We are paying five places here and we might need them as this looks a really tough race. That said, Ickworth has looked very good in her two wins to date and was extremely impressive when winning a listed race at the Curragh in early May – beating highly-rated colt King Neptune. Soft ground would be a bit of an unknown, but it will be for most of the field and it’s worth backing her to enhance her reputation here.
Aidan O’Brien has won four of the last six renewals of this race, but his son Joseph has an intriguing contender here in Eminent Authority. He only made his debut at Killarney last month, winning nicely. He also caught the eye at Leopardstown on his second start in a three-runner race where the steady pace caught him out, but he ran on really strongly there suggesting the step up to this trip will be the making of him. Others bring stronger form into the race, but that is reflected in his price and the potential he has shown means he has plenty of appeal.
Andre Fabre last won this race in 2010 with Byword, but there is every chance that he can win it again with Waldgeist. He was an extremely impressive winner of the Prix Ganay in April and that race is a decent pointer for the Prince of Wales, as the last five winners of the Ganay to take their chance at Ascot have produced two winners and two second-placed finishes. The small field and easy ground are positives for him. Don’t say you weren’t warned if he can pounce late and cause a little surprise.
I Can Fly would be very difficult to beat on her Queen Elizabeth II Stakes second to Roaring Lion here last October, but she carries a penalty and this is a race that Aidan O’Brien is yet to win. That means I’m going to back one each-way at a wild price. Hand On Heart would look to have a bit to find on the figures, but she has been crying out for a stiff mile with a strong pace on soft ground and will finally get those conditions here. I expect her to be staying on strongly at the finish and that might be enough to nick a place at least. She could possibly give the Stacks a second win in the race to follow Lolly For Dolly’s win in 2011.
If the ground comes up on the soft side, there might be a slight advantage to being drawn in the middle. Throw in that four year olds have a great record in the race (winning seven of the last 10 and had the first six home in both 2016 & 2017, as well as the 1-2-4 last year), so I’m going to focus on a four-year-old, drawn in the middle that may be well treated. The one that stands out is King’s Field for Joseph O’ Brien. He only made his debut last September, but quickly progressed to winning a decent Dundalk handicap in a good time in December. That win was in a decent time and he is only 6lbs higher here. He had a lovely prep last month at Naas and everything appears in place for him to go really well at a fair each-way price.
This looks a really tricky race to figure out, but the booking of Frankie Dettori for Iffraaz catches the eye. Iffraaz was an impressive winner of his maiden on heavy ground at Carlisle and the second has franked the form since by winning a maiden at York. It is also significant that the win was on heavy ground, as with plenty of rain forecast, he will be one of the few in the field proven on soft ground. We are paying four places and Iffraaz appeals as an each-way bet at a double-figure price.
14:30 – Ickworth (6/1)
15:05 – Eminent Authority (16/1)
15:40 – Waldgeist (5/1)
16:20 – Hand On Heart (50/1)
17:00 – King’s Field (16/1)
17:35 – Iffraaz (16/1)
* All prices correct at time of posting.