Tag Archives: Queen Anne Stakes

Royal Ascot Wednesday

Ascot Grand Stand, by Florian Christoph

Royal Ascot is upon us…. and I missed day one. Just returned from a three week long trip around Australia, work was calling on Monday right away and left no room for any form study, neither yesterday. Without a proper study I don’t throw bucks on the nags and rather enjoy the replays of the big races.

None bigger than the curtain raiser on the opening Tuesday which is the prestigious Queen Anne Stakes – somehow in my mind  the World Cup final for milers!

Maybe because I call myself Paco Boy’s Nr. 1 fan. His triumph in 2009 was such a special, memorable, eye-catching and simply beautiful performance – it left a lasting mark on me.

So of course I was keen to see who’d get up in this years renewal. Ribchester the big favourite after landing the Lockinge in superb style. Not quite as impressive this time, but in the end with authority, the Godolphin inmate ran all his rivals down.

Only one of many brilliant performances on the day. Lady Aurelia bolting up in the King’s Stand and Barney Roy got his first Group 1 win under the belt, while Churchill found this possibly one too many a race.

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2.30 Ascot: Jersey Stakes, Group 3, 7 furlongs

A hot race that will inevitably end up in a split of the field I believe – pace drawn close to both sides of the rails should ensure a fair enough contest…. hopefully.

It’s hard to make a call what site to favour and what eventually happens in this race, but on pure form you have to very keen on French raider Le Brivido, runner-up in the French Guineas. Drawn in ten he will have every opportunity to make a choice but might early on and no doubt with only two starts to his name he looks bound to improve.

However I fancy second favourite Dream Castle a lot. Drawn in 19 could be a problem, but doesn’t have to be. Fact is this son of Frankel is riddled with talent as he showed on debut when winning impressively, followed up by an incredibly eye-catching performance in the Greenham.

He was argubly unlucky in the 2000 Guineas subsequently and clearly is better than the bare results suggests. He pulled in the first half of the race, was then hampered and a clear run denied at a crucial stage, yet finished strongly.

He has had only three career starts, so there is every chance for more to come as the fast ground and the drop to 7f won’t be a problem, in fact a fast race over this sort of trip should be ideal.

Selection:
10pts win – Dream Castle @ 4/1 Bet365

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4.20 Ascot: Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, Group 1, 1m 2f

Despite the trip possibly short of his optimum, Highland Reel from the front over 10f on fast ground at Ascot could be difficult to peg back, I feel. He a high-class individual and bounced back to his best in the Coronation Cup at Epsom.

I feel his biggest challange won’t come from Jack Hobbs, who got the better of him in Dubai because the drop in trip in combination of quick ground is a much clearer disadvantage for the 2015 derby runner-up in my mind at least.

Most likely to enjoy these conditions is Sir Michael’s classy Galileo colt Ulysses, though. His seasonal reappearance at Sandown was pleasing and the form franked by runner-up Deauville.

He’s yet to score at the highest level however had his fare share of problems which means after eight career starts he might still be able to find a bit of improvement. I’m slightly concerned about him being too far off the pace in this race, on the other hand – but that’s the risk to take.

Selection: 
10pts win – Ulysses @ 4/1 Bet365

Wrap it up – Royal Ascot on Tuesday

royalascot_2

The first day of Royal Ascot is done and dusted! It’s been pretty spectacular, although it didn’t quite open with big the bang we all expected. But one could say the big guys from Godolphin and team Ballydoyle will be happy at the end of the day – they clearly wrote some of the most important stories. So let’s have a look at what happened and wrap it up…

Solow wins; Able Friend flops

I admit: My initial reaction was disappointment. Of course, the horses I sided with got stuffed. Instead the French star Solow won.

From a racing fan perspective: It was a bit of a let down. We didn’t get the eagerly anticipated clash of the superstars in the closing stages. Instead it was somewhat disappointing, given the fact that some of the ‘lesser’ opponents have been able to finish so close.

Of course is was a good performance, nonetheless. Solow just won the most prestigious 1 mile race in the world. But it was not a super impressive monster like performance, which I would have hoped we would see from one of the horses in the race, given all the hype surrounding them – which I wanted to believe. It was a good performance. Nothing more but nothing less either.

