Through the Card: Royal Ascot, Saturday 22 June

Top hats behind winning post
Royal Ascot concludes with another top-class card on Saturday

Timeform take you through the card on Day 5 of Royal Ascot on Saturday...

"...the Keith Dalgleish yard could hardly be in better form, having saddled an across-the-card five-timer at Carlisle and Catterick on Monday..."

Timeform on Soldier's Minute

14:30 - The debut win of LOPE Y FERNANDEZ (9) was perhaps more about style than substance, but he's an exciting prospect however you look at it and this looks the logical next step before he tackles Group company. Pinatubo clearly isn't shy on ability, either, given he won the Woodcote despite failing to really handle Epsom and is second choice, though Highland Chief shouldn't be underestimated.

15:05 - A winner of a soft-ground maiden at Nottingham on his sole two-year-old outing, SPACE BLUES (13) has resumed his progress since dropping back to seven furlongs on his last two starts, notably winning a listed race with a bit in hand at Epsom last time. The suspicion remains that we are only just scratching the surface of his potential, and a big run looks on the cards here, before he goes on to even bigger and better things for the Charlie Appleby yard that unleashes several of its big guns today. Happy Power is another who is heading firmly in the right direction and looks best of the rest ahead of So Perfect, who is clearly talented but has a penalty to contend with.

15:40 - SOUTHERN FRANCE (8) was a smart three-year-old last season, with the pick of his efforts coming when third to stablemate Kew Gardens in the St Leger at Doncaster, and he improved again when chasing home Stradivarius in the Yorkshire Cup last time, travelling strongly and pulling five lengths clear of the third. The way he went through that race suggests that the drop back in trip won't be an issue here, and with further improvement on the cards given his lightly raced profile, his claims of giving Aidan O'Brien another win in this race look bright, especially after Stradivarius gave the form a boost on Thursday. Defoe commands plenty of respect on the back of his Coronation Cup success, while 2018 Derby winner Masar also has to enter calculations despite his absence.

16:20 - DREAM OF DREAMS (5) found winning tough last term, but he is certainly making up for that now, with his two successes this season - including a listed race at Windsor last time - strongly suggesting that he has returned better than ever at the age of five. Admittedly, his form still doesn't match up to that shown by those towards the head of the betting here, but the way in which he travelled and quickened at Windsor left little doubt that he'll be capable of going to another level when given the right platform to do so - a strongly-run six furlongs at Ascot should be right up his street, and Daniel Tudhope and Sir Michael Stoute, who have enjoyed two winners each at Royal Ascot, combine here with one who looks to hold a serious chance at double-figure odds. Blue Point and Invincible Army hold obvious form claims and complete the shortlist.

17:00 - SOLDIER'S MINUTE (21) proved better than ever to turn a competitive-looking handicap into a procession at York last month, hitting the front entering the final two furlongs and quickly forging clear thereatfer to win by three lengths. That was the second time he's hacked up from only four starts so far this season, marking him out as a smart sprinter, and a further 8 lb rise in the weights might not be enough to prevent him from following up here - indeed, he sets the standard on weight-adjusted ratings and the Keith Dalgleish yard could hardly be in better form, having saddled an across-the-card five-timer at Carlisle and Catterick on Monday. He is joined in the Placepot by DANZENO (16), who returned from 10 months off with a dominant success at Nottingham recently and remains potentially very well treated judged on the pick of his form.

17:35 - With no let-up in the strong pace, LUCKY DEAL (13) appeared to relish the emphasis on stamina when resuming winning ways at Haydock last month, arguably travelling least well of them all at one stage but finding plenty when it mattered most to surge five lengths clear. That represented a career-best effort, and the longest Flat race in the British calendar is unlikely to hold any fears for him on that evidence, one that Mark Johnston knows how to win, having done so twice in recent years with the similarly stamina-laden Oriental Fox (2015 and 2017). Cleonte, who wasn't stopping when third in last season's Cesarewitch, and 2018 winner Pallasator are next best.

Minimum Bet Guarantee

Betfair's 'minimum bet guarantee' on all Class 1 and 2 races in the UK and Ireland - which means all customers are able to bet to win a minimum of £500 - has been extended to cover all races at selected meetings this week. T&Cs apply.

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