Andrea Atzeni: Royal Ascot Day 5 Preview

14:30 Chesham Stakes

It’s one of those races again, there have been a few upsets in the juvenile races this year, there have been surprises all week. Most of these are in the same boat, jumping up from novice company and they could be anything. I was quite taken by Richard Hannon’s horse La Guardia who was quite impressive when winning at Goodwood on fast ground, the second horse has won since, and the very high draw hasn’t seemed to matter this week so far, they’ve been coming from anywhere!

15:05 Jersey Stakes

The favourite Covey is probably the one, I know he is dropping back from a mile but it’s a stiff seven furlongs. He won at Haydock the last day on very similar fast ground, and Frankie probably got the run of the race, and it was in a handicap and now he is stepping up to group level now. He obviously needs to improve a few pounds, but it looks like this track over this trip will really suit him.

15:40 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes

Highfield Princess is back again after running on Tuesday, I thought she was unlucky in the King’s Stand, I’m not sure but if the winner had kept straight she might have won. She’s backing up quick, but it’s been done before and it’s not an issue for sprinters. The Australian horse, Artorius, was third in this last year, and he’s never quickly out the stalls and needs everything to fall right, but he’s obviously travelled over before which is a big plus. He needs a bit of luck as he comes from off the pace, but if he gets the breaks he always finishes his race off strongly.

16:20 Hardwicke Stakes

On ratings Piledriver is the best horse in the race, he’s not run for over a year, but he’s a King George winner and he’s got a very good record at the track, if he turns up on this best form he’s the one to beat. You’ve got to be impressed with Hukum, because first time back at Sandown he beat the Derby winner, he’s obviously likely to come on for the run but he may just want the ground a bit slower. For a small field it’s a very tight race, the filly Free Wind get 3lbs off the colts and the second horse from last time has franked the form this week. But for me Piledriver at his best is the one to beat.

17:00 Wokingham Stakes

This is as open as ever, Orazio still seems to be improving, and Probe is proven in big field handicaps. But Fresh was never going in soft ground last time, will find this quicker ground much more to his liking, and he has a very good course record including a second in this race two years ago.

17:35 Golden Gates Stakes

I thought last year Liberty Lane was going to be a proper horse this year, but he was a little bit disappointing in the Dante last time. If you look at his second in a novice at Newmarket he was beaten by Waipiro, the horse that won the Hampton Court on Thursday, he’s back down in a handicap and I think he’s a big each-way price, especially with his low draw which you need over this trip at this track.

18:10 Queen Alexandra Stakes

There are not as many runners in this as usual, Stratum is the obvious one for Willie Mullins, especially after Vauban won in the week. Goshen is a good horse on his day when he puts it in but he probably wants a bit more juice in the ground. I would have to stick with Stratum.

Ayr on Saturday

I travel up to Ayr for four mounts, mainly to ride Royal Aclaim (15:34) in the Listed race. She won there last year and was fancied for the Nunthorpe when a lack of experience counted against her. Her comeback run in the Temple Stakes wasn’t a bad run, she was drawn on the wrong side of the track when everything was happening on the stands’ side that day. She’s the top-rated filly in the race, I’m sure she will improve from the run and should be hard to beat. She does wear cheekpieces now, hopefully to help her quicken like she did when winning last year.

I don’t know much about Hugo Palmer’s 2yo Golden Trick (13:15). The Keatley stable are flying to be fair, Honour Your Dreams (14:24) has won on soft ground but it doesn’t look too quick up there at the moment, and off a mark off 69, he’s back on a winning mark. Cold Stare (16:14) ran well on slow ground last day, and he’s very consistent, hopefully he can still be competitive off his 74 mark in a tight handicap.

Have a great weekend.







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