ROYAL ASCOT Day 1 – Tips and race by race preview
Race 1 –
Royal Ascot 2016 gets underway with the mouth-watering prospect of witnessing Asian contender Able Friend attempting to add to his reputation by winning outside of his home patch. He’s on a winning streak of six, four of which have been at Group 1 level, but he’ll find this a different proposition and I’m siding with Freddie Head’s French raider SOLOW. A comfortable winner of the Prix D’Ispahan last time, this horse is now nine wins from last ten runs and if reproducing anything resembling his 4 and a half length rout of The Grey Gatsby in Dubai then he’ll stretch Able Friend to the limit.
Race 2 –
A host of smart horses contest this, and any number of them have the potential to progress further. The race has an open look to it but I am firmly on the side of BURATINO whose romp at Epsom on Derby day made a huge impression. Available at 10/1 at time of writing that should be snapped up.
Race 3 –
It is hard to get away from SOLE POWER here, much as i am loathe to back a horse at a shortish price in a race like this where he is going to rely on a bit of luck. However, he would appear to have plenty in hand and will be fully tuned up for this hat-trick attempt, having won this race twice in the past. Mecca’s Angel is improving fast and is respected, as is Shamal Wind, who unfortunately has the burden of a lengthy lay-off to overcome.
Race 4 –
GLENEAGLES has looked every inch a potential superstar miler this season. He won the Newmarket Guineas with some authority and overcame some adversity in running to finish powerfully when landing the Irish equivalent. This race looks likely to be more straightforward and he is taken to win comfortably.
Race 5 -
As usual there are a number of contenders from yards predominately known for jumping rather than flat talent. However, as has been shown time and again in the past, such contenders are often successful here and with several top yards represented they all merit respect. I’m overlooking them all and rowing in with former top Ascot jockey, turned trainer, Johnny Murtagh to provide the winner in the shape of HARDSTONE. He progressed nicely last season, winning on his final outing on the artificial surface at Dundalk. He won there again on his seasonal bow this term before a respectable fifth place, when not given too hard a time of it, eleven days ago. Murtagh has already shown his capabilities as a trainer and a bold showing is anticipated at a nice price.
Race 6 -
A huge field lines up for this two year old speed test. Wesley Ward won it last year with the smart Hootenanny and can repeat the dose this year with RUBY NOTION, who showed a real turn of foot to scorch home in the States on his only start, a three runner affair at Churchill Downs. The form of that is nigh on impossible to assess but it couldn’t be described as anything other than encouraging and the trainer’s record here is impossible to argue with. Dangers abound, with Richard Hannon’s Orvar and Jim Bolger’s Ard San Aer both taking the eye.