JOHN Gosden was crowned leading trainer at last week’s Royal Ascot for the first time in his illustrious career. It was an incredible feat to notch five winners during the most competitive racing week of the year and he looks to have an excellent chance of claiming his second Northumberland Plate tomorrow afternoon (3.20pm).
I was interested in PALAZZO BIANCO for last week’s Ascot Stakes, but he didn’t take his place in the line-up. The Princess Haya-owned four-year-old looked like a promising stayer last season and it just seemed that inexperience caught him out. He’s been beaten on both his starts this campaign, but looks very well-handicapped and Gosden is a master at improving this type of horse.
He has snuck in at the bottom of the weights and is well drawn in stall seven. My only worry is very testing ground as he was a beaten favourite on heavy at Haydock last campaign. It didn’t look like he failed to handle the conditions that day, though, more that he was just a three-year-old and slightly on the weak side. He has matured now and is a cracking each-way bet at 12/1 with Coral.
Il De Re bids for a historic double following his Chester Cup success, but Attivo in 1974 was the last to achieve it in the same season, and he’s short enough at 5/1. Gulf Of Naples was behind him on the Roodee and although he ran a stormer in last week’s Ascot Gold Cup, he has to carry plenty of weight in this.
I’m going to have a saver on ICON DREAM on his first start for Jim Goldie, having previously been with David Simcock and David Wachman before him. He’s one of only a handful that has form on bottomless ground and he didn’t run badly to finish seventh in this race last year. The excellent Graham Lee takes the ride and the 25/1 with Coral is more than fair.
Gosden could get his day off to a flyer with MICHELANGELO in Newmarket’s opening Tattersalls Millions Cup (2.00pm). William Buick is in the saddle and the duo stayed on dourly to beat Expense Claim at Goodwood last time. This trip looks a bare minimum for the son of Galileo, but the stiff finish and juice in the ground should make them hard to beat.
Ireland has been hit by plenty of rain recently and only six runners stand their ground against Camelot in tomorrow night’s Irish Derby (7.40pm). Aidan O'Brien’s unbeaten son of Montjeu was an emphatic winner of the Investec Derby last time and is just 1/3 with Coral to add another Derby to his CV.
The one niggling doubt would be his ability to handle heavy ground, but I’m not sure connections would risk him if further rain arrived. At the prices, I'm prepared to take a chance on IMPERIAL MONARCH each-way at around 8/1. He'll handle the conditions, appreciate the step up in trip and looks booked for second at worst.
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MICHELANGELO 2.00pm Newmarket (tomorrow)
PALAZZO BIANCO e/w 3.20pm Newcastle (tomorrow)
ICON DREAM e/w 3.20pm Newcastle (tomorrow)
IMPERIAL MONARCH e/w 7.40pm Curragh (tomorrow)