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Royal Ascot: Thursday 18th June 2020 – Day Three

Capt. Kneesup

Capt. Kneesup

Capt. Kneesup was the former Racing Correspondent of various BBC regional radio stations and was the gossip columnist on the now-defunct Odds On magazine. He now runs Nick Boyd's large, privately owned reputation, which is widely regarded as a sporting, not-for-profit endeavour.
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Well, what a cracker for all the Sir Busker owners! Madame had a small wedge on it and we spoke to the rightfully incoherent shareholder afterwards. We might try to speak again tomorrow.

We continued our policy of bringing comfort to those more fortunate than us today, by delivering vital supplies to a family in lockdown in Lambourn who had been out of touch with the civilised world. The joy on their faces when we gave them some Eau d’Epernay and had a responsible, socially distanced, snack with them. We even watched a race on television, which was fun.

I’ll update all our results at the end of the meeting and we’ll see where that leaves us in Derby and Oaks terms.

1:15 pm – Golden Gates Handicap (Handicap)

I have this down to about eight possibles! It’s almost easier to say what won’t win – YA HYATI for example in Godolphin’s third colours. I’d quite like to bet he won’t enter the stalls; and nor can I have CEPHEUS or TOM COLLINS, as I am not a fan of horses at the Royal Meeting who ran at 40/1 or bigger LTO.

If it rains, it would suit MAORI KNIGHT who needs cut and will stay. He’s got good Timeform and Raceform ratings and makes e/w sense. Rain would also  suit YOSHIMI who is 25/1 with Ladbroke’s as I write.  TRITONIC could give Alan King a Royal Ascot double with Oisín “Sir Busker” Murphy in the saddle. He’s proven around a mile and the extra two shouldn’t be difficult. He’ll cope with cut and the stiff track will suit his strengths. HYPOTHETICAL has only two races under his belt and was obviously highly regarded at home. He ran in the Kempton Classic trial and was ridden aggressively by Frankie Dettori, came under pressure two out and finished tamely. That race has already produced Pyledriver this week, and ridden more kindly Hypothetical might respond better.

HYPOTHETICAL – TRITONIC – YOSHIMI all e/w

1:50 pm – Wolferton Stakes (Listed)

The trends of this race are pretty useless as it became a C1 in 2018 having been created in 2002 as a handicap. It still feels like one. ALOE VERA could be anything – but we do know she is a girl and thus at a statistical disadvantage. DUBAI WARRIOR represents Johny G who has won this four times to date. He won the Winter Derby at Lingfield in good style in February making all to beat stablemate Court House by almost 3l. I suspect that he is a better horse on AWT than Turf, but that doesn’t always translate. FOX TAL runs here in preference to the tougher option of The Prince of Wales’s Stakes G1. Trained by Andrew Balding-he is effectively dropping in class, running a decent race LTO to come 4th behind Magical in The Champion Stakes. He runs well fresh (3-1 for his seasonal debuts) Top rated is REGAL REALITY who was third in The 2019 Eclipse to Enable and Magical and wasn’t too far adrift in The Juddmonte. Sir Michael Stoute has won this twice in the past, but I had heard a rumour that he walked lame on Sunday and has possibly bruised his foot.

FOX TAL to win – with no great confidence

2:25 pm – Jersey Stakes (Group 3)

Here is an interesting statistic from Capt. Kneesup’s Guide to Quantum Racing. The horse from stall 11 has finished 2nd in 5 of the last 12 runnings, which means that you can back Aiden OB’s KING OF ATHENS blind! We can also lose any Fillies as only two have won since 1991.

