THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
June 19, 2021 Lee Bolingbroke

Back to 1986 for the headline today, courtesy of Europe, which presages the last day of Royal Ascot.

Assuming you are all now awake after sitting through the England-Scotland match, we start with a look at the Chesham Stakes at 2.30, which has a field of 10, headed in the betting by the AO’B trained Port Lonsdale at 13-8.

This son of Australia made his racecourse debut just 17 days ago, powering home by five and a half lengths at the Curragh, after which his esteemed trainer commented that today’s race had always been the target.

To have an unraced horse thought good enough for Royal Ascot and then seeing it win so easily is quite something and we should take the hint and back it to get us off to a good start.

The Jersey Stakes at 3.05 has 19 runners still standing and, at 11-2 the field we will ‘dutch’ this race, starting with Naval Crown.

Charlie Appleby‘s colt finished a close 4th in the 2000 Guineas when last seen, won’t mind the drop back to 7f and ran well on his only encounter with a soft surface. Group 1 form in a Group 3 is well worth having and he rates a decent each way bet at 10-1.

Our other pick is Light Refrain, who is stepping up to 7f for the first time, after a fast finishing 4th over six in a Group 2 at Haddock last time out. Soft ground holds no fears for William‘s girl and the 12-1 on offer seems fair.

In the Hardwicke Stakes at 3.40, just 10 of the original 15 runners stand their ground but the price of Albaflora still has enough juice in it to warrant an each way bet, so that’s what we’ll do.

Ralph Beckett‘s filly was most impressive on seasonal debut when storming away with a Listed race over CD, winning by 7 lengths on similar ground to today’s with a subsequent Group winner trailing in her wake. Albaflora could be said to have disappointed next time, when only 4th at Epsom, but that was a Group 1, the ground wasn’t soft and it wasn’t Ascot.

Take the 5-1 each way, please.

The Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at 4.20 has the seemingly evergreen Dream Of Dreams installed as the 11-4 favourite, but, although the highest rated horse in the line-up, we can’t help but think this is not the gelding’s track, having been beaten in all six previous visits.

We prefer the chances of Glen Shiel, ridden by the fragrant Hollie and Nahaarr, ridden by the fragrant Hollie‘s other half, the slightly less fragrant Tom.

Let’s hope they fight it out at 13-2 and 9-2 respectively.

First handicap is at 5.00, the simple to solve Wokingham Stakes, the field for which is down to a mere 21 runners as we write.

We think that Punchbowl Flyer ticks just about all the boxes for this contest and recommend an each way bet at 14-1.

The Golden Gates Stakes Handicap at 5.35 features a runner for which we have been waiting and here it is.

Foxes Tales opened his 3-y-o campaign with a smooth win at Newbury, after which he contested a Listed race at Chester, in which he was completely at sea on that unique configuration. However, having got well behind, FT made impressive headway in the final straight to finish on the hooves of a 107 rated runner and now runs in his first handicap off a mark of 93.

Honestly, we could be wrong about this, but, on the other hand, we could be right and, at 8-1 we make it our bet of the day.

The whole kit and caboodle closes with the marathon Queen Alexandra Stakes at 6.10, which has a field of 17.

However, this is not a handicap, so not that many of the runners have any chance of winning.

One that does is the highly progressive Stag Horn, which improved no less than 32lbs last season and showed there was more to come with an opening 4th in a Group 3 at the end of April. Goes on the ground and stays really well, so could be another for Hollie. We’ll take the 9-2 each way.

Until next time……

Summary:

Port Londsdale 2.30 Ascot 3pts win @ 13-8

Naval Crown 3.05 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 10-1 (5 places)

Light Refrain 3.05 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 12-1 (5 places)

Albaflora 3.40 Ascot 1.5pts e/w @ 5-1

Glen Shiel 4.20 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 13-2 (4 places)

Nahaarr 4.20 Ascot 1.5pts e/w @ 9-2 (4 places)

Punchbowl Flyer 5.00 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 14-1 (7 places Paddy/Skybet)

Foxes Tales 5.35 Ascot 2pts e/w @ 8-1 (5 places)

Stag Horn 6.10 Ascot 1.5pts e/w @ 9-2 (4 places Hills/bet365)

 

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