Royal Ascot – Day Three

Royal Ascot – Day Three – 21st June 2018:
 
2.30 – Norfolk Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (2yo) – 5 furlongs
 
Key Trends:
 
15 of the last 15 winners had won over 5 furlongs
15 of the last 15 winners had run at least once.
14 of the last 15 winners had an RPR of at least 106
13 of the last 15 winners won their previous race
13 of the last 15 winners had never raced at Ascot before.
11 of the last 15 winners were born in March or April.
8 of the last 15 winners returned 6/1 or shorter.
9 of the last 12 winners were berthed in stalls 7-12.
All the last 10 winners had lost their maiden status.
All of the last 10 winners were by a Sire with a stamina index between 6.7 and 8.3f.
6 of the last 10 winners had won their previous race by at least two lengths.
5 of the last 10 winners were once raced, the other five were all beaten on their debut.
Only 3 of the last 20 winners went off bigger than 10/1, 5 were favourite and another 10 second or third favourite.
 
Race analysis:
 
As always, Aiden O’Brien is a Trainer to be respected in this race but handlers known for their fast precocious types should also be noted. These include Wesley Ward, Richard Hannon, William Haggas, Clive Cox, Kevin Ryan, Robert Cowell and Mark Johnston. Only ten runners have been declared for this year’s renewal which is open to both Fillies, Colts and Geldings. Having won this race in 2013, Wesley Ward goes for a repeat with the Filly, Shang Shang Shang. She won her only start on the dirt at Keeneland in impressive fashion but it’s difficult to way up the merit of that form. It’s been 18 years since a Filly won this race and her stablemates have yet to trouble the judge at this meeting so she looks worth opposing at her current price. Arguably the best piece of form on offer is that of the National Stakes at Sandown last month, a race which Vintage Brut, Konchek and Kinks contested. Vintage Brut won that race but Konchek was only half a length behind in third after interference at the start and having to challenge down the outside. Kinks also suffered an interrupted run and was only beaten just under three lengths. The winner was strong at the finish and there may not be much between them again. In opposition there are a few once-raced winners who could find plenty of improvement for their initial experience. Charming Kid scored impressively at York on his debut and, although the race hasn’t produced a winner since, the manner of victory was taking. Rumble Inthejungle showed signs of greeness when beating two with experience on his debut. He looks sure to improve for that experience and he has been favorably compared to the yard’s Coventry winner last season. The Paddocks beat a subsequent winner at Newbury over six furlongs on his sole star but he travelled powerfully through the race suggesting the drop back in trip here wouldn’t be a problem. The yard’s Juveniles have invariably improved for a run this season and he is well thought of by his Trainer, Richard Hannon. Aiden O’Brien is represented by Land Force. He has been beaten in two of his three races. His last two starts have been over six furlongs and he wasn’t beaten far in a listed race by two stablemates who are entered up at this meeting later in the week. The fourth ran respectably in the Coventry on Tuesday and she may improve for the drop back to the minimum on a stiff track.
 
This normally goes to a horse who has already established a high level of form and hence toward the head of the market. Although he has to bust the strong stat of not being a last time out winner, Konchek is taken to reverse the form with Vintage Brut and confirm it with Kinks.
 
Selection:
 
Konchek – 2.5 pts win @ 9/2. (Unibet, Black Type, Sportingbet, 188Bet)
 
 
3.05 – Hampton Court Stakes (Group 3) (Class 1) (3yo) – 1m2f (1m1f212y):
 
Key Trends:
 
14 of the last 15 winners had not run at Ascot before.
12 of the last 15 winners had at least two previous runs that season.
10 of the last 15 winners had two or three previous runs that season.
12 of the last 15 winners finished 8/1 or less. 
10 of the last 15 winners finished first or second last time out.
7 of the last 10 winners had a top four finish last time out (two exceptions beaten in the Derby)
9 of the last 15 winners had previously won over ten furlongs. 
Favourites have been unplaced in 7 of the last 15 renewals.
Favourites have won 6 of the last 15 renewals.
8 of the last 12 winners were berthed in stalls 5-9.
All the last 10 winners had not previously won at this level or higher.
All the last 10 winners had an adjusted RPR of at least 117.
9 of the last 10 winners were rated within 6 pounds of the top rated RPR.
7 of the last 10 winners had won that season.
Race analysis:
 
