Day one of Royal Ascot was, as expected, a scintillating affair. Jim Bolger proved that he is touched with genius, Dawn Approach thankfully is the horse that he appeared to be, and Toronado is within a hair’s breadth of that.
As for the column’s bets it was something of a chastening day, as two horses who were the last ones crossed off my shortlist, Sole Power and Well Sharp, both won nicely.
While Sacha Park won its race on the far side in the Windsor Castle Stakes, but unfortunately that only secured sixth position as they flew home on the stands side. Onwards and upwards, and I’m pretty confident we can have some better luck on day two.
I’ve already recommended backing one Sir Michael Stoute-trained filly for this week in Estimate, who has a cracking chance in the Gold Cup, and is now just 5/1 after being recommended at 10/1. But he has a great chance of welcoming another of his fillies back into the winner’s enclosure on Wednesday.
Dank produced a career best on her seasonal reappearance in the Dahlia Stakes, and that was under a penalty. Granted significant improvement for that, and with the beating of the two that were closely matched that day, Chigun and Thistle Bird, then the only conceivable danger would be David Wachman’s Duntle and the Aga Khan-owned Sarkiyla.
It appears as if there is much more to come from Dank and at 9/2 with Paddy Power, she appeals as a good bet.
As for the rest of the card, the cavalry charge that is the Hunt Cup is where I will turn. Last year’s winner Prince Of Johanne is back down to that winning mark, has his favoured ground, and ran a really promising race in York’s Hambleton Stakes, which will have put him spot on for this. At 14/1 with Coral, he is worth a wager.
I suggest backing two for such a competitive race, and it might be wise to find something drawn on the other side. For that reason William Haggas’ Fury takes the eye. The winner of last year’s Hambleton Stakes off a mark of 104, (in which he just touched off Prince Of Johanne,) he races of 100 here and has the service of Joseph O’Brien in the saddle. Ladbrokes have him at 16/1, and that looks generous.
3.05 – Duke Of Cambridge Stakes:
Dank – 9/2 (Paddy Power)
4.25 – Royal Hunt Cup:
Prince Of Johanne – 14/1 (Coral)
Fury – 16/1 (Ladbrokes)