Royal Ascot 2018 – Day 2

2.30pm Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2) 5f

Chelsea Cloisters is bound to be a warm order for the red hot Frankie Dettori in a bid to give Wesley Ward yet another Queen Mary winner and it’s foolish to write her off, but she’s very short for a race of this nature even though she was extremely impressive on her debut. She may well be different class but I can’t steam in at the current price, so I’m going to take her on with Kurious for last years winning owners. She is from a high class sprinting family being a half-sister to Group 1 winner Tangerine Trees and Group 2 placed Alpha Delphini, but oddly enough they weren’t exactly precocious. That’s were Kurious’ father comes in, her Sire Kuroshio was a Group 2 and Group 3 winner as a two year old. Her debut win at Sandown was an impressive one, making all from a tricky draw and fending off a Godolphin horse before then holding off Heartwarming (half-sister to the winner of this race last year, Heartache), she was 4 lengths clear of the third who had previously ran very well in a race at Ascot won by Shades Of Blue. I think that form will work out nicely and I liked the way she went about her business. Her trainer Henry Candy isn’t renowned for first time out juvenile winners either so I think she’ll prove to be well above average and can go very well in this today.

Advice – Kurious 1pt Each Way (12/1, 5 Places, 1/4 odds bet365)

3.05pm Queen’s Vase (Group 2) 1m6f

I imagine Stream Of Stars will be popular given his connections, but I think Nelson is a great bet in here. He’s by Frankel out of Irish Oaks winner Moonstone, to me he looks like he’s been crying out for a trip and has only raced as far as 1m2f so far. Already a dual Group 3 winner, he pushed Roaring Lion close over a mile last season before making a great reappearance in the Ballysax Stakes where he got the better of stablemate Delano Roosevelt on heavy ground, he battled back bravely to win that race and relished the test. He disappointed in the Derrinstown afterwards, however that turned into a bit of a sprint which did not play to his strengths whatsoever and he got done for speed late in the day. I think this extra distance is exactly what he wants and can provide Donnacha O’Brien with yet another big win this season.

Advice – Nelson 2pts Win (4/1)

3.40pm Duke Of Cambridge Stakes (Group 2) 1m

On ratings Hydrangea should be winning this, but she has to concede 5lb to the majority of the field and her reappearance run was a bit underwhelming. The one I like is last years runner up Aljazzi, who has been laid out for this race for some time. She ran a blinder to split the French pair of Qemah and Usherette on that occasion but I think she’ll go one better. She has 4 wins to her name and each of which have come off the back of a break, so the fact her good third in a Group 2 against the opposite sex was 54 days ago is a big positive for her chances. This isn’t a strong renewal and given she has plenty in her favour today, can prove tough to beat.

Advice – Aljazzi 2pts Win (5/1)

4.20pm Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (Group 1) 1m2f

Now this should just be a straightforward win for Cracksman, he’s one of the most talented horses in training and back at a track which plays to his strengths far more than Epsom, he’ll be almost impossible to beat. But I do think who’ll chase him home is far more open than the betting suggests. Eminent and Hawkbill were both extremely disappointing when last seen and need to bounce back having something to prove. Poet’s Word appears the most likely to fill the forecast spot, but at Sandown when he won the Brigadier Gerard they didn’t go a very strong pace and it payed to be near the fore. He sat in second before cruising past Laraaib pretty comfortably. However, Desert Encounter wasn’t suited by the way that race was run at all, he was held up last before travelling superbly into the race but unfortunately the front two had stolen a march and he wasn’t near enough to challenge. His form figures on ‘Good To Firm’ ground read 1123 and given that a number of these have questions to answer, I don’t think he deserves to be 50/1. I’m not suggesting a bet here but if you want a play then I wouldn’t put you off Desert Encounter in the ‘Without Cracksman’ market or if there are some different each way options around.

Advice – Watch and admire Cracksman go about his business.

5.00pm Royal Hunt Cup (Class 2) 1m

I’m going to take a couple against the field here with the first being Richard Spencer’s Keyser Soze, who I think has a big pot in him given his ability. His reappearance effort in the Spring Cup at Newbury was a mighty run, how he didn’t win I’m not really sure, he travelled smoothly into it before bursting through a gap but got headed by the front two late in the day. He then missed the break in the Victoria Cup last time and probably did well to finish as close as he did. Back up to the mile on quick ground I think this race is set up perfectly for him. My second dart is Firmament, who has dropped to a very attractive mark based on 2016 and 2017 form and looked be be bouncing right back to form in the Victoria Cup last time when second on his side behind Gilgamesh, who has won since. He’s very consistent in these sorts of races and has placed on this straight track off higher marks on numerous occasions in the past. I could make a case for plenty more, but these are my two strongest choices and I’ll be disappointed if at least one of them doesn’t make the frame.

Advice – Keyser Soze 0.5pts Each Way (12/1), Firmament 0.5pts Each Way (16/1)

5.35pm Jersey Stakes (Group 3) 7f

This is a really tough race to solve this year where a case can be made for a number of them, I’d love to see James Garfield go close and I think he’s a big each way player but the penalty might just do for his chances of winning. The one I’m going with is Emaraaty for a bang in-form John Gosden, he’s unlucky not to be unbeaten below Group 1 level since his debut really having run a massive race in a handicap at Goodwood last time off top weight, only going down in the dying strides to the rapidly improving Society Power. I think that was an even better run that it first appeared given that he ran to an RPR of 116 and the fourth has won since. He’s beautifully bred and I think if any of these are capable of winning a Group 1, it’s probably him (although Could It Be Love may not be far away). He still holds plenty of entries for the top level later in the season and if he’s going to be taking in those assignments, will have to be running a huge race here.

Advice – Emaraaty 1pt Win (11/2)


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