After a hugely prosperous day for the punters on the opening day of Royal Ascot we’ve assembled three more selections to tighten the grip on the bookies’ purses.
NAP – Sky Lantern (4:25 – Duke Of Cambridge Stakes)
Richard Hannon’s classy 1000 Guineas winner finished stone last on his latest outing but like The Fugue below, nothing went right for her at Sha Tin and that performance can be confidently forgotten.
Instead focus should be on the four-year-old’s exploits back on home soil where only once – when hampered repeatedly when travelling the best at Goodwood – has she failed to finish in the first two from all her outings in Britain, an incredible sequence of 11 races.
None in the field can boast that level of constant form and the noises from Herridge Stables are emanating all the notes you would ever want to hear.
Main rivals Integral and Esoterique, who were split by only a neck in the Dahlia Stakes most recently will most likely represent the stiffest opposition but that form is unlikely to be anything like what the selection has posted in the past and looks set to produce again.
NB – That Is The Spirit (2:30 – Jersey Stakes)
David O’Meara’s unbeaten charge has taken each of his increasingly difficult assignments in his stride and should be supported to belie his odds here.
The son of Invincible Spirit would be shorter in the betting if the winning margin between himself and Parbold had been wider than the ‘nse’ verdict but partner Daniel Tudhope never got that serious with him and if ever such a small winning distance could be comfortable this was it.
There is no doubt that further improvement will be required but O’Meara’s handling achievements are littered with such examples and it would be disappointing if stepping up to Group company was completely beyond him.
Lively Longshot – The Fugue (3:45 – Prince of Wales’s Stakes)
The Fugue was soundly beaten in this race last year by the then unstoppable Al Kazeem and although she now has to overcome an even greater rival there is reason to be optimistic.
John Gosden’s star will have to overcome spectacular Arc de Triomphe winner Treve, who makes her British debut and although a great performance by the French raider would probably be beyond the daughter of Dansili, at the very least she should be able to follow her home for a small profit.
Treve deserves to be odds-on as although she lost her unbeaten tag on reappearing this season it was to a horse that was on the verge of completing a Group 1 hat-trick in the form of her incredible countryman Cirrus Des Aigles. However, The Fugue – who has never been out of the money at the Berkshire course – should be well positioned to take advantage of any slip-ups from the favourite or the two horses, Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Magician and the hugely consistent Mukhadram, who are ahead in the betting.
The Fugue was last seen when only beating two home in the Hong Kong Mile last December but connections are understandably keen to put a line through that episode after travel and conditions conspired against her.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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