Royal Ascot 2018 Preview. (Day 3) (21/06/2018)

Day Three – Thursday 21st June 2018


Norfolk Stakes (Class 1) (Group 2) (5f)

It’s another five furlong affair that kicks things off on the Thursday of the Royal Meeting and it’s a Group 2 affair.

Your probably unsurprised that It’s another Wesley Ward speedster that heads affairs here in the style of Shang Shang Shang, she comes here on the back of an impressive victory at Keeneland and is sure to be a warm order with Joel Rosario on board.

Koncheck currently heads thing UK challenge for Clive Cox and Adam Kirby, he was beaten the last day in a Listed Contest at Sandown by Tim Easterbys Vintage Brut who he reopposes here. That was a hot contest that day and these pair are likely to give another bold showing here. They are 4/1 and 5/1 respectively.

VERDICT:

The Ward team haven’t yet had much luck this year but I think this might change here with SHANG SHANG SHANG. If breaking well she could prove a tough nut to crack. She also beat a subsequent winner the last day who runs in the Windsor Castle.

SHANG SHANG SHANG – (7/2)

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Form: 1
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Trainer: Wesley Ward

Full Result
1st: Shang Shang Shang (7/2)
2nd: Vintage Brut (5/1)
3rd: Konchek (4/1)

 

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Hampton Court Stakes (Class 1) (Group 3) (1m 1f)

The Hampton Court is the second race on Day Three a Group 3 affair that’s ridden over a distance of a mile and a furlong.

It was won last year by Benbatl and Godolphin once again have a strong hand to play in this year’s renewal with Wild Illusion, Nordic Lights and National Army all representing the boys in blue.

The Ballydoyle representative comes in the form of Hunting Horn on the back of his sixth in the Prix du Jockey Club which is solid form. He’s the mount of Ryan Moore and can be found trading at a general 6/1.

VERDICT:

This is a very tough one to get your head around so I’m going with a tentative pick with NORDIC LIGHTS for Charlie Appleby. He was a half decent fifth in the Dante after a decent win at Newmarket, he could well have more to offer here with James Doyle on board.

NORDIC LIGHTS – (8/1) (E/W)

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Form: 115
Jockey: James Doyle
Trainer: Charlie Appleby

Full Result
1st: Nordic Lights (8/1)
2nd: National Army (12/1)
3rd: Hunting Horn (6/1)

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Ribblesdale Stakes (Class 1) (Group 2) (1m 4f)

The Ribblesdale is up next on Day Three and this particular contest is a Group 2 affair that’s ridden over a mile and four furlongs which is headed by Wild Illusion for Charlie Appleby and Godolophin at around the 5/2 mark.

Wild Illusion comes here off the back of an impressive second placed effort in the Epsom Oaks as well as a fourth placed effort in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. That’s the standard setter of the race and if bringing that form to the table she’ll be a tough nut to crack with William Buick once again taking the ride.

Just behind Wild Illusion in the market comes Sun Maiden for Sir Michael Stoute and James Doyle carrying the Sir Khalid Abdullah silks. She made a devastating impression the last day when dismantling a field by twelve lengths at Salisbury. It’s not quite clear what she beat that day but this Frankel and half sister to Midday could literally be anything and needs to be taken very seriously.

The Ballydoyle representatives come in the form of Magic Wand and Athena here with Magic Wand looking the first string, I was at Chester when she won the Cheshire Oaks in impressive fashion before finishing fourth in the Epsom equivalent. The ground may of been against her that day though and back on a quicker surface she’s certainly a player with Ryan Moore again on board.

Other ones to note look to be the likes of Perfect Clarity for Clive Cox and Highgarden for John Gosden. Perfect Clarity finished seventh in the Oaks with the soft ground possibly the excuse, she’ll come here looking to bounce back. Whereas Highgarden is a front runner that will appear to relish the step up in trip, she’s one to keep a close eye on at a big price with Frankie Dettori on board.

VERDICT:

I’m going to go with MAGIC WAND here at the prices for Aiden O’Brien and Ryan Moore. She looked very smart at Chester and I think the ground might of been against her the last day. She’s around the 5/1 mark and I think that’s a decent enough price.

MAGIC WAND – (5/1) (E/W)

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 Form: 7-314
Jockey: Ryan Moore
Trainer: A P O’Brien

Full Result
1st: Magic Wand (5/1)
2nd: Wild Illusion (5/2)
3rd: Highgarden (14/1) 

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Ascot Gold Cup (Class 1) (Group 1) (2m 4f)

The Gold Cup is of course the feature race of Day Three and it’s possible the race i’ve most been looking forward too throughout the entire week as it’s thrown up an absolutely outstanding renewal.

Order Of St George heads affairs for Aiden O’Brien and Ryan Moore, runner up in this last year after being narrowly beat by Big Orange and the winner of it in 2016. He certainly looks as though he still retains his ability this season with a couple of straight forward wins to his name. He’s likely to put up another very bold showing here and that’s why he’s trading at the top of the market at the 15/8 mark.

John Gosden’s Stradivarius joins Order Of St George at the top of the market on the back of his very stylish win at York the last day. He comes here with youth on his side and also a win at Goodwood over Order Of St George’s conqueror Big Orange last season. The trip is an unknown to him today but if handling the extra distance he’s a huge player here with Frankie once again on board.

One of my all time favourite Flat performers also lines up in this star studded line up and that comes in the form of French raider Vazirabad. He comes here of the back of another profitable campaign in Meydan and a smart winning return to Longchamp the last day. He’s an all time great in the flat racing staying division and if handling the track here is a live danger to the field. He’s around 5/1 and is partnered up with Christophe Soumillon again. Torcedor could be a dark horse in the field, the Jessica Harrington charge was last seen when bolting up in a Group 3 around here in May and could well play a part.

VERDICT:

I’m just going to side with the younger horse here and that’s of course STRADIVARIUS for John Gosden. If he get’s the trip which is the obvious negative I think he’s going to be very hard to beat.

STRADIVARIUS – (15/8)

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Form: 1133-1
Jockey: Frankie Dettori
Trainer: John Gosden

Full Result
1st: Stradivarius (15/8)
2nd: Order Of St George (15/8)
3rd: Vazirabad (5/1)

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Britannia Stakes (1m) (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2)

CUROSITY – (12/1) (E/W)

(Ran very well on reappearance the last day to press a smart rival, been put up five pounds since but could well go close again here under James McDonald.)

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QAYSAR – (20/1) (E/W)

(Looked a smart progressive sort before not staying at Haydock the last but did miss the break, if proving stamina doubts here and getting away better could resume progression.)

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King George V Stakes (1m 4f) (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2)

DOWNDRAFT – (10/1) (E/W)

(Irish raider that won on handicap debut the last day at Navan and likely to come off the pace again here to challenge, step up to this trip should suit and could well progress any here.)

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 CASSINI – (14/1) (E/W)

(Had wind surgery after second outing and his since gone on to take a fourteen runner Handicap at Windsor. Related to this stables former Group 3 winner Cunco, unexposed and likely more to come.)

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