Monday, June 16, 2014

Royal Ascot 2014: Day 1

Royal Ascot is always a highlight of the racing calendar and Day 1 on Tuesday sees a programme on the cards.

Queen Anne Stakes. The main question in this race surrounds the fitness of favourite Toronado. The son of High Chaparral is clearly a top-class miler but the fact that he is coming off a layoff of 300 days has cause for concern. Connections don't seem too fazed by the long absence, which in itself can be a worry since very bullish views from the Hannon yard and jockey Richard Hughes have been often off target in the recent past.

I think the main threat to Toronado will be Soft Falling Rain from the de Kock stable. The son of National Assembly should get the good ground he needs to perform at this level. The main worry with SFR is his interrupted preparation leading to the race, which might not see him at the peak of his powers. He could be more apt for a Place spot.

Verrazano, from Ballydoyle, ran a creditable race in finishing 3rd in the Lockinge for his first race on the turf. He should have improved for the run and be in the thereabouts.

Anodin is the dark horse of the race, having been supplemented by french trainer Freddy Head. The full-brother to wonder miler Goldikova came second to Cirrus des Aigles in his last race at 9 furlongs in the Prix d'Ispahan and the connections seem to fancy his chances at the mile distance. His form is pretty exposed, having won only 2 out of his races, and unless he's been a marked improver this year, I cannot see him win this race.

Finally, Tullius has shown decent Group form this year, having come second to Olympic Glory in the Lockinge. He should give another good account of himself but is not good enough to win.

I think it might be worth going with the straight win with Toronado and I also like Soft Falling Rain as an each-way selection and Verrazano as a Place.

St James' Palace Stakes. This is the much-anticipated Round 3 between the Guineas winners Kingman and Night of Thunder. The former thrashed the Hannon colt on their seasonal appearance but Night of Thunder was the deserved winner of the 2000 Guineas. Whether the fact that the field split in two at Newmarket had a major incidence on the result of the race is debatable but nothing looked like stopping Night of Thunder on the day. This race might not be a 2-horse race, with other notable 3-year old's such as Toormore, War Command and Outstrip in there, all of which had their colors lowered at Newmarket. I still think Kingman is the best miler of this generation and is a Win selection.

Win: Toronado, Kingman
Each-way: Soft Falling Rain
Place: Verrazano

No comments:

Post a Comment