Royal Ascot Saturday – Race Preview – Will Wings of Desire take the Hardwicke Stakes?

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2:30 Chesham Stakes:

The opening race on the final day is a 7 furlong race for two years olds. The one they all have to beat here is the Aidan O’Brien trained September.

Not may of Aidan’s horses win on debut, they usually need the run but given the way this horse won so easily on debut I think this Peeping Fawn filly could be very special.

This filly’s dam was a top class group 1 performer and this filly could be just as good if not better. The faster ground today is sure to help and bring out the best in her. The Godolphin pair of Masar and Gold Town look like the biggest dangers.

The form of the maiden that Masar won has worked out really well and this colt looks a promising type. Gold Town won nicely on debut. The horse he beat then finished 2nd in the Coventry Stakes earlier in the week. Was disappointing on it’s next start but that was a hotly contested race and the winner won the Coventry here during the week.

There was excuses for it’s last run but the winner of that race finished 4th in the Coventry also. The both should put up a good fight against September but they will find it tough to give her weight today.

SEPTEMBER is my selection for this race but I do think Gold Town is great each way value at 22/1.

3:05 Wolferton Handicap:

Sixteen runners go to post for this 1 mile 2f handicap. Any number of these have chances but the one’s Iike are Pacify, Central Square and Elbereth. Pacify looks very well handicapped on his old form but he hasn’t been in the best of form in recent times.

He was down the field in this last year off a 2lb higher mark. He did show more on it’s last run though and the booking of Pat Smullen is eye catching. Central Square is a fair sort and ran a nice prep race for this last time out over a trip shorter than his liking.

The step back up in trip today should suit and I can see him hitting the frame but the one I like the most is Elbereth.

This horse has been running at Listed and Group level all season and he looks the best horse in the race. He may be further up the handicap than most and have a wide draw but I think his class will show and those things will only help make his price bigger.

This horse was 2nd in the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes two runs back behind Someday and last time out this horse was a 6 length 4th in the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom behind Highland Reel. That horse won the Group 1 Prince of Wales Stakes earlier in the week.

No horse in the field’s form even comes close to that. I think ELBERETH at 14/1 is the each way bet of the week.

3:40 Hardwicke Stakes:

This group 2 run over the Derby trip of 1 mile and 4 furlongs is an open looking race with a lot of top class group performers in the field.

The Queens Dartmouth is the one they all have to beat. This won won this race last year and won the Yorkshire Cup last time out.

The key thing in both of those races was the ground though. It was soft ground on both occasions. There is no doubt that this horse is much better with cut in the ground.

It’s form on fast ground though is not so great. Ryan Moore rides this one over the Aidan O’Brien trained Idaho which is always a good sign but I just think that they’ll be other horses who will be better suited to this ground.

Wings of Desire is my idea of the winner.

This horse won the Dante Stakes last season and ran a solid race when 4th in the Derby. The ground went against him then as it was on the soft side but he still ran a great race.

He then ran a cracker when 2nd to Highland Reel in the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes over this course and distance on better ground.

He finished over 2l ahead of Dartmouth then which puts him in with a great chance today.

He ran no sort of race on his last start but he had a long season and the trip may have been on the sharp side.

His trainer always believed that this horse would be much better as a 4 year old and comes here a fresh horse. My Dream Boat and Western Hymn could prove to be more of a danger than Dartmouth but I think WINGS OF DESIRE can top off a great week for William Buick in this race today.

4:20 Diamond Jubilee Stakes:

This is one of the best races of the week and it sees the best 6 furlong sprinters in the world do battle. An awful lot of these sprinters would be more at home on softer ground. That alone has made it easier when trying to find the winner of this Group 1.

This race looks like a 3 way fight between Tasleet, The Tin Man and Limato. The latter two hold most of the field on their runs last season but Tasleet is the up and comer.

Tasleet was strong at the finish when winning the Group 2 Duke of York stakes last time out over Magical Memory.

That was on soft ground though, he has to prove he is as good on this faster ground. The Tin Man is a great sprinter and won the Champions Sprint at this track over this distance last season.

He ran a nice race when 5th to Tasleet last time out on ground softer than his liking.

The fast ground today will suit and he’ll take an awful lot of catching.

I do think though that Limato is the class act in this field though. This horse was a talented miler as a 3 year old but improved greatly last season for the drop in trip.

This horse won the July Cup, was runner up in the Nunthorpe and won the Prix De La Foret. Has a decent record when fresh and is the top rated runner in the field by 5lb.

This horse used to be ridden by Harry Bentley but the owners have dispensed with him and have chosen Ryan Moore to take the ride today. Kachy ran a nice race in the Commonwealth Cup here last season and hasn’t found much luck in running this season.

