20th June Ascot Day 2

2.30 5f Group 2 Fillies Queen Mary – Final Song 11/2

Very impressive when winning on debut over C&D on soft ground, she beat a very well thought of and well backed Star Alexander back in 3rd by over 5 lengths who boosted the form when scoring by 5 lengths herself NTO. The ground yesterday was riding quick which did deteriorate as the day went on mainly around the round course but the straight track still looks in good nick and should still be clocking good clock figures before the predicted rain comes later in the day and on breeding the filly will appreciate quicker a ground, daughter of Dark Angel whose wins came on good or quicker ground and won the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes, also her dam’s only win came on fast ground and progeny mainly prefer quicker ground so today’s conditions should see further improvement IMO and even if the rain does come a little earlier and is sticky then she’s already proven on soft already. Main concern is the draw, yesterday over the straight course the winners came from stalls 1,3,1 and although Ascot is a very tricky course to read and changes regularly, her stall of 23 does raise a little concern but there does look a little more speed drawn high and will likely want to dictate things herself. Trainer SBS have started to wind things up and coming into form and has a good level stake profit at Ascot, he books star jockey Soumillon who may not have the best Ascot record but is a excellent jockey with a great judge of pace.

3.05 1m6f Group 2 Queen’s Vase – Dashing Willoughby 9/1

Norway brings in the best form with his distant 2nd in the Chester Cup and 8th in the Derby which needs marking up a little with being involved in a quick early tempo and was eased when beaten. One with close form is Dashing Willoughby who finished just three quarters of a length off Norway in the Chester Vase after not only setting a decent early gallop but went for home too far out which would of been a good move if worked but left him a sitting target and was outclassed by Sir Dragonet and also Norway came past our tired selection close home. A sensibler ride from the bang inform Oisin Murphy should see a better showing, he’s had a healthy break too which brings him fit and ready, he also has plenty of stamina in the breeding and a great Ascot pedigree, a son of Nathaniel who won the King George over 1m4f at Royal Ascot and has a great start to his stud career with farther to Enable and the dams sire Dylan Thomas whose also a King George winner and has sired plenty of stayers.

3.40 1m2f Group 1 Prince Of Wales – Magical 13/8

A quality race to get excited over, Zabeel Prince a lightly raced 6yo is progressive and picked up a Group 1 LTO, he goes on any ground and the extra furlong looks a good move visually, may find one or two too good here but still overpriced IMO, Sea Of Class has obvious claims on 3yo form but I would of liked to of seen her this season and may be in need of a run, especially before a hot race as such as this. Waldgeist will love any rain that comes and the round course is riding slower than the straight track which is a plus, a solid form contender with 3 Group 1’s to his name but has always been found out against stiff competition and looks better suited to over further, but always runs well and will be thereabouts no doubt. Crystal Ocean is probably the lay of the race, no doubt has the quality but the tacky round course will be against and also looks better going further, plus even thou she gets the services of the excellent Frankie Dettori, it’s the first time his ridden her and is a slight negative. Magical has found her niche over 10f this season, she’s 3 from 3 at this distance, all recorded this year, the last was super impressive on fast ground at the Curragh beating Irish St Ledger winner Flag Of Honour by 7 lengths practically on the bridle, she’s a Ascot winner when beating Coronet in the Champion Fillies and Mares in October before a excellent 2nd behind superstar Enable in the Breeders Cup Turf and looks to of improved bundles this season and is proven on any ground.

4.20 1m Group 2 Fillies Duke Of Cambridge – I Can Fly – 7/2

If yesterday was anything was to go by then then drawn far side is the place to be and I Can Fly will get a nice toe into the race drawn right beside Pretty Baby, She’s already a Group 2 winner when scoring at Leopardstown in the Boomerang Stakes in September and is a Group 1 runner up over this course and distance when 2nd to Roaring Lion in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in October, that form is head and shoulders above these but she does carry a 3lb for her Group 2 win which isn’t ideal. She’s been coming into form this season well with 6th in the Lockinge after missing the start, she then followed up with another good run at the Curragh, well off the pace with a lot to do and giving the made all winner a very easy lead but finished very well and got closer than you would of thought possible after looking well beat around 2 furlongs out. Better positioned in this and a finish like last time will see her very dangerous at Ascot.

5.00 1m Class 2 Royal Hunt Cup Handicap – What’s The Story 14/1

There isn’t much pace in The Royal Hunt Cup this year and if there was any bar Zhui Feng who used to be a speed merchant from stall 14 then all the pace is drawn stall 19+ and looks the side to be in this as it has many times in the past. What’s the Story was a solid 4th in this race last year as a colt, he broke well, settled and shaped well and came with a strong run running into a little trouble getting nudged about which didn’t help, he looked to have his head in front at one point but ran about like a typical colt but still a respectful 2 and a half lengths away from the winner, he was tried over further since and wasn’t seen in the same light, as a result he was gelded over the winter which will be a huge plus, he ran a solid race on seasonal debut over a sharp 7 furlongs meeting trouble but came on plenty for that race when winning a good strong York handicap very well when last seen from a bad draw to record a career best, only up 4lb for that and only 2lb higher than lasts year tilt and improved since and more likely still to come, the ground will probably start to be a little on the muddy side if the rain comes as predicted by now, but he has won on soft before, so I wouldn’t be to concerned even if I would prefer faster conditions.

5.35 5f Listed Windsor Castle – Rayong 16/1

Hard to predict the pace in this for the lack of experience but it does look pretty frantic with most of the field taking up front running tactics prior and most of it coming from higher draws. Rayong comes out of stall 14 so has the option to go far side or stand side which is more likely, he really took the eye on debut, he slightly missed the break which from a high draw at Carlisle which can be disastrous, he stayed 4 wide through the race covering plenty of ground and drifted in the straight but still won with plenty in hand beating experienced rivals with the form pretty sound. On top of this being a son of Mayson who was a Group 1 winning sprinter on heavy ground he’ll enjoy the deteriorating ground and could bring further improvement than the fast ground he encountered LTO.

Russell Blair Racing

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