Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips at Ascot on Saturday. View selections below.
JACK DEXTER (2.20) is primed to explode on to the big stage by bagging the Qipco Champions Sprint at soggy Ascot. Jim Goldie’s four-year-old has made giant strides since landing the seven-furlong apprentices’ event on this card 12 months ago and finished a running-on fourth in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in June over an inadequate five furlongs. Jack Dexter then reappeared quickly and was probably not at his very best when landing the Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle from Mass Rally. Goldie kept him wrapped in cotton wool until the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup and his patience almost paid dividends with a gallant third under 9st 10lb. Jack Dexter is at his best on deep ground and a draw near the fence can only be another plus point. Stablemate Hawkeyethenoo was just caught by Maarek in this race last year and there may not be much in it again. Slade Power is rock solid and should also be in the thick of the action.
Earlier in the season it looked as if CIRRUS DES AIGLES (4.05) was not the force of old but the brilliant French veteran has bounced back in style on his favoured soft ground to win his last two starts. The seven-year-old made Frankel dig deep in last year’s Champion Stakes as he attempted to follow up his 2011 victory over So You Think and Snow Fairy. Godolphin’s Farhh must overcome a long absence through injury and 10 furlongs on testing terrain will surely stretch his stamina to breaking point. Mukhadram has twice given Al Kazeem plenty to think about this summer, in the Coral-Eclipse and Prince of Wales’s Stakes, and seems to prefer going right-handed. William Haggas’ four-year-old looks the best alternative.
There’s another crackerjack of a contest in store when nine runners go to post for the British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes, and Oaks heroine TALENT (2.55) can confirm Epsom form with third-placed The Lark. Talent split Irish duo Leading Light and Galileo Rock in the St Leger when tightened up at a crucial stage over a furlong out. She has had only six career starts and will relish some cut in the ground.
Dawn Approach has topped ante-post lists for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over a mile but Jim Bolger’s colt has had a couple of hard races since landing the 2,000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes. There is no doubting his bravery but he may have to play second fiddle to French raider MAXIOS (3.30), so impressive when thumping Olympic Glory in the Prix du Moulin when enjoying the run of the race.
The Queen’s popular young stayer ESTIMATE (1.45) brought the house down when winning the Ascot Gold Cup at the royal fixture, in the process extending his unbeaten sequence at the track to three. Times Up and High Jinx looked very laboured at Longchamp and Ahzeemah, runner-up in the Irish St Leger behind the unexposed Voleuse De Coeurs, may be the principal threat.
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