David Hayes has landed nearly every big race there is to win in his native Australia, including the Melbourne Cup with Jeune in 1994, and the Wizard of Oz will bid to add a first Royal Ascot victory to his impressive CV with Redkirk Warrior in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at 4.20pm. However, it is another character from the 1939 classic film who is expected to have his measure here. The Tin Man, played by Jack Haley, famously desired a heart, but the horse of the same name clearly has plenty of that judged by his three previous wins at Ascot, including this race 12 months ago, and another bold bid looks on the cards after his promising return at Windsor.
The stallion Australia is represented by his first Royal Ascot runners in the Chesham Stakes at 2.30pm, but this race will likely go the same way as the recent ODI’s, with those carrying the Australia blood expected to take a battering at the hands of Natalie’s Joy. Trained by Mark Johnston, she hit the equivalent of a huge six down the ground when making a winning debut at Goodwood last month, winning by six lengths and recording a huge figure for a newcomer in the process (backed up by the clock). She is entitled to improve with that initial experience under her belt and should take plenty of stopping, with Haydock winner Arthur Kitt feared most of the remainder.
Racing and cricket are the two great passions of Sir Michael Stoute’s life, and having become the leading trainer in Royal Ascot history courtesy of Poet’s Word on Wednesday, the trainer will be hoping to find the boundary again with Crystal Ocean in the Hardwicke Stakes at 3.05pm. He looks short enough in the betting for the purposes of our Lucky 15, however, and it is Moonlight Romance in the Windsor Castle Stakes at 3.40pm who makes more appeal. Trained in the US by Wesley Ward, her form received a boost when stablemate Shang Shang Shang won the Norfolk Stakes on Thursday, and she is fancied to hit another six (sorry, home run) for the Americans in this listed event.
Wesley Ward is also represented in the Wokingham Stakes at 5.00pm, with 2015 Diamond Jubilee winner Undrafted back at Ascot for a third time. Like his owner Wes Welker, who retired at the end of the 2015 NFL season (played most of his career as a wide receiver for the New England Patriots), Undrafted is no longer the force that he once was, however, and the suggestion is to row in with hot favourite Dreamfield instead. He made light of a 19-month absence when winning in dominant fashion over C&D last time and, unbeaten in three starts so far, Charlie Appleby’s charge can land this prize before going on to bigger and better things.