Royal Ascot

Queen Anne Stakes


The key guide to this race is the Lockinge Stakes which has featured 19 of the last 34 winners. The Lockinge stat is a very strong one as is the fact that four-year-olds have won 19 of the last 23 runnings which are two strong positives for last season’s Qipco 2000 Guineas winner, Night Of Thunder, who made a winning reappearance beating 15 rivals at Newbury in the Lockinge on his seasonal return. Being Godolphin-owned this season is a third positive as they have won the Queen Anne on seven occasions. Night of Thunder might of only beat stablemate Toormore by a neck in the Lockinge but it was his first run of the season and he was always well on top. He got to the front too soon and just idled but he kept running all the way to the line. Has proven he handles Ascot and looks like he’ll take a lot of beating.


Solow is the 6/4 favourite here. He’s done nothing wrong all season. He won a Group 1 from The Grey Gatsby in Meydan. Only negative is that he is a 5 year old. They don’t have a great record in this race. On a form line through The Grey Gatsby, Night of Thunder isn’t far off Solow if not better. The Grey Gatsby has been beaten twice by Night of Thunder fair and square. Possibly the best horse in the race is the Chinese runner Able Friend who has won his last 6 races of which 4 were group 1’s. He has never run on a straight track though which is a big doubt. If he handles the track he should win. Has the best form in the race and has an excellent turn of foot but not being able to go around turns could be his undoing. Esoterique has it to find with Solow and Night of Thunder but I can see her running into a place if some of the big guns fail to fire. I think Night of Thunder will beat Solow, there are no doubts about him and is better value than Able Friend.

Selection: Night Of Thunder 5/1



Kings Stand Stakes


Sole Power is going for 3 wins a row in this race which would be some feat. He’s a hold up horse than is best on top of the ground. The word firm in the going description will delight its connections. Now an 8 year old Sole Power is still at the top of his game. He won the Grade 1 5F race in Meydan in the spring and was given a prep run over an inadequate trip last time out at the Curragh. He will need plenty luck in running as always but given the gaps he’s by far the best horse in this race. Big chance of getting the hattrick up.

Muthmir is another up and coming sprinter. He also won last time out in France but in a G2. That race has proven to be a good trial for this race. He is sure to have his followers and the ground is in his favour. He is the main danger to Sole Power in this race. Mecca’s Angel is a speedy filly who has gone from strength to strength the past two seasons. Won well on debut in France in a G3 but has to prove it in a G1 yet. Also most of her wins have come on soft ground. So the ground is a worry. Shamal Wind is an Australian invader who will be ridden by Ryan Moore. Australian horses have a great record in this race. It’s hard to gauge the form of his runs but he did win a G1 on his latest run so he has to be given a chance. Whether he is as good as the likes of Scenic Blast and Choisr is yet to be seen. Rule out at your peril.

Of the others Goldream, Stepper Point and Rangali have the best chances. Stepper Point is an outsider with a great chance. He’ll love the ground and will front run from his high draw. He was 2nd in this race last year behind Sole Power and followed that up with a 2nd in the G1 Nunthorpe. Hasn’t been in great form since but would have a great chance if recaptured his top form. Goldream’s trainer has a great record with his sprinters. The yard won this race 4 years ago. Goldream has shown some good form of late. Last season he beat the subsequent G1 Prix de l’Abbeye winner Move in Time. Could sneak a place. The French trained Rangali has some top class form in his own country. Was second in the l’Abbeye, where he finished infront of Sole Power. Has a good chance on that run but yet to show much form outside of France.


Selection: Sole Power 7/2

Outsider:  Stepper Point 33/1


Ascot Stakes Handicap


One of the longest races of the season on the flat, run over 2 mile 4F. A lot of non stayers run in this race which means you can rule out a good few runners. The out and out stayers in this field are Ray Ward, Digenta and Broxbourne. Those are the ones to give close attention too. Ray Ward was very unlucky in this race last season and races off only 3lbs higher today. He was cutting his way through the field until he got badly hampered turning for home. That put pay to any chance he had, he plugged on into 6th place. He should of been at least been placed if not for running into trouble. Was 5th to Leading Light in the 2 mile Queen’s Vase at this course 2 years back which is top class form as Leading Light won the Ascot Gold Cup. After Ray Ward ran in this race last season he then race a close 2nd at Goodwood over 2 mile 5F. He is a proven stayer which can’t be said for a lot in here. Has a nice weight and should go very close.