Fabrice Chappet is aiming to repeat Andre Fabre’s French victory with Le Brivido in 2017, with his well-bred three-year-old CELESTIN. He won comfortably in Toulouse in November on Heavy ground and he finished fourth at Deauville LTO behind Victor Ludorum in the French 2000 Guineas – the Poule D’Essai Des Poulains. The rain-softened ground will not inconvenience. KING LEONIDAS oozes class and potential in equal measure and won by 2¼l at HQ LTO under a penalty, from the well regarded Eastern World. MOLATHAM‘s trainer Roger Varian has stated he didn’t appreciate a mile on soft ground in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at Newmarket LTO. That being the case I’m ruling him out of contention. My longshot is VENTURA LIGHTNING, who steps up to seven for the first time. Richard Fahey’s charge is decent and had a good second in The Rockingham and then was a coming-on fifth in the G3 Pavilion Stakes at Newcastle on The Tapeta. Had the race been run on the first day when it was very warm and the tapeta had been deeply harrowed, (making the ground ride effectively Soft), I think Ventura might have been a lot closer. At 33/1 it’s a sensible price for a small punt.

CELESTIN win VENTURA LIGHTNING e/w

3:00 pm – Chesham Stakes (Listed)

There are only two horses that make the cut on the trends and they are BRIGHT DEVIL and MODERN NEWS. Charlie Appleby won this last year with Pinatubo and he has another opportunity to walk off with the spoils in this Shamardal colt, MODERN NEWS. The 6f race he won at HQ looked to be a bit sharp for him , but he showed a good attitude and looked competitive. A few days earlier and BRIGHT DEVIL had the run of the race up front against the near rail. He showed plenty of ability but the fact that Andrew Balding has bought him here shows the regard he is held in at home

BRIGHT DEVIL and MODERN NEWS dutched. (In other words, if one was 5/1 and the other 3/1 you’d put 2½ pts to win on at 3/1 and 1½pts on at 5/1 to make a 3½ pt profit regardless of the outcome.)

3:35 pm – Gold Cup (Group 1)

This is a race where half the world will be looking for a long-priced winner and the other half will be praying they all lose. The odds-on STRADIVARIUS has won this twice before and has every right to win it again. Of course, I can give you stats that mean he won’t or can’t win, so let’s just look at the others. Charlie Appleby runs
CROSS COUNTER who has been beaten twice last season by STRADIVARIUS and in his last five races he’s also failed to beat anything else! Jamie Osbourne runs MEKONG who hasn’t seen the winner’s enclosure since September 2018. Roger Charlton runs WITHHOLD who has a squeak in a shorter race, say 2f shy of this, and he’s seven, which in Gold Cup terms is well-old. TECHNICIAN might give the owners of Chesham-hopeful Bright Devil a run for their money as he loves Soft ground. But will he get the distance? I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

This race – this year, needs STRADIVARIUS it is his to lose and I won’t back against him, nor offer you any clever exotics. Watch and enjoy and cheer him on.

4:10 pm – Britannia Stakes (Handicap)

One simple figure leaps off the various formbooks and guides that I use to produce these very occasionally accurate insights. Simon Crisford and son’s FINEST SOUND is top-rated on Timeform 126p. the next best is 117p. He won a Handicap at Haydock on Good to Soft ground by 5½l and took the race apart when given his head. His improvement from 2 to 3 has been exceptional and he has been gelded and had the wind-op and carried a tongue-tie LTO. He was also the Crisford’s first victory.

I wasn’t going to offer you anything else, certain that I had found the winner. Then I saw KHALOOSY’s figures and while he has only raced twice, has picked up a mark of 94. A grey son of Dubawi, his last race was another demolishment of decent opposition (the runner-up has won since) winning by 4½l

SELECTIONS: FINEST SOUND & KHALOOSY both e/w

4:40 pm – Sandringham Stakes (Handicap)

If we did napping, then AFRICAN QUEEN would be it. She is a short-price for good reason and she will get shorter during the day – so get on big, get on early. Providing she has recovered from her last run she is 16lb well-in here and shouldn’t be beaten. Use her for Doubles and Trebles with your other fancies.

AFRICAN QUEEN win

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