After the enforced lay-off due to the Covid-19 pandemic the long wait was over at the beginning of June when racing resumed behind closed doors.
I’ve kept my power dry since then, maintaining a watching brief while the form settled and the season started to take a bit of shape. While you could hardly say that things have really settled yet, we’ve seen plenty of top class action and this week’s Royal Ascot has been the unusual setting for some Derby and Oaks trials.
It is to Royal Ascot that I look for two selections tomorrow. In the 1.50, the Coventry Stakes, I think CREATIVE FORCE looks overpriced at 8/1 (bet365, William Hill, Paddy Power). He has raced once, winning at Newmarket with tomorrow’s rivals Dark Lion and Saeiqa in behind. Creative Force may have been advantaged by both his front running race position and by going up the stands rail on that day but I wouldn’t like to downgrade the performance too much as he looked very speedy and also stayed Newmarket’s 6 furlongs very well, forging on at the finish. I liked the performance and, with Dark Lion, who admittedly ran green at Newmarket but was well beaten, shorter in the market I think there is a bit of value about the 8/1 and Creative Force is the one to be on. Admiral Nelson, a once raced winning son of Kingman, is an obvious danger from the O’Brien stable.
Later in the card I am taking a chance with one at a big price in the Wokingham handicap. RECON MISSION (50/1 bet365) won a valuable York sprint handicap last June. That was on good to soft so I don’t think he will be inconvenienced by the likely give in tomorrow’s surface. Two runs later, and up 7lbs, he was a good fourth in the Shergar Cup Dash here at Ascot.
He’s definitely an in and out performer but he’s back down to a mark of 100 (4lbs less than when that good fourth on this course and only 3lbs higher than when wining at York) and made a reasonably encouraging return recently at Newmarket (6th of 11 when fading late on). He may just be stretched to stay the stiff Ascot six furlongs but may have strengthened up from last year and I think he is worth a go at a big price for a yard that can switch them on for a decent handicap prize.