Royal Ascot Day Three Tips: Desert can reach the Sky in Gold Cup
Tony Calvin returns with a look at the Day Three card at the Royal meeting, and picks out five selections including one he is 'very keen' on in the Gold Cup...
"I am pretty keen on an each-way bet on Desert Skyline at 12/1 on the Sportsbook. Very keen, in fact. He was smashed off the boards when beating Thomas Hobson in the 2m2f Doncaster Cup last season and everything about this horse suggests he will excel over this longer trip."
Back a Royal Rumble in the Norfolk
I'm not the biggest fan of betting in two-year-old races, but I am going to make an exception for Rumble Inthejungle at [17.0] or better in the Norfolk at 14:30.
Richard Spencer hit the headlines when Rajasinghe won the Coventry last season and he certainly looks to have a dab hand with juveniles, as he is currently operating at a 25% strike rate in that area in this campaign.
Obviously, one of the winners was the selection, who looked very professional (a few jinks late on aside) when winning over 5f on fast ground at Salisbury on his debut from a host of horses with previous experience.
I thought he won that race more emphatically than the winning margin of a neck suggests, and the form has certainly stood up to inspection since.
The runner-up won next time (admittedly at 2/13 in a weak race), and the fifth has obliged twice since, and he clocked a good time, too. The market looks to have underestimated him, and his trainer.
Of course, the race is full of winners from the top stables, and the Wesley Ward filly Shang Shang Shang could be anything (I always ignore his horses, in truth, as I have no idea of their merit) but I will take my chances at the price.
The Hampton Court Stakes at 15:05 is a very difficult race to call.
A fair few of these are closely matched form-wise coming into the race, and most of the field have the potential to step forward a good deal, too. It is not a race that appeals to me as a betting heat, so let's move on.
A two-handed attack on the Ribblesdale
Oaks runner-up Wild Illusion sets the standard for the others to aim at in the Ribblesdale at 15:40 but I am looking to take her on here at the price.
In fact, I am going in two-handed, and Sun Maiden is my mainstay at [4.0] or bigger.
It is not my usual MO to tip a horse of this profile at this price, but she really did look the part when bolting up by 12 lengths at Salisbury over 1m2f.
I know the form hasn't worked out, but she could only win by a nonchalant street and obviously she has the pedigree to shine - she is a Frankel half-sister to Midday - and the step up to 1m4f will suit her. Her trainer's patience in bypassing the Oaks to come here is expected to be rewarded, and the vibes about her are very, very strong.
I do like the look of Sarrocchi though at a much bigger price, and she is a bet at 33/1 each-way with the Sportsbook. She didn't cut much ice in her first two runs this season, perhaps understandably so in the 1,000 Guineas, but I saw a fair bit of promise in her run over 1m2f last time at the Curragh, when tried in a first-time tongue-tie.
She wasn't given a hard time there, looking a bit disorganised, but I think we will see a much more polished performance here stepped up to 1m4f. She is by Galileo, after all.
Desert Skyline can give market leaders a fright in Gold Cup
I know the front three in the Gold Cup at 16:20 are very solid but I am pretty keen on an each-way bet on Desert Skyline at 12/1 on the Sportsbook. Very keen, in fact.
He was smashed off the boards when beating Thomas Hobson in the 2m2f Doncaster Cup last season and everything about this horse suggests he will excel over this longer trip.
His three starts here have been a little underwhelming but I was very taken with his run behind Stradivarius at York last time. I know he was beaten three lengths, but he was giving the winner 3lb and go and take a look at the video. He was at a disadvantage racing away from the winner towards the middle of the track that day, and he visually picked up when asked for another effort at the furlong pole.
I really do think this trip will bring out the best in him. It will need to, mind you.
Maverick can be Top Gun in the Britannia
George Of Hearts interested me most in the Britannia at 17:00, but his price is no giveaway in such a competitive handicap, so in the circumstances I was going to give this 30-runner race a swerve. Especially as my main alternative was also the favourite Crack On Crack On. I was disgusted at myself.
Then I saw Maverick Officer at much bigger odds - the 40/1 with one firm on Wednesday morning didn't last - and I think he is a bet at 33/1 each way, five places, with the Sportsbook.
This horse only went up 2lb for winning narrowly at Haydock (in a good time, too) and is crying out for a strongly-run mile. The stable won this race with Bless Him last season, so let's hope they can repeat the trick.
I couldn't make head nor tail of the closing handicap at 17:35 - Baghdad would be one my shot if pushed - so I will leave it there.
Back Rumble Inthejungle at [17.0] or bigger in the 14:30
Back Sun Maiden at [4.0] or bigger in the 15:40
Back Sarrocchi each-way at 33/1 (Sportsbook) in the 15:40
Back Desert Skyline at 12/1 each-way (Sportsbook) in the 16:20
Back Maverick Officer at 33/1 each-way (Sportsbook) in the 17:00