YOU would have got a big price about Aidan O’Brien not training a single Royal Ascot winner, but the Ballydoyle maestro will arrive at the Berkshire course today without a winner on the board after three days of racing. However, I expect him to have a cracking afternoon and his LILLIE LANGTRY can land the Coronation Stakes (3.50pm), the feature on the penultimate day of the meeting.
The Group 1 contest will feature 13 fillies and they include Henry Cecil’s Jacqueline Quest, who was famously first past the post in the 1,000 Guineas before later being disqualified. Sadly, she is hard to fancy as she was almost certainly flattered by that run and had the plum draw that day.
It is very hard to separate Anna Salai, Music Show and Lillie Langtry on their showing in
last month’s Irish 1,000 Guineas. The fillies finished 2nd, 3rd and 5th respectively, but
you could have thrown a blanket over them at the line. Anna Salai was arguably sent to
the front a little too early for one so inexperienced and she may well improve if ridden
Yet, the real eye-catcher was Lillie Langtry who, unlike the other two, was making her
seasonal reappearance after suffering a career threatening injury at the Breeders’ Cup last
season. She was flying at the death and may well have won if the race had been run over
another 50 yards. She is reportedly working extremely well at home and will surely
improve a fair bit for that outing – the 9/2 available with William Hill looks fair value.
I’ll also be having a few quid each-way on Francois Rohaut’s EVADING TEMPETE as
she seems overpriced at 12/1 with Paddy Power. The form of her recent Italian 1000
Guineas win may not be much, but her second at Maisons-Lafitte (with Special Duty back in third) is about the best form on offer.
The opening race this afternoon, the Albany Stakes (2.30pm), looks a betting minefield with 16 of the 23 two-year-olds with two or less runs under their belts. That said, I am prepared to take a chance on Sir Mark Prescott’s HOORAY who is well regarded and has a favoured high draw.
GREEN MOON takes a massive step up in class when he takes on Derby runner-up At First Sight in the King Edward VII Stakes (3.05pm). He should appreciate the two furlong step up in trip and is fancied to see off the O’Brien runner and Henry Cecil’s Bullet Train who both appeared to have hard races at Epsom.
I’ll be backing RAINBOW PEAK and TRAFFIC GUARD in the 16 runner Wolferton Handicap (4.25pm). The former will relish the step up in trip, while the latter looked to be on his way back last time and would be far too good for these on the best of his form.
However, the best bet of the day is Aidan O’Brien’s MIKHAIL GLINKA in the Queen’s Vase (5.00pm). He was once considered a possible Derby contender, but looked desperate for this sort of trip on his seasonal reappearance. He looks head and shoulders above these and it would be disappointing if he didn’t win comfortably.