Our horse racing expert Andy Holding has seven tips for Day 4 of Royal Ascot.
14:30 Royal Ascot
The predicted rain has finally arrived – and in pretty large amounts – so the whole feel of some of today’s races, including this opening juvenile contest has taken a dramatic change. Flotus won on soft ground on her debut, in a pretty quick time, but connections have stated that, for such an easy-moving filly, should wouldn’t want too much rain. Hello You was also impressive both visually and on the clock at Wolverhampton on her only start, but it’s anyone’s guess whether she’ll be as effective under today’s changeable conditions. One who should be at home now the rain has come is EVE LODGE (best price 15-2) and she can reward connections’ decision to come here rather than tackle the Queen Mary earlier in the week.
A big eye-catcher on her debut over today’s course a month ago, she left the impression she may have won that day had she not been so green and it came as no surprise to see her put her experience to good use next time at Lingfield. In quite a well-run affair, Charlie Fellows’ filly was always in cruise control and without Jamie Spencer having to move a muscle, she readily pulled clear of her four toiling rivals. Obviously, today’s examination against a top-class field of fillies over an extra furlong will demand a good deal more, but her ability to handle the track and underfoot conditions is likely to count for plenty and we know her experience pilot will give her all the time she needs to find her stride with a likely patient ride from the back of the field.
George Boughey has made a spectacular start to his season with his juveniles and he appears to have a very strong hand sending three smart filles to post, and of the trio, HELLOMYDARLING (best price 16-1) makes the most appeal at the morning odds. Surprisingly easy to back on her debut at Goodwood, the daughter of Galileo Gold ended up making a mockery of the market unease with a performance of some repute and if the clock is any guide, she thoroughly deserves her place in today’s field. Indeed, she probably had more up her sleeve than the winning margin suggested at the Sussex venue and with her trainer strongly hinting that stable jockey Mark Crehan had difficulty choosing between her and Woodcote winner Oscula, she’s clearly not one to overlook lightly. Furthermore, she comes from a sire who himself had a distinct preference for soft ground and if the action takes place towards the favoured nearside as it did here yesterday, stall nine looks the ideal spot to track the pace before being delivered late.
15:05 Royal Ascot
With the greatest respect to today’s field, this year’s renewal of the ‘Ascot Derby’ doesn’t appear a vintage one and it’s a race well within the capabilities of ALENQUER (best price 9-4) based on his Sandown victory back in April. Easy to back for his seasonal debut, William Haggas’ colt jumped out to make the running at the Esher track and, after setting strong fractions from the start, he maintained the gallop to see off what appeared a useful and competitive field. Indeed, the form of his victory from 56 days ago looks even better now than it did at the time with runner-up, Adayar, going on to land the Derby and considering that was just his third career start, there’s a decent chance of more to come. On the evidence of what we saw of him that day and on the clock, the son of Adlerflug can sustain his speed for a fair length of time and with form on soft as a two-year-old in the book, he rates a pretty confident choice to uphold the form of the Classic Trial.
16:05 Down Royal
PLACE DES VOSGES (best price 4-1) looked a mare right on top her game at Listowel last time out and despite dropping back a full half a mile, Mark Fahey’s inmate is still fancied to come out on top.
A shade unfortunate not to win her previous encounter at Tipperary, the daughter of Rip Van Winkle was well backed to make amends at the Kerry venue a month later and despite taking a keen grip throughout the three-mile journey, she still found plenty once off the bridle in the final half a mile. Indeed, she left the impression she had loads left under the tank as she crossed the line, so even accounting for the fact she has been raised in the ratings, the numbers she posted that day strongly suggest she has more than enough in hand to meet this stiffer challenge.
17:00 Royal Ascot
By the time the field heads to post for this wide-opening-looking straight track mile, there’s every chance the ground will have become pretty testing, so with that in mind, both CREATE BELIEF (best price 7-1) and TEODOLINA (best price 22-1) could end up being in their element.
The former has exhibited a distinct liking for soft ground on both her victories so far this term and she looked really good when landing her latest of those wins at the Curragh last time out. Always travelling comfortably in behind the sound pace, Johnny Murtagh’s filly stayed on best of all to run out a ready winner and this has been the plan ever since. Thought good enough to contest a Group 3 the time before (didn’t see out the trip or handle the fast ground), the imposing daughter of Awtaad has proven that a stiff, straight mile suits her well and being drawn right in the middle of the track, should give Ben Coen options of which side he wants to go.
The latter might not necessarily end up being drawn on the right side of the track, which is a bit of shame because other than that negative, she has the right credentials for a race of this nature. Firstly, she is one of a few who has solid course form, as her victory over today’s C&D back in May testifies and she also won’t mind any further rain during the course of the day. Indeed, Richard Hannon’s filly is not far off pattern class when conditions are in her favour, so if by chance her side of the track isn’t too badly affected by how the dynamics of the track play out here today’s odds of 25-1 could turn out to be crazy.
17:35 Royal Ascot
QUICKTHORN (best price 4-1) impressed with the way he quickened in the rain-softened ground at Haydock last time out and he could turn out to be the one with the most improvement.
Lightly-raced, the son of Nathaniel has only had three runs on turf, but it’s significant his most notable performance came with plenty of ease underfoot and the numbers from that win at the Merseyside track strongly suggest he could easily be a pattern-race horse in the making. Running the last three furlongs off solid fractions 20 days, his splits came out favourably when you compare them to the likes of King’s Lyn and Punchbowl Flyer and providing Oisin Murphy can work his way into a position whereby his mount is within striking range turning for home, hopefully he should have enough horse underneath him to propel himself into the thick end of the action when it counts most.