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It’s Day 5 at Royal Ascot and the all-important thing will be how much rain falls, and how soft will the ground gets. I am basing all of my picks on ground that will be testing. The Chesham Stakes is a difficult race to weigh up, as the conditions mean that the sires or dams of the runners must have won a race of a mile-and-a-quarter or longer.
A few of trainers of the main contenders have good records here and Charlie Appleby won it with Pinatubo in 2019, before going on to be the top-rated two-year-old of that season. The same connections have NEW SCIENCE in here who won very nicely at Yarmouth. He’s the son of Lope De Vega and his offspring usually cope very well with soft ground. Point Lonsdale is the obvious danger, as he was super impressive at the Curragh back at the start of this month.
Creative Force is unbeaten this season and his form got a real boost when Perotto, who he beat at Newmarket, won the Britannia Stakes on Thursday. Khartoum won on the soft ground at Naas, having bombed out on fast ground in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket and he could be the one that the market goes for in this.
I am choosing NAVAL CROWN as he ran in the race which is normally the best guide for this, and that’s the 2000 Guineas. He ran a great race to be fourth, and we all saw what the winner Poetic Flare did in the St James’ Palace Stakes.
Japan and Broome are very closely matched in this contest. Broome had a hard race in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh, where he got pipped on the line on very soft ground last month. Japan was beaten in the Coronation Cup at Epsom on slow ground only 15 days ago. It really is very tight call between the pair, but Ryan Moore has chosen to ride Broome.
Hukum is a Royal Ascot winner, he won the King George V handicap at this meeting last year and grabbed a hard-fought victory at Goodwood on soft ground last month. He has to be on the shortlist too, but I am going for some real value with ALBAFLORA.
She finished just behind Japan in the Coronation at Epsom, and she handles very soft ground really well. I feel she is a real sporting bet in a race that could be dominated by whatever horse handles the ground the best.
Starman is the one the bookies like here, this son of Dutch Art disappointed on Champions Day at the track and I just worry that maybe he won’t be as effective on very soft ground, like the conditions were that day.
Sonaiyla is another who is interesting at a big price, she was a good winner at the Curragh over this trip and is proven in soft ground. The right boxes are ticked and this horse could be a very good each-way bet in this race.
DREAM OF DREAMS was narrowly pipped in this race last year, he handles soft ground really well as he showed when winning the Betfair Sprint at Haydock. He will handle conditions and with Ryan Moore in the saddle, he is a confident selection.
Rohaan has to be of interest after a good win in a Group 2 at Haydock, as well as over course and distance on quick ground here in April. But, because of the wins, he has shot up the ratings and that it’s a little bit of a concern. Kings Lynn who represents The Queen has a good record on soft ground, but the draw in stall seven does not look favourable.
For that reason, I’ve searched for one drawn high and Punchbowl Flyer fits the bill. He was a good winner at Windsor and at Haydock, where he got the better of Bielsa, so he has to peak the interest here.
However, I can’t help but be drawn to CHIEFOFCHIEFS. He won a strong Silver Wokingham Handicap at Ascot last year, so he clearly likes to track and is proven on soft ground. He runs on a 4lbs higher mark than he won off last year in this race.
I was taking a little punt on my selection getting into this as a reserve and thankfully, SEASETT made his way into the race. His form looks really strong as Raadobarg – who beat Seasett at Haydock last month – ran well in the Britannia Stakes – our selection didn’t have the smoothest passage that day either. Seasett is proven on the soft ground too. Alfaadhel is from the Roger Varian yard, who must fancy his chance of bagging this prize with his multiple entries.
Willie Mullins loves races like the Queen Alexandra Stakes and Ryan Moore loves riding for him as these jumps horses, like our selection STRATUM, are suited to the extreme conditions expected.
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