Wednesday, 20 June 2012

So What Do You Think?

After the wonderful racing on the opening day of Royal Ascot, today’s Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes sees the Dubai World Cup (G1) third and fourth resume battle.

It would be fine swansong for the Aidan O’Brien-trained So You Think (fourth in Dubai) to round off his racing career before he heads back to his native Australia to take up stallion duties, but the Marco Botti-trained Planteur ran with credit in Dubai when third, and again when filling the same spot in the Prix d’Ispahan behind Golden Lilac (last year’s French 1,000 Guineas and Oaks winner) and Cirrus Des Aigles, the globetrotting star and winner of last season’s Champion Stakes.

But this race could see a resurgence to Group 1 form for the Queen’s runner and last year’s Derby third, Carlton House. A strongly run 1m2f should suit really well – the son of Street Cry has only run twice over the trip, winning both times - and success by the Sir Michael Stoute-trained runner would be a fitting victory in the Diamond Jubilee year.

It is also worth taking a look at an each-way price at the US-trained Big Blue Kitten – he is by the best turf stallion standing in the US and is trained by Chad Brown, a highly capable trainer of middle-distance horses.

The opening 7f Jersey Stakes (G3) could see young trainer Roger Varian get off the mark at Royal Ascot with his improving Aljamaaheer, who finished fourth last time out to yesterday’s St James’s Palace Stakes third, Gregorian.

It could end up being a very good day for Varian, who has his Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) runner-up Nahrain in the Windsor Forest Stakes (G2). She has most to fear from the Group 1 winner Emulous. Both fillies, though, have to shoulder a winners’ penalty, and the record in the race is not good for those carrying such a burden.

Looking elsewhere, Chachamaidee, who finished second in last year’s Sun Chariot Stakes (G1), as well as the Epsom winner and improver Clinical for Sir Mark Prescott, have strong claims.

The Royal Hunt Cup is as ever a competitive handicap, and without the track looking to be carrying a draw bias, it will pay to go with form. Captain Bertie put in an “extraordinary run” (Racing Post) when successful in the Spring Mile earlier this season before winning the Spring Cup, gets in here on a good mark and should like the ground, while Dimension for James Fanswawe is a progressive type. Paul D’Arcy’s Edinburgh Knight is a 7f handicap winner at Ascot and finished fourth in the Lincoln behind Brae Hill

Richard Hannon’s two runners in the race warrant close inspection with King Torus having a first run in a handicap, while Cai Shen finished second in the Britannia Handicap last year, second in the Winter Derby in March and third in a conditions race last time.

Hannon and Mick Channon between them field five for the Queen Mary Stakes (G2). Stable jockey Richard Hughes has plumped for Jubilee Dream for Hannon so she is presumably the first string, while Channon’s Graphic Guest has posted some good form – she beat Hannon’s Hairy Rocket last time - and this race should be run to suit.

Others to consider include Ed Dunlop’s Sheikh Hamdan-owned Sharaarah as this not a usual race for connections to target and so they must be hopeful of chances, as well as the David Wachman-trained Mironica. Wachman’s string has been in good form this spring and this filly is one from one when beating stable mate True Verdict at Naas. That one has since finished second in a Listed event.

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