Royal Ascot

Saturday Royal Ascot Tips: Third Realm the play in the Hardwicke Stakes

Royal Ascot
Mark Milligan has a selection for the final day of Royal Ascot

"He was right back to form with a bang when 5-length winner of a Goodwood listed contest last month and could finally be about to realise his potential"

Mark Milligan is back with his final alternative look at Royal Ascot, where he's siding with one in the 'without the favourite' market in the Hardwicke...

The 6f Platinum Jubilee is the highlight of the final day of Royal Ascot, and after what we saw from the Aussie sprinter Nature Strip in the King's Stand on Tuesday, it would be no surprise whatsoever if this prize headed down under too.

The Australians are represented by Nature Strip's stable companion Home Affairs, who looks sure to go off a warm order, though it would be remiss to ignore the claims of his antipodean counterpart Artorius, who seems to have plenty of positive vibes around his chance.

The race has attracted a really big field - one of the biggest I can remember for this particular contest - but there doesn't look to be much doing in the alternative markets for us.

With that in mind, I'm going to take a look at Saturday's main supporting race, the 1m 4f Hardwicke Stakes at 15:40, where Hurricane Lane looks likely to go off a short-priced favourite.

The main contenders

The aforementioned Hurricane Lane an excellent three-year-old season, winning three Group 1s, namely the Irish Derby, Grand Prix de Paris and St Leger, where comprehensively outpointed Mojo Star, who ran so well in the Gold Cup the other day.

Charlie Appleby's star gave another really good account of himself when third in the Arc at Longchamp on his final start and gets to race in this Group 2 contest without a penalty for his Group 1 successes.

Runner-up in this last year, Broome shaped as if in need of run when fifth to Alenquer in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh on seasonal return and should be back closer to his best this time, though he's likely vulnerable to something less exposed.

John & Thady Gosden's Mostahdaf took his record to an impressive six wins from seven starts when taking the Gordon Richards at Sandown on his reappearance in April.

However, he was comprehensively outpointed by Bay Bridge in the Brigadier Gerard there on his next start, though that one ran well here earlier in the week without quite getting the job done.

He now steps up in trip with cheekpieces added.

Third Realm saw off the likes of Adayar, Scope and Kyprios in the Lingfield Derby Trial last spring, though the remainder of his three-year-old campaign was a touch underwhelming.

However, he was right back to form with a bang when 5-length winner of a Goodwood listed contest last month and could finally be about to realise his potential.

Solid Stone and Layfayette are both decent performers at just below this level and it would be no surprise if that pair both ran their usual consistent races, though whether either are quite classy enough to trouble the likes of Hurricane Lane et al remains to be seen.

How will it be run?

The Timeform pace forecast has this unfolding at a weak tempo, with Living Legend the most likely to go forward.

He won the both the Easter Classic at Newcastle and the Jockey Club Cup at Newmarket from the front and would likely have gone to the front in the Coronation Cup last time but for missing the break.

Assuming he gets out on terms this time, Living Legend will almost certainly go to the front the front, though whether he an stay there is somewhat open to debate.

Mostahdaf, Solid Stone, Third Realm and Hurricane Lane are all likely to be in the next wave and should be reasonably well set to get first run on the closers.

Those closers could well include Broome - Tony Calvin's selection - though he has raced prominently at times, while Layfayette tends to be held up and may find the way this pans out playing against his run-style.

How to play the race

Hurricane Lane is an odds-on favourite at the time of writing, a position in the market that is fully warranted on the balance of his form.

If he returns in the same nick as last season, he'll take plenty of beating, and there's no reason to suggest he'll be lacking in fitness hailing from the Charlie Appleby barn.

In short, he holds quite a big form edge on these rivals and in all probability is the most likely winner.

I'm interested in the 'without Hurricane Lane' market here, which is headed by Broome on the Sportsbook, though he's a horse we know plenty about and I was keen to take on.

Mostahdaf's form behind Bay Bridge is decent in the context of this race, though he's trying this trip for the first time and would be no banker to stay on pedigree.

The one I'm going to side with is Third Realm, who's form last year is some of the best on offer, for all he didn't really kick on.

His most recent outing, though, suggests to me he might be about to get back to those heights and I'm more than willing to side with him to chase home the fav.

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