ROYAL ASCOT DAY 4 PREVIEW – Latest markets available on BarOneRacing.com
1.15 PALACE OF HOLYROODHOUSE HANDICAP (We pay 5 places)
KEEP BUSY trained by John Quinn looks a very interesting runner here based on her listed placed second last weekend behind Lazuli. The favourite for this race Art Power is certainly progressive but I have to question his place at the head of the market. Just in terms of handicap marks Keep Busy looks to have the stronger form.
Lazuli is now rated 111 and Dream Shot who was third is rated 104. If you take that run at face value then Keep Busy looks well in off a mark of 96. The one thing that I like about this filly is that she is battle hardened. She has had plenty of races. She wont mind the ground and the high draw could well suit her. She looks solid each way value here and will give us a decent run.
1.50 ALBANY STAKES (GROUP 3) (We pay 4 places)
After there win yesterday with Highland Chief, Rossa Ryan and the Paul Cole team will be going into this race full of confidence. I am of the opinion that their filly here VALPOLICELLA is far too big in the market judged on her debut success. She was an unconsidered 20/1 shot on her debut but done the job very nicely and looked like she would come on plenty for the run. Any filly that can win first time out at Newmarket will have a bright future and she will be my each way selection here.
2.25 NORFOLK STAKES (GROUP 2)
IMPERIAL FORCE could be just like his stablemate Tactical who won on Wednesday and improve off the back of a nice debut run and be a lot more streetwise this time around. Imperial Force did absolutely nothing wrong on debut and for me he was just beaten by a better horse on the day.
He drops back in trip here and I think that will really suit. He challenged two furlongs out on his debut and looked to get outstayed close home.
In terms of this race it will be run at a faster pace as Wesley Ward has runners sp that could suit this strong travelling sort. I expect him to go very close and he looks a big price at the minute on what he has achieved so far.
3.00 HARDWICKE STAKES (GROUP 2)
Aidan O’Brien will be looking to ANTHONY VAN DYCK to get him into the winners enclosure here and he has a very strong chance on doing so. I was really taken with his run in the Coronation Cup at Newmarket where he ultimately split two exceptional performers in Ghaiyyath and Stradivarius. Stradivarius produced a demolition job here yesterday so that gives the form a solid look to it.
Anthony Van Dyck himself is an exceptional racehorse as he is an Epsom Derby winner. He drops down to Group Two company here and I think the track and ground will be no issue to him. He stayed on very strongly last time out and he will strip much fitter here without doubt. His prize money so far in his career is 1.1 million and I cant see anything getting close to him. Massive run expected.
3.35 COMMONWEALTH CUP (GROUP 1) (We pay 4 places)
For those who read my previews on a regular basis ye will be well aware that I am a fan of LOPE Y FERNANDEZ and that won’t change here as I think the quick return after the Irish 2000 Guineas could suit him well. Last weekend he came with his run down the outside and hit the front and just didn’t see out the trip. He drops back to 6f and that can see him in a much better light.
The form of his Chesham run at Royal Ascot got another nice boost when Highland Chief was successful on Thursday. This horse was successful in the Round Tower stakes at the Curragh over 6f and seen the back of Pinatubo on a couple of occasions over slightly further. Ballydoyle obviously thought he would get a mile so I am very intrigued with the drop back in trip here. The form is there in the book and he will be very hard to keep out of the frame.
4.10 QUEENS VASE (GROUP 2)
This looks a very tricky race as there is plenty of untapped potential in it. While nothing really stands out at the head of the market the Andrew Balding trained PUNCTUATION might just give the Queen her second winner on the week. I really think there was something amiss with this horse last time out at Newmarket as he was in trouble a long way from home and never travelled.
On his maiden win over 1m 3f he would be a major contender here and I am happy to have a small play at the prices. He absolutely routed the field at Kempton on his maiden success and won by an ever widening 11 lengths. If they can get him back to something like that form then he looks a massive price. I don’t think stamina will be an issue and with question marks over others in the race he will be my selection.
4.40 DUKE OF EDINBURGH STAKES (We pay 5 places)
It might be a quick double here for trainer Andrew Balding as JOHNNY DRAMA is one of his representatives in a very competitive handicap. This horse was formerly trained by Ger Lyons and finished down the field in this race last year when well fancied with Colin Keane on board. He is only a pound higher in the handicap this time around and I think he might be a better horse when he is fresh.
We haven’t seen him for 251 days and with Joshua Bryan claiming three pound off his back he is sure to go very close with luck in running. There is plenty of worries over stamina but I don’t see that being an issue as he made all to win over 1m 2f at Roscommon. He would be a solid each-way shout in another tricky handicap.