BILL ESDAILE PREVIEWS THE OPENING DAY OF ROYAL ASCOT 2015
Royal Ascot has got underway with a bang in recent times – and this year’s meeting should be no exception.
The Queen Anne Stakes (2.30pm) normally features the best milers that Europe has to offer. On this occasion they will be joined by Hong Kong’s champion, Able Friend.
This is a difficult race for international horses traditionally, because they normally run around a bend and aren’t used to racing over a mile on a stiff, straight track like Ascot.
If this was run in Able Friend’s backyard he’d be odds-on and you’d need your mind testing to oppose him.
However, he hasn’t raced anywhere other than Sha Tin in over two years and I’m happy to take him on at 5/2 with Betway.
The main reason I’m keen to oppose him is that I think today could be the day when another superstar French miler comes of age.
Freddy Head was an outstanding jockey, winning four Arcs and countless other top class races all over the world. And he has been equally adept as a trainer; Goldikova and Moonlight Cloud being the best he has handled so far.
This afternoon he saddles the grey gelding SOLOW, who could turn out to be an absolute monster.
A winner of nine of his last 10 races, with that one defeat coming over a ridiculous trip of almost two miles, the son of Singspiel crushed his rivals in the Dubai Turf in March.
He then treated the likes of Cirrus Des Aigles and Gailo Chop with similar distain in the Prix D’Ispahan last month.
He is dropping back in trip today, yet I don’t expect that to bother him and think he will win. Take the 13/8 with Betway.
Night Of Thunder, the winner of the Lockinge and last year’s 2,000 Guineas, is a threat and he has been underestimated throughout his career. He might just not be quite top class, which is the same issue I have with his stablemate Toormore.
However, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Hannon duo followed in Solow rather than Able Friend who is going to find this such a different test to what he’s ever experienced before.
SOLOW 2.30pm Ascot