A HORRIBLE day yesterday with some strange results across the board. No favourites won and only one favourite was placed (1/2 shot Cracksman) all day. Of my selections Shades of Blue was very unlucky by being beaten a neck in the opener, Firmament finished midfield and James Garfield could only manage 7th of 21.
It just goes to show how tricky it is to pick winners at the Royal meeting but we'll have another bash on day 3.
2.30 – Norfolk Stakes
Apart from having a cracking name VINTAGE BRUT has really looked the part on the racecourse and I expect him to improve again. I have concerns about the quality of the Wesley Ward horses this year so I'm not interested in the favourite.
3.05 – Hampton Court Stakes
I'm taking a chance on WADILSAFA here partly because he is well bred and partly because I think he has been put away for this race for quite a while. I think he is the one most likely to improve into a potential Group 1 horse and for that reason looks the value bet to me. The form of Hunting Horn is rock solid and if you want one that is highly likely to be in the first 3 then he is your man.
3.40 – Ribblesdale Stakes
Wild Illusion looks rock solid as the favourite and I wouldn't put you off if you fancied a win bet on her. Her form is the best in the book and she has a bit in hand on the rest. The only potential hole I could pick in her is that her best two runs have been on soft ground but even 4th in the 1000 Guineas (good to firm) would be the best form on offer in comparison to the rest of these. The one I like at value and one that I fancied for the Guineas is PERFECT CLARITY. She looked the business before her run in the Guineas when the soft ground was absolutely against her. If we forgive her that then double figure odds look very generous.
4.20 – Gold Cup
Stradivarius has been the horse that everyone wants to be with for this race for the past few months and with plenty of justification. As a 4 year old he probably still has some improvement to come over staying trips and his form is very good. At the current prices though I am going to side with ORDER OF ST GEORGE who has been there and done it for the last few years over this trip – second last year by a short head and winner the year before. He has all the form in the book and looks as good as ever this year. I think he might have won last year had things gone slightly different in the race and his connections will be desperate to make amends for that and regain his crown. A fascinating race in prospect.
5.00 – Britannia Stakes
With a 30 runner handicap for 3 year olds we need to be looking for extra place offers for a bit of value and also try to find one that is going to improve. The one that I fancy is nearer the top of the market in the shape of GEORGE OF HEARTS. He looks to me like he wants a mile and I'm hoping this will suit nicely. Richard Hughes has managed to book Jamie Spencer for the ride which is also a bonus.
5.35 – King George V Handicap
DOWNDRAFT improved nicely for the move up to 10 furlongs and it looked as though he would appreciate the step up to 12 furlongs. It is early days for him yet so still has plenty of potential and Joseph O'Brien will be desperate to get a winner at the meeting.
- 2.30 – Vintage Brut – 3pt win (5-1, William Hill, Ladbrokes, Bet365)
- 3.05 – Wadilsafa – 2pt e/w (8-1, Paddy Power, Ladbrokes – both paying 4 places)
- 3.40 – Perfect Clarity – 2pt e/w (11-1, Betway, Bet365, Ladbrokes)
- 4.20 – Order of St George – 5 pt win (15-8, Paddy Power, Bet365, Betway)
- 5.00 – George of Hearts – 2pt e/w (8-1, Paddy Power, William Hill – both paying 6 places)
- 5.35 – Downdraft – 2pt e/w (10-1, Bet365)