Tuesday 15th June 2021
Royal Ascot 2021 is here and as ever the meeting kicks off with a bang on Day 1, as the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes is the curtain raiser. All eyes will be on the John & Thady Gosden trained Palace Pier here as he looks to add another Group 1 success to his already illustrious looking CV. The four-year-old son of Kingman is seen by many as the best miler in Europe and he looks impossible to oppose in the opener.
The Coventry Stakes is up next and this is a much more competitive looking affair. The Group 2 over six furlongs currently has America and Ireland battling it out at the top of the market with Wesley Ward’s Kaufymaker and Aidan O’Briens The Acropolis. Ward has been singing very high praises for his two-year-old’s chances here and as we’ve seen on many occasions here in previous years with horses like Lady Aurelia, she could well be a star. One I quite like from an each-way point of view is the Hugo Palmer trained Ebro River who’s the mount of James Doyle, he looks far from
the most straight forward of types, however, he appears to have an abundance of talent in the locker judging by his win in the National Stakes the last day at Sandown. He hung badly across the track that day yet still powered clear of his rivals to win by over 3 lengths, a very interesting contender to say the least.
It’s Group 1 action next in the form of the King’s Stand Stakes over five furlongs, and it see’s the reigning champion Battaash return in an attempt to retain his crown. Charlie Hills’ seven-year-old hasn’t been seen since winning the Nunthorpe at York last year and a chance would have to be taken on his fitness, that been said though he won this race on his first outing last term, his form is miles better than the rest of the field and if anywhere near here his best he should blow this lot out of the water. One potential negative to him could well prove to be his age, he’s up against a considerable amount of younger rivals here and he has to start regress at some point. Winter Power looks to be one the main rivals to the reigning champion having won impressively on both of his last two outings, the latest coming in the Listed Westow Stakes at York. I quite like the chances of Oxted here for Roger Teal, last year’s July Cup winner hasn’t quite been at his best since, however, this drop down to five furlongs is very interesting and now reunited with Cieren Fallon I think he could well prove a player here. He’ll be my each-way play.
The St James’s Palace Stakes takes centre stage at 4.20, a prestigious Group 1 affair that’s contested over a mile and has seen the likes of Frankel and Kingman in it’s back catalogue of winners. 2000 Guineas winner Poetic Flare will head the market for Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning. He’s a horse I’ve grown very fond of having followed his career closely, he’s been on the go a lot this term having followed up his English Guineas win with a sixth placed effort in the French equivalent before finishing second in the Irish Guineas. You’d have to ask whether all of the racing and travelling is going to catch up with him though, as he’ll have to be at his best once more here. The O’Brien pair of Battleground and Wembley will have to improve on their Newmarket efforts, but that is likely and they can’t be dismissed. A lot of money has come for Mostahdaf for the Gosden’s, he’s got a lot to find on current form but the feeling is he’s potentially very smart, he’ll have to be though if he wants to play a part in this. I’ve actually had another each-way play here in the form of Chindit for Richard Hannon and Pat Dobbs. He’s got form figures of 11115 on ground of good/firmer, it’s clear he doesn’t like Newmarket and Ascot is much more to his liking having got course form already. Despite not suiting to the Rowley Mile he still ran a mighty race when finishing fifth in the Guineas and I think there could well be a lot more to come from this three-year-old by Wootten Bassett.