Day two of Royal Ascot starts with the 7f Jersey Stakes; the race has often thrown up a shock in recent years with three 20/1 shots and no winning favourite since 2001 when Mozart obliged for Ballydoyle. The same connections are likely to saddle today's favourite Gale Force Ten who finished second to stable companion Magician in the Irish 2000 Guineas giving every indication that the drop back to 7f would suit despite finishing a never-nearer 4th in the French Guineas previously.
Jockey Joseph O'Brien looks sure to have plenty of use made of him but preference is for northern raider Garswood (2.30) who looked a potential star in the Free Handicap (7f) back in April before failing to give his running in the Guineas over an additional furlong. Pat Smullen takes over for the first time today and the return to 7f is a positive.
The Duke of Cambridge Stakes is a fabulous renewal with Dancewiththedevil making her British debut having been campaigned in South Africa to date; she has not been seen out for over 400-days however, and preference is for Chigun (3.05) trained by Lady Cecil.
The selection looked better than ever when winning at the Curragh last month for the great Sir Henry Cecil, and can reverse earlier Newmarket form with Dank despite being 3lbs worse off over this slightly shorter trip; Thistle Bird is another to consider for the in-form Roger Charlton but this might just be another for Warren Place. It is 75-days since Chigun run and that is the same number of Royal Ascot winners Sir Henry saddled before losing his long battle with cancer last week.
The Prince of Wales's stakes is one of the races of the week with Al Kazeem looking to confirm recent Tattersalls Gold Cup form with last year's Derby winner Camelot; it promises to be one of the races of the meeting but I think The Fugue (3.45) can beat them both and become the first filly to win the race since the great Ouija Board in 2006.
The filly was most impressive when winning the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood over today's trip of 10 furlongs and at 8/1 with BetVictor she looks the each way play; she receives 3lbs from the colts, has run well fresh in the past and her trainer John Gosden wouldn't let her take her chance if he didn't think she would be competitive against the boys. Owned by Andrew (Lord) Lloyd-Webber I think she can reward each way support.
At the time of writing it looks as if the Hunt Cup favourite Dane And Dance will miss the race as he needs a couple to come out of the race before being guaranteed a run; the selection is David Livingston (4.20) who used to be trained by Aidan O'Brien but was last seen having his first start for Mike De Kock over 7f at the Dubai carnival earlier in the year.
The selection was tried up to 1m 6f when handled by Ballydoyle but didn't look short of pace having his first start for his new yard and at 14/1 each way five places at BetVictor the hope is that he can reward each way support. I caught up with Richard Hughes on Monday and he advised that trainer Andrew Balding considers the filly Stirring Ballad at least listed class and he would have to be the danger although that is factored into her price at 7/1.
There are 24 runners in the Queen Mary and 22 of them have already won a race; with that in mind it does feel a bit strange to select one of only two maidens in the race but Oriel (5.00) really should have won at Newbury last time when she had no luck in running. Jockey Richard Hughes wanted to teach the filly how to race and come past rivals but he does think his filly is a decent sort and in a wide-open race where luck will play its part she gets the nod.
Rizeena holds a verdict over the selection over today's C&D and is considered a big danger for Clive Brittain as is Mick Channon's once-raced Kaiulani who looked very fast at Leicester when making a winning start.
Zurigha sets the standard in the closing Sandringham Stakes but she gives weight away all round and is likely to find at least one or two too good at the weights; Dermot Weld doesn't bring many over from Ireland and when he does they are worthy of a second glance. The form of the lightly-raced Bracing Breeze's (5.35) defeat at the hands of Cape Of Approval last time was given a boost when the winner followed up at Cork in a listed race last time and she can improve again in a cracking race where Woodland Aria looks best of the home challenge.
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