Day two of Royal Ascot begins with the Gp 2 Queen Mary Stakes over five furlongs and 28 juvenile fillies go to post on ground described as good, at the time of writing, but likely to be on the soft side of good if the weather forecast is correct.
Wesley Ward has saddled the winner of this corresponding event three times in the last decade, but will the rain-softened ground blunt the speed of his Kimari who has been fancied for the race since coming home 15L clear on the dirt at Keeneland back in April. John Velazquez comes over for the ride and the Ward/Velazquez axis teamed up to win this corresponding race back in 2009 courtesy of Jealous Again.
Godolphin have four fancied runners in the race and my two against the field are both owned by the Boys In Blue. Final Song is drawn 23 for Saeed Bin Suroor and is the 5/1 favourite at BetVictor having made an impressive winning debut over C&D on good to soft ground last month. Marginal preference, however, is for Ickworth (2.15) trained by Willie McCreery who has won both her starts including in listed class against the boys at the Curragh last month.
The selection is drawn low – far side – in stall three and at 8/1 with BetVictor who are paying four places she can reward each way support. Do note, however, that McCreery did suggest that good to soft ground was the softest his filly would appreciate.
Aidan O’Brien saddles four in the Queen’s Vase with Ryan Moore, seemingly, sweet on the chances of Norway who finished eighth in the Derby having tracked the strong early pace. The vote, however, goes to stablemate Western Australia who was only beaten a length behind subsequent Guineas’ winners Magna Grecia and Phoenix Of Spain in the Gp 1 Vertem Security at Doncaster back in the autumn.
The selection bounced back to form when winning a listed contest over 1m 5f at Navan last month on fast ground when he suggested that staying was very much his forte. His ability to handle soft ground would have to be taken on trust, but he looks sure to run a big race. Donnacha O’Brien who, at the time of writing, has yet to ride a Royal Ascot winner is in the saddle and he is unlikely to have many better chances. The son of Derby winner Australia is 7/2 at BetVictor.
The feature race of the Royal meeting is always the fourth race on the card, but today’s feature the Gp 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes has been brought forward to race three to enable Japanese viewers the opportunity to watch their 5-y-old mare Deidre and still get to bed before midnight! I’m not kidding either.
This is the best race of the week and if the rain has got into the ground there must be a doubt about the ability of Arc second Sea Of Class handling conditions on her seasonal reappearance. Magical is the 15/8 favourite with BetVictor and she looks to have improved this term winning all three starts by an aggregate of 13L.
Marginal preference, however, despite a moderate draw in stall eight is for French raider Waldgeist (3.45) despite the fact that he has a bit to find with Sea Of Class on Arc running last term. The selection looked better than ever when winning the Gp 1 Prix Ganay over today’s trip on his reappearance and at 11/2 with BetVictor he can reward each way support.
Sir Michael Stoute’s Rawdaa is likely to be finishing fast and late in the Gp 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes over the straight mile, but preference is for her stablemate Veracious (4.20) who is 3lbs better off with Anna Nerium for the length and a half she was behind the Hannon filly at Epsom. Oisin Murphy takes over in the saddle this afternoon and she can reward each way support at 7/1 with BetVictor who are paying four places on the race.
The Royal Hunt Cup is one of the big betting races of the year. The big gamble has been for New Graduate – 5/1 favourite with BetVictor – who was an impressive winner of a modest race at Thirsk and took a 15lbs hike in the weights for his troubles. Frankie Dettori takes the ride this afternoon and the favourite has been drawn on the far rail in stall one. We should know come post time whether stall one is a plus or not.
My two against the field are Chilean who is 33/1 with BetVictor and would appreciate any overnight rain for Martyn Meade and last year’s fourth What’s The Story (5.00) who is drawn high in stall 26. Chilean is drawn in stall nine which is a concern although he would be the each way selection if there is significant rain ahead of the race.
Without that knowledge the nod goes to Keith Dalgleish’s 5-year-old who was coltish in the preliminaries when fourth in the race last year. The each way selection – 20/1 at BetVictor who are paying five places – has been gelded in the interim period and the stable had five winners on Monday including a 4-timer at Carlisle.
The second 2-y-old race of the day is the listed Windsor Castle Stakes for the colts. Wesley Ward saddles two unbeaten juveniles and if the ground was good or faster it wouldn’t surprise me if Foolish Humor and Karak came home clear of their British and Irish rivals.
Without that information, however, I’m going to take a chance on Richard Fahey’s Summer Sands (5.35) who is 16/1 at BetVictor – who are betting 4 places – and won the Brian Yeardley Trophy at Beverley last time despite being drawn on the wide outside. The form of his racecourse debut when third at York is good juvenile form and I will be disappointed if the each way selection does not run a big race.
For all your racing odds go to BetVictor.com