Day two of Royal Ascot kicks off with the 7f Jersey Stakes at 2.30pm and is normally a chance for a horse with Classic form to claim a big prize. This year is no exception and Andre Fabre’s Le Brivido travels over from France. He was narrowly beaten in the French 2,000 Guineas by Brametot who went on to win the French Derby. Fabre has a very good strike rate with runners he sends to the UK and his charge sets a good standard and will be tough to beat. The ground in the French Guineas was soft but his racing action suggests he will cope with quick ground.
John Gosden’s Daban is a fascinating runner. She was a little unlucky in the 1,000 Guineas when third to Winter. She was slow away, then travelled a little keen out on the wing. I have no doubt she would have finished a little closer to the winner with a smoother run and that is strong form.
You get the impression watching some of the work-outs from Keeneland that Wesley Ward could be busy in the winner’s enclosure this week. The US trainer is really keen on Happy Like A Fool in the Group 2 5f Queen Mary Stakes (3.05pm) and punters will latch onto the Ryan Moore booking.
I’m happy to take an each-way punt on Clive Cox’s Heartache who was really impressive at Bath. Adam Kirby couldn’t pull her up afterwards!
The Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes over 1m (3.40pm) is a chance for Jean Claude Rouget to strike again with his filly Qemah. She won the Coronation Cup here last year and connections were delighted with her comeback run at Lingfield where she was second to Mix and Mingle. She will take a bit of beating but Mix & Mingle is too big a price & has an each-way chance.
In the 4.20pm, the 1m 2f Prince of Wales Stakes is a chance for Dubai Sheema Classic winner Jack Hobbs to pounce late and gun down the ultra-game Highland Reel. Jack Hobbs’ jockey William Buick must not let Ryan Moore dictate this race up front, because if he is allowed an easy lead and do what he did in the Coronation Cup at Epsom, he will make them pay.
Luca Cumani throws two darts at the board in the 1m Royal Hunt Cup 5pm and his El Vip won very nicely last time at Newcastle. This has been his target for some time. His Banksea won the Spring Cup at Newbury and a lot of winners have come out of that race subsequently and he is only 4lbs higher in the ratings. At a much bigger price, John Gosden’s Gm Hopkins is also only a couple of pounds higher than his winning mark.
It doesn’t get any easier with the last race on the card the 1m Sandringham Handicap (5.35pm) for three-year-old fillies. There doesn’t appear a stand-out runner in the field with Gymnaste the market leader on the back of an unlucky second at Kempton.
The one I like at a bigger price is Irish challenger Bean Feasa, from master trainer Jim Bolger. Her name means ‘wise woman’ in Irish and let’s hope we’re wise before the event and back her in the finale.