THERE was a sense of disappointment for favourite backers in last year’s Ascot Stakes (5.00pm) when BRING ON THE NIGHT couldn’t get past Coltrane having been produced perfectly inside the final furlong.
Looking back on that performance now, it can be seriously upgraded considering Coltrane is rated nearly 20lbs higher and is favourite for Thursday’s Gold Cup.
Willie Mullins’ six-year-old hasn’t been seen since that reversal, but his handler is a master at readying one off a long absence.
In fact, Bring On The Night defied a 644-day absence at Naas back in February 2022, so you could argue that the lack of a recent run may even be a positive.
He’s only four pounds higher this time around and Ryan Moore will be confident of going one place better in a race where jumps trainer Mullins is searching for a fifth win.
Fellow National Hunt handler Nicky Henderson holds a strong hand with the likeable mare Ahorsewithnoname who is set to be ridden by Champion Jockey William Buick.
She bounced back to form at Cheltenham in April and looked smart on the flat last season, winning at York and finishing fifth in the Cesarewitch.
The handicapper has left her unchanged for that Newmarket run and she shouldn’t be far away.
That said, I’d rather this race was over a half mile shorter trip as she is not guaranteed to see it out.
I’d rather take a chance each-way on the Richard Hughes-trained CALLING THE WIND who finished third in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at this meeting last season.
Hughes has booked the hugely talented Billy Loughnane who takes off a valuable three pounds meaning Calling The Wind is in essence running off a mark of 96.
That’s nearly 10lbs lower than last year and he ran well off a mark of 100 in last month’s Chester Cup.
I’ll be backing him each-way at 10/1 and I’m also tempted to throw him in a quinella on the World Pool with favourite Bring On The Night and Ian Williams’ Law Of The Sea.
He ran a cracker in the Chester Cup and was better than he showed last time in a slowly run contest.
The speedsters are in action earlier in the afternoon over the flying five furlongs in the King’s Stand (3.40pm).
Multiple Group One winner Highfield Princess flies the flag for the home team with Aussie raider Coolangatta looking her biggest danger on paper.
Star Sports go 9/4 and 4/1 respectively and that seems about right.
I had been keen to put up Frankie Dettori’s mount Manaccan each-way here but he’s half the price he was a week ago and 5/1 feels a bit skinny.
He’s won at Ascot and on fast ground in the past, but the fact that King Of Stars got within a couple of lengths of him that day, tells you how much of a step up he needs to take here.
If there was one who could go well at a massive price, then I’d be tempted by the 33/1 and four places on offer in some places about BRADSELL.
He’s looked all speed this term and has failed to see out the six furlongs on both occasions.
It’s worth a chance switching to the minimum trip, and he won’t be far away if in the same form as when winning the Coventry Stakes last season.
Bradsell ew 3.40pm Royal Ascot
Bring on the Night 5.00pm Royal Ascot
Calling The Wind ew 5.00pm Royal Ascot
Bring On The Night, Calling The Wind, Law Of The Sea (World Pool Quinella) 5.00pm Royal Ascot