Day One was all about what might have been for us, folks, as we had six horses placed from seven selections.
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Day Two is a tricky card and I have gone for some big prices.
2.30 QUEEN MARY STAKES (GROUP 2) FILLIES 5F
NYMPHADORA really impressed me at York last time when she landed the Marygate Fillies Listed race, getting the better of Canonized who has come out and won since.
She showed that she had really come on plenty from her first run and travelled strongly throughout.
The ground will be slightly quicker this time around but I really don’t see that being an issue. The Balding team are in decent form and are coming here after landing the Coventry Stakes on Day One with Berkshire Shadow.
This filly is well worth her step up in grade and I think she will be tough to keep out of the frame with luck in running.
3.05 QUEENS VASE (GROUP 2) 1M 6F
One of the most interesting runners on the day for me is the Joseph O’Brien-trained and JP Mc Manus-owned BENAUD who really impressed with a last-to-first victory last time out at Naas.
That really suggested to me that there is plenty more to come from this horse and the booking of Colin Keane really catches the eye.
The one question mark that might be something of an issue is how quick the ground will get and whether he will be able to handle it. Both his wins have come with some juice in the ground, but I think with plenty of stamina in reserve he could be one staying on late.
He is improving all the time and looks a solid each-way proposition here.
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3.40 DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE STAKES (GROUP 2) 1M
Jessica Harrington and Shane Foley team up with a very smart filly in VALERIA MESSALINA and, with the ground in her favour, I think she could run a very big race.
She was only beaten a short head at Goodwood last season on good to firm ground behind One Master, who subsequently went on to become a Group One winner so a reproduction of anything like that form should see her go close.
First time out this season there is no doubt that the ground was against her where she finished last of six behind Epona Plays.
That should have set her up nicely for a tilt at Group company, and at a nice double-figure price I think she is a filly to pay close attention to in the market.
Should go close with luck in running.
4.20 PRINCE OF WALES’S STAKES (GROUP 1) 1M 2F
This is a tricky puzzle to solve but I think race fitness might be key so I’m leaning more towards ARMORY for Aidan O’Brien and Seamus Heffernan.
This horse really impressed me under Ryan Moore at Chester where he got the job done with the minimum of fuss and looked like he is capable of stepping up on what he achieved there.
He kept on strongly on that occasion and, if he can improve off the back of that, he might just get the run of things here.
He will have a little bit to find on ratings with his stablemate Love but I think he is improving at a rate of knots and could be one to follow this season.
His second in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley showed the world that he has plenty of ability. I think this is where this colt will announce himself and we will hopefully see a very good performance. Love hasn’t run for 300 days and I would be happy to take her on.
Armory takes plenty of beating here.
5.00 ROYAL HUNT CUP (HERITAGE HANDICAP) 1M
This race is a minefield handicap and picking the winner of it can be tough with the big field. Mick Channon has his team in fine form and he has a very interesting runner here in TRAIS FLUORS.
This gelding was formerly trained by Andre Fabre in France and then spent some time with Ken Condon in Ireland.
The most noticeable thing for me is that this horse won on Saturday last at Sandown and, watching the race back, suggested to me that he was value for a little more than the margin suggested.
The draw will be key in a race like this and this horse is drawn high in stall 28. He is still nicely treated in terms of the form he has shown earlier in his career so, if he can improve off the back of last weekend’s victory, then he could go close with luck in running.
All we can hope for in this race is that he is drawn on the correct side.
5.35 WINDSOR CASTLE STAKES (LISTED RACE) 5F
Rod Millman and David Probert will team up with AMAZONIAN DREAM and I think that this colt could be slightly overpriced based on what he has shown so far in his career.
He finished a very close second on debut behind subsequent Coventry Stakes-winner Berkshire Shadow (yesterday at Royal Ascot) so that shows that piece of form in a very good light, and if he can come back to that I think he will run a big race.
He was too keen second-time up behind Flaming Rib and was unlucky in running last time.
He will have to get back to the form of his debut run, but if he can then he might be one to run on and snatch a place at a big price.
6.10 KENSINGTON PALACE STAKES (HANDICAP) 7F
Ed Walker has his team in excellent form in the last fourteen days with seven winners and he will hopefully get another on the board here with DREAMLOPER.
This filly has done nothing much wrong in her career to date and finished second behind Lights On, who reopposes today, last time out.
Dreamloper will get an extra pound for a short head defeat so I would expect her to reverse the form.
She is also a course winner and, with the excellent Oisin Murphy on board, I think she is going to take all the beating here.