Hi everyone,
the rain took its toll today with plenty of non-runners due to the change in ground conditions including 2 of our selections. That left us with just the 2 selections.

Our first selection Path of Thunder raced on the far side and should strip fitter for the run after 11 months off. He chased the leaders and made an effort when edged right over 2f out but was left behind gradually to finish in 10th

Our second and last selection, Dubai Love tried to do things the hard way from the front from start to finish. She was strongly ridden by Frankie from 2 furlongs out but was overhauled in the final furlong and pipped for second close home.
Purley from a racing point of view it was great to see Stradivarius win his 3rd Gold Cup in fine style decimating the field in less than ideal conditions. Frankie only had to shake him up 2 furlongs out and he quickened up to leave the field behind and win impressively. His 10 length victory earned him a new provisional Timeform rating of 130 - a 3lb rise.

We have 5 selections for tomorrow so let's get down to business.

Good luck
The team at Cleeve

1.15 Ascot 5f Palace Of Holyroodhouse Handicap (Class 2) (3yo 0-105)

Selections:

Band Practice 0.5 points each way at 28/1 Betfair and Paddypower (6 places) and Keep Busy 0.5 points each way at 7/1 Betfair and Paddypower (6 places)

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Art Power – 215
2) Golden Dragon – 190
3) Band Practice – 172
4) Spartan Fighter – 169

Race analysis:
With Art Power being well clear at the top of the ratings you may wonder why I have not put him up as our selection. The answer is his price and his lack of experience, but 5/2 in a big field of decent sprinters is not a bet for me. The stable is not in form and that is another negative against the horse’s chances.

Golden Dragon wasn’t beaten far in a Group 3 last time and should improve for the drop-in class here, but with the stable having a quiet time I think others have better chances.

Spartan Fighter has run at a higher level on his last three starts, two of which were on very soft and heavy going and he struggled. If the ground does not get any worse, I think he will show better form tomorrow. The stable is in reasonable form and I think Spartan Fighter can run into a place if the ground is not worse than good to soft.

Maystar is interesting and like Band Practice comes from the in-form Archie Watson stable with the equally in-form Hollie Doyle on board. Maystar has stamina which will be needed even over this minimum and will be running on at the finish. My only concern is that he could get caught flat-footed dropping back to this trip, but she has form on the soft going which is more than most of his rivals.

Band Practice must give weight away to all and that is due to her being the best horse and has won at Listed level on soft. She is a very speedy filly and it would be no surprise to see her lead. Archie Watson has his string in great form and this one can go well at a decent price and should go very close.

Keep Busy is a bit more experienced than a lot of these and has won on all sorts of ground up to Listed level on heavy. His trainer has a particularly good record in Class 2 and above sprints and Keep Busy has Cieren Fallon taking off a very valuable three pounds on this ground.

1.50 Ascot 6f Albany Stakes (Group 3) (Class 1) (2yo)

Selections:

NO SELECTION

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Golden Melody – 136
2) Flying Aletha – 133
3) Setarhe – 130
4) Valpolicella – 129

Race analysis:
Another two-year-old race where any of the runners could win and with extraordinarily little form to go on this is not a betting opportunity. John Gosden has a good record with his two-year-olds here so Willabell may be a potential winner. No Bet.

2.25 Ascot 5f Norfolk Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (2yo)

Selections:

NO SELECTION

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Get It – 127
2) Eye Of Heaven – 125
3) Lipizzaner – 124
3) The Lir Jet – 124

Race analysis:
No betting opportunity here so just enjoy watching these blue blood youngsters running. No Bet.

3.00 Ascot 1m4f (1m3f211y) Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (4yo+)

Selections:

Defoe 1 point each way at 8/1 Boylesports

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Defoe – 101
2) Anthony Van Dyck – 100
3) Hamish – 98

Race analysis:
Anthony Van Dyck was our successful selection for the Derby last season, but he has not won since, like many other Derby winners. He was second behind the very impressive Ghaiyyath last time and that was his best run for a while and should have put him spot-on for this. I would not trust him to run well twice and certainly, would not back at 2/1/-9/4 even dropping to Group 2.

