Royal Ascot Preview – Day 2

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Cracksman

It’s slightly disappointing that the Price Of Wales’s Stakes is the only Group 1 contest tomorrow but it’s a stellar day racing nonetheless. Cracksman tops the billing and last season’s Champion Stakes winner is very hard to oppose. The toughest opposition will come from Poet’s Word, Cliffs Of Moher and Eminent but it would seem that they are all fighting for minor money.

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The opener on Day 2 of the royal meeting is the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes for two-year-old fillies. Wesley Ward has won two of the last three renewals with Acapulco and Lady Aurelia and the American will be hoping his Chelsea Cloisters can add to his previous three victories. Lots of pedigrees and profiles catch the eye but one of the more interesting fillies is French raider Forever In Dreams who is unbeaten in two runs and hails from the same connections as last year’s Albany winner Different League.

The Queens Vase looks like a schooling race for Aidan O’Brien with three of four market leaders in the form of Kew Gardens, Nelson and Southern France. John Gosden’s unexposed pair of Stream Of Stars and Almoghared are undoubtedly the biggest dangers to Aidan O’Brien claiming a sixth win in the race with a slight preference for Stream Of Stars.

Aidan O’Brien looks to have another strong candidate for victory with Hydrangea in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes, the two-time Group winner should appreciate this step down in class and is the likely winner. Marco Botti’s Aljazzi looks the biggest danger in the hands of William Buick.

Anyone who read my Handicap Hopefuls article last week will know that my banker of the week runs in the Royal Hunt Cup. This race is all about Settle For Bay, David Marnane’s charge has everything going for him including stable form, with Marnane having another winner on Sunday.

Marnane said:

“He’s in good form and travelled over well. He cantered on the track and we’re very happy with him”.

Many romantics will be rowing in behind the Queen’s runner Seniority who has gotten into the race as a second reserve. The Dubawi gelding has won both his starts this term and with James Doyle in the plate, a big run looks on the cards.

The Group Three Jersey Stakes brings Day 2 to a close and it looks a tricky affair for anyone trying to get out of jail in the “lucky last”. Could It Be Love was runner-up in the Irish 1000 Guineas most recently but those races can sometimes throw up funny results especially when it comes to the placings.

William Haggas’s Society Power has a plethora of “1” beside his name which can be misleading but to be fair the Society Rock colt has been very progressive and looks a real contender for the Group Three prize.

Of the other runners, I quite like the Hamdan Al Maktoum owned Tabdeed. The Havana Gold colt is unbeaten in two starts and was mightily impressive on both occasions. Owen Burrows slowly slowly approach can reap dividends here as I expect Tabdeed to go very close in this contest.

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