ASCOT’S Victoria Cup at 3.50pm tomorrow is always a hugely competitive handicap and the draw will play a big part. Low stalls have come out on top in the past two years, but pace is every bit as important and the speedy types have got high berths.
Kevin Ryan has really started to hit form and I think he can land this prize from stall 22 with LIGHTNING CLOUD, ridden by his daughter Amy.
The pair finished fifth in this race last year, winning the battle on their side of the track, but that came on the five-year-old’s seasonal debut.
The Sleeping Indian gelding finished a close third on his reappearance at Thirsk last month, which should have set him up perfectly for this, and he has shown his best form at Ascot.
The slight concern is that he races off a career-high mark. However, there could still be some improvement in him and he looks a decent each-way bet at 14/1 with Coral.
Lingfield hosts its Derby Trial card tomorrow and I’m quite sweet on the chances of Hughie Morrison’s ANOTHER COCKTAIL in the highlight at 2.55pm.
The Dalakhani colt ran on really well to finish second in the Investec Derby Trial at Epsom last month and the step up in trip is sure to suit. Luca Cumani’s Greatwood will be hard to beat but I think Another Cocktail will end up being a pretty decent animal.
Ralph Beckett normally targets Lingfield’s Oaks Trial (2.20pm) with his best fillies – Look Here was second here before going on to Epsom glory – and SECRET GESTURE is reportedly high up the pecking order at his Hampshire yard.
She won her maiden on heavy ground at Newbury in October, but is beautifully bred and should appreciate tomorrow’s likely quicker conditions. She can take this before having a crack at the big one in a few weeks.
Ryan Moore has ridden five winners from six rides for Roger Teal’s Thirty Acre team in the last five years and he can enhance that record on JACK OF DIAMONDS in the 4.35pm.
He is a tricky one to win with, as seven places versus two wins on his CV testifies, but he hasn’t handled the bend on Lingfield’s all-weather track on his last two starts and the straight turf course should be much more to his liking.
Back at Ascot today, Richard Hannon and his son-in-law Richard Hughes were overjoyed to win the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas on Sunday and I think they can take the opening and closing races this evening.
First up in the fillies’ maiden at 5.30pm is the Highclere-owned ORIEL who has apparently been scorching up the gallops at home and could end up being the stable’s Queen Mary runner.
It’s impossible to know what she is going to meet, but there will be some very long faces at East Everleigh if this one is turned over.
Finally, followers of this column have already made a decent profit backing INTRIGO following his impressive Leicester win last month. He has been raised eight pounds for that, but I don’t think that will be enough to stop him in the lucky last (8.15pm).
ORIEL 5.30pm Ascot (today)
INTRIGO 8.15pm Ascot (today)
SECRET GESTURE 2.20pm Lingfield (tomorrow)
ANOTHER COCKTAIL 2.55pm Lingfield (tomorrow)
LIGHTNING CLOUD e/w 3.50pm Ascot (tomorrow)
JACK OF DIAMONDS e/w 4.35pm Lingfield (tomorrow)