AscotAscot is a triangular course of one mile six furlongs
and 34 yards. The course goes downhill from the mile and a half start for three furlongs into Swinley Bottom, which is the
lowest part of the track; it joins the Old Mile and is then uphill with a straight run in of two and a half furlongs which
levels out in the last hundred yards. The straight mile is downhill from the start, then rising to the five furlong gate,
falling again slightly to the junction of the course then uphill levelling out in the last hundred yards. Ascot is a galloping
track with easy turns nevertheless a demanding test especially on soft going.
Five furlongs: High to middle
Six furlongs: Low carries a slight bias
Seven furlongs and a mile: Middle to high hold a slight
One mile round: Middle to high (75%)
Ten furlongs: Middle to high (73%)
Twelve furlongs: Middle to high(76%)Friday Predicted
weather : Cloudy
Saturday Predicted weather : Cloudy
Sunday Predicted weather : Sunny
Ascot Festival Day One
Bollinger Champagne Challenge Series Final Handicap
Gentleman Amateur Riders (Class D) In Association (3yo+,0-85)
1 Mile 4 Furlongs
Martin Pipe won this race last season with Belle D’Anjou
off a mark of 64, she is now with Philip Hobbs and runs off a mark of 69. She disappointed last time over hurdles and is passed
over. Second last year to Belle D’Anjou, Porak is now 9lbs higher on 71. This fellow slooshed up at Goodwood and looks
in tip top form he will not go down without a fight. From Martin Pipe’s five entries I like Fratenize (well-handicapped)
and Miss Fara. Showpiece is in and out; on his one run for an amateur he disappointed. Dr Cool has run well in amateur and
apprentice races and is still fairly handicapped; a fast pace will be assured and that will suit this fellow. Leatherback
is a horse for your note books when the mud is flying over hurdles or on the flat, while Spectrometer may not be an ideal
ride for an amateur. Not a particularly inspiring opening race Dr. Cool and Fratenize are selected against the field and a
small each-way stake is suggested on both.
European Breeders Fund Harvest Stakes
(Class A) (Listed Race) (3yo+)
1 Mile 4 Furlongs
Spring Oak, Love Everlasting, Lady’s Secret,
Bright And Clear, Rosa Parkes and Jalousie are the top rated on official figures. Fillies races are notoriously difficult
to weigh up at this time of the year and several of these would prefer some give in the ground. John Gosden’s Treble
Heights improved on her second run when up to a mile and threequarters while Glam Rock may improve on the likely fast ground.
Jalousie will probably take them along and will be hard to pass. Bright and Clear, Glam Rock, Treble Heights and Rosa Parkes
are taken to swoop late with Bright And Clear just given the nod.
Watership Down Stud Sales
(Class B) (2yo)
An impossible race and I suggest we keep our powder
dry for later races over the three days. Hectors’s Girl and Caught in The Dark were impressive winners in their last
races and are taken against the field
Brunswick Stakes Showcase Handicap
(Class B) (3yo,0-105)
Thirty-one runners with Funfair Wayne heading the weights.
I thought he won the Ayr Gold Cup with a little in hand and if reappearing he will be hard to keep out of the frame. Greenslades
finished 1¼ lengths in front of Green Line in April and is 8lbs better off with that horse. A facile winner at Ayr in his
maiden, expect serious market interest in this animal. Vanderlin is high in the weights, he still does not impress with his
attitude in a finish; however he has ability and a stiff six furlongs, together with a likely big field will suit him; he
can make the frame. Baralinka, Green Line, Mr.Toad, Jonny Eborneezer and Strathclyde are consistent and should run well.Greenslades
is well regarded by his stable, and to my thoughts, exceptionally well handicapped. The main dangers are Baralinka, Funfair
Wayne and Vanderlin.
European Breeders Fund Classified Stakes
(Class B) (3yo+,0-95)
1 Mile 2 Furlongs
Another disappointing race in which Jalousie would
be the selection if being re-routed. Red Carnation (to be noted for a soft ground handicap this autumn), King Mill and Maimana
would prefer give in the ground and although Mahroos is improving he has something to find.Football Crazy goes in the soft,
he does however handle faster ground and ran in a competitive handicap over in Ireland recently, performing creditably after
a break, he can return to winning ways in Jalousie’s absence.
