Royal Ascot Day 1 Selections:
It is no secret that the mile division lacks any standout star, nor indeed that this renewal of the Queen Anne Stakes is a very average renewal. Pure form logic would lead one into backing Mustashry on the back of his fairly convincing Lockinge win, while Le Brivido is also a tempter if we assume he will improve a good bit for his effort in 5th behind the winner that day. The likes of Romanised and last year’s winner Accidental Agent are also in there with place claims on that Newbury form, but all told I am happy to side-step them all and suggest a bet on the William Haggas trained mare ONE MASTER. This 5yo will be heading off to the breeding shed sooner rather than later, perhaps even after this race, but connections have been very keen for her to take on Group 1 company at a mile this season. The Daughter of Fastnet Rock is already a Group 1 winner, having won the Prix Foret back in October. She ran well behind Expert Eye in the Breeders’ Cup Mile after that, before heading to Asia for a tilt at the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile, where she ran with credit behind Beauty Generation. One Master was reported to be in need of a run first time up at Tipperary. James Doyle was anything but hard on her in the closing stages of that contest won by her stablemate Beshaayir and I suspect she’ll come on a lot for the outing. One Master will handle cut in the ground at Ascot perfectly fine and it would be little surprise to me if she was passing plenty of horses late on here under Pierre Charles-Boudet, who timed her run perfectly at Longchamp when they last partnered up.
Richard Hannon Jr has described this 2yo colt as the best juvenile they’ve had through their care in quite some time and the evidence of his Newmarket debut in early May lends plenty of weight to that hope. The Footstepsinthesand colt went off at 10/1 on debut, with most of the yard’s newcomers needing their first run at the time. He was up against a highly touted Godolphin runner who had the benefit of a run and all told, not much was expected from Threat. But he oozed class in the way he travelled and put the race to bed and the speed figure he clocked in victory was of the rare kind generally saved for horses of genuine Group 2 and Group 1 potential. The trip of 5f there was plenty short for him and he was very strong at the line, suggesting this step up to 6f is what the horse badly needs to take the next step forward. If he has improved for the Newmarket effort, I think Threat will be a very difficult horse to stop. Rain-softened ground is a bit of an unknown, but he seems to be a straightforward horse who travels well and so long as it isn’t too sticky, I think we’ll have a level playing surface for all comers.
This 5f sprint could be a simple case of it being a 1-2 between Battaash and Blue Point, but they are where they ought to be in the market and although it’s a tall order to try and penetrate the top three if they do perform, these short distance charges can take on a life of their own and quite often, anything can happen. The horse I am going to side with is EQUILATERAL for trainer Charlie Hills. The Newmarket trainer was in two minds about skipping Royal Ascot with this talented 4yo, so the fact he is lining up suggests he is showing the right signs in his homework. He comes here on the back of a career best effort in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket, where he was reeled in late by Mabs Cross, not helping himself by drifting to the right in the closing stages. But he was impressive in his work for much of the race, travelling powerfully and quickening well to get several good sprinters firmly out of their comfort zone. The drop back to the minimum distance could just be the making of this horse and although he has a good bit to find to match the class of the top pair, I’d like to think he can produce a solid run here under James McDonald.
What a cracking contest we have in store here. Can Phoenix Of Spain follow up on his Curragh win? Is Too Darn Hot poised to peak on the big stage? All things considered, the Classic generation has been solid, but somewhat underwhelming and the division is in need of a new star in my book. I would be more confident if the ground was fast, but I remain hopeful KING OF COMEDY has that potential. His win (RPR 113, Topspeed 98) in the Listed Heron Stakes at Sandown was impressive and leaves him with around half a stone of improvement required to get on form terms with the Guineas horses. John Gosden’s quirky Kingman colt has been a slow-burner, but is seemingly progressing very well with every start and another clear step forward here would see him go very well indeed under Adam Kirby. Hopefully this 3yo can come of age and make his mark.
This would be a more intriguing collection of horses under handicap conditions, but this Listed contest still makes for a good looking betting race to close the day one card. RIVEN LIGHT is a horse for whom I have a lot of time. An impressively built son of Raven’s Pass, the Willie Mullins trained 7yo produced his career best at Galway last year, when he defied a lofty handicap mark of 108 to score over the extended mile on soft ground. He returned to action at the Curragh ten days ago and was a definite eye-catcher, staying on strongly from behind off a moderate early pace and he should really have won. I think we will see him to much better effect here with that run under his belt, in a truly run affair where plenty of pace is assured. Having the likes of Elarqam, Latrobe and Addeybb in the line up makes it a quality affair for the grade, but I’m very hopeful Riven Light will make his presence felt at the business end, with Colin Keane given another chance to get the fractions right.
Threat, King Of Comedy and Riven Light are all part of your Lucky 15 for Tuesday.
You can get in touch with me via email: Kevin.OMalley@GG.CO.UK OR by finding me on Twitter: @KOM_GGRacing
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