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Royal Ascot Day 2 Preview – So You Think he’s a star, Charlie?

June 15, 2011

It is hard to match what was an incredible opening day of Royal Ascot for 2011.

The stage was set early with a thrilling battle between Goldikova and Canford Cliffs, with the latter emerging victorious.

Prohibit upset Australian and Hong Kong hopes for King’s Stand glory, showing a handy turn of foot to just deny Star Witness.

And while he may not have been visually impressive, the effort of Frankel to defeat Zoffany after a very much questionable ride by Tom Queally proved he was a superstar on the rise.

So now we look to Day 2, where the highlight is undoubtedly So You Think in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.

Just Horse Racing’s Andrew Hawkins will be looking to improve on his first night effort, which saw many fourths and fifths.

Here is his preview for Day 2 of Royal Ascot:

Race 1 – Group 3 Jersey Stakes (7f)

First run in this form in 1919, it was named for the 4th Earl of Jersey. It is a race which usually suits classy three year olds, with not many surprise winners. Best winners in recent times are probably Observatory, Ouqba and Aqlaam.

Many in the British press have been quick to conclude that this is a race in two between Codemaster and Fury, but I don’t see it that way at all. Strong Suit is an enigma who on his day may prove very hard to beat, Havane Smoker rates highly while Western Aristocrat is unbeaten. I understand why Codemaster is favourite though. Weighted on the limit, he’s a very genuine horse and he’ll put himself in the picture. However, despite his big weight, I’m going to put STRONG SUIT on top. Was disappointing first up when beaten 13L by Frankel, but he did start second favourite. So obviously, something was wrong there. Currently $12 with TAB Sportsbet, which I think is grossly over the odds if he brings some of his two year old form – such as defeating the highly rated Elzaam in last year’s Coventry Stakes and finishing a half length third to Zoffany in the Phoenix Stakes. The only issue is he has topweight, which could cause some issues. For second, go with CODEMASTER. There is a reason he is favourite. Very genuine. With a good run, he’ll put himself into the race. WESTERN ARISTOCRAT is unbeaten and despite a big class rise, looks to be the improver in the race, while SPLASH POINT brings Dubai form and could be a knockout at odds. Next best Fury.

1 – Strong Suit
3 – Codemaster
10 – Western Aristocrat
2 – Splash Point

Race 2 – Group 2 Windsor Forest Stakes (1m)

This race is a very recent addition to the Royal Ascot Carnival, having been run for the first time in 2004. It was instigated in an attempt to encourage owners and breeders to keep their mares in training for longer. Already it is building a top honour roll, with the most notable winner coming in 2006 in Soviet Song. Last year’s winner Strawberrydaiquiri has also gone on.

I’m going to follow a rule I always use with mares in Australia when assessing this race – that being, I’m going to go for mares that are in form. The best form race for this looks to be the Middleton Stakes, won by subsequent Coronation Cup placegetter Midday. Sajjhaa ran second in that race, while Music Show was six lengths away in fourth. That said, Music Show didn’t run out the mile and a quarter in the Middleton in my opinion. I’d be sticking with the form again, but I’m going to go for MUSIC SHOW to turn the tables. She has form around some cracking milers, including Goldikova, Lillie Langtry, Dick Turpin, Sahpresa and Cityscape. Should get her chance here. SAJJHAA is a deserved favourite but I reckon she’s better over the longer trip and may take a while to click into gear – by which time, Music Show may already be too far in front (hopefully). I’M A DREAMER comes through a different formline but you can take a line through a couple of runs last year, which says she should finish behind Sajjhaa, while SETA is building a good record. Hard to go outside of the first few in the market.

10 – Music Show
11 – Sajjhaa
7 – I’m A Dreamer
12 – Seta

Race 3 – Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes (1m 2f)

The undoubted highlight of the second night of racing at Royal Ascot, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes was first run in 1862. It was named for Queen Victoria’s first son Edward, who was Prince of Wales at the time. Originally the race was run over 1m 5f (2600m) for three year olds, and it was in this format that the race was run until the outbreak of World War II in 1939. After racing resumed at Ascot following the war, this race was not run as there was no Prince of Wales. However, in the knowledge that the title of Prince of Wales was to be bestowed upon Charles in 1969, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes was reinstated in 1968 with new conditions. Some of Europe’s best middle distance horses have been successful, including Ela-Mana-Mou, Mtoto, Muhtarram, Faithful Son, Dubai Millennium, Fantastic Light, Grandera, Rakti, Azamour, Ouija Board, Duke of Marmalade and Vision D’Etat.

