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Royal Ascot Recap – Seven Eyecatchers To Follow

There were some smart winning performances at Royal Ascot last week, but as is often the case, there was also a host of hard-luck stories in defeat. Our expert editor has highlighted seven runners to follow after catching the eye at Ascot’s showpiece meeting. Check out their thoughts below, alongside an exclusive promotion courtesy of bet365, which is offering £50 In Free Bets to new customers, when you sign-up and bet £10.

ROYAL SCOTSMAN3rd, Coventry Stakes 

Archie Watson’s Bradsell maintained his unbeaten record with another stylish success, however, it’s worth upgrading the performance of ROYAL SCOTSMAN, who ran a tremendous race to reach the frame for Paul & Oliver Cole. 

Berthed in stall 1, the Gleneagles colt showed plenty of speed in the early stages to get himself into a prominent position and soon found himself in the lead at the halfway stage. Headed inside the final couple furlongs by the eventual winner, Royal Scotsman kept on well on the run to the line and was only narrowly denied second in the shadows of the post by Richard Hannon’s Brocklesby winner Persian Force. Beaten just under two lengths in third, Royal Scotsman would have certainly benefitted by being ridden with more restraint in the seventeen-runner contest, however, it was still an eye-catching effort in defeat and he is likely to head to Goodwood for the Group 2 Richmond Stakes next month. 

MALJOOM4th, St James’s Palace Stakes

Arguably the biggest eye-catcher of the entire five days was MALJOOM in the St James’s Palace Stakes. William Haggas’ charge was defending an unbeaten record coming into the Group 1 contest and was desperately unlucky not to keep that record intact when meeting plenty of interference throughout the one-mile contest. 

Travelling strongly throughout, the son of Caravaggio was met with a wall of horses when trying to mount his challenge on the far side of the track. Once the gaps finally appeared with a furlong to go, Maljoom simply flew home under jockey Cieren Fallon, powering up the Ascot run-in to finish half a length behind the eventual winner Coroebus in fourth. William Haggas expressed afterwards that they are likely to keep Maljoom at a mile for the time being and whilst it’s too early to say what his future targets will be, Maljoom is clearly a high-class colt for connections and will be expected to return to winning ways wherever he lines up next. 


OKITA SOUSHI3rd, Copper Horse Stakes 

Despite having just his fourth racecourse outing last week, OKITA SOUSHI went into plenty of people’s notebooks when running a mighty race on his handicap debut for trainer Joesph O’Brien in the Copper Horse Stakes. 

Attempting the 1m6f trip for the first time, the Galileo colt settled towards the rear of the sixteen-runner contest under jockey Declan McDonogh. Still left with plenty of ground to make up turning for home, Okita Soushi quickly found his stride and made significant headway towards the outside of the field. Ultimately unable to reel in recent Chester Cup hero Cleveland and David O’Meara’s progressive six-year-old Get Shirty, Joseph O’Brien’s charge deserves enormous credit for finishing within two lengths of the eventual winner in third place given the amount of ground he made up – the first, second and fifth all raced prominently throughout. 

Whilst connections clearly see the four-year-old as a Pattern race performer in the making, they may consider another staying handicap with Okita Soushi and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the son of Galileo line up in something like the Ebor at York in August. 

SINJAARI5th, Royal Hunt Cup 

SINJAARI has only had five starts for Harry & Roger Charlton after previously joining the yard last year from William Haggas. Although the six-year-old is yet to win a race since taking the valuable John Smith’s Cup at York in July 2020, the way he hit the line in last week’s Royal Hunt Cup suggests that his turn may not be far away at all. 

The six-year-old always travelled noticeably well under Keiran Shoemark throughout the one-mile contest and was one of the last runners off the bridle with still two furlongs to go. Approaching the closing stages, Sinjaari soon hit top gear, thundering home towards the near side to finish fifth. With the first four home all drawn towards the far side of the track, Sinjaari did remarkably well to lead home the stand-side challenge from stall 33 and considering he was only beaten just over three lengths at the line by Charlie Hills’ Dark Shift, his effort in fifth can certainly be upgraded. 

Effective over trips beyond a mile, connections may decide to step Sinjaari back up in trip at some stage, however, there is no denying he has the ability to land another valuable handicap at some point this season and is certainly one to watch out for on his next start. 


STAR OF ORION  – 13th, Buckingham Place Stakes 

Trainer Ralph Beckett had ten runners across the week at Royal Ascot and whilst he ultimately failed to get off the mark during the five-day showpiece event, plenty of them ran with credit, including STAR OF ORION, who endured a luckless run in Thursday’s concluding Buckingham Palace Stakes. 

Available at 33/1 the night before, the four-year-old was sent off just 10/1 to return to winning ways in the 29-runner contest. Drawn towards the middle of the track in stall 16, he dwelt as soon as the stalls opened and quickly found himself on the back foot. Racing towards the rear of the field, the Footstepsinthesand gelding tried to take closer order with two furlongs to go but was briefly short of room. Trying to switch towards the near side inside the final furlong, Rob Hornby’s mount again encountered trouble in running and was met with a wall of horses. With all winning chance gone, Star Of Orion was not subject to a hard race afterwards and was merely pushed out towards the line. 

Rated 98, he remains 4lb higher than his last winning mark and has already been given an entry in Newmarket’s Bunbury Cup next month. Considering his last success came over that course and distance, it’s highly likely the four-year-old will take his place and is best priced currently at 50/1 to win the Class 2 handicap event. 

SACRED5th, Platinum Jubilee Stakes 

Remarkably, only three lengths separated the first eleven home in the Platinum Jubilee Stakes last Saturday, and of those in behind, it was William Haggas’ SACRED who caught the eye in defeat in the Group 1 six-furlong contest. 

The dual Group winner was having just her third start over six furlongs since her juvenile days and despite becoming outpaced with still over two furlongs to go, the daughter of Exceed and Excel stuck to her task tenaciously under Tom Marquand and fairly rattled home to finish fifth, beaten just a length behind the eventual winner Naval Crown. 

Connections will likely revert back to seven furlongs with her on her next racecourse outing and whilst she clearly performs well when fresh, William Haggas will be confident that Sacred can take another step forward following her first start in over ten months and she could be the type to turn up in the Group 2 Lennox Stakes at the Goodwood Festival next month. 

GROUNDBREAKER –  4th, Golden Gates Stakes

Trainer Andrew Balding enjoyed opening day success at Royal Ascot as Coltrane battled on bravely to land the Ascot Stakes, while the likes of Chateau (Windsor Castle Stakes) and Nymphadora (Palace Of Holyroodhouse Stakes) both performed with credit in their respective races. However, it was the lightly-raced GROUNDBREAKER who went down as one to follow after finishing fourth behind George Boughey’s Missed The Cut in the Golden Gates Stakes. 

Racing freely from the outset, the son of Oasis Dream travelled strongly as the thirteen runners turned for home. Short of room on the far-side rail with two furlongs to go, the three-year-old colt had to wait patiently for a gap to appear ahead of him approaching the final furlong. Ultimately left with too much to do, Groundbreaker kept on strongly under hands and heels riding by Andrea Atzeni and crossed the line with plenty still left in the tank. 

After just three starts on turf, Andrew Balding’s charge remains completely unexposed at trips around ten furlongs and although he could do with settling better in his races, the three-year-old is clearly a colt with a serious engine and is expected to go on to bigger and better things further down the line. 


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