Royal Ascot Day 2 Tips | Running back to glory

Royal Ascot Day 5, July Festival

Royal Ascot Day 2 is upon us following a great opening day to the royal meeting on Tuesday, one that saw the column finish in profit.

After the first three selections, we looked slightly up against the ropes, but Israr (the best bet) winning the Listed Wolferton Stakes and Lmay finishing second at 25/1 in the Copper Horse Handicap turned the day around.

Let’s hope for a bit more success today.

 

3:05 Ascot – Illinois @ 7/4 with William Hill – 2pt Win

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Similar to fancying Israr yesterday, I think Illinois could have too much for his rivals in the Group 2 Queen’s Vase Stakes.

The three-year-old by Galileo is regally bred as he is a half to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and King George winner Danedream (who handled quicker surfaces) and is a full brother to the Group 1-placed Venice Beach who also won on good ground.

Therefore, despite his prior form on heavy and soft ground, a sounder surface at Ascot should suit.

The Coolmore homebred won on debut and has failed to repeat that feat since, but he was a staying-on second to Ambiente Friendly (the Epsom Derby runner-up) in the Lingfield Derby Trial and the third, Meydaan, has won the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes since.

Before that, he ran a sound race on dire ground in the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown having finished third in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud on his final start as a two-year-old.

The form of that race looks good as the winner (Los Angeles) won the Group 3 Leopardstown Derby Trial Stakes on his next start, the fourth (Ramadan) was fifth in the French Guineas, and the fifth (Bracken’s Laugh) finished second in the Listed Dee Stakes at Chester.

The step up in trip should work and, ultimately, he looks like the best horse in this field.

 

3:45 Ascot – Running Lion @ 10/1 with BetVictor (4 places) – 1pt EW

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With my frequently-used ‘forgiving hat’ on, I’m making a case for Running Lion returning back to her best in the Group 2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes.

The four-year-old had a muddling season last year as she looked like a world-beater in the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes but then failed to recreate that form in four subsequent runs.

That day, she beat Sumo Sam (a subsequent two-time Group 2 winner) by four-and-a-half lengths on ground officially described as soft, though the time of the race suggests it was slightly better than that.

Connections tried her over 1m2f on her next two starts, the best effort of which came at Salisbury when second to State Occasion, and then stepped her up to 1m4f for her final two runs of the year.

At Newmarket in the Group 3 Dubai Stakes, she hung a bit to her left (as she did on her seasonal return in the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes this year) and could only manage third, and in the Group 1 Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, she probably found the extended trip on soft ground too much for her.

Her tendency to hang to her left is interesting as her most notable case of it came at the start of this year.

Considering she seemed fine when she winning around a right-handed bend at Kempton last year, there’s an argument to suggest that today’s assignment on the Ascot round course might help keep her mind on the job.

If she does, bits of her form looks better than most of her rivals in this field and her pedigree leans towards better ground, something she gets today.

 

5:05 Ascot – Streets Of Gold @ 18/1 with William Hill (6 places) – 0.5pts EW

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The Royal Hunt Cup is a tricky handicap to get a hold of in most years, though I’d happy to take a small chance on Streets Of Gold.

The four-year-old has contested three handicaps in his career, winning one of them and finishing a good sixth on his latest start in the Victoria Cup over seven furlongs.

He travelled with a wet sail that day under three-pound claimer Georgia Dobie and the handicapper has dropped him one pound for his effort, a welcome sight.

Based on his pedigree, it’s fairly remarkable that he’s adapted himself so well to these shorter distances as he comes from the family of Treasure Beach (the 2011 Irish Derby winner), Elidor (a 1m6f Listed winner), and Count Octave (runner-up in the 2018 Group 2 Lonsdale Cup to Stradivarius).

So, his pedigree suggests that a step up in trip could work out for him, and the form of his third in last year’s Group 3 Jersey Stakes is solid.

With Charlie Bishop back in the saddle, he can outrun his odds in the Royal Hunt Cup.

 

5:40 Ascot – Rowayeh @ 14/1 with Paddy Power (6 places) – 1pt EW

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The Kensington Palace Stakes takes place on the straight course for the first time in its history and all of the last three renewals have gone to a four-year-old, serving as a small nod of confidence to Rowayeh.

The Dubawi filly progressed nicely as a three-year-old as she finished third in her opening race of the season to Silver Lady, a future Group 2 Cape Verdi winner in Meydan.

After that, she won at Beverley and then won on handicap debut at Sandown, a race that has worked out well as the second (Mystic Pearl) won a Listed race on her next start and finished third in this race last year.

Following that, her form continued to improve as she finished third at Goodwood to Choisya (now rated 100) in a Class 3 handicap, another race that looks good in the form book as the second (Novus) has improved 21 pounds to a rating of 107 and the fourth (Royal Dress) has improved 16 pounds to a mark of 102.

One can argue that her final start of the season came at the end of a congested campaign, and there are plenty of positives to take from her seasonal reappearance against the boys at Newmarket when you consider that she needed the run.

Although she has form on good to soft ground, she is by Dubawi and out of a War Front mare whose relations all preferred soft ground.

Furthermore, her dam (Alaflaak) is a War Front half to the dam of Baaeed, Hukum, and Naqeeb which is a nice pedigree point.

 

6:15 Ascot – Pont Neuf @ 10/1 with Bet365 (5 places) – 1pt EW

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The only two-year-old bet I had yesterday didn’t work out too well, but I haven’t lost faith in all juveniles yet as I’m a fan of Eve Johnson Houghton’s Pont Neuf in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes.

Firstly, it’s worth highlighting Matt Chapman’s interview with Johnson Houghton from Windsor on Monday as her confidence behind this gelding by Cotai Glory was high.

It’s understandable why, as he is two from two and his success at Salisbury last month was huge.

On ground that probably wasn’t to his liking, the 24,000gns purchase dug deep and passed rivals to win by three-quarters of a length.

The second, Kassaya, was in receipt of nine pounds from the winner and is a Nathaniel half-sister to last year’s 2000 Guineas winner Chaldean and the third, Megalithic, franked the form subsequently with a sound effort in the Woodcote Stakes at Epsom.

Also, if you’re inclined to read into collateral form, Megalithic was second to Teej A in the Woodcote Stakes and Teej A beat yesterday’s Group 2 Coventry Stakes winner Rashabar at Chester in May.

With a good ground-orientated pedigree, he should relish a return to a sounder surface and the way he moved through his Salisbury win suggests a stiff five at Ascot could play to his strengths.

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