I’m going to be completely and unashamedly biased – the race has had some top line winners, Dubai Millennium probably the best of them. Tonight, the best horse ever to win the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes will emerge victorious. Of course, I’m talking about the incredible, the remarkable SO YOU THINK. He is my favourite horse, and it would take an incredible amount to ever change that. This is his first real test overseas, but I think this is the first time Europe will see him anywhere near fit. I just wish that he was racing in Dato Tan Chin Nam’s colours, now that would be something quite stunning. Need I say anymore? He wins. Second, go with TWICE OVER. Despite his last two poor runs, he is the second best horse in the race at this distance. He ran second to Byword last year and I think he’ll run second again. REWILDING is at a distance well short of his best, but it takes something special to win the Sheema Classic first up in nearly six months so he’ll be around the mark, while PLANTEUR broke through for his first Group 1 success last time out and should be around the placings. But the big black beast will monster them again. I cannot wait to see it.

5 – So You Think
7 – Twice Over
4 – Rewilding
3 – Planteur

Race 4 – Royal Hunt Cup (1m)

First run in 1843, this is considered one of the highlights of the meeting purely for the field size it attracts as a handicap. It is a charge of 30 runners down the Ascot straight. It is one of three trophies presented by the Queen during Royal Ascot – the other two are the Ascot Gold Cup and the Queen’s Vase. Only two favourites have won over the last twenty years, while only six of the twenty winners have been under double figures. It is usually a race for a lightly weighted up and comer, although in recent times there have been more winners up in the weights.

Given that history says it is a race for those at double figures, but not necessarily too long in the market, I’m going to go for ones who aren’t total knockouts but aren’t favourites either. JULIENAS fits the bill. He appears to be best at a mile and I reckon he’ll be suited in a big field. He also drops a fair bit of weight. At around $18 he could be a good chance. I can’t believe PROPONENT is at 20s. Finished a clear second behind the horse that would have started favourite here, Green Destiny – he came out earlier today. There’s been a push for CHAPTER AND VERSE on Racing Post, and despite seemingly poor form, he does have good ratings, while up in the weights ETON FOREVER may be a hope. It is a lottery, but I’ll be backing the top three each way. Definite profit if one of them can salute.

18 – Julienas
8 – Proponent
28 – Chapter and Verse
3 – Eton Forever

Race 5 – Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes (5f)

Another sprint over the 5f down the Ascot straight, this is the highlight for the two year old fillies. First run in 1921, it was named after the wife of King George v – she was the grandmother of the Queen.

I’m struggling to see how they will beat SHUMOOS. She defeated last night’s winner Frederick Engels by nearly five lengths on debut and Brian Meehan gave a strong push for her on Radio Sport National. She looks the logical pick. Only dangers in my eyes are the American filly GYPSY ROBIN, who won by nearly eight lengths on debut, and the unbeaten DOZY, who has been meeting lesser fields but looks impressive. Still believe they’ll struggle to beat Shumoos though. For fourth go with BUBBLY BALLERINA. But this looks a pretty clearcut race. Go Shumoos.

12 – Shumoos
8 – Gypsy Robin
5 – Dozy
2 – Bubbly Ballerina

Race 6 – Listed Sandringham Handicap

Another relatively new addition, this was first run in 2005 for three year old fillies. It is another race which seems suited to longer priced winners and big fields, being a handicap.

Once again, I’d be happy to leave the last race but we may as well preview it – at least there aren’t 27 runners today! The first race may actually determine whether I have a bet in this race. I like the ratings and the form of RHYTHM OF LIGHT. She’s currently at $9 but if Western Aristocrat runs well in the first race, then it is definitely worth having something on her at that price. ROUGETTE is lightly raced and deserves her chance in this sort of race. If she improves she can play a part. SWEETIE TIME could do something at her first appearance this year, while BLESSED BIATA‘s form is not as bad as it looks on paper. She’ll be suited switching to a handicap.

4 – Rhythm of Light
14 – Rougette
7 – Sweetie Time
5 – Blessed Biata

Coming up tomorrow…the feature of the Royal Ascot carnival, the Ascot Gold Cup, with Fame and Glory likely to start favourite; the handicap stayers of the future tackle the King George V Stakes and the Oaks fillies tackle the Ribblesdale Stakes

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