ROYAL ASCOT – DAY 2 (WEDNESDAY)

16:20 Royal Ascot

The multiple Group race winner Cracksman went off as the 2/7 favourite but gave punters an almighty scare in his last race when making hard work of getting past 33/1 outsider Salouen at Epsom. Although he claimed victory that day he looked less than impressive however he should make amends and win yet another Group 1 race only this time more convincingly. A return to firmer ground and on a flatter track will certainly be advantageous for John Gosden’s charge and with the stable in blistering form all roads lead to another success for the infamous Cracksman.

Poet’s Word put previous disappointments behind him when scooping The Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown last month. The proverbial bridesmaid who’s finished runner-up in three Group 1 races previously and sadly for connections it seems that once again Poet’s Word will have to play second fiddle to Cracksman.

Any Aidan O’Brien runner here at Ascot deserves at least a cautionary glance and Cliffs Of Moher certainly deserves his place in the lineup based on the best of his achievements as a three year old but this season’s efforts have been somewhat lacklustre and the best he can hope for is the runners-up spot.

The one that interests me the most away from our selection is Hawkbill. A course and distance winner who has a 100% strike rate here at Ascot he did great to win a couple of top-class races over in Meydan this March. He disappointed at Epsom in his previous run but can finish much closer to Cracksman this time around. The five year old clearly relishes Ascot and looks the most likely to finish behind today’s well fancied favourite.

CRACKSMAN (WIN)

14:30 – Kurious (E/W) & Shades Of Blue (E/W)

15:05 – Stream Of Stars (WIN)

15:40 – Hydrangea (WIN) – NAP

17:00 – Flaming Spear (E/W) & Firmament (E/W)

17:35 – Arabian Coast (E/W), Society Power (E/W) & Tabdeed (E/W)