Godolphin have won this race for the last two seasons and they are triple-handed this year. Key Victory won his only start as a Juvenile and reappeared to win a Listed Newmarket race. Subsequently aimed at the French Derby he ran creditably for one so inexperienced and was only beaten just under four lengths into eighth on soft ground. Back on better ground and down in class he can resume his progression. Nordic Lights finished fifth in the Dante, a good trial for this race, after winning his first two starts. National Army is the last of the Godolphin trio and he beat a subsequent winner at Doncaster on his sole start to date. He is well bred and has bags of potential but his inexperience may be a barrier to winning a race of this quality. Aiden O’Brien is represented by Hunting Horn. He has run well in three Group races on his last three starts but he has had six races in total and there may be a few in here that could improve past him. Since his debut Vintager has competed in four Group races. They were all over 7/8 furlongs and he acquitted himself well on each occasion. He hasn’t suggested that he is crying out for this step up in trip but there is a mix of stamina and speed on his Dam’s side and he could be a threat if it brings about any improvement. It’s difficult to dismiss most of these too readily but, of the rest, the one with probably the most potential is Wadilsafa. He is well bred and reappeared to win a Newmarket Novice race with ease last month. He will need to improve plenty to trouble the best of these but it would be folly to think he couldn’t bridge the gap now he steps up to 10 furlongs for the first time. He is bred for the trip and his Trainer thinks he is a Group horse in the making. Whether this comes too soon is the question he will have to answer.
 
Selection:
 
No Bet
 
 
3.40 – Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies) (Class 1) (3yo) – 1m4f (1m3f211y)
 
Key Trends:
 
13 of the last 15 winners had at least 2 previous races that season.
12 of the last 15 winners had placed in their previous race.
12 of the last 15 winners had never raced at Ascot before.
11 of the last 15 winners had won over 1o furlongs or further before.
10 of the last 15 winners returned 5/1 or shorter in the betting.
9 of the last 15 winners had exactly 2 previous runs that season.
7 of the last 15 winners won their last race.
5 of the last 15 winners were Irish-trained (4 of last 6).
9 of the last 10 winners ran no more than three times as a Juvenile.
9 of the last 10 winners had an adjusted RPR of at least 113.
9 of the last 10 winners had contested a Listed or Group race, six had won at Group level.
8 of the last 10 winners had won one of their last two starts.
The average winning SP over the past 15 years is 15/2.
Race analysis:
 
Wild Illusion sets the standard here by some way. A winner of the Group One Prix Marcel Boussac in France as a Juvenile, she has finished fourth in the 1000 Guineas and second in the Oaks on her two starts this season. The latter represented a significant step up in trip but she seemed to get it well enough, even in soft ground, so it shouldn’t pose a problem here. She would probably prefer a bit of cut in the ground but she has handled quick conditions on both occasions she has encountered them so it isn’t a major cause for concern. Relatively quick turn out after the Oaks but her Trainer reports her in rude health and she is by far the one to beat. Those with Official Ratings have six pounds and upwards to find with Wild Illusion and, on Oaks running she has the beating of Magic Wand and Perfect Clarity. However his two rivals could find the return to better ground more in their favour and that could close the gap somewhat. Magic Wand was well beaten in the Oaks but, prior to that, she was a good winner of the Cheshire Oaks at Chester on fast ground, beating the subsequent Oaks winner in the process. Perfect Clarity was beaten a long way in the Oaks but the ground is an obvious excuse. Prior to that she showed an impressive turn of foot to win the Lingfield Derby Trial, staying on well once she had hit the front. The least exposed Filly in the race is the impeccably bred Sun Maiden. She has had just two starts but she destroyed her field by 12 lengths in a Salisbury Novice race last time out. She may not have beat much, and this represents a huge step up in class, but her Trainer is a genius with this type and his double yesterday means the yard are on a high. However she is vying for favouritism against Fillies that have already proven themselves at a much higher level. That doesn’t mean she won’t win but it’s highly debatable whether should be as short as she is. Dancing Brave Bear was second in the Musidora at York last time out and travelled like a high class filly. Her Trainer expects her to improve for this step up in trip, although strictly on the figures He has a lot to find with Wild Illusion.
 