Thoroughbred Breeders Association Handicap
(Class D) (3yo,0-80)
A competitive handicap to end the day and one, which
I feel will be dominated by the top weights. Ashkelon had a confidence restoring win last time and still appears well treated.
Siouxsie Sioux has always been highly regarded by her shrewd trainer; another to win last time, she may be a blot on the handicap.
Ettrick Water is consistent, but now looks exposed. Rhythm Of Life did nothing wrong when winning at Sandown recently and
looks sure to be in the shake up, as should Strathspey, another model of consistency who always gives her best.
Siouxsie Sioux is taken to repel Ashkelon and Rhythm Of Life.
Hackney Empire Royal Lodge Stakes
(Class A) (Group 2) (2yo)
Eight entries for Aiden O’Brien; from these my
pick is Brain Boru who won his maiden having missed the beak. The form has worked out well and various form line he is a similar
horse as Van Nistelrooy without allowing for any improvement which will surely be forthcoming. Lundy’s Lane showed promise
on his debut and looks the type to improve with time. Norse Dancer will appreciate this stiff mile and should give a good
account of himself. At Goodwood although performing creditably he was not a hundred percent and he will be a tough nut to
crack. Unigold is going the right way; he would be better off in maiden company. John Gosden has three entered and improving
Al Jadeed would be the choice of the trio. Maghanim followed his excellent second to Almushahar with a smooth success at Doncaster.
He had the run of the race that day, and he strikes me as the type who would do better with an easier option than this, before
being put away for the winter. Fast ground would suit Magistretti and he makes more appeal than Richard Hannon’s Puma
and Tacitus Bahamian Dancer, Famous Grouse and Indian Haven have it all to do Brian Boru from Van Nistelrooy to take the prize
back to Ireland; Al Jadeed, Magistretti and Norse Dancer are nominated as the dangers.
Meon Valley Stud Fillies' Mile
(Class A) (Group 1) (2yo)
Reach For The Moon an impressive winner first time
out has a wonderful pedigree, being a half-sister to top Japanese horse Agnes Digital and Royal Lodge winner Royal Kingdom.
The form of the race is solid and she will relish this trip. Summitville looks sure to confirm the form with Approach; prior
to that she had run Soviet Song to three lengths in soft ground. I believe with that filly proving herself on firm ground
on her debut, looking for all the world, a class horse on both her outings, Summitville has it all to do reverse placings.
Soviet Song had Airwave in second on her debut and that filly won well at Ayr last week. It is hard pick any holes in the
form and James Fanshawe’s filly will be a tough nut to crack. Hold To Ransom is improving as are Inchberry, Casual Look
and Ballerina Suprema. The latter is held in some regard by Michael Bell and whatever her fate here she will make up into
a lovely three-year-old staying filly. Rainbow Queen made an eye-catching debut, picking up well despite showing signs of
greenness, she can be expected to come on a good deal for the experience. Rainbows For All is useful but may prefer easier
ground. Mail The Desert and Pearl Dance are closely matched on their latest run at The Curragh, overall their form falls just
short of what will be needed here. Huja has been pleasing her trainer at home, she finished behind Mail The Desert at Goodwood;
I am sure on this stiffer track she will reverse that form. A fascinating race in prospect with Soviet Song just given the
vote over Reach For The Moon on the basis she has the form in the book already. Summitville, Huja and Rainbow Ways can fight
out third place.
Brunswick Diadem Stakes
(Class A) (Group 2) (3yo+)
The O’Brien team will struggle to plunder this
prize which includes entries from Sweden and France. Do The Honours has shown her best form on soft, however there is nothing
in the pedigree to suggest good to firm will be a serious problem. Malhub is the pick of the John Gosden trio and only Richard
Hills’s weakness in a finish diminishes confidence. The Fanshawe duo like give in the ground as does Orientor. The Swedish
Raiders seems outclassed, Nobel Prize seems the best; yet again soft ground seems a prerequisite. Crystal Castle won at Deauville
after his success in the Tote International here in July; his overall profile suggests he is not quite good enough for this.