Able Friend was not himself unfortunately. He just didn’t handle the track, was very sweaty in the preliminaries as well. He seemed to settle but not to travel. There were no signs of his trademark turn of foot today. Shame that we didn’t get the race we all wanted so badly. But then this just shows that we are dealing with animals and not machines.

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Buratino rocks the Coventry

A big winner for Godolphin – Buratino justified strong market support in the Coventry Stakes and followed up on his tremendous Epsom performance a fortnight ago. He travelled much the best, enjoyed the rattling pace, got a dream run through guided by William Buick and quickened when it mattered. A sharp, precocious juvenile he is, he may have a very bright near future.

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Hat-trick denied for Sole Power

It was not the result many would have hoped for in the King’s Stand Stakes. Sole Power lacked the sparkling turn of foot of former days but also wasn’t quite advantaged by the way the race was run. Not quite a blistering pace, the first three where all close up. Goldream won it – the horse I called out from the bigger prices in my preview. But of course didn’t back it.

A 20/1 shot who beat a 50/1 shot in thriller – that’s the way it can go in these sprint races from time to time. But what is highly unusual  is the fact that Medicean Man achieved a career best at the grand age of nine! He was a runner-up denied in a photo, but clearly this was his best ever performance. Some training performance from Jeremy Gask!

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Gleneagles the star that keeps giving and giving….

I was prepared to take him on, but there was absolutely nobody able to match strides with him in the closing stages today! Gleneagles travelled like the winner throughout and put the race to bed like an odds-on shot should do it. He’s a real star and you simply can’t fault him. He’s done it all. Stepping him up to 10f now? That’s the question Aiden has to answer.

Consort tried to be positive and I thought that was the right move. He wasn’t good enough in the end. Disappointed with Make Believe, who I would have expected to try to make all. But he faded as soon as the pace heated up. Something didn’t seem right with him.

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Clondaw Warrior stays the trip

Willie Mullins and Ryan Moore teamed up to win the big marathon Handicap. The eight year old Clondaw Warror, who was last season already quite prolific on the flat, clearly proved to stay every inch of the 2m 4f trip and eventually prevailed in a tight finish under the typical Moore drive! He went off a rather short 5/1 favourite but justified all the market support.

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Washington Dc saves the day

It could have been disastrous, but thankfully Ryan Moore and Washington Dc saved the day. He won the final race on the card, the 5f Listed sprint. The US filly went off like mad, seemed to think it’s a domestic 4.5f sprint on the dirt. Fair play, she did really well, but it also suited Washington Dc who fend off the challenge from Areen in the closing stages. This completed a 54-1 treble on day for the man who many believe is the best jockey in the world.

All About Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot – there is no other place in the world where you’ll get a better five consecutive days of (flat) racing! This week is a week of celebration; celebrating out wonderful sport.

The best horses from all over the globe competing at the beautiful venue that is Ascot Racecourse. It’s a week I look forward to the whole year. Now it’s finally upon us!

Royal Ascot – Thursday:

Gold Cup, 2m 4f > Read Preview

Day III Overview > Thursday Selections

Royal Ascot – Wednesday:

Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, 1m 2f > Read Comprehensive Preview

Day II Complete Overview > Wednesday Selections 

Royal Ascot – Tuesday:

2.30: Queen Anne Stakes, 1 mile > Read Preview

3.05: Coventry Stakes, 6 furlongs > Read Preview

3.40: King’s Stand Stakes, 5 furlongs > Read Preview

4.20: St. James’s Palace Stakes, 1 mile > Read Preview

5.00: Ascot Stakes, 2 miles 4 furlongs > Read Preview

5.35; Windsor Castle Stakes, 5 furlongs > Read Preview

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Preview: Royal Ascot – Queen Anne Stakes

Able Friend - Photo: www.summerhill.co.za
Able Friend – Photo: http://www.summerhill.co.za

Royal Ascot is looming large – my favourite race meeting! It kicks off with the Queen Anne Stakes – my favourite race in the world! Races over one mile always fascinated me. It’s no surprise – my all-time hero is a miler: the almighty Paco Boy. He himself won the Queen Anne back in 2009 in breathtaking style; Richard Hughes sitting off the pace, Paco hard held on the the bridle, produced a devastating turn of foot when finally unleashed. Good, old memories….

