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Finest Sound – Royal Hunt Cup, Wednesday 5pm
Finest Sound was unable to justify favouritism in the Britannia Stakes at last year’s Royal meeting, but he ran well to finish runner-up and pull four lengths clear of the third. He has a big, strong physique so it was always likely that Finest Sound would improve with time, and he has raised his game a notch this season. He returned with an excellent second in a red-hot handicap at Nottingham.
He then did well to register a narrow victory at Haydock, sticking to his task well in the closing stages to just overhaul a talented rival Shelir, who had enjoyed the run of the race out in front. Finest Sound showed last year that he is well suited by the test Ascot’s stiff, straight mile provides, and he ought to launch a bold bid in the Hunt Cup.
Samoot disappointed when an evens favourite at Wolverhampton last time, finishing only fifth behind Glesga Girl (who she might meet again here), but it’s easy enough to overlook that performance as she was disadvantaged by being held up off a steady pace, and she wasn’t given a hard time once her chance had gone.
Sir Michael Stoute’s runner had previously impressed when scoring at Wolverhampton and Salisbury, finding plenty in the closing stages to win with a bit in hand, and she may benefit from stepping up to a mile. Samoot’s hold-up style is also often an advantage on this straight course, so she may find things developing in a more suitable fashion than was the case at Wolverhampton.
Warrior Brave ran a cracker when runner-up to Atalis Bay in a listed race at Sandown on Saturday and he has an obvious chance in the Palace of Holyroodhuse Handicap as the assessor has been unable to alter his mark for the race.
Warrior Brave has been relatively lightly raced since joining Mick Appleby but there’s no doubt he’s going the right way, and his latest effort at Sandown was a big career-best performance. He was strong at the finish on that occasion – unsurprisingly so when you consider he has won over six furlongs – and Ascot’s stiff course should be in his favour.
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