• Sat 2 Dec, 2023
  • 18:32 GMT
  • 14:32 ET (GMT-4)
  • 20:32 CET (GMT+2)

Fergie’s Ascot treble

Paul Ferguson has three selections from Royal Ascot for us on Tuesday; Arizona at 3.05, Battaash at 3.40 and Mengli Khan at 5.00.

Aidan O’Brien has won the Coventry Stakes on no fewer than eight occasions in the past 22 years and he can strike again on Tuesday, with the twice-raced Arizona (3:05).

A colt by Norfolk Stakes winner No Nay Never, he finished a clear second behind the exciting Sunday Sovereign (won again since) on debut, before winning a Curragh maiden by 6 lengths in late-May. Ryan Moore really stoked him up from halfway and he powered through the line. I expect him to break well and be handy throughout, and I don’t envisage the easier ground being an issue. No Nay Never won the Prix Morny on good-to-soft and the stiff finish here at Ascot ought to play to his strengths.

Of the opposition, there are plenty of previous winner open to considerable improvement (as you would expect for this race), but at bigger odds I can see John Gosden’s Newbury winner Light Angel going well. The Dark Angel grey still showed plenty of greenness when veering to his left in the closing stages and could take a big step forward here.

The sprinting division isn’t usually one that I focus on too much, but I have long been a fan of Battaash (3:40) who can go one better than last year and reverse form with main market rival Blue Point, in the King’s Stand Stakes.

He raced too freely/keenly from the off last year and after burning off Lady Aurelia, he was mugged by Blue Point late on. He bounced back at Goodwood, before again finishing just behind Blue Point in the Nunthorpe. As he did last year, he made a really smooth winning return in the Temple Stakes at Haydock and, if Jim Crowley can relax him a little more in the early stages, he is the one to beat.

Later on the card, Gordon Elliott’s Mengli Khan (5:00) is worth backing each-way in the Ascot Stakes, on his first start on the Flat for 982 days.

Last seen on the level at Goodwood in October 2016 (when trained by Hugo Palmer), the six-year-old has since developed into a very smart hurdler, then last season a very smart novice chaser. Third in a Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and a JLT at the Cheltenham Festival, the way he travels suggests he will relish a big-field race such as this, and he is versatile in terms of ground.

Tuesday’s selections:
3:05 Royal Ascot – Arizona; 3/1 Unibet
3:40 Royal Ascot – Battaash; 2/1 Unibet
5:00 Royal Ascot – Mengli Khan; 13/2 Unibet

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