Tuesday June 14th 5.30pm
Wednesday 2.30 FORGE Jersey Stakes (Group 3)
Ryan Moore rides in this 7F group 3 contest and much as I think this horse has the talent to go to Group 1 level there are some questions to be answered here. Firstly the ground. No indication he will appreciate Soft ground, indeed the opposite, his mum won in the US on rattling surfaces! Secondly after just three runs is he mature enough for the razzmatazz of Royal Ascot and how does he feel about the stalls? Wouldn’t surprise me if he was withdrawn, likewise no surprise if he won pulling a cart! Has to be a Watching Brief.
Wednesday 2.30 THIKRIYAAT Jersey Stakes (Group 3)
Drawn 17 and partnered by Paul Hanagan, here is an improving son of Whipper who should have no issues with the ground, the trip or the grade. Stepped up to 7F and Listed class to win the King Charles II at Newmarket and is now unbeaten in three. Put up 5lbs to OR103 that is a big ask for a 3yo to win off that high in a handicap! Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot would seem the obvious target.
Richard Hills, assistant racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan, said: “I thought it was a really good effort. Ted Durcan said he felt the ground going into the dip and idled. But when the other horse came to him he went on again. He is a progressive horse and he will definitely get a mile.” It was the second time in the last 10 years that trainer Sir Michael Stoute has won the race. His charge Jeremy triumphed in 2006 before going on to land the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot. Asked if a similar route may be possible for Thikriyaat, Hills added: “We will speak to Michael and Sheikh Hamdan and make a decision from there.”
Thikriyaat is one of those wonderful horses that just does enough.
Wednesday 5.00 CONVEY Royal Hunt Cup (C2 Heritage Handicap)
Ryan Moore’s mount is currently 7/1 market leader for this annual cavalry charge up the straight mile. Lightly raced 4yo son of Dansili has won just one of his six starts and that was his first, an all-weather C5 maiden at Kempton. He has come on since then and in his last race finished strongly but was beaten just a neck by Home of the Brave in the G3 7F Jury Stakes at Haydock. Although he looks the proverbial “Group winner in a handicap”, the big question will be the ground? He ran his worst race on Good to Soft at Leicester and the omens aren’t good. He is also drawn 33 right against the stand’s rail and hopefully Tuesday’s racing will indicate the value of that position. Ground and price have me leaning towards Watching Brief.
Wednesday 5.35 DIPLOMA Sandringham Handicap (Listed Race) (Fillies)
Run on the straight course this daughter of Dubawi is drawn 23 of 26 (i.e Stands Side), Ryan Moore returns to the saddle and this improving filly has been put up 10lbs for her last victory, OR90 100 and should have no problem with the trip as she steps down two furlongs from her win at York. I don’t see the ground being the issue and Her Majesty looks likely to get a run for her money!
Daniel Tudhope “It was a wonderful moment to win for HM The Queen at York on my first ride in the royal silks. Diploma is trained by Sir Michael Stoute for whom I was winning for the first time too, and the filly took the Knavesmire race in some style- the equivalent contest in 2015 threw up a subsequent classic winner in Covert Love so it identifies some nice types!”
Thursday 3.05 MULK Tercentenary Stakes (Group 3)
Ran well in the Wood Ditton on debut chasing home Sky Kingdom and on his only other race won an egg and spoon maiden at Chelmsford on the sand. Quite surprised to see this £450K Cheveley Park bred son of New Approach (dam produced top 5F horse Duke of Firenze) in here as firstly the handicapper thinks he needs to improve 17lbs to trouble Blue de Vega, secondly any half decent run will blow that wonderful handicap mark OR90 and thirdly Hamdan al Maktoum has a shed load of 10F 3yo colts but runs just this one. I think Paul Hanagan and Mulk could well outrun their odds.
Thursday 3.05 ABDON Tercentenary Stakes (Group 3)
Here we go with the Next Best and you won’t have to wait long for the Nap. Frankie Dettori rides and no problem with trip and ground I think this horse has been laid out for a race Stoute has farmed over the years. Quality opposition in the likes of Blue de Vega, Hawkbill and Royal Artillery.
Right up there with hen’s teeth and Haley’s Comet this a Stoute first time up 2yo winner! Al Shaqab racing paid £175K for this son of Cacique, not a sire I know. His breeding suggests he’s a 10F candidate and he debuted on Soft ground at Newbury over a mile which suggests he may get further. He has an entry in the Dante and a 33/1 quote for the Epsom Derby. Unfancied on debut at 12/1 the RP analysis suggests he made a mockery of that price, “Dwelt, held up in rear, progress from halfway going well, shaken up to chase leader over 1f out, pushed into lead inside final furlong, ran green but won cosily”. Typical of Sir Michael we haven’t seen this colt since. COULD BE ANYTHING! This is a hot listed race has to be a Watching Brief. 2nd 9/2 On only his second start he was awkward out of the stalls and keen through the first furlong but soon settled, travelled but wanted more cover. The winner got first run and Abdon couldn’t claw it back. Been given a tough opening OR102. Suggests it will be Listed and above, 10F+. Entries in the Dante, the Derby and the Tercentenary and Edward VII at Royal Ascot.
