So the final day of the Royal meeting is upon us and oh what a week it has been; International winners, fabulous Frankie, record-breaking training and jockey performances and course record smashed.
Let’s look forward not back, the feature on the final day of racing is the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes, which is run over 6 furlongs and historically attracts the best sprinters in training. This year is no exception, with representatives from England, Ireland, America, France and Australia. The home brigade has the favourite Harry Angel, who is a multiple Group 1. However, it must be a worry for his supporters than on his four previous visits to Ascot he’s been beaten.
Of the international contingent, Redkirk Warrior holds the greatest interest, the Australian sprinter has been a revelation since dropping down in trip and is now a multiple Group 1 winner. Funnily enough, he has course winning form over 1m 2f when trained by William Haggas. City Lights has been in good form this season but on the whole, I don’t believe he has enough quality to win a race of this nature.
Merchant Navy is my idea of the winner, the son Fastnet Rock has some ground to make up on with Redkirk Warrior on their Australian form but after recently joining Aidan O’Brien that isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.
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Looking at the Chesham, it’s hard to make a definitive selection as there are so many unknowns. I’ll throw my hat on the French raider On A Session, who is owned by Con Marnane, brother to Royal Hunt Cup-winning trainer David. He seems to have a live chance of having back to back Royal Ascot winners with his unbeaten daughter of Noble Mission.
The red-hot pair of Ryan Moore and Sir Michael Stoute team up in the Hardwicke Stakes with favourite Crystal Ocean. There have been some burnt fingers with favourites such as Cracksman and Lady Aurelia getting turned over. I can’t see this happening with last season St Leger runner-up Crystal Ocean.
The final two-year-old contest of the week is the Windsor Castle Stakes where once again Wesley Ward trains the favourite; Moonlight Romance. I’m going to throw a curve ball here by putting a maiden forward as my selection. The once-raced Kessar finished runner-up on debut at York having been badly hampered.
John Gosden enlists the services of Frankie Dettori for this son of Kodiac and in an open-looking race, Kessar looks sure to run well.
Every handicap that’s run at Royal Ascot looks competitive but the Wokingham has a very strange look to it, Dreamfield is currently priced up at about a 10/3 favourite and it’s 14/1 the field. Does this mean that Dreamfield is a certainty? No it doesn’t he looks on the paper the most likely winner but use an old adage there are no such things are certainties’ when it comes to racing.
Dreamfield is unbeaten in three races and this regally bred son of Oasis Dream is justifiably at the top of the market but at some prohibitive odds against seasoned handicappers, I’m willing to take him on.
For those of you who read my Handicap hopefuls article, which has already produced the 16/1 winner of the Royal Hunt Cup Settle For Bay, will know I like Danzeno in this race. Mick Appleby’s seven-year-old has saved some of his best form for Ascot including when fifth in the Wokingham last year off a two pound higher mark.
Currently a 20/1 shot with RaceBets, Danzeno looks great value to at least make the frame at the very least.
Royal Ascot is brought to a close with the Queen Alexandra Stakes, which is run over a marathon two mile five and a half furlongs, last season Ascot Stakes winner Thomas Hobson will be aiming to send favourite-backers home happy as Willie Mullins’s charge looks highly likely to start short favourite.
Willie may have won the trainer championship but I think Gordon will get his revenge and will win the Queen Alexandra Stakes with the classy Pallasator, who was a Group 2 winner in his prime. He showed that he retained plenty ability over jumps last season by winning two races including a Grade 2 event at Fairyhouse. Gordon has freshened him up for this race and a big run looks on the cards.