THE second last day of Royal Ascot 2013 gets underway with the Albany Stakes (2.30pm), a Group Three contest for juvenile fillies over six furlongs.
Newfangled was a hugely impressive winner for John Gosden 12 months ago and many punters will be hoping that Frankel’s half-sister Joyeuse can stamp her authority on this line-up.
The daughter of Oasis Dream bolted up on her debut at Lingfield on good-to-soft ground and is worthy of a step up in grade. That said, the form of that maiden hasn’t worked out at all with none of her rivals winning since.
She may well end up being the second coming, but that run proved nothing and she is a very short price at 10/3 with Paddy Power given what she has actually achieved.
I’d far rather side with proven form and no filly in this field has stronger credentials than Richard Fahey’s SANDIVA, who comfortably took a Listed sprint at Naas last time.
That win followed up her easy debut success at Nottingham and she looks to be a filly going places. She will undoubtedly get further in time and I expect her to be the clear favourite for next season’s QIPCO 1000 Guineas by around 2.35pm today.
Before that, I rate her a strong bet at 3/1 with Ladbrokes, who are also refunding all second-place horses as a free bet on every race at the meeting.
The rest of her rivals are hard to weigh up as, in addition to Joyeuse, there are seven fillies who are coming here on the back of a sole victory or making their debut.
Anything Aidan O’Brien sends over has to be respected, so Wonderfully can’t be ruled out at 8/1 with Coral. However, she only just managed to win her maiden at Fairyhouse and will need to improve massively to take this.
Charlie Hills’ Kiyoshi looked decent at Goodwood last time, as did Godolphin’s Wedding Ring at Newmarket, but I’m happy to stick with Sandiva as the sole selection.
The Queen’s Vase (In Memory of Sir Henry Cecil) is run at 5.00pm and I’m looking to take on the Ballydoyle hotpot Leading Light. The Montjeu colt is a worthy favourite after his two wins this season, yet there is absolutely no guarantee he will stay this two mile trip and 9/4 with Paddy Power is too short in my book.
The two who interest me are NICHOLS CANYON and HASHEEM, and both should be backed each-way at 10/1 and 20/1 respectively.
The former hung all over the place at Newbury last time and just failed to win, but this step up in trip is certain to suit and it is interesting that William Buick has decided to ride him rather than Feel Like Dancing.
Roger Varian’s Hasheem is another who has looked like he will appreciate a stiffer test and he is proven on all types of ground.
Samvo’s betting cafes in Camden and Hammersmith are offering 1/3 odds each-way on every Royal Ascot race, so if you’re nearby back these two with them.
SANDIVA 2.30pm Ascot
NICHOLS CANYON e/w 5.00pm Ascot
HASHEEM e/w 5.00pm Ascot