ROYAL ASCOT - DAY 3 (THURSDAY)

14:30 - Norfolk Stakes


Wesley Ward sends two with Lucci the early favourite, and while he did nothing wrong when winning on debut he had the perfect draw and everything fall right in to place for his victory, whereas Nakatomi had to come from a wide draw and showed decent battling qualities in the final furlong to get the better of stablemate Happy Soul, with the remainder of the field miles behind. The fact that the runner up has since won two races by over eleven lengths bodes well and although it was completely different conditions to what he will encounter here (raced on a sloppy dirt track on debut) he has reportedly worked extremely well on turf so deserves to take his chance and a similar run to debut could see him tough to beat.

Cadamosto left a lasting impression when winning well at Dundalk on debut in April, clearing away from rivals well to win by over three lengths, in command but also suggesting that he had plenty more to offer if needed. I had him in the notebook for Royal Ascot following this victory however trainer Aidan O'Brien has been in the press stating that he was hoping to get a second run in prior to Ascot and that the longer than anticipated break is not ideal.

Go Bears Go was a ready winner over course and distance on debut and although that came in soft ground his breeding suggests that he will be just as effective on a faster surface, while Second Wind is unbeaten in two and hails from a yard going great guns so both warrant plenty of respect.

NAKATOMI (WIN)



written by Dean Kilbryde



15:05 - Hampton Court Stakes The biggest piece of advice I can give today is before you have a bet today check the going, with rain expected on watered ground there could be a massive turnaround on the going on Thursday. The ground will play a huge part in the Hampton Court. Favourite here is Mohaafeth who was withdrawn just before the Derby because the ground had changed to good to soft. He is 3 from 3 this year and has a huge amount of potential. He would be a confident choice on the current good /firm ground, but his chance lessens with every drop of rain that falls overnight.

Movin Time has been well supported in recent days, Roger Varian’s horse is lightly raced only having 2 races last year (runner up in both) and just the one run this year. That however was a very promising run. In a maiden at Newmarket in May Movin Time beat Kemari by 4L, that horse franked the form by winning a Group 2 here yesterday in taking fashion. This is a big step up from a maiden but his form shouts group class, he is unproven on ground softer than good.

Whilst Movin Time takes a big step up in grade One Ruler takes a big drop in grade. Viewed as Godolphin’s best 3-Year-Old before the Guineas. He finished 6th there and then went on to take the same position in the Derby. He will appreciate the intermediate trip today and unlike the favourite will relish every drop of rain. He has some very high-class form on soft ground as a 2-Year-Old so should the ground go that way he may be hard to beat.

Charlie Appleby’s other runner is Secret Protector who was well beaten by Mohaafeth last time on Good to Firm ground at Newmarket He was a bit flat that day and maybe found the ground too lively. He was however one of the few horses that day to come through from behind eventually finishing second. He is better than he showed there and is overpriced today.

Aidan O’Brien has won this twice in the last three years and has two Gallileo colts entered here. Roman Empire is the choice of Ryan Moore. Last seen in the Dante at York when Hollie Doyle looked like stealing the race with a fine front running ride, he eventually finished 4th there. He is unexposed and represents a top combination. O’Brien’s other runner is Matchless ridden by Seamie Heffernan. He seems well overpriced to me at the current 40/1. Last time out he weakened after leading over this trip. Prior to that he had finished 5L behind the fabulous Poetic Flare. He obviously needs to improve but he’s lightly raced and well worth another go at this trip and is worth a small each way interest.


Basic view is should the ground remain fast Mohaafeth should win, if its soft I would expect a better run from One Ruler down in grade. However, I am going to take a chance on two at big prices, One place here will return a profit.

SECRET PROTECTOR (E/W) MATCHLESS (E/W)



written by Steve Marriott



15:40 - Ribblesdale Stakes


The ladies line up in this one and a half mile contest where the Sir Michael Stoute trained Noon Star is the clear cut favourite. Second in a Group 3 at York last time looks the best form on offer and may be hard to topple yet I hope I've found some value elsewhere. A quartet of horses reoppose after facing each other last time out at Newbury where the unbeaten Eshaada came out on top. Roger Varian's charge is likely to come on for that run and with an unbeaten record deserves respect however I feel like the form of that listed event could be reversed.


The horse that finished fourth in that aforementioned race was Twisted Reality. She was well fancied that day and despite finishing with three opposing rivals ahead of her I think she has what it takes to finish in front. I think she'll relish this step up in trip and with any cobwebs now blown away I expect better things from Ralph Beckett's runner. At a current double figure price she's worth an each way punt.


TWISTED REALITY (E/W)



written by Rory Paddock



16:15 - Ascot Gold Cup


The main race of the day will see whether Stradivarius will try to win this race an incredible 4 times in this race to emulate Yeats. Clearly likes this track having won 6 out of the 9 times when running at Ascot.


The 7-year-old won last time out at Ascot in his first run of the season so you would like to think he would be stripped fitter ready for this run. John Gosden maybe slightly worried if the rain which is expected was a lot worse. But Stradivarius has won on soft plenty of times before so it shouldn't be too much of a concern with the ease of the ground.


One horse hoping for rain probably is Alan King Trueshan. was very impressive at Ascot last October. Finished 2nd at Chester on his reappearance this season losing to Japan. Certainly, based on that Ascot run in October is a threat.


