In all honesty, I can’t see her getting beaten, but I’m not rich enough to be backing her at 2/7 with Coral. There is also the fact that she has travelled halfway around the world, has never raced on Ascot’s unique surface and will be encountering ground softer than she’s used to.
It’s all about trying to find value in this game and regular readers will have already snapped up the 15/2 Paddy Power were offering at the start of the week about MOONLIGHT CLOUD. Freddie Head’s filly had some smart form last season and I expect her to follow the Aussie speedball home. Coral offer a best-priced 15/8 about her in the without Black Caviar market, and the only real danger I can see is last year’s winner, Society Rock.
The Wokingham comes up 40 minutes later over the same course and distance and this 28-runner handicap is always fiercely competitive. The last three runnings have gone to inexperienced, unexposed sprinters, but there aren’t many of those that jump off the page in this line-up.
MEDICEAN MAN, tipped up at 40/1 in this column for Tuesday’s King’s Stand, reappears tomorrow and, after his cracking fourth in that Group One contest, he must go close back in handicap company off a mark of 103. His draw in stall 19 seems fine and he is worth backing each-way at 14/1 with Star Sports.
Jim Bolger normally does very well at this meeting and he was in the winner’s enclosure on Tuesday when Dawn Approach took the honours in the Coventry Stakes. After the son of New Approach won a Listed race at Naas a few weeks ago, the trainer identified the Chesham Stakes (2.30pm) as the likely target, so it’s a tip in itself that he runs MOVE TO STRIKE instead in today’s opener.
The Lawman colt won a soft ground maiden at the Curragh last month, so rain holds no fears and I fancy him to just get the better of Richard Hannon’s Jalaa. The British champion trainer has won two of the last four runnings of this race and the Sheikh Hamdan-owned contender is greatly respected on the back of his impressive debut victory at Leicester.
Sir Michael Stoute has picked up the Hardwicke Stakes (3.05pm) three times in the past six years and Sea Moon bids to give him another success tomorrow. Ryan Moore’s mount was a beaten favourite in last year’s St Leger, but he proved he had trained on when landing a Listed prize at Goodwood last month. He will appreciate the rain that has fallen and has a decent chance.
However, I have been very impressed with AIKEN this campaign and I fancy this progressive sort to land the prize for John Gosden, who took the race three years ago with Bronze Cannon. The four-year-old has won six of his seven career starts, goes well with cut in the ground and is two from two over course and distance. He rates a solid each-way bet against Sea Moon, Memphis Tennessee and Dunaden.
MOVE TO STRIKE 2.30pm Royal Ascot (tomorrow)
AIKEN e/w 3.05pm Royal Ascot (tomorrow)
MOONLIGHT CLOUD e/w 3.45pm Royal Ascot (tomorrow)
MEDICEAN MAN e/w 4.25pm Royal Ascot (tomorrow)