Find all previous Seymour Biz racing previews in his weekly column: Saturday Horse Racing Tips
The ITV presenters have been working really hard to make the coverage of Royal Ascot a success and I think that on the whole they have succeeded. The racing has been wonderful and this year and the focus has been on the horses, jockeys and trainers with one or two owners thrown in instead of the fashion parade or witless ‘celebrities’ with no knowledge of racing being interviewed. The nearest ITV could get to the Royal Family was Mike and Zara Tindall, granddaughter of the Queen, being interviewed in their Ascot outfits in their garden. They must have been paid well to look so silly.
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So we can look forward to Saturday when the racing on television starts with the Coventry Stakes at 1.50 and I am looking forward to seeing Aidan O’Brien’s Admiral Nelson who looks a 2-year-old superstar. The highlight of the afternoon is the St James’s Palace Stakes where Pinatubo looks to redeem himself after his defeat in the 2000 Gns, I think he can and will be more suited by the course at Ascot than he was at Newmarket. I have highlighted the other four races below including the Wokingham and they make up this week’s Lucky Fifteen.
Seymour Biz Royal Ascot Lucky Fifteen
- 2.25. Cloak Of Spirits
- 3.35. Hello Youmzain
- 4.10. Mr Lupton
- 4.40. Who Dares Wins
Beginning with the 2.25 the Coronation Stakes, the 3-year-old fillies mile. This race has been dominated by the French and Irish trainers over the last five years with no home trained winner in sight but I can see this year being different with a strong home contingent. There is no entrant from across the Channel but there is one from across the Atlantic in the shape of Graham Motion’s Sharing. She was a winner at Santa Anita in the Breeders Cup last November and won at Churchill Downs in May in preparation for this, it now depends how she has coped with the journey and copes with Ascot itself. Roger Charlton’s Quadrilateral is the current favourite after being unbeaten in three races as a 2-year-old but she has well beaten in the 1000Gns a fortnight ago when she could finish only third. Aidan O’Brien has a strong hand, as can only to be expected here with Love Locket and So Wonderful but the former has not been seen since winning at Leopardstown last June and So Wonderful is still a maiden. The filly who ran second in the 1000gns is Richard Hannon’s Cloak Of Spirits and she is my choice here. I don’t think she was suited by Newmarket’s straight mile and she has won here at Ascot over 7f last July and may well be good enough to take this prestigious contest.
At 3.35 it’s time for the top sprinters with the 6f Diamond Jubilee Stakes and we have a great field for this. The favourite for this is Denis Hogan ‘s Sceptical who is unbeaten this year after three victories in Ireland but this is a massive step up in class for this raider and I just cannot see him being good enough against these Group 1 horses. Sir Michael Stoute’s Dream Of Dreams was second in this last year but he has done very little since and seems in nothing like last year’s form. The Tin Man won this in 2017 and he is a triple winner at Ascot but he has not won since 2018 despite a determined effort in the Haydock Sprint Cup last September. The winner of that race was Hello Youmzain who had several of these behind him that day and he will relish some cut in the ground. Trainer Kevin Ryan says of him “he’s got stronger at four, he’s in great order and has been able to do all his work”. Other Group 1 winners in the field are Sands Of Mali and One Master, the latter looks the best of this pair and trainer William Haggas will be praying for rain for his charge, but it’s Hello Youmzain for me.
We have the annual 6f charge at 4.10, the great spectacle that is the Wokingham Stakes. This handicap has Kevin Ryan’s Bielsa at the head of the market, a winner of four of his five outings the latest at Doncaster last October on heavy ground. Highland Dress from Archie Watson’s yard has won twice this year latterly at Newmarket two weeks ago, but this is a much classier contest. Mubakker won on the all-weather at Newcastle at the beginning of this month and trainer Sir Michael Stoute sends him here in good form but he has only ever won on sand. Mr Lupton is a class animal having run in Group company for trainer Richard Fahey. He ran fourth at Newmarket at the start of this month on his seasonal debut and is proven at the distance, he should put up a good performance. But the one I also like is Roger Varian’s Spanish City, he has been plying his trade at 7f but drops back in distance here and is low enough in the handicap to be able to challenge for honours at a nice price, but the nod just goes to Mr Lupton.
At 4.40 is the Queen Alexandra Stakes, the longest race in the flat calendar it is run over just short of 2m 6f and hence is targeted by many jumps trainers. One of which is Ian Williams and he saddles one of the favourites with The Grand Visir who won here at Ascot last June but he hasn’t run since last October when finishing third in a hurdle race at Worcester. Adrrastos from Jamie Snowden’s yard is having his first run on the flat, he has some good jump form but 2m 2f seems his optimum distance. Nate The Great is fancied in some quarters but Andrew Balding’s gelding has not won since his two year old career, this seems a big ask. Jamie Osborne’s Mekong has wintered in the Middle East running twice out there without success, this trip is a mile further than he has previously tackled. But one horse who should have no problem with the distance is Alan King’s Who Dares Wins who ran creditably at Cheltenham over 3m 1f in March. His flat form has some good moments including a victory on the all-weather at Newcastle last June, his last run was at Newmarket where he was beaten just 12 lengths behind Stratum in last year’s Cesarewitch in October. A reproduction of that form would see him go very close.
Seymour Biz Royal Ascot Lucky Fifteen
2.25. Cloak Of Spirits
3.35. Hello Youmzain
4.10. Mr Lupton
4.40. Who Dares Wins