Royal Ascot Day Three
14:30 Crispy Cat 0.5pts each way, 11/1. (4 places) Unfortunate not to be 3/3, this horse won on debut despite market uncertainty, going off at 5/2 after opening at 6/4. He made all that day and nearly followed that up in the Listed Gain Flier stakes, being collared on the line by Blackbeard, who was a decent fourth in the Coventry on Tuesday. He was unfortunate again to run into Maria Branwell in the National Stakes at Sandown, again being headed close home by the filly. I backed her for the opening race on Tuesday and she certainly did the form no harm, running a decent enough third. Crispy Cat won on Good ground for his debut and the following two starts were Yielding and Good to Soft, with a return to rattling ground he could be hard to peg back from the front. At 14/1 I think he would be a quarter of that price had he not been pipped in his previous two starts. 15:05 Flying Dolphin 0.5pts each way, 16/1. 6 places A tough-looking race, I’ve sided with an unexposed runner for Johnny Murtagh. Only making his debut as a three-year-old this April, he got within a length of Boundless Ocean who has experience on side, including a 3 length defeat in Group Three Company. He’s subsequently gone on to finish 3rd and 2nd in a Group Three and Listed contests respectively. There were three other winners to come out of that race and the form looks decent. His next start he ran 3rd in another strong-looking Maiden, the winner, Martinstown, holding numerous fancy entries and a potentially smart one. It was a bunched finish that day and the 2nd, Point Gellibrand, had been thought highly enough of, to run in a Group Two at 2. Third time lucky, Flying Dolphin finally got his win next time out staying on best to win easily over just shy of 1 mile 2. The step-up in trip could suit him and a mark of 92 could underestimate him. 18/1 and 6 places make him an excellent bet to my mind. 15:40 History 8/1 1pt win. Despite only having run over a mile or shorter, I think History is a filly who has been crying out for a step up in trip. Getting up close home she beat a good marker in Agartha in a group three over a mile. She then looked badly outpaced in the Irish Guineas but was only 13/2 for that race. With entries in the Eclipse, Irish Oaks and King George, it wouldn’t surprise me if this extra distance sees this filly to better effect. Aidan O’Brien has had a quiet start to the week, but at 15/2 this looks an open enough race and the price is too big to turn down. 16:20 Kyprios 7/4 2pt win. Returning from a long absence this year, Kyprios has looked like a different horse now tackling staying trips, his return victory, giving weight to dual Irish St Leger winner, and his full brother, Search For A Song, was particularly impressive. Before he backed that up in a, admittedly weak, Group Three. Though he blew that field away by 14 lengths, the 2nd is nowhere near the standard he faces here, he himself is a three-time listed 2nd horse. His other full brother is Chester Cup winner Falcon Eight, and it’s not unreasonable to think this extreme distance could bring out even more from this horse. With Stradivarius bulletproof Aura shattered in the last year or so, and Trueshan wanting softer ground. Nearly 2/1 for this horse could look very big after the race. 17:00 Sed Maarib 0.5pts each way, 66/1. (4 Places) A horse that I actually backed a few times over in Meydan this spring, he has some interesting pieces of form. When he was 2, he chased home French 2000 Guineas winner, Modern Games as well as picking up a 4 lengths win in a novice race despite the jockey losing his irons. Not a straightforward horse by any means, his form in Dubai this year doesn’t include any wins, but he was twice placed as well as finishing fourth in a listed contest. Despite missing the break he stayed on to finish just half a length of subsequent listed winner, Sovereign Prince in a 7-furlong contest. He was then fourth in a Meydan Derby trial, again staying on well from the rear. Next was the listed fourth, finishing just a head behind New Science. New Science has been a very good horse for Godolphin, beating Reach For The Moon on debut, winning a listed race at Ascot and going off just 11/10 for a French group three, where he was only beaten 2 lengths. He is also a two-time listed winner, most recently winning a listed handicap off a mark of 108. Sed Maarib runs off of 94 Tomorrow and finished just a head back from New Science off of level weights, his hold-up style to finish with a rattle is ideal for Ascot and a nice high draw could be good too. At 50/1 I think he is being massively underrated and could run on into a place, especially with extra places being offered. 17:35 No bet. 18:10 - 6/7 places Path Of Thunder 0.5pts each way, 20/1 & Ropey Guest 0.5pts each way 33/1.
Back down to his last winning mark of 105, I think Path of Thunder could be one who will love this fast ground. The win came earlier this year in Meydan over 7 furlongs, when you look at the field it was actually quite a good piece of form. In second was Moqtarreb who had won a listed race on his previous run; Group Three winner La Barrosa was in 3rd. He was receiving just 2lbs from next time out Group One winner, Alfareq, whom he finished 3.5 lengths ahead of. Alfareq was in turn a length clear of one-time Guineas hope, One Ruler. His next start was in a Grade Two, where he was far from disgraced, finishing just 5 lengths behind the brilliant Real World. Another good run with a third place in a decent conditions race out there ended a productive spring campaign. Returning to the UK, he went off as the favourite in a three-runner listed race, finishing two lengths behind Group Two winner, Happy Power. He then finished last in the Victoria Cup, but was drawn on the wrong side and never really got involved in the race. Most recently he ran fourth in a good York handicap, which represents a return to better form. Dropped a further 1lb to the same mark as that Dubai win, and is drawn much better tomorrow. The 20/1 on offer could be a nice price.
The second play in the race for me is Ropey Guest. 5th in the Victoria Cup he was drawn on the wrong side but ran on well close home. He also finished just 2 lengths off the winner in the Coventry as a 2-year-old despite being 200/1 that day. He recently ran 4th in a listed contest and is back down to his last winning mark.