Selection:
 
No Bet.  
 
 
4.20 – Gold Cup (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (4yo+) – 2m4f (2m3f210y)
 
Key Trends:
 
14 of the last 16 winners had no more than 2 previous runs that season.
13 of the last 16 winners had won over at least 2 miles on the flat before.
13 of the last 16 winners had between 1-2 previous runs that season.
10 of the last 16 winners had won at Group One level previously.
11 of the last 16 winners won their last race.
9 of the last 16 winners were aged 5 or older.
Favourites have won 8 of the last 16 renewals.
7 of the last 16 winners have been won by trainer Aidan O’Brien.
5 of the last 16 winners ran in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown last time out.
The average winning SP in the last 15 years is 11/2
10 of the last 12 winners returned 7/1 or shorter in the betting
7 of the last 12 winners returned 7/2 or shorter in the betting
6 of the last 12 winners came from stalls 1-5.
All of the last 10 winners had a Sire stamina index in excess of 9.5f.
The last 10 winners had all won within the last two starts.
8 of the last 10 winners had an adjusted RPR of at least 126.
8 of the last 10 winners were rated within 4 pounds of top rated RPR (6 were top rated)
8 of the last 10 winners were running in the race for the first time.
 
Race analysis:
 
Order Of St George is a remarkable horse and bids to regain the crown he won in 2016 and just losing out to Big Orange in last season’s renewal. He stays this 20 furlong trip well yet has the pace to finish third and fourth in the last two runnings of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Prior to the Arc last season he ran out an easy nine length winner of the Irish St Leger, although the second, Torcedor, got much closer to him later in the season here in the Long Distance Cup. He has returned to win two 14 furlong races in Ireland this season and those will put him spot on for this. Vying with him for favouritism is the progressive four year old, Stradivarius. He won the Queen’s Vase at this meeting last season and followed that by winning the Goodwood Cup on his first attempt at two miles. He dropped back in trip to get within half a length of winning the St Leger at Doncaster and rounded off the campaign by getting within one length of Order Of St George in the Long Distance Cup here. He was closing at the finish there and proved his well-being when easily winning the Yorshire Cup over an extended 14 furlongs at York on his reappearance. If there is to be a challenge to the big two then it could come from French Raider, Varizabad. He has high class staying form to his name and he is a perennial winner with a record of 15 wins from 22 starts, including five seconds. However this ground may be quicker than he cares for and his Trainer has sounded doubts about the suitability of the track.
 
A race to watch and enjoy.
 
Selection:
 
No Bet.   
 
 
5.00 – Britannia Stakes (Heritage Handicap) (Colts & Geldings) (Class 2) (3yo 0-105) – One mile on the the straight course:
 
Key Trends:
 
13 of the last 15 winners had no more than 3 previous runs that season.
12 of the last 15 winners failed to win their previous race.
12 of the last 15 winners had won a race over 7 furlongs or 1 mile before.
11 of the last 15 winners placed last time out.
11 of the last 15 winners carried 8-13 or less, 9 of the last 10 carried no more than 9-01.
10 of the last 15 winners had never run at Ascot before.
Favourites have been unplaced in 9 of the last 15 renewals.
Favourites have won 3 of the last 15 renewals.
9 of the last 15 winners returned a double-figure price.
8 of the last 15 winners had exactly 2 previous runs that season.
6 of the last 15 winners had only won over 7 furlongs previously.
4 of the last 15 winners were ridden by Jamie Spencer.
8 of the last 12 winners came from a double-figure stall.
The average winning SP in the last 14 years is 13/1.
9 of the last 10 winners previously contested a handicap (6 had won one)
9 of the last 10 winners were Officially Rated 87-96.
9 of the last 10 winners were rated within 6 pounds of the RPR top rated (3 were top rated)
8 of the last 10 winners had at least one top three finish within their last 2 starts
8 of the last 10 winners won in the current season over 7 furlongs or a mile.
Race analysis:
 
Crack On Crack On – Very progressive Colt who failed to win in three outings as a Juvenile but has won both his starts this season. His win last time out at Haydock in the Silver Bowl was achieved going away, despite pulling much too hard in the early stages and having to wait for the right gap. Quickened up smartly once in the clear and that victory suggested a seven pound rise in the weights wouldn’t be against him. He had Completion, Finniston Farm and Simpson behind that day and the unluckiest of that trio seemed to be Simpson who met all manner of problems and was beaten just under five lengths. Revised weights gives him a chance theoretically but he is much more exposed than Crack On Crack On an the selection is taken to confirm the form with all three of his rivals that day. He may need to settle better on this stiffer track but the likely fast pace of this race will help in that regard and he may become more tractable with experience.      
 
