Paul Ferguson has two selections for us on Tuesday; Toronado in the 3.45 and Midnight Oil in the 5.00 both at Ascot. Compare odds and bet.
The St James’s Palace Stakes, one of three Group 1s on day one at Royal Ascot, looks to be without doubt the race of the day, with Newmarket and Irish 2,000 Guineas’ winners Dawn Approach and Magician heading the market.
The former has, of course, since blotted his copybook in the Derby, when beaten a matter of seconds after leaving the stalls and it will be fascinating to see how he settles this afternoon.
Magician is clearly on the up and run away with the Curragh Classic, having earlier won the Dee Stakes over 1m2f, but his participation was in some doubt over the weekend after a bruising, so it is in some doubt that he will be at his best today.
Aidan O’Brien has also chosen to run Mars here (which is a huge shame as he was strongly fancied over further later in the week), which dampens enthusiasm as to Magician’s wellbeing, so another chance is given to Toronado (3:45) who appeared to run below par in the Guineas, having won the Craven impressively on his seasonal reappearance.
A winner at the track last July, the High Chaparral colt should relish the return to a quicker surface and should also appreciate the sharper test around the tighter track.
Available at 4/1 with a couple of firms last night, the competitiveness of today’s action will ensure that we can back him each-way at those odds this morning and, with a couple of firms offering ¼ odds, Richard Hannon’s bay looks one for the each-way thieves.
The 2m4f Ascot Stakes looks as fiercely competitive as ever and a case could be made for several of these, including market leader Tiger Cliff who looked good when making a winning return at Newmarket recently.
His stamina isn’t assured however, something that can’t be said of Philip Hobbs’ staying hurdler Big Easy who is one for the shortlist. Impressive York winner Well Sharp is another to note, but he has to contend with a 10lb hike in the weights and is also worse off at the weights with Midnight Oil (5:00) from their meeting here back in September 2011.
That was the last time we saw the selection on the level, having left Luca Cumani’s yard to join Willie Mullins, for whom he has won twice over hurdles during 2013. The step up in trip should be right up his street and, as he returns to the Flat on the same mark, he is of huge interest for last year’s winning trainer, with Richard Hughes an eye-catching booking. Available at 12/1 with Bet Victor this morning, he is another worthy of each-way support.
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Last Year’s Book Results – Leading Prospects:
- SPRINTER SACRE – Unbeaten – winner at Aintree & Cheltenham
- SIMONSIG – Winner at Aintree & Cheltenham
- CINDERS AND ASHES – 10/1 winner of Supreme Novices Hurdle
- BOBS WORTH – 9/2 winner of the RSA Chase
- MENORAH & SILVINIACO CONTI – Both Aintree Winners
- SIR DES CHAMPS – Unbeaten inc 3/1 Jewson Cheltenham Winner
- FINGAL BAY – Won 4 times inc Challow Hurdle
- RAYA STAR – 10/3 winner at Wetherby, 12/1 Ladbroke Hurdle winner, 15/2 Scottish Champion Hurdle winner
- AMBION WOOD – 14/1 EBF Final Sandown winner
- CHAMPION COURT – 6/1 G2 Dipper Novices Chase winner
- PALACE JESTER – 14/1 winner at FFos Las
- SWINCOMBE FLAME – Hat-trick winner inc Lanzarote Hurdle at 9/2
- TEAFOR THREE – 5/1 NH Cheltenham Chase winner (Manifesto Novices’ Chase)