12:40 Silver Wokingham
I’m not in favour of these ‘consolation’ races at a meeting as prestigious as this, but on this occasion it provides one of my strongest fancies of the week in the shape of Blue Mist. Roger Charlton used to have a reputation for successfully dropping a horse down in trip, both Patavellian and Tamarisk converted from milers into Group 1 winning sprinters. Blue Mist seems unlikely to scale those heights, but he has never looked short of speed and could find improvement dropping to 6 furlongs for the first time. Recent rainfall is no issue for him and he should be able to avoid trouble in running from stall 20 if they continue to come up the middle, his 3 Ascot outings have all resulted in cracking performances. Louie De Palma is a straightforward trailblazer and went well repeatedly in top sprint handicaps last term off similar handicap marks, he looks a solid e/w bet and is worth a saver.
Selection: Blue Mist, Saver: Louie De Palma each-way
1:15 Queen Mary Stakes
More Beautiful has had her price smashed for this since the entries came out and its easy to see why, she’s a daughter of the prolific 2yo winner Maybe and hacked up in a deep looking race on her debut at Naas. She encounters softer ground here though and that is a slight concern, I couldn’t back her at the prices. Fellow Irish raider Dickiedooda was also successful on her debut at the Curragh. She wasn’t nearly as impressive, but with plenty of soft ground winners in her pedigree and a hefty double figure price readily available she gets my vote. Jessie Harrington produced a hatful of fine juvenile fillies last season, perhaps she has unearthed another gem.
1:50 Coventry Stakes
Hard to whittle this field down with so many bringing eye catching but untested form to the table. Lauded is the one with exposure to an easy racing surface and he put good distance between himself and his rivals at Haydock. It’s notable that when big spending owners came calling with the chequebook that his existing owners (including trainer Tom Dascombe) elected to only sell a half-share in the colt, suggesting they have high hopes for his future; his dam improved with each of her early starts at 2. Young trainer Archie Watson has an outstanding record with his juveniles and his Igotatext looks a big price and well worth saving on. His Lingfield form got a boost when a horse who finished more than 10 lengths in arrears won well at Chelmsford the other day.
Selection: Lauded, Saver: Igotatext
2:25 Coronation Stakes
A decent renewal on paper, with the ground proving perhaps the key factor. The rain will bring Run Wild’s proven stamina into play and Alpine Star and Love Locket have also posted strong form on an easy surface. I suspect the ground will be drying rapidly by Saturday afternoon though and should become suitable for Quadrilateral. The proven class act as a Group 1 winner, I felt she was unsuited by a relatively steady gallop in the 1000 Guineas and with a few potential front runners in place here she can improve upon that and reverse form with Cloak Of Spirits. All of the 7 are potential winners though and involvement should be kept light.
3:00 St James’s Palace Stakes
A small but highly select field for this contest and Guineas 2nd and 3rd Wichita and Pinatubo reoppose and head the market. Charlie Appleby has sounded quite bullish about Pinatubo since Newmarket and on slightly softer ground I think he can reverse that form. Both have plenty to fear from the opposition though, with Palace Pier prominent in the betting stepping up in grade for the strong Dettori/Gosden combo. I like the claims of comparative outsider Positive, a horse who arrives here fresh and targeted specifically at this contest. He held his own in the highest company last season, notably fending off Guineas winner Kameko in the Solario Stakes at Sandown and was evidently not thought to have handled the Rowley Mile when disappointing in the Dewhurst, hence his Guineas swerve. He has always been held in the highest regard by connections and his form ties in closely with the much shorter priced market leaders.
3:35 Diamond Jubilee Stakes
A Third Group 1 in a row and another fascinating contest with the exciting Sceptical the market leader. The recent rain has to be a slight concern for his chances, and it seems to boost the claims of his key rivals, notably One Master. Initially trained as a miler (and a high class one at that) but showing her best form last autumn when winning the Prix Foret on Arc day at Longchamp and then unlucky not to back it up with success in the Champions Sprint over this c&d. She is a daughter of the speedball Enticing and looks likely to be fully effective over this trip going forward, she has a touch of class and its interesting that connections have kept her in training at 6 despite her status as a highly prized breeding asset. She is evidently expected to go on improving and the hint should be taken. I love The Tin Man, but he might need a career best at the age of 8 to take this and I just can’t quite bring myself to support him with cash.
Selection: One Master
4:10 Wokingham Stakes
Not surprising to see money for the unexposed Bielsa after the rain arrived, but he seems a short enough price in such a competitive race and I prefer the claims of Gulliver who seems to have been laid out for this contest. A talented but quirky sort in his younger days, David O’Meara has gradually found the key with him and profitable 12 months has yielded 3 wins. He looks fairly treated despite his run of form and will be a lot better for a warmup spin at Newmarket when his stable were well out of form (now going very well); Ryan Moore steps in for the ride and looks a good fit for the horse. Another northern-trained runner to appeal at a big price was Mr.Lupton who also reappeared with a low key preparatory spin at the Guineas meeting. Given a chance by the handicapper of late, he lost his way last season but ran a sound race in the Group 3 Abernant Stakes last time and has a touch of class that his rivals do not.
Selections: Gulliver & Mr Lupton
4:40 Queen Alexandra Stakes
A poor race without the usually potent Irish challenge. Mekong must be a doubtful runner after his exertions in Thursday’s Gold Cup, but even if taking his chance it seems a hellish ask to go for over 5 miles in 2 days on unseasonably claggy ground. I much prefer the chances of Who Dares Wins, a marvellous stalwart with a catalogue of wins under both codes and at a variety of trips. He posted 6 fine, consistent efforts on the level last season and a repetition of even the worst of those would make him very hard to beat indeed. His fine 5th in the Pertemps Final of 2018 virtually guarantees his stamina for this gruelling contest. He is a very confident final pick of the meeting.
Selection: Who Dares Wins