, finishing a close third to Molatham and subsequent 2000 Guineas runner-up Witchita in the Flying Scotsman Stakes at Doncaster’s St Leger fixture. That came over an inadequate seven furlongs and Berlin Tango should go close, despite conceding 4lb to most of his rivals. David Probert retains the mount with champion jockey Oisin Murphy aboard Balding’s other runner Via De Vega.
LORD TENNYSON (3.35) is the most unexposed of the 24 runners going to post for the Royal Hunt Cup and can be bet each-way the first seven places with Paddy Power.
John Gosden’s gelding has had only two career outings, scoring with ease at Chelmsford City last winter before re-appearing 12 days ago at Newmarket when second to front-running Marie’s Diamond. Slightly easier ground here should be to Lord Tennyson’s advantage.
Mark Johnston’s durable Vale Of Kent was only a neck away in third and should again emerge with credit. Lord Tennyson is berthed alongside Vale of Kent, a keen sort, and Frankie should get a nice pull into the race.
Gosden also saddles chief market rival Alrajaa, the top weight, and Jim Crowley’s mount is on a five-timer. The assessor has raised him 9lb for his latest success on the Polytrack at Lingfield.
Beatboxer, ridden by James Doyle, makes up the Gosden trio and isn’t without a chance either. Raising Sand was third to Afaak last year but is now 5lb higher and a bigger danger may be Montatham. The grey looked a different horse from last season on the back of a gelding operation when hacking up at Newmarket 11 days ago.
The concluding 1m 6f handicap is one of the new races introduced by the BHA and this is the perfect trip for RANCH HAND (4.40). The form of his 1m 6f Haydock success last autumn is working out nicely and he didn’t appear to get home over 2m 2f in the Cesarewitch. Ranch Hand has a long absence to overcome but won his first two races last season, so fitness should not be a concern. Any significant rain would boost prospects.
Fujaira Prince must go close if in the same sort of form as 12 months ago when third to Baghdad in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes. Roger Varian has his team in top form.
Collide ran out a five lengths winner over Land Of Oz at Chelmsford City eight days ago but a 5lb penalty makes life harder in higher grade.
Hereby has won five of her last six starts, including once over course and distance. She prefers an easy surface.
Shailene should be spot-on after a pipe-opener behind classy Manuela De Vega at Haydock.