The fifth and final day of Royal Ascot is upon us. What a game this is, you spend months looking forward to a great race meeting like this and before you know, it's almost in the rear view mirror. It's been a mixed week so far, but hopefully we can finish with a bang.
Take on Hurricane Lane
The first race of interest is the 15:40 Hardwicke Stakes. Hurricane Lane clearly sets the bar very high based on his top-class middle-distance form throughout last season, most notably winning the Irish Derby, the St Leger and finishing a close third in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
However, he has never run on ground firmer than good and has always shown a notably high knee action.
If the track misses the thunder showers that are forecast for Saturday, the ground will be enough of a concern for him to sway me onto one of his rivals.
The one I like is the Aidan O'Brien-trained Broome. The six-year-old may not have the peak ability of Hurricane Lane, but he is a Group 1 winner that is largely consistent and showed his effectiveness over this course and distance when an excellent second in this race last year.
He reportedly suffered an injury after his run in the Japan Cup last year that held up his preparation for this season and he was thought to be badly in need of the run when down the field in the Tattersalls Gold Cup last time.
He seems sure to improve from that and if he returns to something like his best, he is very likely to finish in the frame at the very least and could well be the one to capitalise if Hurricane Lane is below his best.
Stick with the Aussies
The big race of the day is the 16:20 Platinum Jubilee Stakes and what a field it has attracted. It represents everything that Royal Ascot has become, a big field of contenders from all around the world is a fiercely-competitive contest to find out which is best.
After Nature Strip's wonderful performance on Tuesday reminded everyone just how good the Australian sprinters are, much focus is sure to be on Home Affairs who of course beat Nature Strip in the Lightning Stakes at Flemington in February, albeit in receipt of 7lb and after Nature Strip had been badly interfered with out of the gates. He clearly has excellent claims, but my preference is for his compatriot Artorius.
Artorius has actually raced against Home Affairs on three occasions and finished in front of him twice, albeit in receipt of weight on one the latest occasion in the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington in March.
He's a horse that takes time to warm up in his races, a trait that is often punished around bends in Australia, so this stiff six furlongs on a straight track should play to his strengths. He has been widely overlooked by many for this race, but I feel he could run a very big race.