BLACK CAVIAR is the name of everyone’s lips and punters who piled into the ‘professional’ double with Frankel will be hoping for a victory procession in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. She looks a good thing but at much healthier odds elsewhere on a star-studded Royal Ascot card, HAWKEYETHENOO (4.25) should give his backers a big run at around 20-1 in the Wokingham Stakes. Jim Goldie’s sprinter loves the track and, from his pitch in the centre of the 28-runner field, Graham Lee can pick which side to shadow. Any further serious rainfall would dilute expectations, but Hawkeyethenoo is a versatile hold-up performer who toyed with a big field here when trotting up in the Victoria Cup over a furlong further. This has been the target all season.
Highly progressive Qaraaba was my long-range fancy for the 1m 4f Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap but a further 9lb rise for her recent Doncaster romp (soft), plus the imposition of a wide draw, has tempered confidence. MULAQEN (5.00) finished a fine third to Aiken (runs in the Group 3 Hardwicke Stakes at 3.05) and Masaraat over course and distance last season and has been lightly campaigned by Marcus Tregoning. Mulaqen hosed up at York in May before running into a couple of tartars in High Jinx and Anatolian at Newmarket in what looked a hot contest. Mulaqen might do better back on this flat track and, from a prime pitch in stall one, Paul Hanagan will be keen to grab a prominent position on the fence.
Such was the dominance of Willie Mullins’ Simenon in Tuesday’s Ascot Stakes that his five-year-old is sure to attract plenty of support in the concluding Queen Alexandra Stakes over an extended 2m 5f trip. The Irish raider commands plenty of respect, as does John Gosden’s Zuider Zee, but surely this trip is tailor-made for OVERTURN (5.35). Donald McCain’s popular dual-purpose horse made a valiant atempt to retain his Chester Cup crown under a big weight when last seen in May and Eddie Ahern will look to get the fractions right as Overturn grinds it out in his customary front-running style.
On an interesting programme at Ayr, there is a strong word for Ian Semple’s CHARPLOY (5.15). With plenty of rain forecast, very testing terrain could prove problematical but his ex-Irish recruit did show form on softish ground on home soil. Charploy should play a leading role, having caught the eye at Musselburgh three weeks ago on his first run for the yard.
Earlier, JACK DEXTER (1.55) could pop up at a nice price. He will feel much more at home returned to an easy surface, having hated the firm ground on his last visit to the track. Jack Dexter was allowed to come home in his own time that day and although this five-furlong dash is on the sharp side, he will be reeling them in fast if still within hailing distance at the furlong pole.
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