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ROYAL ASCOT - DAY 3 (THURSDAY)

14:30 ASCOT - NORFOLK STAKES The Group 2 Norfolk Stakes kicks off the action on day three of Royal Ascot with some very promising youngsters looking to impress. The Antarctic has won both his starts to date in small fields and has looked pretty speedy. He will encounter faster ground today though, which is a big question mark and I’m tempted to take him on today. Bakeel won over course and distance on debut and though the second placed horse hasn’t advertised the form very well since, he is very much of interest today, proving himself on this quicker surface for a yard who is very much among the winners. Pillow Talk won a listed race last time out and it was a very gutsy display from her, she saw the five furlongs out strongly and she is another to consider here with her 3lb fillies allowance. The selection here though is Walbank, who scooted away from a small field at York to open his account having gone close on his first run and he too, makes more appeal to me than the Aiden O’Brien runner, however he did hang left handed on his debut at Ascot and he will need to run straighter today to score at this level, his draw will help that and I’m taking him today in this very open contest. WALBANK (WIN)


written by Tom Bates


15:05 ASCOT - KING GEROGE V STAKES

The King George V Handicap for 3yo’s is very hot affair with lots of unexposed potential stakes performers lining up over 12 furlongs. Aiden O’Brien’s Newfoundland got off the mark at the fourth attempt last time out despite looking to be in a spot of bother 2 furlongs from home. Ryan Moore engineered a clear pathway by pulling the colt to the stand side at Navan, when he got the colt free from trouble, he picked up electrically and strode right past his rivals. That race was over a furlong further than today and this trip should hold no issue for this promising colt. Secret State for Godolphin will also be one to give the utmost respect to, having beaten Saturday’s impressive winner Laasudood at Nottingham. Although he does have to step up half a mile today, I am sure connections must believe he will see out this trip.

Johnny Murtagh and Irish Champion Jockey Colin Keane team up with Flying Dolphin, the gelding got off the mark last time out on his third start and may well prove to be better than a mark of 92. He has two furlongs further to run over today but he wasn’t stopping that day and it is conceivable he will be involved come the finish.

NEWFOUNDLAND (WIN)

FLYING DOLPHIN (E/W)


written by Michael Taylor


15:40 ASCOT - RIBBLESDALE STAKES

The Ribblesdale race is certainly weaker without Emily UpJohn not being her but another one loss will be someone gain in this race.

Current market favourite Sea Silk Road has done nothing wrong since reappearing this season getting the job done twice so far though this is a step up from what she has faced so far. I feel there is more value potentially elsewhere in this race and I'm not sure what she has shown so far warrants favouritism.

Magical Lagoon showed improvement in a listed race at Navan this season so far. Form has worked out well to be fair there. So comes here with a great shout. History won on a her reappearance this season but was a little disappointing finishing 7th in the Irish 1000 guineas a big improvement will be needed for her to win here.

Mystic Wells for each way players does look a little big at 25/1 in a 6 runner race. Considering she finished 2nd in an Oaks Trial wasn't seen in the Oaks race afterwards so interesting connections have come straight here.

My selection though is Life Of Dreams. This will only be her third run but she finished 2nd behind Emily UpJohn at York. In only her 2nd start. Emily UpJohn should have won the oaks if it wasn't for such a bad start. To be that piece of form at York looks good. When you consider it was only Life Of Dreams 2nd start that day I think that performance should be marked up a little.

I can see more improvement in her in this Ribblesdale race. I think at around 9/2 (at time of writing) she holds more value in this race than others.

LIFE OF DREAMS (WIN)


written by Luke Tucker



16:20 ASCOT - ASCOT GOLD CUP


The Ascot Gold Cup is one of the defining races any "stayer" can aspire to win in their career, with some greats coming back year after year, including Yeats and Stradivarius who’s bidding for a fourth win in this prestigious prize. John Gosden’s star put in a lacklustre performance twelve months ago when slightly short of room but looked his old self when landing the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup with ease last month on seasonal debut. That being said he’s now eight and may be vulnerable to some of the younger legs of his rivals.


One of those younger opponents and current favourite is Kyprios who represents Ballydoyle and Ryan Moore. This Moyglare homebred is 4-4 on Irish soil and has been a very impressive winner of the Vintage Crop and Saval Beg on both starts this season. He’s the third highest-rated horse in the field, who’s open to further improvement but has been beaten on both completed runs when travelling to the UK and was withdrawn by the starter in the Queen's Vase last season for being unruly in the stalls, which must raise doubts, especially given his prohibitive odds.


The ultra-consistent and dual Group 1 winning Trueshan has a very attractive profile given his four straight wins and likeable attitude. However, he’s been a non-runner on multiple occasions with “Firm” in the going description including in this race last season and I’d imagine connections will be making the difficult decision to withdraw him once again. Princess Zoe(8/1) has been an incredible success story for connections and showed she can handle quick conditions when landing the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes here in April. This is a much sterner test and she’d need rain to be at her best!


The most interesting runner is Mojo Star who finished runner-up in both the Epsom Derby (Struck Into) and the St Leger. He rounded out the year being far from disgraced in the Arc. It’s obviously slightly concerning that we haven’t seen him since but this race will have no doubt have been the plan and if handling these quick conditions, then he should be very much involved.


