Day 2 of the Royal Ascot fun-fest sees the Prince of Wales’s Stakes take centre stage at 4.20 and there is over £400 grand up for grabs.
This ten furlong event has attracted a high class field as would be expected and the globe-trotting Highland Reel is the 5-2 favourite to give Aiden You-Know-Who yet another big win. This 5-y-o’s last four wins have all been at Group 1 level, but, perhaps significantly, also over twelve furlongs and the drop in trip is an unknown factor which you just don’t need at that sort of price.
Jack Hobbs has crossed euphemistic swords with Highland Reel twice before and on both occasions Mr Gosden’s charge has come out well on top. The latest match up was in the Sheema Classic at Meydan in March, when Jack picked up a cool £3million for the Boys in Blue with a 2+ length victory. Highland Reel was way back in 7th that day, with connections blaming the rain softened ground and although there are no worries on that score today, that race was Jack Hobbs’s first run after a lay-off and only his second since suffering a pelvic fracture in April last year.
With the blinkers retained and that man Buick on board, our starting point today is a bash on Jack Hobbs at 100-30.
The card kicks off with the Jersey Stakes over 7f at 2.30 with two horses dominating the early betting. Josephine Gordon is the chosen rider for Saeed Bin Suroor’s Dream Castle, who was last seen finishing a fine 5th in the 2000 Guineas after chasing home yesterday’s hero Barney Roy at Newbury.
Good though that form is, the form of the Andre Fabre trained Le Brivido looks even better, having just been touched off by the subsequent Prix du Jockey Club winner Brametot in the French Guineas. The drop down to 7f today is a massive plus for this horse and, with his trainer expressing no doubts about the faster surface, a decent win bet at 3-1 can get the proceedings off to a healthy start.
The Queen Mary Stakes at 3.05 is a Group 2 5f burn up for 2-y-o fillies and I have it on good authority that there are no pigeons left anywhere near Wesley Ward’s stable as Happy Like A Fool has caught them all.
This daughter of Distorted Humour has been installed as the even money favourite in a field of 24 and at that price is unbackable. There’s a good argument for leaving this race alone, but, if you must, try a small e/w on Mrs Gallacher at 14-1.
In the absence of the withdrawn favourite Laugh Aloud, the Duke of Cambridge Stakes at 3.40 looks at the mercy of the French-trained Qemah from the all-conquering stable of Jean-Claude Rouget.
Easy winner of the Coronation Stakes at this meeting last year, Qemah was given an appalling ride by the injured mad Italian on her comeback, but showed enough to think she can take care of this field without much fuss. A dual Group 1 winner, running in a Group 2 without a penalty, the 2-1 on offer could look a steal at 3.42pm.
The card closes with two handicaps and, like yesterday, we give up on the 5.35, but there are two e/w shouts to be mentioned in the Royal Hunt Cup at 5.00.
Firstly, George William from the Hannon yard has been unlucky not to land at least one big handicap already this season and with any sort of good fortune in running will surely go close today. 11-1 are the odds of reward.
Having given a 33-1 shot yesterday which was touched off by a head, we will have another go with the appropriately named Another Touch for Richard Fahey. This horse comfortable saw off Kaspersky last time out and that horse did no harm to the form by finishing 5th to Ribchester yesterday. A first visit to Ascot for Connor Murtagh, this improving 4-y-o could out-run its odds, which are the aforementioned double carpet.
Back with more tomorrow.