Royal Ascot 2017 - Day 4
Alpha Centauri was well supported into favouritism on debut and obliged in fine style. She faced a couple of rivals she had beaten convincingly on debut when following up in a Listed race at Naas but she extended her superiority over them. She is a scopey individual and could well progress into one of the leading juvenile fillies this season.
Fairyland represents Wesley Ward, who has already enjoyed notable success here this week. She won well on her only start at Keeneland and despite showing a huge amount of pace, her pedigree suggests that she should be suited to this step up to 6f. Clemmie is a full-sister to the brilliant Churchill. She was a real eye-catcher on her debut when slowly away, showing signs of greenness and looking ill-at-ease on rain softened ground before rattling home to get within half a length of the eventual winner. Her brother was also beaten on his debut before winning the Chesham on his second start at this meeting last year and it would be no surprise to see his sister provide a similar result.
At bigger prices, the French raider Different League rates as an intriguing prospect. A comfortable victor on both of her career starts to date at Lyon Parilly and Angers, she has shown enough speed and talent to suggest she won’t be out of her depth in this company.
Crystal Ocean was the subject of talk in the antepost markets for the Investec Derby following his impressive maiden success at Nottingham. His run thereafter in the Dante placed him down as very much as a work in progress and his trainer decided he would skip the Investec Derby. He ran a race full of promise in the Dante, shaping as if the additional yardage would be in his favour and he has a good chance of emulating his half-brother, Hillstar, who won this race for the same connections back in 2013.
Sir John Lavery was a bitter disappointment when sent off a short-priced favourite in the Lingfield Derby Trial back in May. It may be unwise to take that at face value as it was almost too bad to be true. He looks a short enough price for this race on the back of that effort but given his trainer persists, it suggests he is capable of much better.
Salouen endured a torrid passage in the Investec Derby, clipping heels and hitting a whole host of traffic and was undoubtedly better than bare result. He has some high-class form to his name and if enjoying the run of this race this time around, he has the ability to go close in a contest of this nature.
This race and the structure around it has proven a brilliant addition to the racing calendar, providing a wide range of options for three-year-old sprinters. Muhaarar and Quiet Reflection have won the first two renewals of this race and both have gone on to win all age Group 1 sprints. In addition, beaten horses such as Limato and Profitable have also followed suit and won all age Group 1 sprints.
This race revolves around the excellent Caravaggio, unbeaten in four starts as a juvenile, including a resounding success in the Coventry at this meeting last year. He returned to action at Naas last month delivering a mighty performance and if he runs to this level he will have no trouble making light work of this opposition.
Perhaps the sternest challenge will come from Harry Angel, who has been purchased by Godolphin since his impressive success in the Sandy Lane at Haydock Park. He was victorious on only his second career start in the Mill Reef last year but was beaten by the re-opposing Blue Point on his seasonal reappearance here at Ascot after a lengthy break. Harry Angel has greater scope for improvement after only four starts and should manage to reverse that form with Blue Point.
Winter has been a revelation since joining Aidan O’Brien from the since retired David Wachman. She won the QICPO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket decisively before following up with consummate ease at the Curragh in the Irish equivalent. If she maintains that level of form, there shouldn’t be anything in here that troubles her.
Precieuse stepped up massively on her previous form when moving up to the mile for the first time to win the French 1000 Guineas. There could be plenty more to come from her over this trip, however her best form has come on soft ground and she is yet prove herself under quicker conditions.
Dabyah was a notable absentee in the French 1000 Guineas after her Fred Darling success. She picked up a minor setback prior to that target and arrives here fresher than some of her rivals. Given her high-class juvenile form, she may be one who hits the frame.
In what looks a very open looking race, Desert Skyline has been shaping as if he would appreciate a test of stamina after finding the line coming too soon on both starts over 10f this season. He is a half-brother to a 1m6f winner and his dam won a Group 2 over 1m4f. He is also the highest rated of these and won’t have any issues with the ground and has plenty in his favour.
Count Octave ran a strange race behind Venice Beach and subsequent Investec Derby winner Wings Of Eagles in the Chester Vase. He was poorly positioned for the majority of the race and lacked the tactical speed to get involved, where he stayed on in to a distant fifth behind the winner. Returned to a more conventional track and with an extra 2f to run over, he can take another step forward.
Will Her Majesty The Queen enjoy a winner at the Royal meeting? She looks to have a very strong chance here with Mainstream. He was a model of consistency last year but somewhat frustrating with a string of placed efforts. He was gelded over the winter and returned with a fine effort at Newmarket behind the classy Frontiersman. That should tee him up nicely for this with conditions in his favour.
Sixties Groove was a highly progressive horse last year, recording three handicap victories. He returned at Epsom on Investec Derby day and ran a nice race over a mile, a trip which would have been short of his optimum. Returned to a more suitable trip, he can show he is still a well-treated horse.
Lastly, don’t forget that you collect Rewards4Racing points on all your Ascot bets with Betfred. Check out some of the latest offers from Betfred here:
If you don’t already have an account with Betfred, when you sign-up and bet £5 on the first race at Royal Ascot, you’ll get a £5 free bet to use on the remaining five races day. Plus, you’ll also collect £20 in Rewards4Racing points!