NAP: 14:30 Ascot - Back Dream Castle @ 4/1
Godolphin enjoyed a blistering start to Royal Ascot yesterday, and I am hoping it continues with the Saeed bin Suroor branch of the operation on Wednesday.
Take Dream Castle at 4/1 or bigger in the Jersey Stakes.
I thought he was a little unlucky in a rather messy 2,000 Guineas. Having backed him, the pocket is talking. In no way do I think he would have won, but he certainly didn't get the chance to run to his best level. He was held up, messed around and checked when making a move. He didn't handle the track either.
Clearly his headstrong qualities are a worry, so he'll need to be dropped in from his wide draw in 19. But I am believer that he could still be a Group 1 horse - and this is a Group 3.
The Frankel colt still might stay 1m, but the shorter trip today should be ideal. He did win over the 7f at Doncaster, and his Greenham form looks very good now.
NB: 17:00 Ascot - Back Abe Lincoln @ 10/1
Portage won this from stall 4 last year over the far side, but I am going near side today where there is plenty of pace for the Hunt Cup, and the pick is Abe Lincoln.
Drawn in 31, he has the master rider with the white gloves in Gerald Mosse. He is also armed with a very lightly-raced profile and a dangerous mark of 99.
He looks well handicapped, and this will be his first run of the season following a decent 2016. This four-year-old went close in the Britannia last term over the far side. That came in soft ground, but he acted on a decent surface when he looked a little unlucky last summer at York in a good affair.
Abe Lincoln has always looked like a horse with a big pot in him, and this is a contest his trainer Jeremy Noseda won in 2009 with Forgotten Voice - who had a similar sort of lightly-raced profile.
NAP: 15:40 Ascot - Back Usherette @ 4/1
Usherette has been supplemented for this race, a contest she won last year and although the ground is going to be very different today, trainer Andre Fabre is adamant that she will handle it and she is ready to defend her crown. This five-year-old mare has been trained specifically for this target and against her own sex, she should take plenty of beating. She has been without a win since her success 12 months ago but returned to something like her best last time out when beaten less than a length by Mekhtaal in the Prix d'Ispahan at Chantilly last month.
The main danger could come Godolphin's other runner the John Gosden trained Laugh Aloud who is a filly that has improved massively this season, listed success at Goodwood was closely followed by victory in the Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom. I just get the feeling that Fabre will have Usherette exactly where he wants her for this group 2 contest, she will strip better for her last run and looks the one to beat for me.
NB: 16:20 Ascot - Back Jack Hobbs @ 3/1
The Prince Of Wales's Stakes is a fascinating contest this year, with plenty in with chances. Sir Michael Stoute's Ulysses is an improved horse and Deauville, who he beat at Sandown, gave his form a boost with a creditable run yesterday, so he is certainly not out of it. Decorated Knight for Roger Charlton is a consistent performer who is often underrated, he is a Group 1 winner, but I think he is better if there is a bit more cut in the ground and he is going to need to improve again to get involved here, I don't think he is classy enough to do that.
The two who I think are the main contenders and deservedly take their place at the front of the market are Highland Reel and Jack Hobbs. Highland Reel is just a superstar, there is no question about that, having won races all over the world. However, I don't think this is his trip, he's a better horse over a mile and a half and he had a tough race just 19 days ago when he won the Coronation Cup on Oaks day at Epsom, that must have taken something out of him. That leaves Jack Hobbs, John Gosden's imposing five-year-old was far too good for his opposition on World Cup night at Meydan where he was outstanding when winning the Dubai Sheema Classic.
This isn't his ideal trip and the quicker ground certainly isn't ideal for the 2015 Derby second, but I think he has the class and the know how to pick up yet another valuable contest.
NB - Ascot 14:30 - Back Daban @ 8.27/1
Daban can get trainer John Gosden off the mark at the Royal meeting.
This well related filly finished an excellent third to Winter in the 1000gns at HQ last month. She held every chance a furlong from home, but the winner proved the stronger and she had to settle for a place. I think the mile journey stretched her stamina, and the return to seven furlongs should greatly benefit. She has only raced three times, and has every right to move forward in this intriguing contest. At present she is trading at 8.07/1 on the exchange and have backed her at that price.
Market leader Le Brivido must be respected. This colt was caught right on the line in the French 2000gns at Deauville last month. He found plenty for pressure, and was only just denied by Brametot. Trainer Andre Fabre should have him ready to go and is fairly priced at 4.67/2 on the exchange.
NAP - Ascot 16:20- Back Ulysses @ 5.59/2
Ulysses should go close is this super race.
This beautifully bred colt put in a much improved effort last time out when beating Deauville at Sandown. He swept to the front a furlong from home and was pushed out to score. Sir Michael Stoute has exercised a great deal of patience with him, and has the potential to be to be top class. This is his trip and ground and I am expecting a huge effort. At present he is trading at 5.59/2 on the exchange and have backed him at that price.
Highland Reel and Jack Hobbs must be feared, but both would prefer a shorter trip and some give in the ground. At this level these factors could count against them.