Day three of Royal Ascot is always a grand medley, featuring the fastest two-year-olds up to the doughtiest stayers. Timeform select the best bets.
"A step up to this extreme distance could well take Brown Panther's form into the mid-120s; while even that may not be enough to repel the younger, flashier Leading Light, at prices over 7.06/1 he represents a bit of value..."
We start somewhere in the middle of the above-mentioned extremes. The Ribblesdale Stakes (15:45) this year has a few plots running through it, the strongest pull coming from the redemption theme. Timeform are already on record with the opinion that Inchila, though only fourth, emerged as the second-best filly at Epsom, a troubled passage all that prevented her from being the impressive Taghrooda's nearest pursuer. Inchila has been a revelation this year, albeit an unshowy one. She won an above-average maiden at Newbury and was fourth behind Volume (Oaks third) before Epsom. Progressive all through 2014 up to now, she probably need only confirm the promise of the Oaks to secure a first win outside of maiden company here.
The Gold Cup (16:25) has a tendency to produce great stories as opposed to great champions. There's a fair chance that Leading Light could prove to be among the latter group, already a classic winner and in a yard that knows how to handle stayers as well as having no qualms about keeping them on the go for many years. Keeping it in the present, though, prices around 2.47/5 this time around just about have his chance right. Better, then, to take a chance on another great story reaching its culmination.
Brown Panther first made a name for himself at this meeting three years ago, winning the King George V Stakes on this very card. He has since finished second in the St Leger, third in its Irish equivalent and recently developed into a very smart stayer, winning a heavy-ground Ormonde and the Henry II already in 2014. A step up to this extreme distance could well take Brown Panther's form into the mid-120s; while even that may not be enough to repel the younger, flashier Leading Light, at prices over 7.06/1 he represents a bit of value to bring Messrs Owen and Black their biggest win to date.
The Britannia Stakes (17:00) tends to produce one winner and 29 hard-luck stories, though you'd hope other connections would have the good grace to accept a win for Zarwaan as well-deserved. This is the third time Zarwaan's turned up in a top handicap for three-year-olds and on both previous occasions he's finished second. The first time was to Muwaary, who finished a clear second in Wednesday's Jersey Stakes; the more recent was when he came from practically last in the Silver Bowl at Haydock, which this year wasn't all that well run. Up a total of 9 lb for those efforts, Zarwaan nonetheless appeals as still being well treated and in this big-field should get the sort of scenario to suit the late-coming tactics adopted this year. Let's hope he's not one of the 29 hard-luck stories.
Royal Ascot SmartPlays
Back Inchila in the 15:45
Back Brown Panther in the 16:25
Back Zarwaan in the 17:00