The Group Two Hardwicke Stakes looks superb with last year’s winner Await the Dawn amongst the entries. The horse who finished second to him last year, Harris Tweed, is entered again for trainer Williams Haggas. Haggas has Beaten Up in this too, he deserves another chance after not handling the cambers of Epsom in the Coronation Cup last time out. Melbourne Cup/Hong Kong Vase winner Dunaden is also being aimed at this race. Connections hope he can make up into an Arc contender later in the year, so you would hope he can make an impact in this mile and a half race. This will given connections an idea if he’s up to mixing it with the best over this trip and if not he will step back up in distance.
John Gosden has a couple of interesting entries, Leger winner Masked Marvel and King George winner Nathaniel. Sea Moon is another with claims for Sir Michael Stoute after a winning reappearance at Goodwood which should have helped put him spot on for this race. Back over this course and distance Nathaniel could go well here and I have plenty of respect for Sea Moon.
The Diamond Jubilee Stakes is the most anticipated race of the week as Aussie superstar Black Caviar makes her Northern Hemisphere debut. Plenty has been said about this mare in the last few weeks and it will be a huge shock if she is beaten. She definitely falls into banker category for me but as you can imagine is a short price – 1/3 favourite with Sky Bet. There are some smart horses in the race away from her though and some good each way value to be had.
Bated Breath may run here either as well as, or instead of, the King’s Stand, he is 8/1. Moonlight Cloud is a dangerous horse to ignore for Freddy Head. He has been speaking highly of this filly and she comes here in good form having won a Group Three over seven furlongs at Longchamp last time out carrying a Group One penalty. She has won six of her ten starts and although she may be better over a furlong further than this six furlongs she could give the favourite a race and looks to be her biggest danger. If you fancy her, she is 7/1. Society Rock is the horse I’ll be backing each way. He has a pretty impressive record in this contest, finishing second in it as a three year-old and then winning the race last year for his shrewd trainer James Fanshawe. He has only been out the frame once at this track and ran a decent race on his reappearance in the Duke of York Stakes last month. He saves his best for this track and I hope he can finish in the frame, he is 12s.
Selection: Society Rock (each way)
The Wokingham Stakes is an ultra competitive handicap and finding the winner will be tough. Mac’s Power is Sky Bet’s 12/1 favourite, he won this race on the wrong side last year. Alben Star and Cape Classic are next best at 14/1. Alben Star represents Richard Fahey. Cape Classic hails from the William Haggas stable and his runners have to be respected in these big handicaps. Maarek (16/1) can run well, but he has plenty of weight and there could be something better treated to come and beat him. Bartolomeu (16s) is a three year-old and I think it’s tough for that age group despite the fact he’s well regarded by Marco Botti.
Desert Law can run well for Andrew Balding if the ground dries up. He was second in the Epsom Dash and is 16/1. Henry Candy’s Seal Rock is another in with a shout at 20/1. Rae Guest runs Mirza, another 20/1 shot who can run well. Once again, we don’t know the draw or ground conditions for this race on Saturday but if I had to pick one now it would be Alben Star.
Selection: Alben Star
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