Royal Ascot Lucky 15: Standalone French raider to bounce back

The greatest Flat racing show on earth is well underway, with superstar two-year-old in the making Buratino for Mark Johnston, Freddie Head’s French raider Solow and Aidan O’Brien’s Gleneagles marching off with the headlines on Day One.

We’ll be marking your card during the week with a Lucky 15 everyday. Here’s Wednesday’s offering:

15.05, Queen Mary Stakes – Cry Me A River

Veteran handler Tommy Stack, who rode Red Rum to his third and final Grand National win in 1977, doesn’t have too many horses in training these days, but the 79-year-old has been useful at Royal Ascot in recent seasons, winning the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes with Lolly For Dolly four years ago.

Stack’s regular jockey Wayne Lordan is booked aboard this two-year-old, whose form has taken something of a hit following Round Two’s Coventry Stakes failure, but still looks a fair prospect here based on his debut fourth at the Curragh last month.

15.40, Duke Of Cambridge Stakes – Cladocera

Michael Stoute’s Integral sets the standard here, after taking this last year by 2l on similar ground, but the mount of Ryan Moore is a bit short at around 1/1, having failed to finish in the first three in three of her past four runs.

French trainer Andre Royer-Dupre has only brought one horse to Royal Ascot this year, and Cladocera won her first two races of 2015, both at Meydan in Dubai, before finding Solow far too good at the same track in March.

After Solow’s fine Queen Anne Stakes victory, that 6l loss doesn’t look so bad, and Christophe Soumillon following Royer-Dupre over for the ride is a big plus.

16.05, Prince Of Wales’s Stakes – Free Eagle

Gold Cup favourite Forgotten Rules is many punters’ idea of a Dermot Weld hotpot at Royal Ascot, but with concerns about how quick the ground will be by Thursday, you wouldn’t want to go too mad on the five-year-old.

The same can’t be said of Free Eagle, who has won two of four starts in a lightly-raced career so far, on good and good-to-firm ground, only going down to 2013 Derby winner Australia 21 months ago at Leopardstown, and when third to Noble Mission on heavy ground in last October’s Ascot Champions Stakes.

He looks worth another go here.

17.00, Royal Hunt Cup – Temptress

A real pin-sticker of a 30-runner handicap, as just one favourite has taken this over the past 10 renewals, with eight winners coming in at 11/1 or more during that run.

The same number also came from at least halfway down the card, with around 9st the average winning weight. Five of the past eight have been four-year-old’s, so James Doyle’s mount Temptress, carrying 8-12, looks as good a guess as any for trainer Roger Charlton.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Iain Houten

Iain has been contributing pieces to various websites on an array of subjects, including sports, politics and art, for over four years. Despite blue being his favourite colour, the teams he supports all wear red.