Friday's Royal Ascot card looks a toughie, though with any luck we'll be rewarded in kind for any successful perm.
"The Wolferton is a little light on really interesting sorts, so we’ll take one of those along with a slightly chancier one."
14:30 - The Albany perhaps isn't as difficult as the field size would imply- it's certainly the case that only a few enter the reckoning on all that's known of them. Patience Alexander is impossible to leave out, such is the impression she's made so far and the compliment paid to her by York second Tiggy Wiggy when that one filled the same place in the Queen Mary. Bitter Lake gets the narrow vote for our second spot, with her debut win appealing as the form of a Pattern-performer in waiting.
15:05 - The Wolferton is a little light on really interesting sorts, so we'll take one of those along with a slightly chancier one. Bold Sniper is the obvious choice, coming very much from the Stoute school and still well treated irrespective of what his reappearance (too fresh) would imply. Second choice is Contributer, a consistent performer in lesser Pattern company last year and seemingly undone by heavy ground above all in the Gordon Richards; he had certainly travelled like a horse still in good form. He looks fairly treated on this belated handicap debut.
15:45 - The King Edward VII looks one of the few opportunities to bank, so please excuse the unoriginal choice. Adelaide is an improver and one that will be suited by this step up to 12 furlongs, his win in the Gallinule last time a display of stout stamina almost as much as it was one of quality. He's already top-rated by Timeform and will surely prove capable of better still. Indeed, it's expected to be Group 1s all the way for him after this.
16:25 - The Coronation Stakes isn't a strong Group 1, though it is competitive and, by the nature of the competitors, difficult from a Placepot point of view. Lightning Thunder is an obvious first calling point for us. She's finished second in both the British and Irish 1000 Guineas and has neither Miss France nor Marvellous in opposition now. We're backing her up with Lesstalk in Paris. That filly flopped in her only Guineas attempt, the French in her case, though everything that had gone before had been consistently smart, her only other defeat a narrow one in the Marcel Boussac.
17:00 - The Queen's Vase offers our other opportunity for a craven-yet-necessary banker. In a field of useful handicappers and some outright chancers (the demotion of this race from Group 3 to listed seems to have been justified), Marzocco stands out given he's looked on the fringes of Pattern-level. He shaped like a stayer when second in the Cocked Hat Stakes and has some that stayed this sort of trip in his pedigree.
17:35 - Mercifully we have only one mad dash to deal with on this card, which we can avoid no longer. We're going to take three in the Buckingham Palace and err towards the high draws: although any bias in yesterday's Britannia looked to be marginal (the best horses all happened to come down the stands' side), there's a chance that the jockeys will see it differently. If that's what transpires, karma will have smiled on Georgian Bay, who was undeniably drawn on the disadvantaged side in the Victoria Cup last time (second home in his group) and had been most progressive on polytrack beforehand. Progress has been even smoother in the case of Horsted Keynes, who proved his effectiveness on turf with an easy success at Yarmouth on his reappearance. This race from 11 lb higher is unquestionably a tougher ask, though there's no reason for him not to be in the mix. Finally, Fort Knox is taken to cover the far side, just in case. He makes plenty of appeal on form, too, finishing second in a good handicap last time (which has worked out favourably) in spite of a troubled passage.
14:30 - 3, 16
15:05 - 3, 14
15:45 - 2
16:25 - 4, 5
17:00 - 8
17:35 - 1, 4, 7
= 24 lines