The 2015 renewal shapes as a race for the ages. It reminds me a bit of 2010, when wonder mare Goldikova got the better of Paco Boy in a dramatic finish. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see a similarly tight result this time again. Five years later Goldikova’s trainer Freddy Head has another chance to win the big one – this time with Solow, a five year old gelding.

Solow, unbeaten in his last six starts, couldn’t be in better form. He won the Dubai Turf and Prix D’ispahan this year, both times in sensational fashion. It took him a while to win his first Group 1, but he improved dramatically over the last number of month to develop rapidly into a global superstar.

Currently trading 6/4, he is well fancied to land the odds in the Queen Anne. Is he a good thing? He probably is. Although if you want to to find some negative aspects you don’t need to dig too deep.

It’s the very nature of the race which may or rather may not quite suit him. The mile trip on fast ground against top level opposition is a new test for Solow. His recent top performances came over slightly further and he has never raced on anything faster than good. That does not have to be a problem,  but my suspicion is he’ll need certainly a quick pace which ensures the emphasis is more on stamina than on raw speed in order to be seen to full effect here.

Whether we get a good pace or not is hard to say. The race could well turn into a tactical affair. This would potentially count against Solow. Not because he hasn’t a turn of foot or the class, but because he meets a rival who is very likely to possess even more speed, a rival who’s likely to enjoy exactly those kind of conditions: Able Friend.

The joint leader in the World’s Best Racehorse Rankings (on turf), he has bagged four Group 1’s in his unbeaten run of six. He’s thought to be the best miler in the world at the moment – and it is easy to see why: Regular jockey Joao Moreira, merely a passenger on most occasions, usually can start to salute the crowd at Sha Tin from half a furlong out, so authoritative is the manner of Able Friend’s victories.

Arguably his most impressive success came in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup this January this year, when beating a classy field hard on the bridle, despite meeting some in-running trouble.

Able Friend will encounter unusual conditions at Ascot. Not so much the ground, which will suit perfectly – but a straight, stiff mile is completely alien to him. How is he going to cope with it? That’s the big question. He probably won’t mind whatever pace they go. They often go a good clip in Hong Kong’s top class races. He loves to come from the back in a strongly run race, but equally is able to unleash a deadly turn of foot if they crawl.

If Joao Moreira is able to settle the big horse early on and conserve energy for when it really matters, I feel Able Friend could  have too much speed for Solow. Though, this is not a match-race. On can’t rule out recent Lockinge Stakes winner Night Of Thunder.

The 2014 Guineas heroine, found it subsequently tough to win last season, but bounced back to his best when landing the Lockinge Stakes in dramatic fashion. This represents good form, but might not be good enough to beat the big guns. Stable mate Toormore also bounced back to form in the Lockinge. He stayed on to finish second just beaten by a neck that day.

Andre Fabre’s mare Esoterique is a Group 1 winner in France. Quick ground counts against her, so does the overall look of her form. The trio Here Comes When, Cougar Mountain and Glory Awaits would need to find some dramatic improvement to trouble the better fancied horses in this field.

Verdict: This is a fantastic renewal – we’ll going to see two true superstars going head to head. No doubt, the Queen Anne Stakes evolves around the French Solow and Hong Kong’s Able Friend. It’s a duel to savour!

That says Night Of Thunder is a really good horse in his very own right and I could see him adopting positive tactics which might be an advantage in a potentially tactical affair – nonetheless, he lacks the class of the other two. To see anyone else involved would be a shock.

I already hinted that I have a slight preference for Able Friend in the likely fast conditions over a mile – as long as he is able to cope with the Ascot straight mile. But certainly there isn’t much between him and Solow. I have them both in and around 7/4 but the betting has Solow as the clear favourite. So it’s rather easy for me to select Able Friend since his price looks a bit over the top.

Able Friend @ 9/4 Paddy Power – 10pts Win