Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up another five to follow on Saturday’s card at Royal Ascot. View selections below
AIDAN O’BRIEN can round off a memorable Royal Ascot week by bagging the first two races on Saturday’s card.
The Chesham Stakes is restricted to two-year-olds sired by horses who must have won over 1m 2f or longer, so that rules out the precocious speedballs. That’s not to imply O’Brien’s filly MAYBE (2.30) is any slouch and the daughter of Galileo put plenty of distance between herself and Princess Sinead at Naas. The runner-up has since chased home Jim Bolger’s highly-regarded Teolane to give Maybe’s form a very solid look. Mark Johnston’s Bounty Seeker has showed promise in both starts and his fourth behind Roman Soldier at Leicester was clearly a sound effort given the way Roman Soldier made Power pull out all the stops in Tuesday’s Coventry Stakes.
O’Brien saddles AWAIT THE DAWN (3.05) with a favourite’s chance in the Hardwicke Stakes. A winner of four of his five starts, this son of Giant’s Causeway has scored by wide margins at Chester and Leopardstown and proved he can handle soft ground by sluicing home by four lengths at Naas on his first run as a juvenile. At bigger odds, Harris Tweed should go well now returned to an easy surface.
The Wokingham Handicap isn’t for the faint-hearted, but Irish ace Fran Berry is an interesting booking by northern trainer David Barron to ride WAFFLE (4.25). His five-year-old made a very promising debut at Doncaster’s Lincoln meeting, just failing to give the useful Horseradish 3lb. Waffle was then denied a clear run at Musselburgh but still chased home speedy Hamish McGonagal (good/soft). On his latest start, he finished fourth to Masarah in the Sportingbet.com Sprint at York and, if delving back to his run at Doncaster’s St Leger fixture last autumn, Waffle is 10lb better off with well-touted Hoof It for two lengths.
There are more classy sprinters going to post for the Golden Jubilee Stakes and Aussie raider STAR WITNESS (3.45) could go one better than Tuesday’s second prize behind Prohibit in the King’s Stand Stakes. Star Witness is probably more effective over this extra furlong and has won back home when there was ease in the ground.
There are not many horses who can stay 2m 5f at racing pace on the Flat but hard-as-nails OVERTURN (5.35) fits the bill in the concluding Queen Alexandra Stakes. All ground conditions seem to come alike for this season’s Chester Cup hero and Overturn can confirm his status as one of the very best dual-purpose horses in training.