AFTER all of the rain yesterday, the weather is set fairer for the penultimate day of the Royal meeting.
We’ve seen the introduction of plenty of new races this week and none are more intriguing than the five furlong handicap which opens today’s card.
There may be a huge field for the Palace Of Holyroodhouse handicap (1.15 pm), but the race may not be as competitive as it looks.
ART POWER rounded off his two-year-old campaign with an emphatic success on soft ground at York and looked to have improved again on his return at Newcastle.
He shouldered a penalty that day which made his success all the more impressive, and trainer Tim Easterby has never made any secret about the regard in which he holds this colt.
Connections could easily have had a crack at the Group One Commonwealth cup later on the card, but feel that this five furlong trip on soft ground is ideal for him at this stage of his career.
He will handle ground conditions, and his draw in stall 19 looks another huge positive too based on the first few days.
The 5/2 available in some places this morning looks well worth snapping up.
Looking at the rest of Friday’s card, it may be a day to tread carefully.
Eye Of Heaven should take all the beating in the Norfolk Stakes (2.25pm) as the horse he beat at Newmarket went on to win Wednesday’s Windsor Castle Stakes.
However, he is plenty short enough at around 6/4 and may be worth swerving with the Aidan O’Brien runner LIPIZZANER at 9/2.
He’s already had two races and may just be better suited to the slog in the mud.
Elarqam and Anthony Van Dyck are currently battling it out for favouritism in the Hardwicke Stakes (3:35 pm) and they will probably fight out the finish too.
However, the rain is a great leveller and Defoe, Fanny Logan and Hamish could easily grab the glory.
For that reason, I’ll leave the race alone and wait for French raider WOODED at 6/1 in the Commonwealth Cup (3.35pm).
He won’t mind the soft ground and looked speedy on his reappearance.
Finally, the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (4.40pm) looks as impossible to solve as you would imagine.
West End Charmer was given a brilliant ride from the front last time, but this represents a very different test.
Instead, I’ll take a chance on DURSTON at 15/2.
He was progressive last season and has been gelded which may help him in his races.
The ground should be no problem and he shouldn’t be too far away.
Art Power 5/2 1.15pm Royal Ascot
Lipizzaner 3/1 2.25pm Royal Ascot
Wooded e/w 6/1 3.35pm Royal Ascot
Durston e/w 15/2 4.40pm Royal Ascot