Former champion Frankie Dettori has had an uninspiring week by his high standards. He took the QIPCO Leading Jockey Award at the Royal Meeting in 2019 with seven victories, thanks largely to a superb four-timer on day three.
This week he drew a blank on the first three days - 13 rides, no flying dismounts and a fair amount of flak for one or two of his rides.
The first of his mounts, as Royal Ascot draws to a close, is Alzahir in the Chesham Stakes at 14:30.
On the John Gosden-trained two-year-old for its debut at Yarmouth, he was in a duel with Godolphin's Naval Power for the final two furlongs, going down by a short head.
The fact that the winner was not considered for Royal Ascot does not advertise the form, and the fourth, Shahbaz being 100.099/1 doesn't inspire confidence.
Up against nine previous winners, it is hard to see why Alzahir is second in the betting behind Aidan O'Brien's Alfred Munnings.
Crypto Force was impressive at the Curragh this month, as was Finn's Charm at Musselburgh.
Alzahir's stablemates One World and Faisal Road made good impressions when winning at Haydock and Yarmouth.
Legend Of Xanadu won over six furlongs at Epsom's Derby meeting and should stay the extra furlong.
Given the quality in the line-up,I'm surprised Alzahir is so prominent in the betting. He is begging to be laid for a place at 3.211/5.
Samburu to lose unbeaten record
John and Thady Gosden made an even more disappointing start to the week than Dettori, with figures of 0-16 over the first three days.
Not only do the father-and-son team have three in the Chesham but they've got three in the Jersey at 15:05.
Dettori is on Samburu, Ryan Moore is on Audience and David Egan is on
Those hoping to see a flying dismount from the Italian after the race, are going to be out of luck.
Samburu may be unbeaten but his form is poor compared to the majority in the line-up. His stablemate Find is the only one with a lower handicap rating (93).
Noble Truth is rated 110 following his Listed victory in the Betfair King Charles II Stakes. Alflaila won a valuable handicap over course and distance last month off a mark of 102 and is now rated 109.
Stars Girl Aamal was fourth in the Irish 1,000 Guineas and might well have finished second but for being hampered twice in the latter half of the race.
Monaadah's three wins amount to more than Samburu's whichever angle you come from. Hence his 6lb higher mark.
Gosden puts cheekpieces on Samburu in search of the improvement needed for him to figure. All in all, Dettori's mount appears flattered by his odds, and should be laid for a place at 3.55/2.
Hurricane looks a worthy favourite
Hurricane Lane has every right to be favourite for the Hardwicke Stakes at 15:40. He was among the best middle-distance three-year-olds last year, winning the Dante, Grand Prix de Paris, Irish Derby and St Leger. In addition he was third in the Derby and the Arc.
Despite him being off the course eight months, I would not entertain laying him.
There is a stand-out stat that makes Home Affairs an unlikely winner of the Platinum Jubilee Stakes at 16:20.
He has won two top sprints at Flemington (Melbourne) but only one Aussie-bred three-year-old has won this Group 1 since 2009 - Merchant Navy in 2018.
Home Affairs' odds of 3.211/5 are short enough to consider laying him as he is inconsistent and ran well below his best behind Artorius in a handicap last time - Home Affairs was giving Artorius 11lb that day and they meet at levels here.
Trueshan may be vulnerable on fast ground
Next up are two tricky handicaps but the last has a 2.56/4 favourite that is worth taking on.
Trueshan missed the Gold Cup due to the prevailing fast ground, so is not sure to take his place in the Queen Alexandra at 18:10.
But if he does run, he is no certainty due to his 10lb penalty.
Sure, it is well deserved as he won the Goodwood Cup, the Prix du Cadran and then the QIPCO Long-distance Cup here. However, carrying 10st in this heat is not ideal and the Irish trio - Wordsworth, Falcon Eight and Stratum are no slouches.
Stratum won this 12 months ago from Call The Wind; Falcon Eight was favourite but couldn't handle the soft ground and finished down the field.
I expect the winner to come from Ireland, with Trueshan running gamely in defeat under his penalty.