Racing’s boffins are back to preview the last day as the curtain comes down on Royal Ascot.
Earth, Wind and Fire asked us if we remembered the 21st night of September, however I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast this morning. What I do recall however, was the impression the equine September made when winning by over five lengths on debut at Leopardstown, earning herself a ‘big P’ – the highest accolade Timeform can bestow – meaning the horse is capable of much better in this race.
However, the Godolphin-owned Masar also has the same symbol, and there are lots of rivals with untold improvement to come,. So so it looks a good renewal of a race won last year by subsequent dual Guineas winner, Churchill.
The Queen has been a busy lady this week and put ‘Colour of The Queen’s Hat’ punters away by wearing blue to the State opening of Parliament on Wednesday morning, before changing into a lovely lemon-yellow number for her trip to the races in the afternoon. Dartmouth will definitely be in her red, purple and gold silks as he looks to retain his crown in the Hardwicke Stakes.
Big danger Frontiersman is out with injury, so it’s Idaho who gets the Timeform seal of approval.
He shaped encouragingly after eight months off when not knocked about in the Coronation Cup at Epsom last month.
There is a sense of unfinished business about him after his misfortune in the St Leger, where he got rid of his rider after stumbling like Boris Johnson at a charity football match.
A better bet on Saturday’s card comes in this race. Limato is Timeform top-rated, loves rattling fast ground and holds several of his rivals on his July Cup win last season. He has been below form on his last two starts but has been aimed at this race for some time. His trainer Henry Candy, having won this race last season with Twilight Son, can once again take this leg of the Global Sprint Challenge.
The Tin Man can take plenty of heart from his reappearance run behind Tasleet at York, where he shouldered a penalty. He looks a big threat, ahead of Magical Memory who was a close-up fourth in this race 12 months ago, but is more hit-and-miss than a Richard Gasquet v Nick Kyrgios match at Wimbledon.
Two very difficult handicaps starting with ‘W’ help make Saturday a great day for punting, with the 6f Wokingham handicap the big one to get stuck into. Last year’s winner Outback Traveller is back for another crack and he should come on for his run in the Victoria Cup here last month – his first start for six months.
He’s only 4 lb higher than when winning 12 months ago and he looks a big player. However at more than double his odds, Danzeno gets the nod.
He was third in the Champions Sprint as a four-year-old in 2015 and hasn’t been the most straight-forward to train since. There are reasons to not give up on him yet, with smaller field contests seemingly not playing to his strengths last season. His one run this year, at York last month, was a good pipe opener and he’s a solid each-way fancy.
The Queen Alexandra is all about Thomas Hobson, an impressive winner of Tuesday’s Ascot Stakes. His yard did the double with Simenon in 2012 and if Willie Mullins’ charge is in the same form as earlier in the week, then even the likes of 2016 Derby runner-up US Army Ranger – who is second on Timeform ratings – could be left trailing in his wake.