Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Royal Ascot - Day 2

Barney Roy and Lady Aurelia duly obliged on Day 1 and Godolphin are certainly on fire, having snatched a nice treble while Ballydoyle came up empty-handed. This will have sprung Sheikh Mo's operation in an upbeat boot after the off-field turmoil of late and I reckon there's more to come from the boys in royal blue at this meeting.

Dream Castle came up a honourable 5th in the 2000 Guineas and I think it will come up to its optimal distance of 7 furlongs in the Jersey Stakes. The son of Frankel showed green-ness on his seasonal debut in the Greenham when second to Barney Roy but showed better disposition in the Newmarket showpiece as it kept on and finished around 3 lengths off Churchill. Clearly, this is a smart colt that belongs in Group company. I believe it has live chances for a top 3 finish.

The Duke of Cambridge Stakes looks to be 3-way battle among French raider Qemah and the 2 Goldolphin fillies Laugh Aloud and Usherette. The former is a dual Group 1 winner who finished second on her seasonal return and has never been out of the first 3 in 9 outings. Laugh Aloud, from the John Gosden yard, is in top form having won her last 2 outings by a combined 8 lengths. She absolutely annihilated a Group 3 field at Epsom and her chances for hitting a hat trick of wins is real. My preference goes to the mare Usherette as she is battle-hardened at the top level and won this race last year. She hasn't won in 2 outings this year and somewhat disappointed in finishing 3rd in the 9 furlong Group 1 Prix d'Ispahan in her last race. She is proven as Ascot and this mile race will be more to her liking. There noises from connections are bullish and I think she stands to run a big race.

The Prince of Wales' Stakes is the showcase race of the week for many but there seems to be a lack of star power this year. Sure, Jack Hobbs and Highland Reel are Group 1 winners but bar these 2, the form looks bare. It is hard to gauge Jack Hobbs' form at the moment, having been rested since his Meydan win. Highland Reel almost always runs his race but it is a doubt whether 18 days rest since his win in the Coronation Cup will be enough to prevail. French raider Mekhtaal and Stoute's Ulysses are both on the upgrade and can spring a shock here. I will stay on the fence on this one but it could pay to go against market leaders Jack Hobbs and Highland Reel in this one.

Win: Usherette
Each-way: Dream Castle

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