Royal Ascot 2018 – Day 4

2.30pm Albany Stakes (Group 2) 6f

The form of Just Wonderful’s maiden win when she was clear of the rest on her side has been working out very well with the second hacking up since and the third finishing a close second in the Queen Mary here on Wednesday. Octave is interesting on her second to Calyx at Newmarket, but I would have thought if she was the stable’s number 1 choice then James Doyle would be riding, but he’s instead on Main Edition who’s won her two starts in impressive fashion and has to be a big player. However I’m sticking by my original decision that Fairyland is the one to beat. Bought for 925,000 Guineas as a yearling and has shown why in her two starts to date, not flashy on her debut she got the job done in good enough style and she followed that up with a seriously professional display in the Listed Marble Hill Stakes against the males where she got the better of odds on stablemate Van Beethoven. She travelled powerfully before quickening clear under today’s rider Seamie Heffernan and looks a big, strong filly. The third from that race, Land Force, has come out and finished close up in the Norfolk Stakes yesterday and arguably could have gone a couple of places better if drawn on the other side. The same stable, jockey and owner won this race in 2016 with the lesser fancied Brave Anna and I’m banking on a repeat this time around.

Advice – Fairyland 2pts Win (7/2)

3.05pm King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2) 1m4f

I was expecting Mildenberger to be turning up here and he’d have had a huge chance, but he doesn’t line up and I don’t think this as an overly strong race. Raa Atoll could be anything, Old Persian needs to prove he’s up to group class, I’m not convinced Rostropovich wants this trip and these three are close up near the head of the market. To be honest I think Delano Roosevelt is a massive price at 11/4 all things considered, he’s a monster of a horse that I’m not sure would have been suited by the undulations of Epsom but he still ran well enough to finish 6th in the Derby. This well-bred son of Galileo was second in the Derrinstown to Hazapour which is a decent piece of form and he was also second to stablemate Nelson who ran well in the Queen’s Vase earlier in the campaign, plus runner up to 2000 Guineas hero Saxon Warrior last season. He finally looks the number one pick from his stable and can have his well deserved day in the sun on a track and trip that should suit him ideally. Giuseppe Garibaldi would probably be the main danger on quick ground but Wells Farhh Go could go well at a bigger price.

Advice – Delano Roosevelt 2pts Win (11/4)

3.40pm Commonwealth Cup (Group 1) 6f

I think this is possibly my favourite race of the week and it once again looks an epic renewal with 22 runners. However, I’m not sure many can win it, Sands Of Mali and Invincible Army are closely matched on their Sandy Lane form and always give their all, those two shouldn’t be far away. Sioux Nation brings the best form to the table and realistically is the one to beat and he has to go close. If there is an each way bet out there I’d say it’s probably Main Desire who is unbeaten in 3 starts for Michael Bell and we simply don’t know how good she is, 25/1 is a big price. But I think we’re going to see a special horse today in the shape of Equilateral, the vibes from his trainer Charles Hills could hardly have been more encouraging and given he won the inaugural running of this race in 2015 with Champion Sprinter Muhaarar and now has the mighty Battaash, his comments aren’t to be taken lightly. The fact he has said ‘Equilateral is one of the most exciting horses we’ve had here for a long time’ speaks volumes. He bolted up over 5f on debut last year before injuring himself at York so that run can be completely discounted. On his seasonal return he couldn’t have created a better impression if he tried, oozing class in an 8 length victory over a subsequent dual handicap winner. He’s beautifully bred, by speedster Equiano out of an Oasis Dream half-sister to stars Cityscape and Bated Breath. I think he’s pretty special and I’m hoping we see the emergence of a superstar.

Advice – Equilateral 2pts Win (11/2)

4.20pm Coronation Stakes (Group 1) 1m

We have 3 Guineas winners lining up in this and it’s very difficult to evaluate the form of each of them compared to another, so I’m taking a chance on one, Veracious. I thought she was going to run a big race in the 1000 Guineas but unfortunately suffered a setback which ruled her out. She created a big impression when winning a maiden at Newmarket by 4 lengths at the end of last season when her stable weren’t in very good form so you can upgrade that performance. The second won a Listed race in Dubai over the winter so the form is good without being exceptional. But she’s a Frankel filly out of Infallible who was second in this race, that Mare has also produced dual Group 2 winner and multiple Group 1 placed Mutakayyef who goes especially well on fast ground. Veracious takes a big step up in class today and I’m taking a lot on trust, but I don’t think this is the best bunch of three year old fillies we’ve ever seen and she could emerge as the best. It would be great to see Clemmie back to her best, however her Cheveley Park form has taken a number of hits and that form would definitely need improving upon.

Advice – Veracious 1pt Each Way (8/1)

5.00pm Sandringham Stakes (Class 2 Handicap) 1m

Plenty of unexposed fillies in here that you could make a case for but I’m opting for a more experience sort in the shape of Di Fede. She wasn’t a world beater as a two year old but she did get her head in front a couple of times, I think she’s a different horse this campaign though. She’s put in a pair of blinding runs so far, the first of those over this course and distance where she attempted to make all to only get collared close home in a tight finish. The two that finished in front of her on that occasion finished 2nd and 4th in the Duke Of Cambridge here on Wednesday so the form is strong, they were clear of the 4th that day who has come out and won since as well. Di Fede won a conditions race at Leicester when last seen, beating the 109 rated Unforgetable Filly and the promising Sheikha Reika over 7f, she got up late in the day there and I think the return to a mile will suit her. Her form is good and off a mark of 98 there is still more to come.

Advice – Di Fede 1pt Each Way (16/1)

5.35pm Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (Class 2 Handicap) 1m4f

Yet another competitive handicap to end the day, but I’ve a feeling Dash Of Spice can make this look a lot less competitive come 5.40pm. He’d been second to Ajman King on two starts at Epsom but finally raced there without that rival in the race on Derby day and showed just what he could do. He ran out an emphatic 6 length winner with plenty left in the tank and there should be yet more to come. From a brilliant family which include Juddmonte International winner Arabian Queen, he’s well-drawn in stall 14 and with Silvestre De Sousa on board I can’t think he’ll be hanging about and he’s so good riding from the front that you get that bit more confidence that the horse will have every chance of winning. Thundering Blue is an obvious danger but he’s yet to race over 1m4f and he’s not certain to get the trip, I think Dash Of Spice will take all the beating once again before we see him contesting group races.

Advice – Dash Of Spice 2pts Win (9/2)

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