Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card on the final day of this year’s Royal Ascot meeting. View selections
The final day of Royal Ascot and the Hardwicke Stakes revolves around Await The Dawn (3.05) who looked a potential star when running away with the Huxley Stakes at Chester last month. My one reservation would be he has yet to race over 12f and on breeding is not guaranteed to get the trip. One could argue that the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes over 10f earlier in the week was the ideal race for him, but Aidan O’Brien had the Aussie superstar So You Think for that Group 1 event although things didn’t quite go to plan.
Harbinger took this race last year before turning the King George into a procession back over today’s C&D. Whilst this unexposed 4-y-o is not yet considered the equal of St Nicholas Abbey or the vanquished So You Think he still remains a top class colt and defeat would be a real blow to connections. He should win but Passion For Gold is a fascinating contender and we could easily see a second epic Godolphin v Ballydoyle duel of the week.
The ground will be pivotal to the outcome of both big sprints the Group 1 Golden Jubilee and the big betting race of the weekend the Wokingham Handicap with plenty of rain forecast. One who won’t be inconvenienced by rain-softened ground would be Irish raider Bewitched (3.45) who made a winning reappearance at Leopardstown over 7f. The grey mare is currently 10/1 for the Gp 1 contest and if there is further significant rain her price will only contract.
The form of her comeback success from Zoffany was franked in no uncertain terms when the runner up made Frankel pull out all the stops in the St James’s Palace Stakes earlier in the week. That race witnessed one of the worst “winning rides” it has ever been my misfortune to see as between them jockey Tom Queally and the nonsensical pacemaker Rerouted tried their hardest to lose the unbeaten record of the brilliant Guineas winner.
There has been much twaddle spoken this week but the possibility of Frankel stepping up to 10f in the Juddmonte International at York in August takes the biscuit. The colt is all speed and connections should be considering stepping him down in trip to 6 or 7 furlongs rather than trying to make him into a middle-distance animal which he palpably isn’t to my eyes.
The Wokingham is one of my favourite races of the year and my initial selection Pastoral Player is one who will be inconvenienced if Friday’s forecast rains arrive. Deacon Blues (4.25) a progressive type who has run very well on soft ground in the past gets the nod and trainer James Fanshawe acted swiftly earlier in the week to book the services of Johnny Murtagh when Hayley Turner was claimed to ride Margot Did at Ayr. The latter would look a good thing now that connections have found that the key to riding her is to let her bowl along in front. Note we at victorchandler.com are paying ¼ odds first 5 on the Wokingham.
The opening Chesham Stakes can go to Godolphin with Falls Of Lorra (2.30) who was a facile 5l winner over this 7f trip at Doncaster in a decent time on her second start. Few juveniles truly get 7f at this stage of their development, but the further she went at Donny the better she looked.
Maybe wasn’t first choice for the yard when she won at Naas on debut and she is another filly bred to need every yard of this trip. It would be interesting and worth noting if there is confidence behind the Ballydoyle filly this morning.
Sharaayeen (5.00) made the progressive Times Up pull out all the stops at Newmarket on his reappearance and in the circumstances a 5lb rise seems fair. A low draw is an advantage on the round course especially with a maximum field and, although Barry Hills has been quiet of late, the hope is that he can have another Royal Ascot winner.
Overturn is the obvious one in the meeting’s finale but the draw hasn’t been too kind to the Chester Cup winner and he is likely to be too short a price for Grand National winning trainer Donald McCain. Marginal preference goes to Irish raider Elyaadi (5.35) who was given far too much to do in the Ascot Stakes behind Junior last year when a never nearer second. The mare gave every indication she would appreciate this additional quarter mile on that occasion and she looks to have been laid out for the race.
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