Royal Ascot Day 4 Tips and Preview
Race 1 –
Tricky looking opener from a punting perspective with no fewer than ten of the runners coming here to defend an unbeaten record. US raider BACK AT THE RANCH could be worth siding with as she comes here after an eye-catching win on her second start. Bred to be suited by turf and with top US jockey Joel Rosario on board she looks certain to make a bold bid and is preferred to her stablemate Laxfield Road. Spanish Romance could provide the main danger.
Race 2 –
This hinges around OL’ MAN RIVER and Aidan O’Brien’s success or otherwise at getting him back on track. The fact that he’s been persevered with is a hint in itself and with the opposition’s claims built around potential rather than delivery I’m going to back O’Brien and the magical Ryan Moore to get Ol’ Man River back on track but he is not one to be going in too heavily on as he does have questions to answer.
Race 3 -
Ascot must be delighted with how the field for the inaugural running of the Commonwealth Cup has turned out and it looks a fascinating contest. Heavy in both numbers and depth of talent it has attracted exactly the type of runner for which it was designed. Tiggy Wiggy is a real favourite of mine but while I think she will go well, particularly if allowed to bowl along, I fear that she may find some of the colts a tough proposition. Limato has done well over the winter but didn’t cope with Adaay last time and, with that runner in opposition today, may find one or two too good. Adaay is progressive and respected and with several of the leading contenders likely to be up with teh pace Jamie Spencer may adopt waiting tactics, of which he is a master here in this type of race, on salt island and can go well at a price. However, it is hard to get away from HOOTENANNY who fairly scorched away with the Windsor Castle last year and who has done nothing wrong since, adding the Breeders Cup Juvenile to an already impressive CV. He has been prepped with this in mind and sets the standard. He’ll be a warm order with Moore on board so get on early.
Race 4 –
This looks to be between Ervedya, Found and Lucida and I have a narrow preference for the French raider ERVEDYA. She looked to have a fair bit in hand when swooping to take the French 1,000 Guineas. Found beat her last year in the Marcel Boussac but has been defeated on both runs this season while Lucida’s second in the English 1,000 Guineas looks high class form and this could develop into the race of the meeting in my opinion. Soumillon will need to be on his mettle and time his run to perfection but, of the three main contenders, his mount looks the one with the best turn of speed.
Race 5 –
ASTRONEREUS is narrowly preferred to Igider in a typically competitive Ascot handicap. He had several of these behind when winning at Newmarket in early May. He’s run twice at Ascot, performing with merit on both occasions and a mile and a half off a stiff pace will play to his strengths. Igider is lightly raced and highly progressive and Watersmeet equally so. I wouldn’t put anyone of either of those but Astronereus will be a tough nut to crack.
Race 6 -
Michael Bell will be looking to provide the Queen with a triumph at her home track courtesy of Fabricate and he is very much one to consider, having shown an abundance of stamina in his two wins at Salisbury and Haydock. But the very clear form pick is Aidan O’Brien’s ALOFT. Runner upto Elm Park in the Racing Post Trophy he has had an interrupted preparation this season but O’Brien has a great record in this and if he has this fellow at or near his best the others may struggle to cope with him. Sir Michael Stoute, Saeed Bin Suroor and Mark Johnston also have fantastic records in this race (Johnston has won it an amazing seven times since 2004) and those four trainers (including O’Brien) are the only trainers to have won this race since 1999! Between them they are represented by Aloft and Bantry Bay (O’Brien), Future Empire (Suroor), Yarrow (Stoute) and Vive Ma Fille (Johnston) so it may pay to narrow your selection down to one of that quintet.
NAP – US speedster HOOTENANNY looks a good bet to handle some of the home-grown talent in what looks a mouth-watering Commonwealth Cup.