UK Racing with a preview of Day Five of Royal Ascot

Sean Trivass with his preview of Day Five of Royal Ascot on Saturday.


So far this week the two-year-old races have not been kind to me, but we soldier on regardless. Bedtime Story represent the Aiden O’Brien stable and she gets 5lb from her male rivals here, but at 9/4, she is not for me regardless. 

Duke of Monroth cost 260,000Gns at the Arqana Breeze-up sales and could be the surprise package despite his lack of experience, but at 9/2 I am going to be a touch more cowardly and back Age Of Gold each way instead. He cost 625,000 Euros as a yearling when bought by Godolphin and made a winning debut for Charlie Appleby at Yarmouth where he was slowly away before being produced by William Buick to quicken up nicely and go on to score by a length and a quarter. 

The seventh furlong here looks ideal for the son of Frankel as does the quicker ground, and although the Charlie Appleby stable have had a few setbacks this week, I am hoping he can bring a smile back to the faces of the boys in blue.  


The fact that St Leger winner Continuous is as short as he is despite not being seen since a fifth in the Arc on the first of October last year says more about the lack of depth here than anything else though the is no denying he is a class act when they have him right. He is officially rated 5lb or more superior to all of his rivals here and is, to be far, the likeliest winner, and much as I don’t like suggesting a 13/8 returning from such a long layoff, I cannot find anything to oppose him with at an each way price.  Missed The Cut was considered but the American challenger has only been winning in Grade 3 company suggesting this may be beyond him, while Middle Earth seems to be improving, but 5/2 is not an each way price. 


Not a race I like at all, and if it was not Royal Ascot, I doubt I would give it the time of day – Group One or not. If I had to have a bet (and I don’t), then a little each way on Believing may pay out if the four-year-old filly has recovered from her efforts when fourth in the King Charles III Stakes on Tuesday. Beaten a length and a half at the line when keeping on well over the five furlongs, the sixth here looks ideal, and if Danny Tudhope can plot a good course late on she may get up in the shadow of the post. Mill Stream heads the market after winning despite seeing daylight at the last possible moment at Haydock and he can go well but overall, I see this as more of a race to watch than one to seriously bet in.     


Seven furlongs here for something a little different, and I do expect to see a much better run from Night Raider, who pulled too hard to ever see out the mile in the 2000 guineas, and who should be happier over this trip if he does not boil over pre-race. He can go well at an each way price, but the clear form pick has to be Aidan O’Brien’s River Tiber, possibly my idea of the best bet of the day. 

He looked as if he would improve for the run when sent to the Irish 2000 Guineas but did better than I expected when third to Rosallion and Haatem, with the winner franking the form in the St James’s Palace Stakes and the runner-up in opposition, but 3lb worse off this afternoon for a length. The seven furlongs may well suit the son of Wootton Basset the better of the two, especially when you remember he was never tried over further than six furlongs as a juvenile, and if Ryan Moore can conjure up a run when needed, he will do for me.  


One of the trickiest handicaps of the week and one where we will have another go at analysing it statistically using the last 15 years (14 runnings) in the hope they point us in the right direction. Only one of the last 14 winners came from a stall lower than nine which surprised me, and only one has been older than five. All bar one were officially rated higher than 97, and all bar one were rated 109 or lower. Sadly that only gets rid of  20 (including the early reserves) but 10 will hopefully be that little bit easier to work with.  Of those remaining, only Flaming Rib and Rocket Rodney have won a handicap off their current marks or higher, suggesting that IF they are at their peak they have the best chances, and as the first named is now having his third start after being gelded, I’ll take the risk each way to pennies at a price around the 28/1 mark.  


One last handicap thank goodness and this time and with only four races of history to work with where do I start. 

Winners at 5/2f, 13/2, and two at 20/1 tell us nothing useful at all, but the winner has to be in here – somewhere. Dambuster ran on well to win on soft ground at Beverley and is bred to be more effective on this surface as a son of Kingman, but the Andrew Balding yard have seen too many reverses already this week, and others appeal more. 

Old Faithful looks the sort to need coaxing to the front under Ryan Moore, winning his last two by a short-head and a neck, and there is every chance he has more to offer off his current mark, but Hand Of God may land the odds for Harry Charlton and William Buick. He ran on well over the stiff mile at Sandown and loos all set to be even better over the mile and a quarter here, though whether he tries to make all and repel all challengers once more is an interesting question.   


A marathon to end the week and the return of last year’s winner Dawn Rising, who clearly has no stamina questions to answer. Last time out over a mile and three-quarter he was five lengths behind runner-up Queenstown in a race taken by Gold Cup winner Kyprios, and as he faces the Aidan O’Brien gelding on 4lb worse terms here, I have to fancy the chances of the Ballydoyle runner. 

He would be the first four-year-old to win since 2008, and his stamina does have to be taken on trust, but a length defeat to an all-time great last time out means I cannot desert him here regardless. Tashkhan is best in at the weights on official ratings and is another to consider, alongside the lightly raced Uxmal who may have more to offer.

Track conditions and form for Saturday’s meeting at Royal Ascot.

The first race of seven race broadcast commences at 11.30pm AEST on Sky Racing and Thoroughbred Central.

Form includes Racing And Sports complete form service from basic field details to useful tools such as Ratings, Neurals, Time Report Tables and Worksheets.

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Another Group 1 victory for Tom Marquand after guiding Porto Fortuna in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot on Friday, picture Liesl King