Many of the 20 runners in Tuesday afternoon’s Ascot Stakes (5.00pm) are tackling two and a half miles on the flat for the first time, with the recent rain putting even more emphasis on stamina.
National Hunt trainers have dominated this prize in recent years, having won eight of the last 10 renewals, and are again strongly represented this afternoon.
Willie Mullins, Nicky Henderson, Gordon Elliott, Kim Bailey and Chris Gordon all saddle runners in the marathon contest, with the first two named holding particularly strong hands on paper.
Mullins won the race last year with Clondaw Warrior and appears to have a chance of repeating that success with Pique Sous.
The nine-year-old won the Queen Alexandra Stakes at this meeting two years ago and has to be respected.
Henderson saddles Betway Chester Cup winner No Heretic who has only gone up 4lbs for that success, but doesn’t appear to have much form on soft ground.
Investec Derby-winning pair Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen team up with favourite Silver Concorde, who finished third behind No Heretic at Chester.
He seemed to handle the step up in trip well there, but if the ground continues to get softer, that would be a negative.
With the threat of more rain today, I’m keen to keep Irish mare JENNIES JEWEL on side at 10/1 with Coral.
She is better known for her exploits over hurdles and chased Vroum Vroum Mag home here on soft ground in January.
Rated close to 140 over timber, she can race off a flat mark of just 93 this afternoon, which is just 10lbs higher than the mark from which she bolted up at the Curragh back in May.
The more rain the better for her as she stays up to three miles over hurdles.
At an even bigger price, I’m prepared to take an each-way chance on Brian Ellison’s TOTALIZE at a whopping 25/1.
He ran on really well at the death in the Chester Cup, handles soft ground and could easily hit the frame.
Jennies Jewel e/w 5.00pm Royal Ascot
Totalize e/w 5.00pm Royal Ascot