BY the time that you read this Royal Ascot will be in full swing with its top-class racing, pageantry a nd high fashion.
This week I’m going to have a look at the two big six furlong races on the Saturday, the Golden Jubilee Stakes and the Wokingham Stakes.
In the former my sidekick attended a preview evening near Newmarket last Sunday and Godolphin’s racing manager Simon Crisford said that he thought their best chance of the week was Delegator.
But he also told the audience that he didn’t think there was a great deal of value left in the 9-2 and he thinks the horse is more of a 6-1 chance (he’s actually been backed at 7-1 and down with us).
So on that basis and even though Delegator might hose up, I’m going to opt for Sir Mark Prescott’s Hooray, who at time of writing is 16-1.
Last season’s champion juvenile filly took some time to come to herself this spring but was pleasing her wily trailer enough to line up in the English Guineas.
She weakened over a furlong out on that occasion which led credence to her detractor’s claims that she was unlikely to stay a mile.
Sir Mark then dropped her in trip and class last time at Epsom and she readily justified her odds-on status to win that Listed race over seven furlongs.
She was over two lengths clear a furlong from home so connections clearly think that she might be a sprinter and while owners, the Cheveley Park Stud, love having runners at this fixture, they wouldn’t bring her just for fun.
While the Wokingham Stakes is an awfully competitive race and a lot will come down to where the selection is drawn, my sidekick bumped into trainer George Margarson at the preview and he’s very keen on the chance of Imperial Guest.
George explained that last year they were forced to run him in the seven-furlong Buckingham Palace Stakes as he wasn’t quite high enough in the weights to get into the Wokingham.
He duly ran a blinder at 50-1 to finish third behind Treadwell.
There shouldn’t be any problems about him getting in this year as he’s gone up in the weights after a lovely performance when winning a handicap at Ascot last month.
Even though he often runs well over seven furlongs, the stiff six of Ascot seems absolutely ideal for this speedy type and his five career successes have all been over six furlongs.
My one slight concern is that the ground goes a little too soft for him (good to soft currently with more rain forecast later in the week), but saying that he wasn’t beaten far on good to soft ground at Ascot last September.
George added that the tip has been working very well and that he’s going to Ascot with every hope that he’ll have more than one winner over the course of the week.
Those of you who picked up last week’s paper will know that I have already tipped up Rory McIlroy each-way in the US Open which kicks off on Thursday and the good news is that we’re paying an amazing SIX places each-way.
The sport is really coming at us at the moment and Wimbledon also begins on Monday.
Now I’m not a huge tennis nut but I do enjoy watching the likes of Tim Henman (yes I do know that he has retired!) and Andy Murray try and entertain the home crowd.
I’m going to opt for Murray to win the tournament as I think he’ll definitely get to the semis and just a little improvement could see him all the way.
Saturday Royal Ascot 3.50pm Hooray
Saturday Royal Ascot 4.25pm Imperial Guest
Monday Wimbledon Andy Murray