2.30pm: Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes
Spice added here by the presence of Hong Kong star Able Friend (9/4), who clearly is very talented but this will be hugely different to nipping round the bends of Sha Tin. Last year’s Guineas hero Night of Thunder (5/1) is no mug, and was probably in front soon enough at Newbury in the Lockinge. However, I’m confident SOLOW (6/4) will prove much better than this lot. He was once tried over 1m7f, but he’s got plenty of pace and is improving all the time for Freddie ‘Goldikova’ Head. I’m hoping he will bolt in.
3.05pm: Group 2 Coventry Stakes
A guessing game in many ways, with all of these open to imrpovement. Air Force Blue (7/1) and Round Two (9/4) will clearly have strong following for the O’Brien and Bolger teams, and there is no doubt the latter looked good at the Curragh. However, I’m taking a chance with WAR DEPARTMENT (15/2), who looked a real tool when scoring from off the pace on his Leicester debut. William Haggas knows the time of day, and it was impossible not to be impressed by this Frozen Power colt on his debut effort.
3.40pm: Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes
There’s little doubt for me that Paddy’s Sole Power (7/2) (above) is the best horse in this race, but he’s only one won of his last six starts now and there’s a real sign age is catching up, a little bit like Paddy himself! That makes things tricky, as the rest really are much of a muchness, and it will be simply a case of who is in the best form on the day. He shouldn’t be good enough, but have a pop with JACK DEXTER (20/1) each-way. He’s got some terrific Ascot form, and this type of cavalry charge brings out the best in him. He’s no good thing, but might run well at long odds.
4.20pm: Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes
Not much to say here. GLENEAGLES (8/13) (below) is a dual Guineas winner at Newmarket and the Curragh and he really should be too good for Make Believe (10/3). He’s got 4lb in hand in real terms but probably more as he can improve further.
5.00pm: Ascot Stakes
I love this race, and it’s been good to me over the years, as you can rule out many who simply won’t stay. Clondaw Warrior (7/1) is the obvious one for many, but I’m not absolutely sure he’ll get the trip. It’s not a typical handicap, with only 11lb between top and bottom weight, and therefore I’m having a go with STATUTORY (16/1), who has to hump 9st 8lb on the seasonal debut for Saeed bin Suroor but might just have the class to score. Like rival Royal Irish Hussar (20/1) he disappointed in last year’s Queen Alexandre, but fresh might be the time to catch him. Hope so.
5.35pm: Listed Windsor Castle Stakes
Not the class of the Coventry here, but just as hard to find the winner! Wesley Ward has shown those in the UK how to do it before, and I’ll be with RUBY NOTION (6/1), who is likely to go off very fast from stall 10. This filly has won her only start, and she looked good when doing so at Churchill Downs. She quickened clear like a good thing on that occasions. Let’s hope she does again. Yeeehaaa!