It's another busy day at Royal Ascot for Ryan Moore with six booked rides. Here are the Betfair Ambassador's thoughts on his chances and the opposition on day two...
"The step back in trip won't be any inconvenience for her either, and she probably has as strong a claim as any in here."
- Ryan Moore on Could It Be Love
Quick ground over minimum trip set to be Perfect
I liked her when she won with some dig in the ground at Navan earlier in the season, and we didn't see the best of her at Naas last time. We were held in on the rail at a crucial time there, and the race was over by the time she got clear. She is better than that. She is a beautiful, big Scat Daddy filly, and I think 5f at Ascot on quick ground will suit her. It's a wide open race, of course, though there are good reports about Wesley's Chelsea Cloisters, it seems.
High hopes that Kew can bounce back to form
We have three solid chances in here with Nelson and Kew Gardens, who are probably the form horses, and the lightly-raced and improving Southern France. As I have said before, things didn't go right for Kew Gardens at Lingfield as he lost a shoe and that definitely affected his performance, but I suppose I was expecting a little bit more from him in the Derby. Plenty of horses bounce back from below-par efforts at Epsom though, so I wouldn't get too hung up on that, and this trip promises to suit him.
Hopeful that we can outclass our rivals
I was delighted with her at the Curragh on her return. She will improve significantly for the run, and she is the class act of this field. There are negatives - she carries a 5lb penalty and ideally she would prefer a bit of ease in the ground, as we saw when she beat Bateel over 1m4f here in the autumn, and being drawn 11 of 11 could be an issue, I suppose - but she is a dual Group 1 winner and you would hope that she will outclass these. She has run two excellent races at this track, too, and her Matron win over this trip at Leopardstown last season really was a top-class effort.
Moher is progressing but Cracksman the one to beat
If Cracksman was coming here straight from the Ganay, then you would say that this race is a penalty kick for him. But his run in the Coronation Cup last time gives us all hope. That Epsom race was a very funny race to ride in; very odd indeed, and just strange.
Everyone was talking about Salouen had burgled the lead but that wasn't how it was at all. From a very early stage, it was clear that none of the rest of us were travelling, so we gave each other zero help. My horse Idaho ran no kind of race, nor did Hawkbill or the rest, so I can't have it that Salouen improved as much as people thought. In fact, if Cracksman hadn't have got the rail late on then I don't think he would have won.
I suppose you have to give the winner credit for getting the job done after not going a yard early on, and we know that if he comes back to his best then he will be very, very hard to beat. It's a relatively quick turnaround from Epsom for Cracksman, but I suppose Highland Reel did it last year. I do think Poet's Word is rock-solid against him and he comes here in really good order after doing it really well for me in the Brigadier Gerard last time. He will run his race but he has seven lengths to find with the favourite on their running here last season.
My horse, Cliffs Of Moher, is going the right way, too, and is beginning to get back to kind of level that he promised early on last season. He did well to win at Naas and he ran well from off the pace when second to Lancaster Bomber in the Tattersalls Gold Cup last time. He clearly needs to step up again but, as I said, he is progressing nicely now.
Conditions set to suit but it's a guess as to whether we're well-handicapped
Everyone associates Wesley with 2yos but he won the Sandringham last season, and I gather this has been a long-term plan for Master Merion, though that is probably stating the obvious as he has come over from the States. He has warmed up for this race with a couple of recent starts, and it looks like a mile on quick ground are his conditions. I don't know whether a mark of 105 leaves him well -handicapped or badly-treated, or somewhere in the middle, to be perfectly honest but we will soon find out.
Strong claims in a wide open race
This race looks absolutely wide open. But my filly posted a clear career-best in finishing second to a very good horse in Alpha Centauri in the Irish 1,000 Guineas last time, and she has strong form claims on that performance, and with her sex allowance. The step back in trip won't be any inconvenience for her either, and she probably has as strong a claim as any in here. Mind you, there are loads in here with a chance.