Tag Archives: Queen Anne Stakes

Preview: Royal Ascot 2020 – Tuesday

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No crowds, no hats, no queen arriving in her carriage at the scene – it’s gonna be a different Royal Ascot to what we’re accustomed to. But then you could say that about nearly everything these days.

Historically I’ve been burnt badly at the Royal meeting. I can’t remember the last time I left the week with the tiniest of profits. I’ll keep a low profile this week, that’s for sure, and instead enjoy the sport for the most part. I can’t help myself, though, and have two selections for day one:

1.50 – Group 1, Queen Anne Stakes, 1 mile

A rather wide open affair where I can make a case for half a dozen in the field which means some of the bigger prices are certainly attractive. Nonetheless I narrowed it down to less than a handful of prime candidates.

The obvious one is Circus Maximus: he has every chance to be an even better four-year-old after a prolific 2019 season. He’s been consistently running well, including when landing the St. James’s Palace Stakes twelve months ago.

He’s clearly the one to beat, although I continue to have a niggling doubt that there are days where h’s finding one or two horses too fast over the mile trip – let’s not forget he was once thought to have a decent shot at the Derby, given his pedigree.

Memories of Terebellum’s impressive Dahlia victory are still fresh. A lightly raced and progressive four-year-old, she should have enough ability to be competitive over a mile, but her price is way too short for me to get involved.

Completely overlooked appears Mustashry, though. Judged on his career-best Lockinge Stakes success from last year he would be the horse they all have to chase home, actually. A topspeed rating of 108 is a standout in this field.

Whether he can run to that sort of level again remains to be seen and his fitness has to be trusted. He ran better than the bare forms suggest in his subsequent defeats last year, before finishing his 2019 campaign on a high note thanks to a fine Group 2 success.

Mustashry is a consistent horse, albeit the oldest in the race, conditions and racing style should be a good fit in this renewal of the Queen Anne. He is certainly overpriced.

Selection:
10pts win – Mustashry  @ 14/1

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3.00 – Group 2, King Edward VII Stakes, 1m 4f

We will find out if the hype around Mogul is real. Currently as short as 11/2 in the Derby market, he appears to be team Ballydoyle’s prime chance for the Epsom Classic. 

Mogul steps up to the 1m 4f trip for the first time, having raced entirely over a mile as a juvenile. Given his breeding he can be expected to improve significantly for the new distance. On the other hand he has to show significant improvement because he was no more than a fine juvenile, particularly by Aiden O’Brien standards.

He had four runs last year, the highlight a Group 2 success at Newmarket. However, Mogul’s best performance only awarded him a lowly 84 tospeed rating. That doesn’t sound like odds-on favourite to me.

His stable mate Arthur’s Kingdom can’t be underestimated as improvement is likely to come for the new trip as well. Papa Power and Pyledriver have shown good form on the All-Weather and it will be interesting to see how much more there is to come.

Undoubtedly the most intriguing horse in this lineup is Mohican Heights. After a successful debut at Leopardstown in May last year he changed hands for £520k.

Since then he won the Listed Stonehenge Stakes at Salisbury finishing really strongly to win by 2 lengths, when having recent Kempton Classic Trial winner Berlin Tango behind in third (who beat Pyledriver fair and square at Kempton.

Word is Mohican Heights has wintered well, progressed physically – which he had to – and with loads of improvement to be expected from stepping up in trip, given his pedigree – which makes it all the more remarkable that as a late may foal he was able to win on debut a hot Spring maiden over 7 furlongs – he has a prime chance in this race.

Selection:
10pts win – Mohican Heights @ 9/2

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What else is there to see on the opening Day of Royal Ascot? No further bets for me, but that doesn’t detract from the interest in some fascinating contests.

The King’s Stand Stakes is the obvious to mention. Battaash looks nearly impossible to beat in this. There is no Blue Point this time. He wasn’t quite his brilliant best when a beaten runner-up by that rival in this very race the last two years.

Truth told: Battaash can only beat himself here. A good Battaash is still well ahead of anyone else in this field. He is so much faster. That’s the question of the day: will he finally taste success at the Royal meeting?

The Ribblesdale Stakes is a slightly underwhelming event. Make no mistake, Frankly Darling is exciting on the back of her performance at Newcastle. But there is not much else here, is there?

Although, intrigue is added by the addition of Miss Yoda, who won a rather poor Lingfield Oaks Trial, and steps down in trip. With a good run here she can enhance her credentials.

The one from Team AOB I’m most interested in is Ennistymon. She won a maiden only a week ago, needed every inch of the ten furlongs and looks set to show much more for the additional distance.

I leave you here with the 2019 Nunthorpe Stakes: wetting the appetite, with what was Battaash’s best performance, awarding him a 123 tospeed rating!

 

Favourite Horse: Paco Boy

Favourite Horse: over the next weeks I’ll write a series of articles about horses I hold dear to my heart. Let’s start with my all time favourite! 

2008 was the year that my interest in horse racing became serious. In my memories these are the good old days – a time when betting on horses was neither financially rewarding nor sought out to be, although it was a great time of learning something new about the sport every single day.

What coincided with this time, and it probably was one of the main reasons why I became so fascinated by horse racing, was the emergence of a number of legendary horses. To this day I do become a little bit emotional if I hear their names, to be honest.

Possibly not quite in the league of legends, yet the horse I well and truly fell in love with, was in his early days very much doubted whether he could become what he ultimately became: a top class miler. He showed plenty of speed and a dazzling turn of foot but may well be short of the required stamina?