The fast ground will suit and is a live outsider. The one I’m siding with though is the Henry Candy trained LIMATO.

5:00 Wokingham Stakes Handicap:

This is the best handicap of the week and it’s run over 6 furlongs. It’s a another big field sprint and the draw can be crucial in this race.

Only 2 horses that have come down the middle of this track have ever won. You need to be drawn either high or low and the nearer to the rail at either side the better.

Normally the least exposed horses or those who have come down the weights an awful lot usually win and fill the places in this race.

Of the 30 runners the five I like at Outback Traveller, Raucous, Projection, Edward Lewis and Danzeno. Outback Traveller won this race last year in great style. He was very game at the finish and won last years renewal off of only a 4lb lower mark. Last years win was on good to soft but this horse has also won on fast so there should be no ground worries.

He’s got a nice draw again and this horse had a lovely prep run in the Victoria Cup. He’ll go very close in his bid to win this race two years in a row. Raucous is the mount of Ryan Moore. This horse ran a nice race when 4th in a Listed race last time out.

He previously won on the all weather. His 3rd in last years Stewards Cup is strong form and if he runs anything like he did then he’ll be tough to beat. Danzeno is a really admirable horse. This horse was rated much higher and used to run with credit in Listed and Group races. He was 3rd in a Group 1 over this course and distance once.

He’s 9lb lower than his peak form.

He has not been in the best of form but he could run a big race today. Edward Lewis has progressed well all season in lower grade races but possibly ran a career best last time out in the Epsom Dash when a very fast finishing 5th. He had a bad draw then and found plenty trouble in running. The step up in trip to 6f could well bring out more improvement in him today.

He has a nice draw in stall 7 also. Projection is an unexposed sort who has run well in some big handicaps. His seasonal reappearance in a Listed race was full of promise and this horse has the scope to go close in a race of this nature.

There won’t be much between the five horses I’ve mentioned. With some firms paying 6 places I’m going to have two stabs at this race each way with EDWARD LEWIS 14/1 & DANZENO at 22/1.
5:35 Queen Alexandra Stakes:

This race concludes Royal Ascot’s festival for another year and it is the longest race on the flat calendar. Its run over a whopping 2 mile 5 and a ½ furlongs.

An awful lot of the horses in this field have no chance based on their ratings as it’s run off near levels. Oriental Fox won this race 2 years ago and was a gallant 4th in the race last year.

I do think this year’s renewal is a stronger race.

He will stay and has place claims but not one for win purposes. Vent De Force won a group 3 a few seasons back but hasn’t shown anything like that since.

Ran okay last time out when 4th to Big Orange. Form was boosted by the winner and 3rd but Vent De Force was a good bit behind. He didn’t see out this trip before so I doubt he will today but could show up for a long ways.

Winning Story is a good stayer as shown when winning the All Weather Staying Championship race. He should see out the trip but I just question if he’s a better horse on an artificial surface. Thomas Hobson ran here on Tuesday in the Ascot Stakes over a trip just short of this. He was held up by Ryan Moore for most of the race but sprinted away from his rivals to win.

He may have been well in at the weights in that handicap but this is tougher now off levels. His trainer Willie Mullins has done the double before with Simeon, so I wouldn’t rule it out.

He does have about 10lbs to find with the class acts in this race though. Ryan Moore has also jumped ship to ride US Army Ranger for Aidan O’Brien. This horse was 2nd in the Epsom Derby last year to Harzand.

He has not shown anything like that since though. I strongly believe that the Derby can often ruin a horse. Golden Horn and Sea the Stars are the exception but mostly the horses that win or run close to winning the Derby often are never the same again.

US Army Ranger’s best effort since the Derby was his 2nd at Chester earlier this season. He has since badly disappointed at Epsom though. This race may well be a last resort for this horse. He steps up 1 mile in distance and into the unknown.

Most of the Galileo bred horses do see out this trip such as Yeats, Fame and Glory and Order of St George. All of those horses though had won several group 1 races over middle distances though. Us Army Ranger may well stay but I couldn’t bet on him.

The most solid bet in the this race is Qewy. This horse was formerly trained by John Oxx and at one point became a bit of a rogue but he was nurtured back to his best by his current trainer Charlie Appleby.

This horse was a fast finishing 2nd in the Ascot Stakes at this meeting last year. He was then sent down to Australia to compete in their top staying races. He won the Geelong Cup and was a fast finishing 4th in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington. He had Ascot Cup Cup winner Big Orange in behind then. He also won on his last start in Australia in November.

This race has been the aim for some time and this horse runs best when fresh. He is the 2nd highest rated horse in the field and is well in with a lot of the other runners. I think QEWY can send punters home happy.