Royal Ascot SmartPlays: Saturday June 21

It's the final day of Royal Ascot on Saturday
It's the final day of Royal Ascot on Saturday

Timeform give you their best bets on the final day of Royal Ascot.

"The Diamond Jubilee Stakes (16:25) has had its share of reinventions down the years and we’re hoping it can now repay the favour by overseeing one."

If you were to pick an appropriate winner of the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (15:05), you'd choose one that brings mild embarrassment on his family over a horse named Arab anything. As it happens, the relative prices lead us to agree.

To call Hamelin the family disappointment is a little unfair, though when your dam won the Oaks and your half-brother the St Leger then operating in handicaps, however lucrative, at four pretty much rules you out of the 'favourite child' reckoning. Hamelin is still a prince among handicappers, both on pedigree and form, achieving the latter in just five starts. He only really got going last autumn, signing off with a couple of wins at today's trip. He returned over this C&D and, although he didn't win, came seven lengths clear of everything bar Al Saham, who got first run and held a half-length lead come the line. Hamelin was raised just 5 lb for that run, hugely generous even before you consider how the form has worked out: each of those to have run since bettered their efforts that day by a clear margin. Now Hamelin gets his chance. Already top on Timeform ratings, if he's able to show the same progress Arab Spring (BHA mark 104) will have to be of Group 1 quality in order to match him.

The Diamond Jubilee Stakes (16:25) has had its share of reinventions down the years and we're hoping it can now repay the favour by overseeing one. At the previous two Royal meetings, Aljamaaheer has competed in the Jersey Stakes and Queen Anne respectively, yet here he returns as a sprinter. Far from being a last resort, it's a change that looks overdue. Had you been in any doubt about Aljamaaheer's credentials over sprint trips, they were stifled if not silenced in the Abernant in which he looked ready, more ready than Paul Hanagan who left him far too much to do. He was in front a few strides after the line, which you can't really pin on inadequate speed such was the way Aljamaaheer travelled; the fact he's been kept to sprinting is a tacit admission of as much by connections. He's evidently at home around Ascot, too, three previous visits having yielded a third (Jersey), second (Queen Anne) and first (Summer Mile).

Such is the spectacle of the Wokingham (17:00) that the Diamond Jubilee, a Group 1 over the same C&D immediately beforehand, can feel like a support act- as opposed to the other way round. Picking the Wokingham winner is accordingly difficult; the best thing for it is to get a horse with a profile like Ninjago's onside. Ninjago, like Aljamaaheer, made his first visit to Royal Ascot in the Jersey Stakes, though that's where the similarities end as Ninjago has been kept to six furlongs ever since. He's proved strictly unsuccessful, though fifth in the Stewards' Cup and a couple of placed efforts in top handicaps besides is a fair return. Moreover, you fancy that Ninjago would have put up a clear career-best effort had he got a clear run at Newmarket last time, finishing strongly to be beaten less than a length. Given a token rise of 2 lb, Ninjago still looks well ahead of his mark and just needs a little bit of luck to finally get his name on a top sprint handicap.

Royal Ascot SmartPlays

Back Hamelin in the 15:05
Back Aljamaaheer in the 16:25
Back Ninjago in the 17:00 


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