To say that this year’s Royal Ascot hasn’t been kind to me is something of an understatement, as once again factors that were hard to predict beforehand conspired against our bets.
It seemed that being held up off the pace was the way to be ridden as race after race was fought out by horses who scythed through the pack. Perhaps this was the effect watering overnight had on the ground. It certainly didn’t help Big Break and Lovely Pass in the Coronation Stakes.
While Bertiewhittle, despite being drawn on the far side – where most straight course races had been contested – found himself on the wrong side as it seems that the stands side is now favoured.
While it is dangerous to assume the same will occur on Saturday, I have certainly factored in these angles to my bets.
I was keen on Ihtimal for the Chesham Stakes even before Kiyoshi won today’s Albany Stakes in spectacular fashion. Now I am positively brimming with hope. Ihtimal and Kiyoshi fought out a Goodwood maiden in May.
Two runs at 6f have been very good, and the step up to 7f will suit this daughter of Shamardal. What’s more, Saeed Bin Suroor won last year’s renewal with Tha’ir, who had a strikingly similar profile.
The Diamond Jubilee Stakes can go the way of Jim Goldie’s hardy Hawkeyethenoo. The stable’s Jack Dexter ran a blinder in the King’s Stand on Tuesday, and he was definitely the horse to take out of the Duke Of York Stakes where he was a fast finishing fourth behind Society Rock. He loves Ascot, will hopefully come fast and late and at 12/1 is well worth an investment.
If the Buckingham Palace Stakes is anything to go by then we need a horse drawn high in the Wokingham Stakes. There are quite a few fancied horses drawn towards the stands side, including old friend York Glory. But the stiff 6f will be just too far for him.
I am keen on Rex Imperator, having his second run for William Haggas, whose horses have run well all week without much luck.
Drawn in stall 20, off the same mark as when trouncing the field in a good quality Warwick handicap last June, and an eyecatching run over 5f on his only previous run at Ascot – all combined point to a very good 10/1 chance.
2.30 – Chesham Stakes:
Ihtimal – 8/1 (Ladbrokes)
3.45 – Diamond Jubilee Stakes:
Hawkeyethenoo – 12/1 (generally)
4.25 – Wokingham Stakes:
Rex Imperator – 10/1 (Ladbrokes)