The main danger may come from the Willie Mullins trained Digenta who will be ridden by Pat Smullen. Willie Mullins has won this race in the past and runs two in here, the other Clondaw Warrior. Pique Sous won the 2 mile 4F Queen Alexandria Stakes at last years festival for Willie Mullins, so he has a great record in these types of races. Digenta has never run this far but has been crying out for it for a while now. Digenta was actually 2nd to Pique Sous last season a run before Pique Sous won the Queen Alexandria. That form alone gives him a great chance in here. Digenta was 5th in the 2 mile 2F Cesarewitch at Newmarket last October, that was the furthest he has run and he was going on at the finish. Other than Ray Ward’s run in this last year that’s the best form on show here. The trip is sure to suit and has a top jockey on board. Rates as a big danger to Ray Ward. His stablemate Clowndaw Warrior would also have to have a good chance in this. Has been running really well over hurdles this season. Ran well at all the top festivals including Cheltenham. Unlike stablemate Digenta he has stamina to prove.

Another trainer with a good record in this race is Nicky Henderson. He runs 3 in here. The best of his may be Broxbourne who is a proven stayer. Hasn’t run on the flat for a while but has some good form in or around 2 mile on the flat and has been fit from hurdling. He has Jamie Spencer on board who is a good judge of pace. Has ground in favour and is nicely handicapped on his old form. Could have a big showing. Of the others I like Asbury Boss, Boite and Big Thunder. Asbury Boss is the least exposed horse in here, has only had 6 runs and is still improving. Was 4th to El Salvador 2 runs back over 2 mile. El Salvador was 2nd to Pique Sous over 2 mile 4F at last years Royal Ascot. On that form he has a chance. Asbury Boss has looked like the step up in trip will suit but his best form has come on soft to yielding ground. The firm ground could prove his undoing. Boite was 3rd in that race Ray Ward was 5th in at Royal Ascot 2 seasons back. That is top class form but has not gone on from that. Ran well last time out and has a chance if he recaptures his old form but I wouldn’t count on it. Big Thunder is unproven over the trip but this big flashy chestnut has always has looked like the extreme test would suit. Could be the surprise package of this race but still has to prove he stays.


Selection: Ray Ward 7/1 & Digenta 11/1


St James’s Palace Stakes


Only 6 runners go to post. Dual guineas winner Gleneagles who is trained by Aidan O Brien is sure to go off a short price. Aidan O Brien has won 6 of the last 15 renewals of this race and 12 of the last 20 horses who have run in the English and Irish guineas have won this. All the stats point to Gleneagles winning. He was impressive in the English guineas, was well on top at the finish. Didn’t win as easy in the Irish equivalent but the ground was on the slow side then. He is sure to love the firm ground today and should win. He’s not a flashy horse like Frankel was but he has a great engine and just always does enough to win. I think he is top class and could end up being the horse of the year. The main and only danger is the French trained Make Believe


He won the French Guineas in good style from the front. He did steal a march on the field that day though. The runner up has gone on and won the French Derby. The form is good but on a line through Gleneagles stablemates War Envoy and Highland Reel, he has a bit to find. Could make the running and get into a battle with Gleneagles up the straight but he won’t come out on top. Gleneagles is just different class. Consort is 2 from 2. He won a top class maiden first time out. There has been several winners come out of that race. The form of his last race hasn’t worked out too good. He beat a few runners which were well behind Gleneagles in the guineas. Still improving but has yet to prove it in group company. Of the outsiders Belardo is one with a small chance. He got to within 4 lengths of Gleneagles in the Irish Guineas but he had every chance that day. He got the run of the race where as Gleneages found trouble in running and still won. Belardo would need the first 2 to run very poorly for him to win.


Selection: Gleneagles 4/6 NAP




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