2.30pm Chesham Stakes (Listed Race) 7f
On a day where on paper it looks like it could be a day for the punters, Natalie’s Joy looks quite a good place to start for Mark Johnston. She romped home on her debut at Goodwood by 6 lengths in what was a good time clearing away at the finish powerfully, showing that a further furlong shouldn’t be any issue. Her claims are obvious and she’s the one to beat, but doesn’t make much appeal as a betting medium and I think her stablemate New Winds is overpriced. She beat Beyond Reason (who reopposes) and Angel’s Hideaway (fourth in yesterdays Albany Stakes), on her debut at Newmarket, hitting top stride when getting to the rising ground and despite being very green, ran out a good 2 length winner. She wasn’t suited by soft ground afterwards and only won narrowly at Haydock when last seen, but that is more of a speed track and given her Dam was a Group 1 winner over a mile and a quarter, should appreciate this trip.
Advice – New Winds 0.5pts Each Way (18/1)
3.05pm Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2) 1m4f
It’s a small field which has plenty of class, but it should be a simple task for Crystal Ocean who I believe is a Group 1 winner in waiting. He’s related to some highly talented individuals and I know it’s said often but it is for good reason, he’s a typical Sir Michael Stoute project, keeps on improving as he gets older. He looks even better as a four year old and already rated 122, is clear of these at the ratings and given how strong his St Leger form is, should be taking this contest. But his price reflects that and I’m sure he’ll be the subject of multiples, but doesn’t make much betting appeal as a Single.
Advice – No bet.
3.40pm Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed) 5f
A big field for the Windsor Castle with 28 runners, how much strength in depth there is I’m not that sure. Queen Of Bermuda has been impressive so far and isn’t the biggest so the time is very much now for her. But it’s been a slightly odd week in terms of Wesley Ward’s runners, Lady Aurelia and Chelsea Cloisters were both relatively short in the market and were ultimately disappointing. Then Shang Shang Shang went off 5/1 for the Norfolk and got the win, now the horse she beat on her debut, Moonlight Romance, is as big as 13/2 for the Windsor Castle having had her form franked. I think out of all his runners, this one is the wrong price. As I’ve said her debut form has been franked and on her second start she barely came off bridle to comfortably take care of a field by over 5 lengths. She’s drawn high and if showing the blistering pace that Ward’s so often do, can grab the stands rail and could be hard to peg back. Van Beethoven is drawn on the opposite side of the track but I can see him going well under Ryan Moore dropping back to 5f, he was sent over to Newmarket for his debut where he performed well as the 9/4 favourite, finishing 3rd. But he bettered that with a comfortable win at Naas, putting clear daylight between himself and his rivals before running second in the Listed Marble Hill Stakes last time out. That’s good form with Fairyland in 1st (3rd in the Albany yesterday) and Land Force in 3rd (3rd in the Norfolk). Aidan O’Brien often sends his good ones to that contest, Washington DC filled the same runner up spot in 2015 before winning this race, Caravaggio won it in 2016 before US Navy Flag was 3rd in 2017.
Advice – Moonlight Romance 1pt Win (13/2), Van Beethoven 1pt Win (7/1)
4.20pm Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Group 1) 6f
The last Group 1 of the week and it’s a cracker, I’ve been a huge fan of Harry Angel since day one and he’s frighteningly good, but his record at Ascot is slightly off putting. However he hasn’t actually ran a bad race at the track, with his second in the Commonwealth Cup last year being the best of them. The quick ground will help him today and if he’s calmed down slightly as a four year old, he should be able to conserve enough energy to see him home. But there are plenty of dangers with Redkirk Warrior being the chief one, he’s won his last two starts in Australia with both being Group 1’s and given the Aussies record in this race, has to be feared. Merchant Navy was impressive on his debut for O’Brien considering how adamant connections were that he needed the run and would come on for it, but on Australian form he has a fair bit to find with Redkirk Warrior. Defending champion The Tin Man is only 4th in the betting and he made a more than satisfactory winning return at Windsor and also has to be feared. Of the bigger prices, Bound For Nowhere doesn’t have loads to find with Harry Angel on their Commonwealth Cup form and looked good in winning a Grade 2 last time and City Light is unbeaten in three starts this year and could outrun his odds.
Advice – Heart says Harry Angel, but in all reality it’s a watch and enjoy race.
5.00pm Wokingham Stakes (Class 2 Heritage Handicap) 6f
I have been keen on Dreamfield for this contest for some time and hope he lands me some nice antepost bets, but his price has completely gone and the money still appears to be pouring in for him. His claims are obvious and to me he’s the proverbial handicap good thing, but we’ll see! However, this means there are some generous each way prices out there and I think Growl holds solid claims given how much he’s come down the weights. Rated 114 this time last year after a second in the Group 1 Champions Sprint, he was a bit disappointing last season but the encouragement is that his best effort was in a big field handicap (Stewards Cup) where he was 4th off 7lbs higher than he is today. He’s got plenty of class and with the track, trip and ground all suiting him, can go well. Another one of interest is Tupi, who seems best caught fresh nowadays and won off the back of some runs in Dubai last season and does the same here. He ran a blinder on this card last year when 6th in the Diamond Jubilee, is well-handicapped on past form and it’s eye-catching that Ryan Moore has been booked for the ride.
Advice – Growl 0.5pts Each Way (16/1), Tupi 0.5pts Each Way (16/1)
5.35pm Queen Alexandra Stakes (Class 2 Conditions Race) 2m5½f
We end Royal Ascot 2018 with the longest race of the week and Thomas Hobson is a red hot favourite for the prolific combination of Willie Mullins and Ryan Moore. But Count Octave looks a worthy adversary stepping up drastically in trip, he’s a high class stayer that was a neck second to Stradivarius in the Queen’s Vase at last years Royal meeting and was also a very good 6th in the St Leger. He appears to have an abundance of stamina and if staying this extra distance, could unlock plenty of potential.
Advice – Count Octave 1pt Win (6/1)