It was exactly this incredible change of gear – the moment when a motionless Richard Hughes pressed the button, when the response was instantaneous – something that was visually so impressive and outlandish, certainly not observed in any other sport I have ever watched – that made me fall in love with Paco Boy.

Paco Boy was a promising juvenile, however he took his career to new heights in his classic year, particularly in the summer and autumn months.

He landed a number of graded races and finished the season with an exciting first Group 1 victory in the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp. It’s a shame Paco Boy didn’t get the chance to run in the 2000 Guineas that year, but at that stage he was still an immature horse with question marks over this stamina.

A year older and wiser, after a disappointing reappearance in Dubai, Paco Boy then proved his class thanks superb victory in the Queen Anne Stakes, when an ice cool Richard Hughes showed his trademark patience, delivering Paco Boy late in the race to produce his own trademark turn of foot.

The partnership of Richard Hughes with a horse like Paco Boy, who needed to be ridden with patience and confidence and delivered late, turned out to be an irresistible combination. It didn’t always go to plan – on the days where it did it turned out to be as spectacular as racing can be.

To this day for me personally the most spectacular, visually exciting and explosive demonstration of an instant acceleration and manifestation of pure class is the one Paco Boy produced in the 2010 Lockinge Stakes:

Richard Hughes completely motionless, with two furlongs to go still sitting behind all his rivals, ever so slightly edging closer while calmly steering Paco Boy through an opening gap; approaching the final furlong marker and everything else around him is hard at work – “Paco Boy is laughing at them”, screams an astonished Richard Hoiles in the original track commentary!

Once asked to win the race Paco Boy puts it to bed in a matter of strides. Mind, this is a Group 1 race!

Extended footage can be found here – including a few shots of an emotional Richard Hannon, who shed a few tears that day and also is quoted saying “I’ve got pictures of him all over the house”!

A career spanning over four seasons – 24 races, 11 victories, 9 in pattern class, three Group Ones, including the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

On the rating front: Paco Boy ran twelve times to a Tospeed Rating of 100 or higher (six times >110). That is an incredible level of consistency for successive seasons. Not many horses are capable of achieving this. In his prime on fast ground when tracking a decent pace Paco Boy was nearly unbeatable.

Yes, one could potentially point out: “what did he beat?”. The form of is Queen Anne and Lockinge Stakes victories didn’t work out all that great in hindsight. Nonetheless he beat and fought it out with the best of the best among the milers of that era and made some really good horses look rather ordinary.

Ultimately, when do you ever see a horse in a Group 1 contest cantering all over his rivals, hard on the bridle, approaching the final furlong marker? It’s a rare feat and something special.

And not to forget: he chased the almighty mare that is Goldikova on more than one occasion home. I maintain to this day he was the better horse in the 2010 Queen Anne Stakes and Richard Hughes, on that day, left it simply a little bit too late (as a matter of fact Paco Boy recorded a higher Topspeed rating than Goldikova that day).

Put simply: Paco Boy was the most exciting horse I have ever followed as a fan of the sport. He was my first real “love” in the world of horse racing. Although he is closely followed by possibly the greatest racehorse of all time. More on that in the next part of this series.

Wednesday Selections: August, 1st 2018

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3.35 Goodwood: Group 1 Sussex Stakes, 1m

On the face of it this is not a vintage renewal of the Sussex Stakes. As always the three year old’s hold an advantage thanks to WFA and that’s not different this time. But you can pick big holes into their form today. After all there is little between the top four or five in the betting market, in my mind.

Given that I can discount both Without Parole and Expert Eye purely for price reasons. The latter one returning to a mile seems not ideal despite a recent impressive success over 7f. Without Parole is clearly a fair favourite, however hasn’t beaten allot to this day, if we’re honest. Andre Fabre always needs to be respected but Orbaan has a lot to find. Gustav Klimt isn’t good enough on this level.

Leaves me with a decision who of the older horses is the best bet. Beat The Bank leads the way. Unlucky in the Queen Anne, he ran into trouble in the Summer Mile at the same venue weeks later again, though found a way to get his head in front.

Lord Glitter is closely matched but I feel he had every chance the other day at Ascot, so even at a big price he’s not one I fancy. While I fancy Beat The Bank to do damage today, at prices I think he’s close to what he should be.

Unlike veteran Lightning Spear. Now a seven year but as good as ever, he’s chasing the elusive first Group 1 victory. Today could be the day. He is as good as ever as proven in his two starts this year when a tight runner-up in the Lockinge Stakes and an excellent third in the Queen Anne.

He is an uncomplicated type who is a CD scorerm multiple Stakes winner and seven times placed on the highest level. Lightning Spear is the ultimate pro who will run his race which might be enough to finally get his head in front.

Selection:
10pts win – Lightning Spear @ 12.5/1 MB

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3.55 Redcar: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 2f

Lightly raced Nathanial colt Global Style drops back to 10f here as well as down in a class 5 Handicap. He didn’t look exactly like a truly well handicapped horse the last couple of starts, however had ran well enough all the same and in my eyes those performances looked slightly better than the bare form.

He clearly has a race in him, particularly one like this here, a rather uncompetitive affair, that is for the taking.

He’s not a speedy horse by any means. So pace will be key. You’d be hopeful there is a bit here today. That should allow Global Style to grind his way to the front when it matters.

He clearly is up to his current mark, and potentially a tad better. His third in a good class 3 contest over 12f at Thirsk, behind two good horses, proved it. A fair runner-up over CD back in June saw him only beaten for a turn of foot in the closing stages. Given he’s also an April foal means he may simply needed a bit of time to find his way also.

Selection:
10pts win – Global Style @ 5/1 MB

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.

……

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

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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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