BILL ESDAILE PREVIEWS TOMORROW’S DIAMOND JUBILEE AND WOKINGHAM STAKES
EDDIE LYNAM has already had a week to remember with his superstar sprinter Sole Power winning back-to-back King’s Stands on Tuesday and Anthem Alexander following up in Wednesday’s Queen Mary.
He will be hoping things get even better tomorrow as he must have a fantastic chance of securing a first Diamond Jubilee Stakes with SLADE POWER at 4.25pm.
The five-year-old ran some great races last season, culminating in an impressive win here in the Champions Sprint on QIPCO British Champions Day. That was on soft ground and while he clearly handles that better than most, he has plenty of decent form on a quicker surface.
I loved the way he travelled on his seasonal debut at the Curragh, cruising up and easily seeing off the race-fit Maarek. Lynam has said that the Dutch Art colt has grown up over the winter and he is desperate to win a Group One with him.
Wayne Lordan has an excellent relationship with his mount and I just feel Slade Power is the class act in this line-up. A bit more juice in the ground would probably be helpful, but I’m still very sweet on his chances and he should be backed at 7/2 with Star Sports.
Aljamaaheer is supremely talented on his day and is certainly unexposed at sprint trips. He is a live danger to my selection, especially as he has run so well at Ascot in the past. However, he’s difficult to win with and Paul Hanagan is going to have to time things perfectly.
This is a hard race for three-year-olds to win, but both Art Connoisseur and Kingsgate Native have done so in the past six years. Due Diligence and Astaire, the only two representatives from the Classic generation, are both respected, perhaps the latter slightly more so after his decent run at York behind Maarek.
Gordon Lord Byron can never be ruled out in top class sprints, but he’s been off gallivanting around the world and may not be at his best tomorrow.
A couple of lively outsiders are Es Que Love, who showed up well in Tuesday’s King’s Stand, and Tropics who, although below par this campaign, ran away with a Group Three over course and distance last October.
If you’ve backed the winner of the Wokingham Stakes in the last eight years, then give yourself a pat on the back. Only one favourite, the heavily-punted Laddies Poker Two in 2010, has obliged in that time with other winners returning at big prices including 33/1, 22/1, 20/1 and 14/1 shots.
It’s always one of the hottest handicaps of the year and it pays to chance a couple. My two selections in a wide-open contest are NINJAGO and SEEKING MAGIC.
The former won a Listed race over course and distance last year, and then ran creditably in some other big sprints including a solid fourth in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood.
This has been the plan for some time and Richard Hannon’s horse went very close on his reappearance at HQ when just failing to get up. The 12/1 with Star Sports is a solid each-way bet.
I fancied Seeking Magic in the Dash at Epsom on Derby Day and he only failed by a head, despite having to switch in the final furlong – a move that cost him victory. That was only the gelding’s second run over the minimum trip and stepping back up to six furlongs should suit.
The six-year-old still looks to have a bit of improvement in him and his low weight is reduced further by the useful apprentice Ryan Tate’s 5lb claim. The pair should make a bold bid for the £108,938 first prize.
SLADE POWER 4.25pm Ascot (tomorrow)
NINJAGO e/w 5.00pm Ascot (tomorrow)
SEEKING MAGIC e/w 5.00pm Ascot (tomorrow)