Thursday 3.40 QUEENS TRUST Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies)
A Cheveley Park homebred daughter of Dansili was a visually impressive winner of her 2yo 7F maiden last season when powering down the Kempton home straight. On the back of that and less than three weeks later she was sent off 9/4 Fav for the G3 Oh So Sharp stakes and was a one paced fifth beaten just four lengths. On 3yo debut she was an unlucky fourth in a 10F Listed race at Newbury. RP Analysis “Held up towards rear, headway on inner over 2f out, looking for room then hampered 1f out, ran on final furlong (op 11/2) “. It looks like she is heading for the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, G2 12F for 3yo fillies, the Ascot “Oaks”! OR96
According to the handicapper she has 18lbs to find with Hugo Palmer’s Oaks second, Architecture, but this race is all about rapidly improving middle distance 3yo fillies. Wily Frenchman Olivier Peslier gets the leg up and must have an each way shout.
Thursday 3.40 SHALL WE Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies)
Homebred Niarchos Family filly by Dansili out of a Sadlers Wells mare. Promising hands and heels debut last November over 8F at Chelmsford, travelled well, outpaced top of straight, kept on when only Khaleesy was too good. Opened her 3yo campaign up in grade and trip and was a strong second travelling well throughout the race and just failing to pick up the all the way leader, Rocaverde. Had a very winnable opportunity in a 10F C5 maiden at Salisbury. 1st EvsFav Tall, leggy filly. Last in stalls, out well, led on rail, wound it up from 3F out, comfortably. OR89 0-90 10F 3yo fillies handicap? Has an entry in the G2 12F Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot. Win races or Black Type?
According to the handicapper she has 25lbs (!?!) to find with Hugo Palmer’s Oaks second, Architecture, but this race is all about rapidly improving middle distance 3yo fillies. Uncle Ted Durcan gets the leg up and must have an each way shout.
Thursday 5.00 MUSTASHRY Britannia Stakes (Heritage Handicap) (Colts & Geldings)
Right here we go Nap time. Only run three times, fourth as a 2yo on the AW in late October showing bundles of promise, dwelt, travelled so easily, picked up late. More education on his second run in April this year when awkward at the bends on the AW at Chelmsford, but travels oh so smoothly and kept Taqdeer honest to the line. Writ large in my notes it said “Winner Waiting To Happen in an 8F maiden.” Sure enough they chose to go to Thirsk.
1st 10/11F Strange market with this favourite drifting to 6/5 (before being backed in again). Always in box seat, hacked up. My notes again screamed “OR95 seems a tad on the high side? Mind you if he is a Group horse he could win a big handicap off that mark!” Both parents of Mustashry acted on Soft ground and I think this race is at the right time in this horse’s career on the way upwards and drawn in stall 14 is fine. Alistair Down recently interviewed Sir Michael Stoute and when asked about Royal Ascot 2016 Sir Michael Stoute allegedly gave a one word answer “Mustashry”! SMS has never been too bothered about handicap marks but I don’t think he can resist this one. 10/1 will do just dandy!!
Thursday 5.35 SHRAAOH King George V Stakes (Handicap)
Al Shaqab paid £175K for this son of Sea the Stars. Went in my tracker after the Craven Meeting when sixth in the Wood Ditton behind Sky Kingdom. “Shraaoh on whom Frankie Dettori was ensuring he learnt on the job. …. will improve for further.” “Donohoe takes the ride at Nottingham. The price is big enough to tempt me. 3rd 7/1 Midfield, progress turning for home, asked 3F out, kept on well for third to stable mate Poets Word. The further the better and probably wants 12F.” Readily won his C5 10F maiden at Newcastle on the Tapeta and goes handicapping off OR91. He will undoubtedly be better than that in time but this race, now? I am not sure. Ground may be a concern but stall 4 is a positive.
Thursday 5.35 PLATITUDE King George V Stakes (Handicap)
Bred in the purple by Juddmonte a son of Dansili out of a Sadlers Wells mare. Won on debut in a C5 7f maiden at Doncaster and soundly beaten in two Listed races. OR of just 97 and beaten into 5th on the AW in a C2 conditions race when last seen in September. Hardly the form to win the Listed Dee Stakes? So interesting that Stoute puts Platitude in, who should enjoy the step up to 10F. 4th 16/1 Has now been gelded. Pushed early up to third. Probably too much too soon as had every chance at the top of Chesters home straight. Still kept on well and beaten about three lengths in a race where “they were breaking the fractions throughout”. OR9799 A bit harsh to go up 2lbs and it will be interesting to see where he is entered next. Royal Ascot handicap? Yes and Ryan Moore rides. Trip fine, ground OK but that draw of stall 18 of 18!! Has to have a chance!