Andrea Atzeni: Royal Ascot Day 3 Preview

14:30 Norfolk Stakes

Karl Burke is very bullish about Elite Status, and he looked very good when winning the National Stakes at Sandown last time, but with no rain the ground is set to dry out significantly which will likely suit the American horse far more, American Rascal. He’s out of Lady Aurelia who was a super filly, and he was really impressive when winning at Keeneland. You always have to respect Wesley Ward’s juveniles at this meeting, particularly on faster ground.

15:05 King George V Stakes

I am drawn down on the inside on Crackovia for Charlie Johnston which should help. It’s always important to be drawn low over a mile and half and particularly over a mile and a quarter here because you are straight into the bend. He’s the outsider of the field, but he ran well in the Pretty Polly and before that was fourth in a Group race in Germany, so we will try and go forward and get a good position from that draw. I thought Aidan’s horse, Bertinelli, looked quite tough when winning the London Gold Cup, a race that always throws up a good horse, better than a handicapper anyway, and with more improvement at the trip likely he looks the one to beat.

15:40 Ribblesdale Stakes

I ride Ghara here who only just won a maiden at Yarmouth last time, the second horse has let the form down a little bit when beaten next time, but she had run very well the time before in the Oaks Trial at Lingfield when she just got beat for third, but I do think she will be a better filly in a better race. They went very steady when she won her novice, and it turned in to a bit of a sprint which didn’t suit her. In a better race they should go a stronger gallop, it would be nice if she finished in the first three. Al Asifah looks very good though, she looks like a Group 1 filly the way she won so impressively at Goodwood, it looked like a piece of work. They’ve had to supplement her because she wasn’t in the race, and anyone else may have gone straight for a Group 1 race, straight into the deep end, but they obviously wanted to go through the gears slowly with her, and this does look the right race for her. That’s the difference between a good trainer and a top-class trainer.

16:20 Gold Cup

Coltrane was very impressive in the Sagaro, and he’s obviously an improving horse, but I thought the way Eldar Eldarov ran at York gives him the edge. He was doing his best work at the end; he’s won at the track, and he should get the trip as he’s quite a relaxed horse. I won the Yorkshire Cup on Giavellotto that day and he was giving me 5lbs, I thought it was a nice first run back. For a Gold Cup there isn’t a stand-out horse this year, there is no Stradivarius, no Yeats. If Subjectivist turns up on his best form, like when he won the Gold Cup, they are going struggle to beat him, he ran well in Dubai, and if he takes another step forward he’s got a good chance again.

17:00 Britannia Stakes

I’m on Urban Sprawl for Charlie, he won at Goodwood and will love the ground, but it’s one of those races and the draw could just be a lottery. The good thing with one of Charlies’ is that you don’t have to worry about the pace because you can always make your own. I rode Quantum Impact at Goodwood earlier in the season when the ground came up heavy and I didn’t think it was going to be an issue because he won on it as a juvenile. But it wasn’t ideal and then he turned up and won well at York on quicker ground and that’s probably what he wants. He probably got away with slower ground once but is a better horse on better conditions and if he improves again he’s got a leading chance.

17:35 Hampton Court Stakes

I ride Dear My Friend again, I rode him in the Derby, but nothing really went right. I think the drop back to a mile and a quarter will really suit him and I don’t think the track suited him at Epsom either, this track will be far better. We’ve got a nice draw, he’s very uncomplicated, he’s a listed winner, and if you ignore his run in the Derby he’s got a good chance. That said, I do like Exoplanet, he was a bit unlucky in the London Gold Cup, he had a bad draw that day and he hasn’t got a great draw here either, but he’s got a solid chance. It’s such a tough race, it’s a good race, you’ve got Waipiro of Ed Walker who ran in the Derby, and Jack Channon’s Caernarfon who ran in the Oaks, so it shows you how competitive the race is.

18:10 Buckingham Palace Stakes

The Gatekeeper is my mount, he’s a solid horse, he was a little bit disappointing last day, but he was impressive at Newmarket the time before that. A stiff 7 furlongs will really suit him, he goes on the ground, he wants this nice ground, he’s off a mark of 94 so he could hopefully just have something in hand off that mark, you never know. It’s a tough race but I was interested in Clive Cox’s Kingdom Come who finished fourth back on turf last time after three wins at Kempton over the winter. I think he will finish far better back over 7 furlongs here.

Best regards,







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