Danehurst is not the horse she was last season. Polar Way is progressive and I can see him making the frame.Do The Honours
is just favoured over Malhub with Polar Way and Mount Abu selected for the minor placings.
Tote Trifecta Stakes Showcase Handicap
(Class B) (3yo+)
Of the lower weights I feel Cashmere (heavily backed
and unlucky in running last time), J R Stevenson (without doubt being prepared for another touch( and Lord Protector (stable
showing signs of a revival), are the pick. Certain Justice has missed some tempting engagements and should be considered.
Inchdura is game, consistent and the stable could hardly be in better form. Mr. Mahoose will be many peoples fancy; I believe
he dislikes big fields and overlook him. Mine is back over seven furlongs and showed up well from a poor draw in the Ayr Gold
Cup. Ratio was heavily punted for a race last month, in which he was withdrawn, he has since had a pipe opener and is solid
frame material. Wixoe Express has had a nice break and Sir Mark Prescott who won this with Wizard King a few years back thinks
highly of this fellow. Demonstrate’s last two runs can be ignored; back over the track and distance, he won on in June,
he can be strongly fancied. The top weights look to have a tough task, Mister Cosmi may prove the pick, and please remember
to study the draw as it can be highly significant in races such as this.A close call here; I suggest two each-way bets, on
Wixoe Express and Demonstrate and nominate Ratio and Mine as frame material.
Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
(Class A) (Sponsored by NetJets) (Group 1) (3yo+)
Nothing in racing is certain, however whether it is
the pairing of Rock Of Gibraltar and Sahara Desert or Hawk Wing and Sholokhov this prize will go back to Ballydoyle. Personally
I would like to see Hawk Wing given the chance on fast ground to prove himself the superstar I believe he is. Gossamer will
miss out unless divine intervention brings rain down in "reservoir loads". Tillerman will appreciate fast ground along with
Noverre and Zenda. The latter ran a blinder at Royal Ascot when second to Sophisticat, she has been rested since and although
having to improve is suggested, along with Best Of The Bests, who is running well at present as the dangers to the "O’Brien
Chosen One". A combination forecast is suggested, unless of course you are an odds on punter.
Kleenex Tissues Rosemary Rated Stakes
(Class A) (Handicap) (Listed Race) (3yo+,0-105)
Granadilla disappointed on her last run; she has been
working well since and is expected to leave that effort behind here. Macadamia was another to disappoint last time out, impressive
at Newmarket on her previous run she should be forgiven that effort and considered here. Sonorous would be an interesting
contender if coming over from Ireland and a bold showing from Football Crazy on Friday would enhance her chances here. Russian
Rhapsody is running into form and looks to have frame possibilities; stable companion Loveleaves is coming back from a long
break. Reasonably handicapped Loveleaves is a likeable filly who has a decent race in her. Lady Bear would not relish fast
ground if attempting to follow up her Ayr success. Welsh Diva finished behind Disco Volante and has a 17lbs pull for five
lengths, however, she has not progressed since; although this mile would be on the sharp side, Disco Volante would be a more
than interesting contender. Sandy Lady bounced back to form at Kempton and is still well weighted on her best form. This is
a real poser; Disco Volante is the selection in the hope she tries to make all. Sonorous, Granadilla, Loveleaves and Sandy
Lady are nominated as the dangers in that order.
Caplan Gordon Carter Stakes
(Handicap) (Class C) (3yo+,0-95)
Hawkwind continues to progress and should comfortably
confirm Goodwood form with Alrida and Look First; I believe he can win off a mark of 87 this season so off 82 here he will
run a big race. The remainder of the field contains a lot of the usual suspects in this type of race. Conquestadora ran as
though needing the race at Ayr last Saturday; the steady early pace of the race did little to help. A quick reappearance would,
however, be a surprise; one would hope of a bold showing if she does appear. Knavesmire Owen got this trip well when regaining
the winning habit at Yarmouth; stable companion Mana D’Argent loves it here and if back on song, would be expected to
be thereabouts. Establishment has been fighting the handicapper this season; second in this last year he is running off an
11lbs higher mark and may need some more respite from the handicapper. High And Mighty is an in and out performer who often
goes well round this track. Cotopaxi’s run at Newbury seven days ago suggested this trip would suit and he should go
well if turned out again.Hawkwind to continue his upward curve with Cotopaxi, Conquestadora and Establishment to chase him
home, is the suggestion in this second day finale.
