Followers of the Daily Mail's Sam Turner have had a cracking week.
There is no doubting the well-bred Churchill made a very encouraging debut at the Curragh when staying on in encouraging fashion behind Van Der Decken (excellent fifth in the Coventry Stakes) and he seems certain to relish the extra furlong. All the money has been for the son of Galileo in the lead up to this race and he is clearly well thought of by Ballydoyle.
Unfortunately, those of us that might have missed the price are left with an unappealing one this morning so Frankel representatives Cunco and FRANKUUS
(Best price 8-1) look the obvious alternatives.
The former reportedly surprised his handler with success at Newbury as he was thought to be lacking in track craft yet overcame greenness to run down Isomer who was three lengths clear at the furlong marker. Although he played up a little in the preliminaries, Frankuus looked more together mentally at Haydock during the race and displayed an attitude akin with his sire to stay on gamely. The ground is a slight unknown but he should be thereabouts even if his yard haven’t taken the meeting by storm.
Frankuus - 0.5pts e/w @ 8/1
The layers have taken few chances with BEST OF TIMES
(Best price 7-2) here but that comes as no surprise given the four-year-old found more trouble than an England fan abroad at Chester last time. Held up, travelling strongly in rear by William Buick, the selection was continually denied a run and it is worth noting he is still entered in the Eclipse and Sussex Stakes so his work had clearly been good going into that event. He raced with plenty of zest over an inadequate trip that day and will appreciate the return to 10 furlongs here. The Dubawi colt can't be described as the bet of the week at the prices but he has more potential that most of his rivals so gains the nod.
Best Of Times - 1pt @ 7/2
Having won six of the last 10 renewals, it is perhaps fair to assume Sir Michael Stoute targets this race and he again has a strong hand courtesy of EXOSPHERE
(Best price 9-4) and Dartmouth. The former surprised connections with the manner of his four-length defeat of Simple Verse on his comeback as he was expected to need the run. Perhaps it was the step up to 12 furlongs which brought about the improvement as he travelled like a dream that day and is Ryan Moore’s pick. The former champion jockey experienced a day he will be willing to forget yesterday but Exosphere can ensure that beaming smile makes a reappearance with victory.
Exosphere - 1pt @ 9/4
THE TIN MAN
(Best price 7-2) displayed plenty of heart to score on his reappearance and can prove the bet in today’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
Trainer James Fanshawe has enjoyed a terrific association with the Group 1 feature courtesy of stalwart Society Rock who won it in 2011 and was also placed twice. Sir Gerry was another Fanshawe speedster to excel in this afternoon’s event and The Tin Man looks ready to follow in the hoofprints of his illustrious predecessors.
A Windsor warm-up four weeks ago produced a stylish two-length defeat of Watchable despite pre-race vibes suggesting that Fanshawe had left plenty to work on heading into the Royal meeting. His four-year-old has been to the Berkshire twice previously, winning a handicap with huge superiority before chasing home last year’s sprinting sensation Muhaarar in the Qipco British Champions Sprint last October. There was a subtle change to The Tin Man’s tactics at Windsor when he was dropped out and ridden with a little more patience before sweeping to the front in the closing stages for a cosy success. That style of racing is well served at Ascot and if similar tactics are deployed today, the son of Equiano may take some stopping.
The Tin Man - 2pts @ 7/2
Confidence in THE HAPPY PRINCE
(Best price 16-1) is tempered by the competitiveness of the race but the Ballydoyle operation aren’t averse to winning an Ascot handicap and their representative has been shown some leniency this term by the handicapper despite some solid performances in strongly-run races.
The trip looks his optimum these days and it appears significant that he holds a July Cup entry and is being persevered with as a four-year-old. He wasn’t knocked about once his chance had gone at Naas in a well-contested affair and should find conditions to his liking.
Others for the shortlist include the strong-travelling Outback Traveller, who wisely reverts to 6f and will be expertly prepared and Burnt Sugar who enjoyed a blowout at Salisbury last Sunday when not knocked about. Professor, runner-up in this event two years ago, was given the same prep.
The Happy Prince - 0.5pts e/w @ 16/1
Frankie Dettori has ridden like a man possessed this week and I’m hopeful he will get a good tune from SANDRO BOTTICELLI
(Best price 12-1) in the finale. John Ryan’s charge bolted up on soft ground at Doncaster on his first start for new connections and has run creditably since, not least when four lengths behind Gold Cup runner-up Mizzou in the Sagaro Stakes so today’s step up in trip could play to his strengths.
He was noted doing all his best work in the straight that day and, although it will take a big effort to lower the colours of last year’s winner ORIENTAL FOX
(Best price 9-2) and Clondaw Warrior, Ryan’s stayer looks a fair each-way bet with his affinity for the course assured.
With four and five places on offer it is also worth playing Oriental Fox as well as he shaped with promise on his return over 12f behind Elite Army who ran well in a warm handicap here yesterday.
Read Sam Turner's tips in the Daily Mail everyday or at www.dailymail.co.uk/racing
Sandro Botticelli - 0.5pts e/w @ 12/1
Oriental Fox - 0.5pts e/w @ 9/2