George Of Hearts – Showed a decent level of ability in two back-end starts as a Juvenile before having wind surgery prior to his return this season. Showed immediate improvement when winning on his reappearance over six furlongs and took a major leap forward stepped up to seven furlongs here last time out. He was closing on the winner all the way to the line and the form of the race looks strong. The narrow winner subsequently won a big field handicap at Goodwood and ran second in the Group Three Jersey Stakes here yesterday. Tackles one mile for the first time but looks likely to stay and a four pound rise in the weights looks manageable. In the hands of a jockey who doesn’t have many peers over the straight mile here.   
 
Ostilio – Likes to lead/race prominently and followed four second place finishes, two as a Juvenile, by winning on his fifth start at Newmarket last time out. That seven runner race hasn’t produced a winner from five of the six to run subsequently that were behind him but three were placed and two others ran well. This represents a significant step up in grade  but he has improved from race to race so far and he looks likely to do so again. Andre Atzeni has deserted for the owners other entry, Sam Gold, but the ground probably favours Ostilio more and he is slightly preferred. 
 
Stylehunter – Makes his handicap debut from a stiffish mark but he has a very likeable progressive profile and he ran out a comfortable winner over ten furlongs last time out at Lingfield. Prior close second over the same trip at Newmarket has been franked by the winner who has won twice since. Sported headgear in four of his five starts and the blinkers are retained today. Beaten narrowly by Corrosive over a mile at Yarmouth in April, and worse off at the weights today, but has improved since and this stiff mile at a generous pace could bring his stamina into play. He will need to improve again to get competitive in this very deep race but, given his form to date, that looks more likely than not.  
 
Selections:
 
Crack On Crack On – 1.75 pts win @ 8/1. (Generally available)
 
George Of Hearts – 1.75 pts win @ 9/1. (Bet365)
 
Ostilio – 0.75 pts e/w @ 16/1. (William Hill, Paddy Power – 1/5 odds first 6)
 
Stylehunter – 0.75 pts e/w @ 20/1. (188Bet – 1/5 odds first 7)
 
 
Royal Ascot – Day Three – 21st June 2018:
 
5.35 – King George V Stakes (Handicap) (Class 2) (3yo 0-105) – 1m4f (1m3f211y):
 
Key Trends:
 
8 of the last ten winners carried between 8-10 and 9-01. 
All the last 10 winners were rated 95 or lower. (9 of the last 10 between 85 and 95)
8 of the last 10 winners were first or second on their last start.
8 of the last 10 winners had won earlier in the season.
8 of the last 10 winners were drawn in double figures.
9 of the last 10 winners had a top three finish last time out.
9 of the last 10 winners had contested a handicap (8 were successful).
8 of the last 10 winners had run within 28 days of the race. 
9 of the last 10 winners had 2 or 3 runs that year.
7 of the 10 winners had won at least 50% of their runs that year.
9 of the last 10 winners had previously run over 10 furlongs or further.
 
Race analysis:
 
Baghdad – Improved since he has joined Mark Johnston and scored a victory as a Juvenile over ten furlongs on his second start for them. Returned after a 154 day break to be beaten a length and a half as a short price favourite on his first attempt at 12 furlongs at Wolverhampton but took a big step forward when beating stablemate, Making Miracles, over the same trip at York. The return to positive tactics seemed to suit and the first two pulled well clear of the third. The runner up has since won easily and they re-oppose on almost the same terms as they did at York. Well bred Colt who looks like a typically tough Johnston horse who will leave everything on the track. Has to defy a ten pound rise in the weights but the yard know what it takes to win this race having won it previously on five occasions.
 
Selection:
 
Baghdad – 1 pt e/w @ 14/1. (MarathonBet – 1/4 odds first 4)