Elarqam lost narrowly to Lord North which is top form after his conqueror won with style yesterday. If this were over one mile two furlongs I would have been very interested in his chances, but there is a massive question over his stamina here.

Hamish steps up in class but will have no problem with the trip or the going and could run into a place. I have not put him up as it is a big ask to step up from a Class 2 Handicap to a Group 2, but I do think there is more improvement to come.

Defoe has won on soft and this is his best trip and he is also like Anthony Van Dyck being a previous Group 1 winner and won this race last season. His price lets us play each way and the pace of the race is likely to come from Anthony Van Dyck and Elarqam and that should play into Defoe’s hooves.

3.35 Ascot 6f Commonwealth Cup (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (3yo)

Selections:

Shadn 1 point each way at 20/1 Skybet (5 places)

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Millisle – 157
2) Mums Tipple – 146
3) Shadn – 137
4) Golden Horde – 134

Race analysis:
Mums Tipple has won over the course and distance and was last seen finishing down the field in the 1000 Guineas. Dropping back in trip should suit, but the going is an unknown quantity but is probably not suited to her running style.

Golden Horde has decent form on heavy when finishing third behind Raffle Prize and Earthport in France. His lack of run is a bit of a concern and the stable has not shown its top form yet this season, so probably best watched at this stage.

Fifth rated Kimari will fly out of the stalls for Wesley Ward but whether she is Group 1 standard is another matter. She was second here in the Norfolk Stakes Group 2 behind the impressive Raffle Prize and that was on soft; however, that was over five furlongs. I think she will be overhauled in the latter stages by horses with a bit more stamina.

Millisle was the final one I ruled out and this lovely filly drops back in trip after a disappointing 1000 Guineas. This trip should suit more but there are question marks over the going, although she has beaten the aforementioned Raffle Prize over this trip. I do think she will go close especially if she handles the soft going and the drop in trip.

Shadn is held by Pierre Lapin, the favourite here, but that was on good to firm going. The going today will suit a lot more as Shadn was second in a Group 2 in France on very soft going. This is a step up in class but on this ground, I think Shadn looks overpriced. I expect her to be held up, which should suit with several of her rivals taking themselves on upfront. Shadn will be brought late by Oisin Murphy and hopefully can go in at big odds.

4.10 Ascot 1m6f (1m6f34y) Queen's Vase (Group 2) (Class 1) (3yo)

Selections:

NO SELECTION

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Al Dabaran – 87
1) Born With Pride – 87
3) Santiago – 82

Race analysis:
I could not separate the top two rated and there were several other challengers. No Bet.

4.40 Ascot 1m4f (1m3f211y) Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (Handicap) (Class 2) (3yo+ 0-105)

Selections:

Deja 1 point each way at 8/1 generally

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Deja – 163
2) Universal Order – 162
3) Good Birthday – 149
4) West End Charmer – 146

Race analysis:
I would have been keen on the chances of Universal Order for this, but the ground has gone against him and it would not surprise me if he is a non-runner tomorrow. The stable also has Durston (fifth rated) in the race but they cannot find a winner at the moment. Of the two on this ground, I would expect Durston to do best, although I think he may need further.

Good Birthday steps up in trip here and I am not convinced that will suit his chances. His wins have all been on good ground, although he did manage to finish second on soft in his early career. I will be interested to see if he stays but there is not much stamina on his sire’s side and only slightly more on the dam’s.

West End Charmer has a penalty to carry for his recent Newmarket win where he beat Good Birthday. I have the same ground and stamina questions about West End Charmer and his penalty on the ground will not help, although he is one pound well in against his new handicap mark.

Deja is lightly raced but has won over the trip and handles soft going and has won in a big field. He does have to improve to win this, but he has scope to do so unlike many of his rivals tomorrow. Peter Chapple-Hyam does not have the class horses of his Derby winning years, but he has had two winners and a place from his last four runners. I think the son of the ultra-tough Youmzain can improve and go very close here.