Andrea Atzeni: Royal Ascot Day 1 Preview

14:30 Queen Anne Stakes

Inspiral flopped on Champions Day when last seen but on her best form she will be very hard to beat here, especially if she turns up like she did when winning the Coronation at the meeting last year. You have to respect Modern Games, as a four times Group 1 winner including a Breeders’ Cup, but I am not sure how strong the Lockinge form actually is. He beat good horses Chindit and Berkshire Shadow, who reoppose, but it was an open race, and it didn’t look the strongest Group 1. If the mare turns up in good order I would expect her to win.

Inspiral ridden by Frankie Dettori on their way to winning the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot last year

15:05 Coventry Stakes

There is a lot of talk about George Boughey’s Asadna who won at Ripon. It is hard to know what he beat because the second was beaten next time, but he was so impressive, he didn’t handle the track and still won by 12 lengths! He has a proper juvenile pedigree. He is drawn high and a lot of the time you think the stands’ side is the place to be, but in these big fields on the straight track it’s often more about where the pace is. Tomorrow may tell us more about any track bias for the rest of the meeting.

15:40 King’s Stand Stakes

This is a very open race, and I would love to see the consistent Highfield Princess win for Jason Hart and John Quinn, but I fancy the Australian horse, Coolangatta. Over recent years we have seen that the Australian sprinters are a lot stronger than our horses particularly maybe the present group, so if I had to ride one it would be her. She looks great, James McDonald had three winners at the meeting last year and is one of the best jockeys in the world. I think Dramatised has a chance, I have always liked this filly, she won the Temple, gets weight off her elders, goes on the ground, and should run well.

16:20 St James’s Palace Stakes

I can’t see past Chaldean here. He’s a Guineas winner, I can’t see much pace in the race, Frankie is drawn one and he could dictate the speed. I know Paddington is an Irish Guineas winner, but I think Chaldean will get the run of the race. Cicero’s Gift is 3 from 3, was impressive the last day at Goodwood and could still be anything, but this is a big step up in class. I thought Royal Scotsman would win the Irish Guineas, but he flopped that day, if you forget that run he could be competitive on Newmarket form.

Chaldean ridden by Frankie Dettori surging clear to win the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket 

17:00 Ascot Stakes

In these long distance handicaps it is best to stick with the Jumps trainers. Willie Mullins, Nicky Henderson and Alan King all have runners today and have won this race in the past, while Ian Williams runs The Grand Visir who actually won this race four years ago. Bring On The Night looks to have been trained for the race since coming second last year but he hasn’t raced since, so maybe Ahorsewithnoname offers better value having won over hurdles in April.

17:35 Wolferton Stakes

I ride Checkandchallenge in the race, and we were hoping for a bit more rain, the ground looks like it will be on the quick side of good. However, we think he’s ready for the step up in trip now. He was out of his comfort zone in the Lockinge over a mile, he will probably be ridden to run well and pick up the pieces and it would be nice to finish in the first three. I would give him an each-way chance in a very open race. If I could ride another one it would be Francesco Clemente, I have always thought he is a decent horse, unbeaten as a 3yo, and he was only narrowly beaten on his first run back at Goodwood, he should come on for that.

Francesco Clemente and Frankie Dettori coming home to win the Wood Ditton Maiden Stakes at Newmarket last year

18:10 Copper Horse Handicap

Vauban is a short-priced favourite for Willie Mullins in the last and as a 160-rated hurdler, his flat mark of 101 seems very fair. I have seen connections think he is potentially very well handicapped. Willie’s other runner, Absurde, has Frankie on board but his runs on the flat in France came on softer ground. Chillingham is improving fast, the stable is in form, and he would have an each-way chance.

Best Regards,








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