Royal Ascot Preview – Day 3
It seems like a strange thing to say but the Norfolk Stakes looks like a one-horse race with Sunday Sovereign likely to start as a short-priced favourite. Paddy Twomey’s charge beat Coventry winner Arizona two starts back and was an impressive winner on soft at Tipperary when last seen. He has been purchased by King Power racing and will be tough to beat.
Frankie was in flying form on Day 2 at Royal Ascot and looks to have another decent chance with the once-raced A’Ali who was just touched off on debut should run well.
Aidan O’Brien has been knocking in the winners all week and Mount Fuji is another Ballydoyle inmate with strong claims. He won well on debut but I do have reservations about him handling the ground.
Selection: Sunday Sovereign
Fox Chairman went into a lot of notebooks at Chester where he was short of room in the Dee Stakes behind St James’s Palace Stakes winner Circus Maximus. That form looks very strong in the context of the Hampton Court Stakes and he’s the one to beat.
Cape Of Good Hope ran a very solid race to finish fourth in the Prix Du Jockey Club when last seen in action which would give him a leading chance here. That being said he’s unraced on ground better than good and must enter calculations.
The other horse of note is Sangarius who was fourth in the Dewhurst last season and has winning form on soft ground. Sir Michael Stoute’s runner looked sure to improve from his seasonal debut in the Heron Stakes most recently and looks very solid.
Selection: Fox Chairman
Aidan O’Brien has won three of the last five runnings of the Ribblesdale Stakes and has another big chance with Fleeting who was supplemented for the race. She was an eye-catcher in the Epsom Oaks when staying on well to finish third but like many horses, my only worry is the ground.
It’s a big day for the King Power team and Queen Power is another runner for the outfit with big claims. She powered home to win a listed race at Newbury and with the extra yardage likely to help her she could hit the frame.
I have always liked Frankellina who finished runner-up in the Musidora and then ran a solid race back in sixth in the Oaks. this leaves her with ground to make up on Fleeting but she’s open to progress.
Star Catcher finished just behind Queen Power at Newbury but has winning form on soft which brings her into the reckoning and she may just be overpriced.
Selection: Frankellina – E/W
Stradivarius looked in trouble at one stage at York on seasonal debut but in true gritty fashion found plenty to win. He’s the standout performer in the staying division at present and although people keep saying he’s beatable, the last horse to beat him was Order Of St George back in 2017 and he bids for back to back victories in the Ascot Gold Cup.
The Charlie Appleby trained Cross Counter is one of the new kids on the block in the staying division and it’s impossible to find holes in his form. He’s won the Melbourne Cup and the Dubai Gold Cup on his last two starts. The only slight doubt is regarding this extreme trip but if he stays Stradivarius could be in trouble.
Dee Ex Bee finished runner-up in last season Derby and has shown a good level of form since then including two taking wins over 2 miles this season. He shapes like a horse that’ll just keep grinding it out but may just be outclassed here.
The Britannia Stakes looks fiendishly difficult to dissect with so many horses holding credible chances. Jason Watson has been one of the breakthrough jockeys in the past season or so and has a big chance of a winner here with Migration who has some very solid handicap form to his name. He’s only four-pounds higher than his last victory and should go close.
King Ademar is my idea of the winner and has always been held in high regard by Martyn Meade. He came up against the 2000 Guineas runner-up on seasonal debut and then came up just short at Nottingham most recently. The addition of cheekpiece should bring about further improvement and he’ll be difficult to beat.
The other horse of note in here for me is Velorum who came up just short behind the very classy Skardu on debut and has won both starts this season in good fashion. Sea The Stars progeny handle an ease on the ground and must enter calculations.
Selection: King Ademar
The King George V Stakes is one of the few Royal Ascot races Aidan O’Brien hasn’t won and he could remedy that with Constantinople who’s improved with each run and although he’s got an awkward head carriage he should appreciate the step up in trip and could be well handicapped.
The lightly-raced Sinjaari looks sure to be suited by this longer trip having just missed out in a hot handicap at Newbury most recently. He’s open to lots of improvement and must be high on anybody’s list.
Fox Premier is another for the King Power operation and has won both starts in handicaps this season. He’s gone up a total of 17 pounds for those wins and I think he may struggle here.
Sir Michael Stoute’s Almania was set a stiff assignment in the Dante on his seasonal bow where he finished down the field. He should be all the better for that run and could be well handicapped off a mark of 95.
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