There have been some memorable days at Royal Ascot over the years, but maybe, just maybe, the Thursday of the 2013 meeting will top them all.
We saw the fastest ever two year old to win a race at Ascot; then an oh so poignant winner for Lady Cecil, (after the recent passing of Sir Henry;) followed by the roof-raising triumph of the regally-owned Estimate in the Gold Cup – which if you listened to this column you will have backed at 8/1 a month or so ago.
If that wasn’t enough, then we may have just seen, if not a superstar middle-distance horse, a pretty smart one in John Gosden’s Remote.
The centrepiece of Friday’s card is without doubt the Coronation Stakes, which features the rematch of this year’s English and Irish 1,000 Guineas winners –Sky Lantern and Just The Judge.
But it is the horse that chased Just The Judge home in third at The Curragh that I think has a great chance of beating them both. The Dermot Weld-trained Big Break was drawn wide in the Irish 1,000 Guineas, got no cover, raced keenly, and still had enough ability to finish a really creditable third on her seasonal debut.
Surely she will come on for that run and she has a great draw in stall one, where Pat Smullen can get a nice prominent position and then pounce down the straight. What’s more, her sire is Dansili who is having a great meeting, illustrated by Riposte and Remote winning today. At 6/1, she is great value against the big two.
In the same race, I can’t resist an each-way bet on Godolphin’s underrated filly Lovely Pass. She won the UAE 1,000 Guineas in February, but also won an Ascot Conditions race in September of last year, so we know she handles the track. She goes well fresh and at 40/1 is far too big, and it is notable that she is the only filly Godolphin run.
The straight course races this week have been fiendishly hard, but I am going to give it one more shot in the Buckingham Palace Stakes. Bertiewhittle has always run at Ascot, and produced arguably a career best in the Victoria Cup on his first run this year. A four pound rise seems fair, and it might be that he is just starting to realise his potential.
3.45 – Coronation Stakes:
Big Break – 6/1 (Betfred & Totesport)
Lovely Pass (each-way) – 40/1 (Stan James)
5.35 – Buckingham Palace Stakes:
Bertiewhittle – 16/1 (Boylesports)