Royal Ascot Day 1

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The three best milers’ in Europe last year were Dawn Approach, Olympic Glory and TORONADO. The Hannon and Hughes horse was beaten a short head by Dawn Approach at this meeting last year, he then gained revenge with a very impressive victory in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. He was last seen failing over 10 furlongs at York, where he pulled the whole way. I’ve put a line through that run as it was clearly an off day.

With no Dawn Approach or Olympic Glory, the main challengers are Soft Falling Rain and Verrazano. It would have been nice if Variety Club was entered in this, but he isn’t. Soft Falling Rain was 2nd to Variety Club at Meydan on World Cup night and that looks to be his bets piece of form. If he runs to that level again, he’s unlikely to be good enough to win this.

Verrazano is a horse from America that is now being trained by Aiden O’Brien. He’s only ever ran on turf once, when 3rd in The Lockinge. I wasn’t overly impressed with that run. He is likely to improve for it, however I’d want to see evidence of that and he’d have to show a lot of improvement to beat a fit Toronado.

The only concern with Toronado may be the length of time he’s been off the track, however he has won both of his seasonal reappearance to date. If he’d had a run this season and won he’d be short odds for this, I don’t think it matters and the stable will have him ready.

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Back Toronado at 2.00 – Bet Victor
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KOOL KOMPANY was a game winner of a Listed race a Naas two weeks ago, he had War Envoy back in third that day. The O’Brien horse may very well improve for the run, a horse called Toscanini was 2nd that day, on debut he was beaten by¬†Cappella Sansevero who is also ahead of a Hannon and Hughes two-year-old in the betting.

It feels like I’m missing something; we have a horse who has already beaten the favourite and has a good line of form against the 4th favourite. It’s trained by the Hannon stable and ridden by Richard Hughes, they’re almost legendary for their two-year-old successes. My guess is that with all two year olds there’s an expected level of improvement, with the selection already having three career starts (and three wins) there may be a feeling that he’s ‘exposed’. However at the price and on the level of form that he’s show, he is a solid each-way option.

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Back Kool Kompany each-way at 11.0 – Bet Victor
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Firstly I’m gutted that Amber Sky hasn’t come over, I was privileged enough to see him break the course record in Dubai, which also won me a nice payout. I still think that the Al Quoz Sprint offers the best five furlong form on the planet this season and that the place to start. Sole Power came out of the race and won at Newmarket with Hot Streak behind him, Hamza and Catcall also came out of that race with victories since, however neither go here. Third that night was ultimate ‘cliff’ horse Shea Shea. I raved about this South African horse last year and ended up losing some hefty sums of money, he just could get his head in front. The one time his head was in front, he was collared late on in this race by Sole Power. I just can’t have him winning this from stall two, he looks to be on the side with no pace and I think that will do for him again. The horse that came 2nd in Meydan was AHTOUG. Three 2nds at Meydan earlier this year have all shown a consistent level of form. In all of those races he got a good toe in just off the pace before pulling clear to find one too good. This time he’s drawn in stall 13 which is right next to the front runner and the pace in this race, Take Cover, that should give him a perfect run. He’s in form, a previous course and distance winner and has had several of his rivals behind him last time out. If my belief that The Al Quoz Sprint is the best form in the race, then he’ll go very close.

Coral are paying four places on this race and money back if the selection finishes 2nd by less than a head.

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Back Ahtoug each-way at 15.0 – Coral
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The 2000 Guineas is the best three-year-old form race this year. It’s given us the The Derby Winner and Runner-up, The Dante Winner, The French Derby Winner and The Irish 2000 Guineas Winner and Runner-up. Five of the seven runners in this took in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket however it will take a lot to overturn the form of the first two home that day. Kingman, like this race, was the favourite yet he was beaten by NIGHT OF THUNDER, who was a 40/1 outsider that day.

The two horses are very different, Kingman on the face of it looks to be a seven furlong horse who gets a mile. Whereas Night of Thunder is a ten furlong horse, but has the speed for a strongly run mile. That thought process would explain why Kingman looked so impressive when beating the fancied Night of Thunder in The Greenham Stakes. It would also explain why Night of Thunder was still able to win despite drifting across the track in 2000 Guineas.

I read a lot about how Kingman was inconvenienced by the field splitting into two, I don’t see it that way. He was on the side with the pace and had the run of the race, in my opinion he just wasn’t good enough on the day. I think that the odd’s should be a lot closer together here, it’s not often you get the chance to back a 2000 Guineas winner at over 2/1 in a mile race.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Kingman won, but the odds on Night of Thunder as simply too big to resist. I would like to see Hughes front run this and make it a real test of stamina.

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Back Night of Thunder at 3.60 – Betbright
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