Through The Card: Ascot, Saturday 19 October

Kew Gardens
Can Kew Gardens lower the colours of Stradivarius in the Long Distance Cup?

Timeform take you through the card at Ascot on Saturday...

"...arrives fresher than most representing a bang in-form yard..."

Timeform on Antonia de Vega

13:35 - This looks a deep renewal of the Champions Sprint and the ground is going to play a big factor. The horse that tops the shortlist is ONE MASTER (15) who looked better than ever when winning her second Prix de la Foret in a row at Longchamp two weeks ago. She has some solid form over this course, too, and her ability to handle testing ground will stand her in good stead here. Advertise arguably has the best form, but the ground is a big unknown with him, while Cape Byron's record at Ascot is excellent and it would be dangerous to rule him out also (has won on soft).

14:10 - John Gosden will wait until he has walked the course before assuring that Stradivarius will take his chance. That decision will have a big baring on the market, so as a result, it may pay to pick a couple at bigger prices. MEKONG (6) is a very big price, but his ability to handle testing conditions makes him of some interest here with the placepot in mind. He hasn't managed to win this season, but he has a couple of pieces of solid form to his name, and it certain to be suited by conditions. ROYAL LINE (7) is another who won't be fazed by underfoot conditions. He bolted up in the November Handicap at Doncaster last season and looked as good as ever at Kempton last time, very strong at the line. He has his stamina to prove up significantly in trip, but he is worth chancing in an otherwise open renewal.

14:45 - It is easy to see why Star Catcher is a short-price favourite here given she has won her last three starts in good style and may have even more to offer. But she hasn't that much in hand on Timeform weight-adjusted ratings, and as a result, it could be worth taking her on with an unexposed sort. Step forward ANTONIA DE VEGA (4), who missed the Irish Oaks because of fast ground, and arrives fresher than most representing a bang in-form yard. The ground will be right up her street and we are yet to see the best of her.

15:20 - MAGNA GRECIA (12) proved himself one of the top juveniles in 2018 when winning the Futurity Trophy on his final start, and showed much-improved form after six months off to win the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on return in May. Admittedly, he raced on the favoured stands-side rail on that occasion, and disappointed in the Irish equivalent three weeks later. However, he suffered an injury during that race (pulled hamstring), so that run can be overlooked, and Magna Grecia is of interest in a wide-open QEII. The ground is an unknown, but he is a robust, well-made colt, and the progeny of Invincible Spirit general go well in testing conditions. Lord Glitters has a great record at this course and won't be deterred by the ground, so looks another solid contender.

16:00 - On form, it will be very hard to beat an on-song MAGICAL (6), who has been unlucky to bump into Enable on multiple occasions this season. However, she got her day in the sun when winning the Irish Champion Stakes, and wasn't seen to best effect in the Arc last time, doing too much too soon in testing conditions. As long as that race hasn't left its mark, it is impossible to see her out of the places here. Addeybb has drifted to a backable price this morning and looks the main danger.

16:40 - Another typically competitive renewal of the Balmoral, but AMEDEO MODIGLIANI (14) brings a different dimension to the race, a well-bred, unexposed four-year-old who is making his handicap debut. He was installed as the ante-post favourite for the Derby after breaking his maiden on his final start in 2017, but injury ruled him out of the following season. However, he has shaped well in a trio of listed events since returning this year, really catching the eye on heavy ground at Cork last time, denied a run and finishing with running left. An opening mark of 98 could well underestimate him, and a big run is expected with conditions in his favour.


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