Saturday Horse Racing Preview & Tips – 23rd June – Growl Back On The Prowl

Richard Fahey’s Oasis Dream-sired gelding is without a win since 2016, but Seymour Biz reckons the horse has what it takes to land the Wokingham this weekend.

Saturday’s racing at Ascot wasn’t always called “Royal” it was known as Ascot Heath and was a chance for the the great unwashed to experience the racing as the lords and ladies had mostly gone home. Not so these days as we have another cracking days racing for everyone to enjoy with two 2-year-old races, the longest race of the flat season, a fabulous heritage handicap and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. Television is concentrating solely on Ascot so I must ignore the other great summer meetings at Redcar, Haydock, Newmarket and Ayr. The last four races on the card look the most exciting so I will look to these for this weeks Lucky Fifteen.

Firstly at 3.40 is the Windsor Castle Stakes and all the top stables are represented with their star 2-year-olds. This 5 furlong dash has also attracted horse from Ireland, France and the USA, with Wesley Ward from America fielding the favourite in Moolight Romance. This filly bolted up at Belmont Park when racing on turf for the first time and trainer Ward has won this race on two previous occasions in 2009 and 2014 so Moonlight Romance should not be overlooked. William Haggas’s dual winner Queen Of Bermuda looks a very interesting contender. In her last race at Windsor at the beginning of the month she made all and drew well clear of her rivals, winning by 3 and 3/4 lengths. She really looks something. Charlie Hills runs Mutawaffer who won over 6f last time at Goodwood, Hills states he has natural speed and champion jockey Jim Crowley has the ride. Aidan O’Brien has several declared the best of which is probably Van Beethoven. The Irish challenger I prefer is Joseph O’Brien’s Dom Carlos, a four length winner at The Curragh last timer, cited as a slow learner by his trainer, he should go very well. The main French challenger is Junius Brutus from Matthieu Palussiere’s yard. He has won both his starts by 5 lengths and goes off like a rocket even causing him to stumble on his second start. He may have too much speed for even this tremendously top class field.

At 4.20 the Diamond Jubilee Stakes has the top class speedster Harry Angel and I cannot see anything beyond him. His latest victory at York was completed without looking in any danger and  trainer, Clive Cox, said “there was a bit of freshness but I know he’ll improve for the run”. Redkirk Warrior from Australia is in the race, the well travelled 7 -year-old has been reported to have done well on gallops. He will need to transfer that to the racecourse. Aidan O’Brien’s Merchant Navy started his career in Australia and won well on his first run in Ireland, he would need to be special to take this. Last years winner The Tin Man was also a good winner on his reappearance at Windsor and although his best runs have come at Ascot, I think he will have to settle for second best this year.

There will another huge field for the Wokingham Stakes Handicap at 5.00 and the draw is always a concern, I feel a horse needs to be drawn high although I was shot down last year when the winner came from stall 1! A case can be put for any number of horses here, the bookies favour John Gosden’s Dreamfield and three wins from three runs Is certainly excellent form. However he never ran as a three year old due to injuries and after winning here in a handicap in May has not run since, I wonder why he did not take on the Temple Stakes at Haydock as a precursor to this. Mr Lupton had a fine victory for Richard Fahey at York, but that was his first win since May last year. At a big price Spring Loaded could go very well first time out, he was a good second at York last time with a lot of his opponents here behind him. But I will nail my colours to the mast with Growl. He was only three lengths behind Harry Angel in the July Cup, Richard Fahey gave him a run at Chester on a course that didn’t suit him and this astute trainer will have him spot on for this now he has dropped down the handicap.

Finally, the last hurrah is the Queen Alexandra Stakes at 5.35. This marathon over 2m 5f 143yds has a few jumps trainers sending their best hurdlers into the fray. The favourite is Willie Mullins’s Thomas Hobson, the winner of last years Ascot Stakes and second in this race. He has been unable to add to his tally for since and at 6/4 is a very short price so I will look elsewhere for value. Mullins could run Whiskey Sour again after Tuesday’s exertions in the Ascot Cup, he also has several other declarations. But I will look to Mark Johnston’s Time To Study, this is a step up in distance but he seems to have been crying out for that. He has been highly tried and was a good second here in early May to Tocedor following that up lately with two fourths at Sandown and York, the latter a Listed race. He can go well in this company over a longer distance.

Saturday Ascot Lucky 15

3.40. Junius Brutus

4.20. Harry Angel

5.00. Growl

5.35. Time To Study


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