After a fantastic opening day at Royal Ascot that saw wins for the likes of Galileo Gold, Tepin, Profitable and a memorable performance from Jennies Jewel the appetite has been well and truly whet for day two. We hit the crossbar with a few of our selections and got agonisingly close to nailing the Tote Placepot falling on the last leg but hopefully the eye is in now and we are ready to hit the target.
The opener on day two is the Jersey Stakes over seven furlongs for three-year-olds and 2000 Guineas third Ribchester brings a serious level of form to the table here. That was a step up in trip for him at Newmarket and this intermediate trip could be ideal for this son of Iffraaj. Castle Harbour was impressive winning both his starts to date and he handled a large field well winning a York handicap last time. He has the potential to do better again. Herald The Dawn represents Ireland and Jim Bolger and although he has been slightly disappointing of late, his proven ability to handle soft conditions could bring him into an open looking race.
The Queen Mary is the race for speedy two-year-old fillies and if American-based trainer Wesley Ward is to be believed then we could be set for something special with Lady Aurelia. He described her earlier this week as a “flying machine” and by all accounts her seven length winning performance on debut was spectacular. If the rain-softened ground doesn’t blunt her speed then the rest may be running for second place. One that could be capable of outrunning her massive price is Madam Dancealot who performed with real credit to be second to a smart colt on debut at Chester.
The Duke Of Cambridgeshire looks a particularly strong renewal this year and likely favourite Usherette could be something special. She is on a winning run and showed a searing turn of foot to readily win a slowly run Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket last time. Andre Fabre has a magnificent record with older horses and this filly looks capable of going right to the top. Godolphin look to have a particularly strong hand in the race with four that all hold a chance of some sort but maybe Lucida can come back to her best with a run under her belt this season.
The highlight of day two at the Royal meeting is the Prince Of Wales Stakes and A Shin Hikari has to be a banker for all bets after his stunning recent European debut. The son of Deep Impact had some very smart form in the East but his demolition of a smart field in the Prix D’ispahan has elevated him towards superstar status. Of the European team Found is probably the one best equipped to deal with the soft conditions and should be the one to follow A Shin Hikari home.
The Royal Hunt Cup makes the Grand National look like child’s play from a tipping point of view with 30 runners due to charge down the straight Ascot mile. At best this is a guessing game but a case can be made for Instant Attraction on this soft ground. He is in decent form of late and being by Tagula should appreciate the cut in the ground. Convey comes from very powerful connections and has to be respected also.
The Sandringham Handicap closes out day two and it is tricky stuff with 26 unexposed fillies due to go to post. Persuasive could be another really smart filly for Cheveley Park Stud and is unbeaten in three starts to date. She is by Dark Angel so soft ground shouldn’t be a major issue and she has shown a smart turn of foot in all three starts. Planchart has a huge task on paper but don’t be surprised to see Andy Slattery’s filly out-run her big price. His string is in terrific order this season and she won’t be coming to Ascot to make up the numbers.