Royal Ascot 2017: Friday 23rd June

14:30: Albany Stakes (Group 3) 6f

A strong Irish raiding party here with Actress, Clemmie and Snowflakes leading the charge for Ballydoyle while Alpha Centauri and Whitefountainfairy represent Jessie Harrington. Ger Lyons also supplies Black Sails and of the sextet it’s Alpha Centauri that holds the strongest form claims. She has looked, by far, the best 2-yr-old filly in Ireland this season and can provide her trainer with a first Royal ascot winner. Jeremy Noseda has a good record in this race and Take Me With You is also one to watch while the selection’s stablemate Whitefountainfairy was running on strikingly when winning her maiden and can’t be dismissed.

15:05: King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2) 1½m

Sir John Lavery flopped in the Lingfield Derby Trial but has to be respected as the sole Aidan O’Brien entrant (and sole Irish entry). His maiden win was on heavy ground so it remains to be seen how underfoot conditions will suit. In any case, Crystal Ocean looks like the one to beat. He stayed on very well in the Dante and the step up in trip should suit no end.  Royal Lodge winner Best Of Days was a high class two-year-old and it says a lot that he’s asked to make his seasonal reappearance in this race.

15:40: Commonwealth Cup (Group 1) 6f

Caravaggio and Intelligence Cross fly the flag here for Ballydoyle and it’s going to take a monumental effort from something to lower the colours of the former. This has the potential to be the race of the week and this unbeaten son of Scat Daddy bids to add this to his victory in the Coventry Stakes last year. Dangers abound however and Harry Angel was purchased by Godolphin following a very impressive victory in a Group 2 at Haydock. Blue Point represents the same owners and beat Harry Angel here on his return and is another leading candidate.

HARRY ANGEL with A Kirby wins Sandy lane Stakes at haydock 27-5-17.
Harry Angel Winning At Haydock

16:20: Coronation Stakes (Group 1) 1m

Surely one of the bankers of the entire week here in Winter. She’s bidding to emulate another wonder-filly, Attraction, by winning this race and both the 1000 Guineas and the Irish equivalent in the same season. Her performances so far suggest there is more improvement to come and it’s hard to see anything standing in her way. Roly Poly and Hydrangea also represent the same stable but it’s difficult to see them being involved at the finish. Dabyah, who won the Fred Darling at Newbury on her seasonal reappearance has the ability to go close but should ultimately come up short.

17:00: Queen’s Vase (Group 2) 2m

Belgravia and Wisconsin form the Ballydoyle challenge here while Haripour represents Dermot Weld and Michael O’Callaghan sends over Night Of Glory. None will be particularly well fancied with perhaps Belgravia likely to do best with new headgear applied. Trainer Aidan O’Brien has won three of the last four renewals! They all have Time To Study to beat however. His trainer, Mark Johnston, has an even better record in the race having won in it seven times and this likeable colt showed plenty of grit when digging in to win a valuable handicap at Musselburgh over this trip and is likely to improve further.

17:35: Duke of Edinburgh Stakes 1½m

No Irish interest here and a wide open handicap to end the day. Mainstream is consistent, if frustrating, and can cap off a good day for trainer Michael Stoute and jockey Ryan Moore. He was gelded at the end of last season and returned with a three-length third behind Frontiersman at Newmarket. That form has been well and truly franked by the first four home that day. Appeared was an impressive winner of a course and distance handicap last month but may struggle to follow up as he’s 10lbs higher. That was also his first run since being gelded. The same trainer’s Wadigor also commands respect as he’s won three out of three so far.

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