3.05 Ascot

BLUE DE VEGA (best price 9/2) easily has the best form on offer courtesy of his excellent third in the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas, and if he shows a similar level of ability over an extra two furlongs, it’s hard to envisage Michael O’Callaghan’s inmate not being heavily involved in the finish. Winner of a Group 3 contest at Leopardstown on his third and final outing as a juvenile, the son of Lope De Vega made a pleasing start to his three-year-old campaign when chasing home the very smart Awtaad at the Curragh and although he couldn’t get any closer to Kevin Prendergast’s charge back at the same track several weeks later, he still covered himself with glory with a career-best effort. Reportedly to have thrived since that display 26 days ago, this consistent and classy three-year-old looks the value pick of the early prices at 9-2 and should be backed accordingly.

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Blue De Vega - 1pt e/w @ 9/2

4.20 Ascot

It goes without saying, 2m 4f on soft ground around this track is going to take some getting and in the shape of CLEVER COOKIE (best price 12/1), there’s not many better equipped with the necessary tools to handle this proper stamina test than he is. Although knocking on a bit in terms of staying horses on the Flat, Peter Niven’s charge appears to be retaining all his ability and arriving here off the back of a career-high performance when landing a Group 2 at York last time out, his confidence couldn’t be in a better place also. Only a 4-1 poke to capture the King George here last season, he ran well enough despite finding 1m 4f a little on the sharp side behind the likes of Postponed and Co and he’s probably better judged on his final effort last season back at the Berkshire venue when runner-up to Flying Officer in the Group Long Distance Cup on Champions Day. Indeed, if he hadn’t been so far back and be forced to make up so much ground in the short straight, he might have prevailed that day and with the conditions at the Royal meeting set to continue on an unsettled theme, the son of Primo Valentino looks a belting each-way bet to pull off a memorable success for the North.
Clever Cookie - 1pt e/w @ 12/1Lost -2pts

5.00 Ascot

DEFROCKED (best price 10/1) clearly comes with his quirks, but at the same time there’s no denying he has plenty of talent, and he looks just the type to go well under a typically patient Ascot ride by Jamie Spencer. A smooth winner of a Windsor maiden on his seasonal bow, he had the likes of subsequent winners Desert Haze and Morando well beat that day, and although he failed in his bid to follow up that success at Sandown next time, he probably saw too much daylight before fading in the dying strides. Back under exaggerated waiting tactics last time out, Jamie Osbourne’s inmate was once again seen to good effect at Doncaster, and even though he drifted markedly right in the latter stages, he still had enough quality to overcome that ground loss. Nicely drawn towards the favoured far side, the son of Lope De Vega should get a strong pace to run at, and he looks to have a big chance of providing his Lambourn handler with another Royal winner.

PACODALI (best price 40/1) is another mercurial customer, but there’s no way he should be an unconsidered 50-1 poke based on the pick of his form against some of the better maidens run in Ireland so far this season. A decent fifth in a red-hot contest on the opening day of the Irish Flat season at the Curragh which contained the likes of Shamreen, Embiran, Stellar Mass, Claudio Monteverdi and Bravery (all rated over 100), Johnny Murtagh charge has since had the misfortune to bump into the likes of Irish 2000 Guineas winner Awtaad and the useful Footbridge last time out. Proven over a stiff mile on soft ground, it would come as little surprise if the son of Paco Boy were to run himself into the places at the very least.
Defrocked - 1pt e/w @ 10/1Won 12.5pts
Pacodali - 0.5pts e/w @ 50/1Lost -1pts

5.35 Ascot

SHRAAOH (best price 5/1) has improved with each outing in his short career so far and he’s fancied to take his biggest examination in his stride and provide his in-form pilot with another winner at the meeting. Sixth in an above-average Wood Ditton on debut, Sir Michael Stoute’s inmate then went on to run a race full of promise in an equally hot maiden at Nottingham next time out. Sent up North to land his maiden at Newcastle in impressive fashion last time out, as a result, the son of Sea The Stars has probably been given a few pounds lower by the handicapper than if he’d taken a Southern equivalent and that leniency may well turn out to be one of the leading factors towards his chance in this competitive race where there’s a few Group horses always lurking in the midst.
Shraaoh - 1pt e/w @ 6/1Lost -2pts