Ascot Day 3
Young Vic Theatre Cumberland Lodge Stakes
(Class A) (Group 3) (3yo+)
I Mile 4 furlongs
John Gosden’s horses are in tremendous form and
Charley Bates represents the stable here. A compulsive front runner he will struggle over this shorter trip. Assuming there
is a fast pace the Warrsan, Foreign Affairs should be suited by it as they both need a trip. Legal Approach and Systematic
may represent Mark Johnston. The former won gamely from Frankies Dream with King Solomon way behind; the race was a muddling
affair and I prefer Systematic who can race just behind the pace before kicking for home on the home turn. As mentioned before
Nysaean will win a decent race this autumn on soft ground, and he will almost certainly miss this.Systematic to hold off Legal
Approach and Foreign Affairs.
JRA London Office's 10th Anniversary Conditions Stakes
(Class C) (2yo)
Aiden O’Brien has three entered; France ran a
reasonable race at Newbury when looking in need of the run. Middlemarch and First Dynasty are, as expected, well entered up,
jockey bookings will be interesting. Weavers Pride found the Champagne Stakes too much at Doncaster and may again struggle
in this company. He is a horse to remember for next season. Excelsius won a maiden at San Siro, Italy in impressive fashion;
impossible to evaluate the form the time of the race was faster than two other seven furlong races the same day. A 2003 Derby
entry he has to be respected. Love You Always and Governor Brown are closely matched on form, both will be suited to the seven
furlongs. Vilas won a small race at Hamilton; he is well regarded by his trainer, Captain Saif has won both his starts, a
grand stamp of a horse he has the ability to win at Listed level and he is to feared here. Debutantes Harcourt and Curlew
River are interesting and the former a Racing Post Trophy entrant may prove the pick. Captain Saif is progressing and he is
taken to get the better of Excelsius, Governor Brown and Love You Always.
Riggs Bank Rated
(Class B) Handicap (3yo+,0-105)
Another "usual suspects" handicap. My four against
the field are Trace Clip, Gotarapofahames, Peruvian Chief Greenwood. A combination forecast is suggested and each-way bets
on Trace Clip, who will go very close if he can get a good break and Gotarapofahames.
The Mail On Sunday/Tote Mile Final
(Handicap) (Class B) (3yo+)
Sorry but another "usual suspects" handicap. Zonergem,
Stretton, Digital and Style Dancer another combination forecast is suggested and each-way bets on Zonargem, who will go very
close and Stretton reportedly laid out for this for sometime.
Tote Exacta Stakes Showcase Handicap
(Class B) (3yo+)
1 Mile 4 Furlongs
We need genuine fast ground for Contraband who is reported
by William Haggas as 100%. William has no idea what happened on his last run and believes it may have been the "bounce". The
horse is working as well have as he has ever done and Jamie Spencer is booked; a big run is expected. If Lingo takes up this
engagement he will be a serious opponent. Held back for decent ground, should the rain come to scupper Contraband, this fellow
will take all the beating. Muhareb, Scott’s View and Muhareb are closely matched and I take Navado to improve pass his
conquerors at York. Dune will run his usual game race if coming here.Contraband must have genuine fast ground and he is the
selection given those conditions. Lingo will would become the selection on good or softer ground with Navado and Muhareb taken
as the dangers.
(Class B) (2yo)
7 Furlongs Itemise, Riska King and To The Rescue all
have handicap marks I consider accurate and fair. Overide trained by James Eustace, who won this race last year, can improve
over this seven furlongs. High Accolade is exceptionally well handicapped on a line through Senor Sol and Mysterinch; he ran
better than his final position suggests at Sandown. Jay Gee’s Choice is another going the right way.High Accolade is
taken to repel Itemise Overide, Jay Gee’s Choice and