As we approach the halfway stage of Royal Ascot, it doesn't get any easier! The big-field handicaps come thick and fast and while they won't be to everyone's taste, you have to swing big to land big and I'm coming out swinging!
A fine Impression this season
The first race of interest is the King George V Stakes Handicap (15:05) and William Haggas may have the answer in the shape of Post Impressionist.
The son of Teofilo has progressed with each of his three starts, winning a maiden over a mile at Ayr is very authoritative fashion before finishing second in a particularly strong novice contest over a mile-and-a-quarter at Newcastle last time.
On the latter occasion he got caught a bit flatfooted two furlongs out before finishing off strongly inside the final furlong towards the middle of the track.
It was an excellent effort that has been well advertised by the subsequent form of those in behind him since.
And it got its biggest boost yet when Eldar Eldarov won the Queens Vase yesterday.
The longer trip seems very likely to suit Post Impressionist based on both the way he shaped at Newcastle and his pedigree, with him being out of a winning hurdler that is a half-sister to Grumeti. He is also drawn 13 which is a positive, as higher numbers are notably favoured over a mile-and-a-half at Ascot. He looks to have a big chance.
Big price in the Britannia
The Britannia Stakes (17:00) is quite literally one of the most difficult handicaps in the entire British racing calendar, but we'll have a crack at it.
One that I've had in mind for the race ever since he ran at Chester last month is the Andrew Balding-trained Koy Koy.
Having seen him in the flesh that day, I was quite impressed that he was able to earn an official rating of 90 as a juvenile, as he looked quite an unfurnished type physically that must have been weak as a two-year-old.
The hope with a type like that is that they will improve as three-year-olds and his seasonal reappearance that day at Chester suggested in no uncertain terms that his best days are ahead of him.
Sent off at 5/2, he caught a bump and stumbled out of the gates, but soon dropped in behind the leaders. Racing a bit freshly, he was obliged to come three wide to get into a challenging position, but came home notably well inside the final furlong to finish second to Outgate who had got a dream run around the inside.
Outgate did his bit for the form by winning a very valuable handicap back at Chester last weekend and a 3lb higher mark for Koy Koy might well leave him still well handicapped. This stiff mile will play to his strengths and he is a very interesting contender at a big race.