Sniper to strike for Her Majesty in King George V Stakes

THE Queen might miss out on the prestigious prize of the Gold Cup today with Estimate, if my fancy Saddler’s Rock does the business, but BOLD SNIPER can provide compensation of sorts by landing the final race of the day, the King George V Stakes (5.35pm).
There are 19 runners set to line up for the mile and a half test, but this probably isn’t as competitive as those numbers would suggest. In fact, 15 of these have already raced at least five times so it’s fairly easy to gauge their level of ability.

Bold Sniper is one of the few in the race with enormous untapped potential. Sir Michael Stoute’s colt was given a gentle introduction to the racing game over an inadequate seven furlongs and duly found the improvement his useful pedigree suggested when he was off the mark next time at Thirsk over this trip.

The drop back to 10 furlongs at Leicester last time didn’t inconvenience him and despite looking under pressure at one point, he ran out an easy winner. The New Approach progeny looks ahead of a handicap mark of 90 and the 11/2 with Paddy Power is a price worth taking.

There are a few dangers lurking, though. Pether’s Moon is likely to be suited by this trip and could be well-handicapped. Mark Johnston has a fantastic record in this contest and it was his Fennell Bay that obliged for us at a decent price last year.

The Scottish master runs four, but Royal Skies is the one the bookies fear most. Wide margin victories on his last two starts have seen his mark shoot up from 77 to 94, however, and this is a massive step up in grade.

An 8lb rise in the weights for the four-timer seeking Soviet Rock after his latest gutsy win might be enough to stop Andrew Balding’s charge going in again. Similarly, Brian Meehan’s Number One London looks unlikely to live up to his tall reputation at home, coming here a maiden after six starts.

Instead the other one I’d like on my side is ANOTHER COCKTAIL. He’s useful and I can excuse his last run when he hated the ground. Hughie Morrison does well with his horses at Ascot and I’ve always felt this is a good animal. Evidently the trainer agrees as he’s also entered for the Group Three Queen’s Vase on Saturday.

At 16/1 with Coral, I think it’s worth finding out with an each-way bet.

■ Pointers…
BOLD SNIPER 5.35pm Ascot
ANOTHER COCKTAIL e/w 5.35pm Ascot