A poor day yesterday where nothing ran to form, Nahanni rather than spooked by fireworks, seems spooked by the game, no sort of run, lacklustre and that worrying performance at Epsom (uneasy movement in the paddock prior to fireworks) is now compounded, none more disappointing however than Bashkirova, she ran no race at all and plainly despite the ratings being nigh on identical, could not hold a candle on the day to Saffron Beach.
That’s racing however folks, Rocket Rodney goes in (finished 2nd) for us and we have a profitable today, hence, let’s find some winners today and turn it all round.
The Team at Cleeve
2.30 Ascot - 5f Norfolk Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (2yo)
The Norfolk States, kicks off day 3
- The Antarctic for A P O’Brien is the current 7/2 favourite at the time of writing and I would expect the price to contract and be cut in against Walbank.
- At Naas the time was the best of the field carrying 6lbs more, Ryan Moore on board as well, is worth a few more pounds in these big meetings, hence he is well in as a selection.
3.05 Ascot - 1m4f (1m3f211y) King George V Stakes (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2) (3yo 0-105)
Another great big handicap to test the will and resolve of those of us who find a simple pleasure, in backing winners. We will have a couple on our side in this race
- Mandobi for Haggis and Marquand, the Trainer has a 20% strike rate with horses having their first run in a Handicap.
- We will also back Israr for the Gosden duo, up slightly in the weights for a strong finish at Newbury last time out but the pace pick of the race who will relish the slight nudge up in trip.
The Gosden’s have been operating at a 36% strike rate in the last 14 days and with Crowley on board who knows the course and fractions as well as the very best, expect a positive and confident ride.
3.40 Ascot - 1m4f (1m3f211y) Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies) (Class 1) (3yo)
- The Ribblesdale has a small field, the talking horse is Sea Silk Road for William Haggis, however, when one considers what Bay Bridge had beaten prior to yesterday, the same questions must be asked of her, not seen on blisteringly fast ground, as we have had all week, the price is too short for me to say she should be favourite.
- I would much prefer the chances of Life of Dreams for Godolphin, last seen chasing home, Emily Upjohn at York, that form was franked by a thrilling Oaks, Sired by Dubwai whose offspring have a nigh on 25% strike rate over course and distance with his offspring.
4.20 Ascot - 2m4f (2m3f210y) Gold Cup (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (4yo+)
- A Gold Cup to sit back and enjoy, the withdrawal of Trueshan due to the ground, whilst makes perfect sense, is a shame. Will Stradivarius retain his crown? or will Kyprios pick up the mantle for A P O’Brien?
- Mojo Star is of interest, having not been seen since runner-up in the Ledger last year, if he has trained on a run of that calibre would put him right in the mix for Hannon and Rossa Ryan, with the trainer having an attractive 15% strike rate for his horses who have been tucked away from the prior season and reappear in June.
5.00 Ascot - 1m (Str) Britannia Stakes (Heritage Handicap) (Colts & Geldings) (Class 2) (3yo 0-105)
- The Britannia, 30+ horses, however, hard not for the eye to be drawn immediately to Saga in Her Majesty the Queen’s colours, second over a mile on reappearance this season when backed into 8/13 and then brought to Ascot to race over 7f, perhaps to get used to it all ahead of today? The speed of the mile on reappearance would be more than enough to take this.
- Harrow at a bigger price, with Harry Davies taking off 5lb is worth a small play, if the all weather form could ever be replicated on Turf today would be the good day to do it, running well in defeat behind some classy horses, this may be a more appropriate race today.
5.35 Ascot - 1m2f (1m1f212y) Hampton Court Stakes (Group 3) (Class 1) (3yo)
- Reach for the Moon at 2/5 frames the market, if you wanted a horse to finish in the places, presented late, Jamie Spencer would be your man, he rides Cresta at a big price is worth a play, in a race where someone has to finish second and if Reach for the Moon has any cracks in the armour, could well be shown up by a couple of these.
6.10 Ascot - 7f Buckingham Palace Stakes (Handicap) (Class 2) (3yo+ 0-105)
The final race of the day, a frantic 7 furlongs down the straight, we will back a couple in this, forgive the shorter right ups as the pin aims to be precise!
- Vafortino, partnered by the most promising emerging Jockey in the sport, B D L Sayette, his claim is a steal in a race of this kind and a big run is fancied.
- Al Rufaa has not has his favoured ground this season until today, you rarely will get to back a Gosden and Havlin ride at such a big price.