Friday, July 20, 2012

Ascot Saturday preview

Feels good to know that the 5 players I mentioned to make the cut did actually make it. Lee Westwood just scraped through at +3 (the cut). And Phil Mickelson will not play during the week-end after a horrific +11. As I was saying, the British Open and links golf is just not his thing. Tiger Woods is in great stalking position 4 shots off leader Snedeker. I am keen to see if we'll see the old Tiger of old over the week-end when he was nearly unbeatable when within striking distance.

Saturday is all about racing with the running of the King George and the Summer Mile at Ascot. Even though the distance might be on the sharp side, Carlton House will be very difficult to beat in the mile contest. He's clearly the best horse of the race and there are no world beaters among the rest. Questioning, the colt from the in-form Gosden stable looks to be the main threat. I definitely see Carlton House in the first 3, and unless he encounters traffic problems, he should win this.

The prestigious King George is the main 12-furlong contest of the summer and this year's edition looks terrific with the presence of some of the world's best horses at the distance. It is really an open race where there really isn't a standout leader. Here are my views of the starters.

Brown Panther - a longer distance would have suited better for last year's runner-up of the St Leger. He's a few pounds adrift of some of the other participants and will be lucky to be in the first 4.

Dunaden - also would have preferred a longer distance for this winner of the Melbourne Cup. Can aspire to a Place chance but will need a lot of luck in running to win.

Masked Marvel - winner of the St Leger but looks to be the stable second-string to Nathaniel. Dettori takes the ride but he looks to be more of a Group 2 horse. Still, all Montjeu's are dangerous at 12 furlongs and on a good day, could be among the placings.

Nathaniel - last year's winner and genuine Group 1 performer that was impressive when winning on his seasonal return in the Coral Eclipse a fortnight ago. However, I fear the bounce factor in him after such a short rest. Would have preferred at least one more week to recuperate. He might place but I don't think he'll win. At his current odds, he's a big lay for me, even though he comes from a yard that is banging winners at a tremendous rate.

Reliable Man - leading French raider who has good form across the channel and who came out 4th in the Prince of Wales stakes at Royal Ascot. The soft turf and venue won't be a problem for him but he will need a career best to win. I don't think he will be the one emerging victorious.

Robin Hood - no chance.

Sea Moon - a leading contender from the Sir Michael Stoute stable. Won both his races this year, the last one impressively in the Hardwicke Stakes. Connections don't look too confident but if he's at this best, he should be in the first 3.

St Nicholas Abbey - if he reproduces his form of the Breeders Cup or Coronation Cup, he should be at the finish. He is prone to deliver the odd clanker, which is why I don't have 100% confidence on the form he'll show. He's not to be dismissed at any means and the distance will suit him the best although he will be disadvantaged on a very soft track.

Danedream - the racing world is still waiting what Danedream is all about. She won last year's Arc in record time and looked unbeatable. She has since been beaten twice in 3 races. Who knows, maybe she's an October filly or maybe she's a one-race wonder. At her best, she could win this handily but I think the chances are that she won't reproduce her Arc form.

Deep Brillante - the Japanese Derby winner and dark horse of the race. I hugely respect her sire Deep Impact but I think she looks to be several pounds inferior to many of the contenders. Japanese do not have a great record  in their European raids over the past years and I cannot see Deep Brillante bucking the trend.

The soft conditions are sure to be a deciding factor but it might be worth to chance on a Place with Sea Moon at current odds. Not a certainty though.

Win: Carlton House
Place: Sea Moon


  1. Well, I guess there are still good chances with brown panther, just a thought.
    Ashley | Olympic 2012 Games

  2. I thought the first 7 home did not demerit at all. Brown Panther showed a lot of speed tracking the leaders of the race and would have preferred a longer distance to make his stamina come into play. He can win a 12-furlong group 1 in Italy or Germany but he's a shade inferior in France and England premier middle distance races, in my opinion.