Going: GOOD Distance: 2m 4f
GOLD CUP RACE OVERVIEW >>
This looks like an excellent opportunity for Westerner to land the Gold Cup, with Vinnie Roe representing his biggest threat, while Percussionist and Barolo could go well at bigger prices. The Elie Slot Malaysia six-year-old looked better than ever when scoring at Longchamp on his seasonal return, having already won four Group 1 races during the course of his career. Basically, he is very useful, being a stayer with a turn of foot. He also finished second in last year’s Gold Cup and, with his earplug problems now seemingly behind him, looks set to run a big race today.
Papineau beat him in the Gold Cup last year, but the Godolphin representative has had an interrupted preparation for today’s race and might need the run.
There will be no such problems for the four-time Irish St Leger and Melbourne Cup winner, Vinnie Roe, and he represents a big threat.
Others that could run well at bigger prices are Percussionist and Barolo, while Fight Your Corner won the Henry II Stakes last time in good style and it will be interesting to see if the Yorkshire Cup winner Franklins Gardens will stay this extended trip, and Darasim and Mr Dinos were third and sixth in the Gold Cup last year, although the latter has not been see on the track since.
Finally, it will be interesting to see how Darsalam fares back in England as he has looked an improved performer of late. Overall, though, Westerner gets a solid vote.
16:20 Royal Ascot at York Britannia Stakes (Handicap)
Going: GOOD Distance: 1m
BRITTANIA STAKES RACE OVERVIEW >>
This is probably not as competitive as it might initially look and we like the look of Mostashaar ahead of Enforcer, Notability, Hawkes Bay, Sky Crusader and Enforcer.
Quite simply, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained selection should still be unbeaten. He met trouble in running at Chester last time, but for which he would have won. Much as he has been raised five pounds for that effort, he could conceivably still be well-weighted. We will take that view anyway. He is also seven pounds better off for the length-and-a-quarter that Notability, who we also rate as competitive here, beat him at the Roodeye, which also helps.
Hawkes Bay has not run since a very good third at Newmarket in April, but a repeat of that type of form means he has to be considered.
Prize Fighter’s Sandown effort on Saturday affords him some respect, while Sky Crusader’s Epsom run proved that he was on the up and he too is respected, and Enforcer scored decisively at Epsom last time and a five-pounds rise looks fair, so we like him too.
Of the others, do not rule out good runs from Elusive Double and Brecon Beacon in first-time headgear but, for the winner, we will stick with Mostashaar.
16:55 Royal Ascot at York Hampton Court Stakes (Listed)
Going: GOOD Distance: 1m 2f 88yds
HAMPTON COURT STAKES RACE OVERVIEW >>
In a tricky but interesting affair, we will side Belenus had of Zalongo, Forward Move and Indigo Cat. Much as he finished behind Indigo Cat in the Prestige Stakes on his seasonal return, Belenus can build on that promising effort as he would have needed the run and is highly-rated by his connections.
However, the chance of Indigo Cat is also respected.
Forward Move is also well-regarded, and he ran ran well when fourth to Gypsy King in the Dee Stakes last time and would be a very popular winner for Her Majesty The Queen. However, he was half-a-length behind Zalongo in that race, but two lengths ahead of Mordor.
Glen Ida disappointed last time but had run well in Sandown’s Classic Trial the time before, and blinkers plus any more rain could and would, respectively, help his chance. With Profit’s Reality looking held, we return to the selection, which is Belenus.
17:30 Royal Ascot at York Buckingham Palace Stakes (Handicap)
Going: GOOD TO FIRM Distance: 7f
BUCKINHAM STAKES RACE OVERVIEW >>
Given that a low draw might be more beneficial here, we will shortlist Khabfair, Millennium Force, Moayed, Cardinal Venture, Uhoomagoo and Bahiano, but side with Fantasy Believer.
The case for the selection Fantasy Believer goes like this. He has won from a two-pound higher mark in the past, looked to be coming to hand last time, is reasonably well drawn and Kieren Fallon has been booked to ride. The case rests.
Khabfair looked progressive last year and, still lightly raced, looks set to go well from what is not a bad mark.
Millennium Force is very useful on his day and he is now edging back towards a winning mark. He looks the stronger of the Mick Channon pair.
Irish raider King Jock could be interesting if running to his Nad al Sheba form, while Zilch is not on a bad mark and, with his form looking fair, might go well from a good draw.
Moayed is holding his form well and, particularly based on his Lingfield fourth to Ifraaj last time at Lingfield, has solid claims although the draw could have been kinder, a similar comment applying to Look Here’s Carol, who can be given a squeak.
Well-drawn, Cardinal Venture is competitively weighted, while Uhoomagoo, who has been allotted stall one, has caught the eye on a couple of occasions this season and could well get amongst the money.
Bahiano is the type that can get amongst the money in this type of race and comes here on the back of a good Epsom run, while the lightly-raced Stetchworth Prince is another to consider. Overall, though, we will side with Fantasy Believer.