MOJO STAR (E/W)


written by Peter Keogh

17:00 ASCOT - BRITANNIA STAKES


Tranquil Night is the second string of Charlie Appleby and Godolphin’s charge for this race. James Doyle is booked for the ride and the gelding hasn’t done much wrong in his short career. He’s three from four, with his sole defeat coming on his debut against the smart Samburu. He beat Outgate on his last start, on turf and over a mile, which puts him in good form for today. The only major downside is that he is drawn out in the car park.


King Of Time is the front runner of Godolphin’s hand for this race and the mount of William Buick. He’s unbeaten in all of his three starts, the first two coming on the All-Weather at Lingfield and the latter on the Newmarket turf, over a mile. His performances have been impressive on the clock and he might well have a bright future. He’s a big danger today.


Whoputfiftyinyou is rather well bred, by Twilight Son and a Dansilli Mare. He’s unbeaten in all four of his starts, the latest victory coming at Haydock over a mile, when he thumped Outgate and defeated Mighty Ulysses, who was last seen narrowly going down in the Group One St James’ Palace Stakes on Day One of Royal Ascot. He has done nothing wrong so far and connections have a nice record at the festival. He has a good chance at cracking this enigmatic race.

WHOPUTFIFTYINYOU (WIN)

written by Kieran McHugh


17:35 ASCOT - HAMPTON COURT STAKES

Reach For The Moon finished second to Point Lonsdale in last years’ Chesham Stakes and returns over a longer trip this year in a bid for Royal Ascot success. John & Thady Gosden’s runner is yet to finish outside the top two in six career runs and although was only second on seasonal re-appearance in May his trainer had warned beforehand that he was short of full fitness, so the fact that he was only beaten just over a length was probably a better than anticipated result. He isn’t much of a price but is clear of all rivals on ratings and with that run under his belt should be in peak condition and primed for a win today.

Claymore was no match for Native Trail in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket in April but finished over a length ahead of Hoo Ya Mal who has since finished second in the Derby and was also three lengths ahead of Star Of India who beat Cresta next time out, so on collateral form should have the beating of that rival here today. As such, Jane Chapple-Hyam’s runner looks the most likely to chase home the favourite.

REACH FOR THE MOON (WIN)


written by Dean Kilbryde 18:10 ASCOT - BUCKINGHAM PALACE STAKES


29! That's right 29 runners are set to line up in the final race on day three and to say it's competitive would be a mighty big understatement. So where do I start when trying to decipher a race of this nature? I'll point my head towards the market first of all and despite such a plethora of runners we still have a clear enough favourite as the William Haggas trained Montaasib aims to keep his unbeaten record intact. He's not had too much to worry about in his first three starts to date but this looks an almighty step up in the level of opposition. Does that mean he can't win? Of course not! However at a current price of around 9/2 surely the more sensible option is to look for alternatives at much bigger odds.


Victoria Cup winner Vafortino returns to the scene of his best career victory and shouldn't be far away once again. I couldn't put punters off backing him but a 5lb hike in the weights in an even better contest may be enough to see a few finish ahead of him this time around. Everyone would adore The Queen to own a winner this week, especially in her Jubilee year and representing her illustrious red, purple and gold silks is the Andrew Balding trained Tactical. The yard have already bagged a winner at the meeting and this former course victor should come on leaps and bound for their seasonal return last time out. He gave a creditable performance when 7th in the Jersey Stakes last year and has plenty in his favour, including the booking of top class jockey Ryan Moore. The one negative that’s putting me off though is being drawn in stall 23. If he can overcome the high draw I wouldn’t be shocked to see him finish in the money but there’s just a couple that make more appeal.


I’m going to side with a runner who hails from the Emerald Isle, however they don’t represent one of the powerhouse Irish stables. Trainer Michael O’Callaghan might not be a name that instantly springs to mind when thinking of Irish trainers yet don’t let that put you off his charge. Fastnet Crown may only have one win to his name from 14 turf starts but he’s been super consistent and produced some very solid performances in huge runner handicaps. He’s more than capable in a cavalry charge such as this and he’s done all of his best work on firmer ground which he should get this afternoon. He probably wants slightly shorter than this trip but with what will be a plethora of pace from all angles it could play into his hands. He likes to come from behind so he may need some luck in running to ensure he gets a clear run but if jockey Leigh Roche doesn’t let him get too far back he’s got a low enough weight to potentially spring a shock.


There’s a trio of course and distance winners in the lineup. We’ve already mentioned one however I’m going to side with another. Last seasons Victoria Cup winner River Nymph went close in the same race when 3rd here last month. Clive Cox’s five year old seems to love it here at Ascot and will also relish the firmer ground on offer. He’s got a decent draw and a decent price so he’s definitely worth a shot.


Of the remainder, Charlie Hills looks to add to his yards Ascot winners after claiming the Royal Hunt Cup yesterday as they send out Tanmawwy to do battle here. He’ll need to improve on what he’s done so far but off a low weight could go well if continuing to progress.


The Godolphin duo of Path Of Thunder and Silent Film also deserve a mention and at a huge prices don’t be too surprised if either Fools Rush In or Snazzy Jazzy do much better than their odds may suggest.


FASTNET CROWN (E/W)

RIVER NYMPH (E/W)


written by Rory Paddock

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