Good evening from the Major who writes from a Worcestershire country scene where the heavy air settles uncertainly around me.
Tuesday was not a good day. Losses are one thing but the way I decided against 20/1 winner War Command on the mere whim of Coventry winners being generally a lot shorter in the market… it sounds as daft as it looks now typing it. Still, below I have prepared the Wednesday card and absolutely, one hundred percent, without question or hesitation, guarantee you nothing, nothing at all, other than the inner most thoughts of the swirling dark vortex of my mind.
War Command was the most exhilarating display of Tuesday simply blasting clear from the field, SHABASH! and coming home in glorious isolation – He is 10/1 for next years Guineas with Ladbrokes. Yet for me, as eye-poppingly sexy as that performance was, it plays second fiddle to the return to the top of Dawn Approach.
His win lacked the spike of adrenaline one feels from a horse, clearly superior, surging clear of a defeated field… no, it was for rather different reasons that I thought it was a rather famous Royal Ascot performance. Like the derby, Dawn approach pulled hard and I feared the worst but unlike the derby, he did finally settle. There was some interference that effected Toranado slightly more than Dawn Approach but the two of the settled down to a traditional eye to eye, nostril searing, lung bursting battle to the post. Dawn Approach prevailed.
Was he the better horse? Yes. Wait, I hear Toranado fans cry, Major, we must object, you have already ceded that Dawn approach suffered less bumping and won by a nose, surely there is a moral victory for Toranado?
Well no. You see, when it gets to fight time, when the bell rings, talent and running fast is one thing but I have no doubt that Dawn Approach worried Toranado out of it. Well done, Dawn Approach, you gave us a race that shows off the magic of our sport, the backstory, the talent, the raw athleticism and, in the end, the heart. To quote Kipling;
And so hold on when there is nothing in you, except the will which says to them ‘Hold on’!
Wednesday… the Major needs to tip some winners, I know. I rely on your good will. All I can promise are a few simple truths that hopefully you can carry with you during our barren runs. I always follow what I write up. I have no deals with bookmakers, there are never any affiliate links, or adverts – I get offers from time to time but this blog is just for us. What I ask from you is that you act like gentleman, if you cannot manage that, please leave.
To Wednesday and the tips of glory.
Wednesday Ascot Tips
The Jersey Stakes
The Jersey Stakes is a bit of a consolation prize in many ways. Not that anyone would bemoan or underestimate the value of a Group 3 prize but these horses are the ones that are not quite top draw.
Tawhid has been travelling already with the Godolphin horse contesting in Germany – of some interest. Gale Force Ten competed in the French 2,000 guineas and I am a bit surprised he is being dropped in trip, I won’t be on the favourite.
Garswood was the great northern hope in our guineas but disappointed a bit after being supported. The trainers comments suggest he was still a baby and might be seen better here.
My eye settles on two. At a massive 20/1 price, Ajraam looks a real likely sort having won the Wood Ditton and then beating a very useful looking sort in Henry the Aviator. My second selection is the French raider Mutin – Surely to goodness, this horse has made the trip with victoire in mind and I want to be on at 15/2. If you want one, go with our Gaelic friend.
The Duke of Cambridge Stakes
Duntle is very unlucky not to have a Group one to her name after losing the Matron Stakes to a stewards decision. She looks likely to go off favourite here. She did win the Sandringham last year and has clearly been upgrading since, of serious interest.
I think we can get her beat though and I am looking at Thistle Bird, Dank and Chigun. This lot have raced each other twice already and it is a score to Dank, a score to Chigun and a blank to date for Thistle Bird.
I like Thistle Bird but think the other two edge it. The problem then is I cannot split Queally and Moore easily… I mean if push come to shove, I prefer Moore but they are both class pilots.
The fine balance though falls in favour of Dank on grounds that when beating Chigun, she was giving 3lbs.
Prince of Wales Stakes
Then the one we have been waiting for. Al Kazeem versus Camelot. I have to admit that I was caught out by Al Kazeem giving a good beating to Camelot last time out. There were no obvious extenuating circumstances, in fact, Al Kazeem was the one with something in hand so it is surprising to see them again jostling for position at the head of the market.
To be honest, that is where my search starts and finish for the winner of the Prince of Wales. I mean, you can make a case for the French one, Maxios who has looked good at Longchamp this term. I think the main threat is The Fugue, the Nassau was amazing
I was very taken with Al Kazeem and he is reportedly Arc bound, all being well – His trainer has always thought the most of him and I think 9/4 is a tremendous price.
Royal Hunt Cup
If you get to the Royal Hunt Cup and are in need of a winner, you know you are in trouble.
Stirring Ballad will be the first port of call for many ships in the Ascot maelstrom. Trainer Balding declared him his best chance of the week and given that man knows how to win a handicap like this, many have taken a keen interest.
I am going to take a risk on there being a story in it’s own right. I am backing Burke’s Rock at 16/1 with Frankie Dettori, to rise like a phoenix and remind us of some of his former Ascot exploits. This filly has a good draw and while you cannot be too confident in the Royal Hunt, I shall have a slice.
Reroute is both the Pricewise horse and my own selection after recording an eye-catching time on racecourse debut last Friday at York. Much of the early evening value has gone but 8/1, you want to be involved, you know it!
The Sandringham is another head twisting puzzle, a mass of horses coming down the straight course,
You would do better than simply to back Bracing Breeze who is sent over y the Weld team. His Ascot runners are small in number but high on success and Pricewise has already suggested this as a likely winner.
Zurigha would have been high on my list but has to contend with draw 8. The middle stalls are OK but lower middle is definitely a hindrance, Bracing Breeze is next door so both have some work to do.
The Major is opting for Mango Diva, 6/1 who is the best drawn of the horses I fancy. Ryan Moore does the steering and like many of those lining up, has plenty of potential improvement.
Courage, luck and I hope we have a better day two.