2:30 CHESHAM STAKES
A race that revolves around September, who looks set to go off a short-priced favourite on the first race of the final day of this year’s Royal Ascot meeting. A daughter of Deep Impact and Peeping Fawn, she could hardly have been more impressive on her debut at Leopardstown, brushing aside a decent-looking field with ease. This doesn’t look like the strongest two-year-old race of the week so she should go and win, and may well start odds-on.
September finished out on her own when making her debut at Leopardstown
The next three in the market, Masar, Nyaleti and Westerland don’t look like world-beaters at this stage. For the second vote, therefore, it might be worth looking further down the betting in search of a big improver. Queen Elizabeth’s Learn By Heart, a son of Frankel and Albany Stakes winner Memory, shaped nicely on his debut, running greenly and then staying on late in the day. The step up in trip should suit and he may well be able to make the necessary improvement to get involved.
SELECTION: SEPTEMBER NEXT BEST: LEARN BY HEART
3:05 WOLFERTON HANDICAP
Khairaat is the obvious place to start. Sir Michael Stoute’s Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned colt bolted up on his seasonal debut at Chester and, though up 13lb, he could well be up to a higher level than this. He has the classic sexy profile for this race - an unexposed last-time-out winner representing big connections, so he will have plenty of supporters at around the 4/1 mark.
However, I wonder if the handicapper has underestimated Elbereth’s effort to finish just over six lengths away from Highland Reel in the Coronation Cup. Her 107 rating has remained unchanged despite the fact that she finished in between the 117-rated Hawkbill and the 120-rated Journey. Previously to that effort, she finished an excellent second to Somehow in the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket. She can make her presence felt now in a handicap off her current rating.
SELECTION: ELBERETH NEXT BEST: KHAIRAAT
3:40 HARDWICKE STAKES
Connections of the leading contenders for this race will have been delighted to see Highland Reel swerve this in favour of the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and here lies a great opportunity. Saying that, Dartmouth, likely to start favourite, got the better of Aidan O’Brien’s horse in a sustained battle in this race last year, which is a fair achievement. Trained by Sir Michael Stoute and owned by Queen Elizabeth, this five-year-old showed he is as good as ever when winning the Yorkshire Cup on soft ground on his seasonal debut and he should take all the beating.
One at a bigger price to note is Muntahaa who, prior to his last run, looked like he could progress into a horse capable of winning at this level. If you excuse that disappointing effort, which was behind Dartmouth at York, and where he probably failed to act on the soft ground, he is certainly worth consideration to resume his progress.
SELECTION: DARTMOUTH NEXT BEST: MUNTAHAA
4:20 DIAMOND JUBILEE STAKES
Back in Europe and on fast ground, Limato is undoubtedly the one to beat. With two wins at the top level last season, in the July Cup and in the Prix de la Foret, he announced himself at the highest level and he now returns to more familiar surroundings at a course and distance he has won over before. He does have to put two lacklustre efforts behind him though, and he has 18 runners to face.
The Tin Man is already a Group 1 winner over six furlongs at Ascot
For that reason I’d suggest taking a bigger price with The Tin Man, who absolutely loves the straight six-furlong track at Ascot, and who made a very promising comeback behind Tasleet at York, on ground not ideal for him. In the same race Magical Memory also ran promisingly, finishing second and he will attempt to go three places better than last year when he followed a similar path to this race.
SELECTION: THE TIN MAN NEXT BEST: MAGICAL MEMORY
5:00 WOKINGHAM STAKES
Raucous has the ability to win one of these big handicaps. He finished an excellent third to Dancing Star in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood last season and races here off just a 3lb higher mark. William Haggas’s four-year-old also has nice form over this course and distance, having finished third in a Group 3 here towards the end of last season. Ryan Moore takes the ride and Raucous will also be fitted with first-time blinkers.
In a wide open handicap, Normandy Barriere looked to have one of the more solid profiles. Nigel Tinkler has secured the services of William Buick for his five-year-old who won for the second time over this course and distance on his most recent run.
SELECTION: RAUCOUS NEXT BEST: NORMANDY BARRIERE
5:35 QUEEN ALEXANDRA STAKES
This two-mile, five-furlong marathon provides an intriguing end to the week. Thomas Hobson was so impressive here on Tuesday that it’s no surprise Willie Mullins has elected to pitch him in again, considering he did the same with Simenon, who did the Ascot Stakes-Queen Alexandra Stakes double in 2012. Ryan Moore has been retained by Aidan O’Brien to ride US Army Ranger but Martin Harley is a more-than-capable replacement and, at around the 3/1 mark, he looks decent value to send favourite backers home happy.
Thomas Hobson will bid to emulate stablemate Simenon's Royal Ascot double in 2012
There are a few doubts amongst those closest in the betting to him. Qewy is a near top-class stayer as he showed with an excellent run in last season’s Melbourne Cup but he is making a first appearance in 224 days. US Army Ranger is an intriguing runner, making a huge step up in trip but there lies the doubt and the same can be said for the unexposed Motherland, who takes his chance for Joseph O’Brien. A more solid option is Mark Johnston’s Oriental Fox, who won this race two years ago and finished fourth in it last year.
SELECTION: THOMAS HOBSON NEXT BEST: ORIENTAL FOX