The feature race on Day four of Royal Ascot is the Group 1 Coronation Stakes and it is a top class renewal with the winners of the 1000 Guineas (Billesdon Brook), and French (Teppal) and Irish (Alpha Centauri) equivalents clash over the round mile.
Clemmie (7/2 with BetVictor) heads the market for Aidan O’Brien and the money suggests she has come on a great deal for finishing in mid-division at the Curragh on her reappearance. She has the plum draw in stall one but I felt Billesdon Brook (4.20) was a good winner of the Newmarket Guineas for Richard Hannon and at 6/1 with BetVictor I would be disappointed if she didn’t make the frame.
The selection started 66/1 at Newmarket but there appeared no fluke about the result – Jessica Harrington has yet to taste success at Royal Ascot and her Alpha Centauri (4/1 with Betvictor) looks the main danger.
After an excellent opening day John Gosden and Frankie Dettori had a high-profile reverse when Cracksman was a disappointing second in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes on Wednesday – it really does look as if he needs cut in the ground to be at his brilliant best.
In the opening Albany Stakes, I hope to see Angel’s Hideaway (16/1 at BetVictor) go close for the Gosden/Dettori combination, but the form of her Haydock win was given a knock when the runner up was turned over at 4/11 at Thirsk last time.
Marginal preference is for the once-raced Just Wonderful (2.30) of Aidan O’Brien who looked a potential star when scoring on debut at the Curragh last month. The selection is 11/4 with BetVictor and Ryan Moore keeps the ride.
In the King Edward VII Stakes I hope Delano Roosevelt (3.05) is ridden prominently by Moore having finished a never nearer sixth in the Derby earlier in the month. The selection is 11/4 at BetVictor and that is, arguably, the best form on offer although I still think there might be a big race in Wells Farhh Go (St Leger perhaps?) on softer ground later in the season.
I am a big fan of Equilateral (3.45) and he must go close in the Commonwealth Cup for Charlie Hills although I appreciate this is a massive step up in class from his Doncaster reappearance when he ran away with a modest Novice event. The selection is 4/1 at BetVictor although I feel he is likely to drift given he remains a colt of potential and others have the form in the book.
Sioux Nation was very impressive when scoring at Naas last time and he has a cracking record on fast ground, having won the Norfolk Stakes here over the minimum trip 12 months ago. He is 11/2 at BetVictor and it would be no surprise to me if he were vying for favouritism come post time. Note BetVictor are paying 4 places on the race.
My two against the field in the Sandringham are Poetic Charm – making her belated seasonal reappearance from stall 24 – and Qazyna (5.00) in stall four with marginal preference for the latter. The Roger Varian-trained filly is dropping back in trip to a mile from ten furlongs having looked a non-stayer over the longer trip behind Lah Ti Dar at Newmarket last time.
The filly had previously run away with a Newmarket maiden and that form has been franked by the subsequent wins of the second and third. The selection is 7/1 at BetVictor who are paying five places and that looks a fair each way price.
Walton Street (5.35) is 5lbs higher than when winning at Meydan when last seen in a 12-furlong handicap and he can reward each way support in the concluding Duke of Edinburgh Stakes. The Charlie Appleby-trained four-year old has won three of his six career starts and remains open to further improvement.
The selection is 8/1 at BetVictor are paying 1/5th odds first five and I will be disappointed if he doesn’t run well in the Godolphin Blue.