Three days have come and gone in the Royal Ascot meeting for 2021 which means that there are two days remaining, beginning on Friday where another fantastic card has been put together to get stuck into.
The Commonwealth Cup is one of the headline attractions on the fourth day of the meeting. We’ve picked out a bet for that and for three of the other top quality races on what should be a wonderful day at the Berkshire track.
2.30 Royal Ascot: Albany Stakes
The opener on Friday is a 6 furlong event for 2 year old fillies &, for once, we have no representation from the yard of US trainer Wesley Ward. Dettori rides the favourite for the Crisford’s & he’s on Flotus who made a good impression in winning on her only start at Goodwood. She was impressive that day & could easily build on that performance. Hello You, Ralph Beckett’s filly, was equally exciting in winning on the all weather & being out of Pivotal, should be suited by this switch to turf when the ground is now on the soft side.
However, at a bigger price, I like the chances of Cachet who, like the 2 aforementioned fillies, is 1 win from 1 run after winning a Newmarket novice event by 5 lengths. Only 2 horses in the field have recorded a better RPR on debut & that’s the 2 market leaders and the way she picked up & ran on at Newmarket suggests the stiffer test of Ascot will suit. There were signs of greenness too so I expect her to find some improvement. Add to that, her yard is having a terrific season with 2 years old, a record of 13 winners from 33 runners on turf is unlikely to have been bettered anywhere in the country. All in all, she looks to have a very good chance and cannot go unbacked at her current odds.
Back Cachet (e/w) for a 0.75/10 stake at 15.00 Paddy Power BOG (⅕ odds 1-5)
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3.40 Royal Ascot: Commonwealth Cup
As always, this is a cracking Group 1 contest over the straight 6 furlongs but I’ll be honest, I don’t see an outstanding sprinter amongst them. Dettori rides another favourite, this time for Wesley Ward, in Campanelle & she’s 3 from 3 over sprint trips including at this meeting 12 months ago. However, the US trainer hasn’t had the best week & his record over anything bar the minimum trip at this meeting is questionable. Suesa has won 4 from 4 for his French yard & could be anything but I’m not sure what she’s beat & it’s a tough ask for a filly to beat the boys in this.
Dragon Symbol cannot be easily dismissed but I fancy Jumby to take a big step up in class in his stride. A winner here on debut over further, he’s looked very progressive this term since dropping back to sprinting. First time up at Newmarket, he got no sort of run when finishing 3rd & looked a winner in waiting after that. We didn’t have to wait long for that win to be realised as he then won a nice handicap at the same track accounting for 13 rivals in style. He picked up nicely to narrowly deny Jadwal although he was always doing enough & the pair came clear of the rest of the field. The 3rd, 4th & 5th have all come out & won since including Perotto who won the big handicap yesterday, the Britannia Stakes. Being out of New Bay, he should relish any juice in the ground & whilst it’s admittedly a much better race here than he’s been contesting, he’s very much on the up & should go close.
Back Jumby (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 11.00 Betfair Sportsbook BOG (⅕ odds 1-5)
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5.00 Royal Ascot: Sandringham Stakes Handicap
A 26 runner handicap over a mile for 3 year old fillies is one of the most competitive races of the week. Johnny Murtagh saddles the favourite in Create Belief & her chances have been enhanced by the rain but her mark looks stiff & she doesn’t look an obvious winner. Samoot is improving although disappointing last time & Friendly comes here after racing in the Irish 1000 Guineas last time.
My pick is Pomelo who is running in a handicap for the first time. This likeable filly is also having her first run of the campaign but her shrewd yard wouldn’t be putting her in if they didn’t feel like she do herself justice. She was ultra impressive on debut when hacking up by 5 lengths which prompted connections to throw her into a Group 3 at Goodwood. She went off a well backed 5/4 favourite but ultimately proved a massive disappointment after running far too freely. Switched to the all weather, she then resumed winning ways, again in nice style by 2 lengths where she gave 7lbs to all of her rivals. Likely to enjoy the ground & with a jockey on top that is excellent on prominent racing types, she looks a big price in an open race.
Back Pomelo (e/w) for a 0.75/10 stake at 17.00 Skybet BOG (⅕ odds 1-7)
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6.10 Royal Ascot: Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes Handicap
The last race of the day is a 5 furlong sprint handicap for 3 year olds. Boomshalaa heads the market after a pair of wins this term but there’s a question mark over the ground whilst Mo Celita is on a 6 timer & will relish the rain that has arrived. Oisin Murphy takes over from 5lb claimer Laura Coughlan who has struck up such a good relationship with the horse & that is a slight concern despite the much stronger handling.
I’m siding with 2 here, the first of which is Popmaster. After winning both starts as a 2 year old on the all weather, his form this year reads 3-2-2, the 2 defeats by a neck or less. In the first of those runs, he was 3rd behind Rohaan in receipt of 7lbs. The winner has since won twice in Group company, the latest a Group 2, & is now rated 112. Our horse gets in here off 90. His 2 narrow defeats since have come on unsuitably firm ground & this switch to soft ground should be a massive help, giving his breeding. His RPRs are very progressive & he looks ahead of his mark. One concern is his tendency to start slowly but this 5 furlong trip is pretty stiff & you’d have to hope he has plenty of time to put that right. At the likely odds, he’s well worth an each way bet in a race paying 6 places.
Rebel At Dawn is my final bet & he holds no secrets from the handicapper having raced 14 times already in his career. Stand out bits of form as a 2 year old include a 3rd in a Goodwood handicap where winner Acklam Express was in receipt of 8lbs & is now rated 110 (our horse is off 92) whilst one placed behind in 4th in Winter Power who is now rated 114. He was then just behind 3 more 100+ rated horses in the Ballyhane over in Ireland. He’s continued in fine form this form, 3rd behind Atalis Bay on reappearance ahead of Warrior Brave who is one of the favourites for this. He was then 3rd behind Jumby in a Newmarket handicap who is one of the favourites for the Commonwealth Cup, finishing one place in front of Britannia winner Perotto. On all known form lines, he’s sure to give his running & must be in the final shake-up.
Back Popmaster (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 12.00 William Hill BOG (⅕ odds 1-6)
Back Rebel At Dawn (e/w) for a 0.75/10 stake at 29.00 William Hill BOG (⅕ odds 1-6)
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