Good morning from a bright and grey Worcestershire as the Major rises, licking his wounds and opening the Ascot cards with a trepidation born from a week of losses.
The Major has struggled badly this week, lumbering on clumsily, stumbling blindly and lashing out wounded and hurt. The troubling thing is that this poor run is not bad luck, I have been consistently wrong in the thinking. If a few 25/1 shots had finished out of the places and our 3/1 sorts were beaten by a nose then I would take some succor from the outrageous slings and arrows of fortune. As it is, I have no place to hide. If you have been backing them with me, what can I say? Thank god, those that frequent the Major require no apology, it is not how we work. Neither do I expect your thanks…
I provide thoughts, free. You get to open the top of my skull and extract from the darkly fertile material. The product is often unhinged but it is yours to do with as you please. When you act and back a horse, then this is your choice. I take no responsibility for your action so any credit is yours as is the invoice of loss.
However, I need something special today to rise like the phoenix, to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Just a decent day would do for me, nothing dramatic, something I could cling to Dunkirk style. Something I could attach the virtue of victory to.
Royal Ascot Saturday Tips
The Chesham is always an exciting affair and Bunker is the present favourite after winning his Haydock race is fabulous style. When he got down to work he quickly parted company from the rest… Hannon and Hughes have only one dart at this and they could have had many so you would imagine he has a good chance.
Ballydoyle only have one bullet too and their Friendship only managed third on debut but I am sure will leave that well behind.
It pays to stick with those that are prominent in the market and for the Major, this is simple. Bunker looked far the most impressive, have a slice.
The Hardwicke is a race that always makes me think of Harbinger who was a stunning winner of the 2010 renewal. It was such a shame that he was injured seriously and forced to retire as I had him chalked up as that years Arc winner and would have loved to have seen if I was right!
You cannot ignore the recent Hardwicke record of Stoute who lines up with Sir John Hawkwood. I am not that enamoured by the form but anything with Moore aboard at the moment has to be respected. Can the handicapper step up?
Noble Mission has had the moniker of Frankels brother thrust upon him on every racecourse appearance. He is clearly a very decent horse but seemingly no better than that. Seems harsh that he should be heavily criticised for only being listed class but the Major thinks that is where his level is.
I am convinced the winner is from Ektihaam and Sir John Hawkwood. I am backing the latter as it is available at 9/1 with Betvictor. I also advise a reverse forecast on the pair.
The Diamond Jubilee Stakes is always the plan for Society Rock. He has won the race, been placed in it and been a fifth in recent years. His fifth was a little unlucky in my view having been drawn the wrong side to get at Black Caviar. At 9/2, he is a fair chance. This race throws up some surprises though. There is not a right age to be, draw is important but more so to be on the pace side than anything… Plenty of big priced winners have had success and Reply is one for me that might just improve from the generally available 33/1 chance he is branded with here. He will be fine with conditions and is drawn where I would like…
Duke of Firenze was impressive at Epsom, getting up nicely with the Moore drive. He is well drawn and should go well in the Wokingham. The race normally goes to a classier sort nearer the top of the weights aged 4-5. Duke of Firenze meets that bracket too. He is also ridden by Moore who, as I have already stated, is the best jockey riding this week. What is not to like? I am also having a saver on Rex Impersonator who gets Callen and has a chance if finally showing the true potential.
The Duke of Edinburgh is the penultimate race and I want a progressive looking beast. As such, I am supporting Lahaag, 9/1, who was only just pipped at York and looked very useful last season. I can’t leave Sir Graham Wade, 25/1, alone in this either as I remain convinced the horse has a damn good win or two to come.
I am closing a disastrous Royal Ascot out with a bet on the favourite in the Queen Alexandra. Since Shahwardi was runner up last year to none other than Simenon, who almost stopped the Queens estimate Gold Cup party earlier in the week, it is fair to assume Shahwardi will take some stopping and frankly, I am surprised it is 7/2.
The Martin Hill Lucky 15 is Shahwardi, Sir John Hawkwood, Bunker and Lahaag…
Courage, roll those dice.