Popular Princess Zoe is another who will want Rain and may not run. unless it was very soft or heavy. Spanish Mission is interesting for Andrew Balding having run in South Africa and Meydan this year already. Won the Yorkshire cup on his British re appearance this season and also has won at 2m 2f at Doncaster last term. So can certainly handle this distance. 2020 Epsom Derby winner Serpentine has been thrown into this race but has an awful lot to prove having the furthest he has raced at 1m 4f.


As much as I like Stradivarius and will be great for the sport if he wins. I just think the price is too short and is worth taking on certainly and maybe something with younger legs may catch him. I do like the look of Subjectivist and that would be my selection. This horse seems to be getting better as it goes up in distance for Mark Johnston having won at France last year and looking impressive at Meydan last time finishing well and galloping on strongly. which would suggest this extra trip maybe even better for this Horse.


With Meydan form you can never tell sometimes how strong that actual form is but you can only beat what is in front of you. I think even a bit of Rain will aid his chances. but with this horse the stamina tests seem to bring out the best in him.


At around 6/1 I would be amazed if it's out of the top 4 so back it each way (some bookies paying 4 places) but I certainly think Subjectivist will give Stradivarius a run for its money


SUBJECTIVIST (E/W)



written by Luke Tucker



17:00 - The Britannia Handicap


The Britannia looks to be a tricky puzzle to solve as it does most years, as thirty 3 year olds charge down the mile straight.


With the draw offering hope with winners drawn both sides, it may pay to have a runner on each side, which is perfectly acceptable in a race of this nature and prices on offer.


This race is full of progressive horses that would have been aimed at this race for a while. Some could take a huge step forward and at a huge price Big Narstie fits that bill.

Drawn against the stands side rail, he ran well on this course following home an improver. The extra furlong will suit and he looks overpriced.


The main hope is drawn on the opposite side of the track. Royal Pleasure is open to any amount of improvement. A fine looking horse who ran well in defeat last time. That race wasn’t run to suit and this test will show him in a much better light. Trained by Sir Mark Prescott who is not in the habit of over facing his horses, it’s perfectly feasible this horse could feature today.


ROYAL PLEASURE (E/W)



written by Matt Polley



17:35 - King George V Stakes


Kondo Isami was just headed over 1m 6f, last time out, by Dancing King, who wasn’t beaten far in the Queen’s Vase yesterday. From that you can infer that he’ll stay it and the ground shouldn’t be a problem for him. Mark Johnson has been a prolific winner of this race, no less than 6 times. His form has been franked from his previous races but that could be enhanced by rivals needed more adequate race conditions. My only concern would be that he could find this pace, over a shorter distance, a little fast, against some higher class rivals.


First Light deserves to be a leading contender. He was electric when shedding his maiden tag at Ripon and his form in the previous races is top class. Placing third to John Leeper and second to Blue Riband Trial victor, Wirko. I doubt that the distance will trouble First Light but there are still many questions, such as, the ground and whether he can overcome the seemingly troublesome draw.


I’m rolling the dice with my choice. I’m hoping Act Of Wisdom can spring a surprise for Godolphin and connections. James Doyle and Charlie Appleby are in evidently good form and Act Of Wisdom seemed to look like he needed the run at Newmarket, last time out, when finishing 4 lengths behind consequent Derby contender Mohaafeth. Before that, he managed to just win over 1m 2f on heavy ground, when nothing when right for him. Judging from that, he should see out the extra 2 furlongs. The ground shouldn’t be a problem for him and he’s unbeaten in handicap company. If he can find his old form and bounce back from his first run, he’s a massive price considering that the stars could very well align for him.


ACT OF WISDOM (WIN)



written by Kieran McHugh



18:10 - Buckingham Palace Stakes


The conflicting weather reports overnight and into the morning rather complicate this as I personally speaking, would love to see a fairly substantial amount of rainfall for the Tim Easterby trained Boardman. Quiet and rather uninspiring on his first half a dozen starts in Britain, he finally came good when hacking up at Haydock on heavy ground and although the handicapper reacted, he followed that up with two further victories at York and most recently, Chester. Facing his toughest test to date and upped 21lbs since his winning sequence began, this demands a further jolt of improvement though his form has received a number of fairly significant boosts.

Aldaary is very lightly raced and though he was beaten at odds on last time, he stands out as the potential dark horse for William Haggas. Clearly unexposed and likely ahead of his mark, that aforementioned defeat might not have been as disappointing as first thought as the winner has since gone in again. Perhaps worryingly for fans of the current market leader, he does have a rather round action and all four of his prior runs have come on ground no better than good to soft. Those concerns to one side, it is easy to see why he has been popular and a big run looks on the cards.

Bedouin's Story has run well here before and his stint in Meydan yielded a win and a place from three starts. Granted a fierce gallop, one could easily see him running a big race although his mark of 105 demands a clear career best.


Raising Sand has served his connections extremely well over the years and is no stranger to success at this venue. Significant rain would enhance his chances and despite his rather off-putting recent form, he is now 1lb below the mark he last won off (Gained over todays C&D)


Bielsa went within a whisker of regaining the winning thread when failing by just a nose to reel in Punchbowl Flyer at Haydock last time. Today's extra furlong could well suit him although the handicapper's decision to nudge up him 4lbs does looks rather heavy handed, especially when you consider he hasn't won for nearly 2 years now and that was off a 6lbs lower mark than his current one.


Blue Mist and Dance Fever are selected others with fair claims but a tentative vote is handed to the progressive Boardman, with me and any other like-minded punters likely performing a rain dance.

BOARDMAN (E/W)



written by Chris Connolly

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