The Prince Of Wales’s Stakes is always one of the highlights of the week at Royal Ascot and I’m looking forward to the seasonal reappearance of dual Group 1 winning filly Sea Of Class who was, arguably, beaten only by the draw when finishing a neck behind Enable in the Arc in October.
Her three stellar performances as a three-year-old came over 12f, however, and it will be fascinating to see if she has the class and speed to win dropped back to 10f next week. The filly is 9/4 favourite with BetVictor, but I have always been a fan of Waldgeist and feel Andre Fabre’s five-year-old looked better than ever when winning the Prix Ganay at Longchamp; at 6/1 with BetVictor he looks the each way value.
Herculean is a beautifully bred son of Frankel who has only had four career starts and begins his four-year-old career at Haydock this afternoon on a very workable mark. That said this is likely to turn into a real slog on heavy ground and Andrew Balding’s mare Lorelina (3.20) won over C&D under similar conditions last autumn from a 2lbs lower mark. She has already had two starts this term and ran very well on ground faster than ideal at Epsom on Oaks Day earlier in the month.
This will be the slowest ground Moon King has encountered as he goes in search of his four-timer. He has been placed very well by Ralph Beckett and a 6lbs penalty for last week’s fluent Nottingham win – good ground – again makes him the one to beat in the 1m 6f handicap for the classic generation.
That said I think there are two decent fillies in the line up today and preference for Dorah (4.50) over No Dress Rehearsal is marginal. The selection won at Leicester over 12f on fast ground from a 4lbs lower mark last time, ran well on soft ground last term and looks ready for another step up in trip. No Dress Rehearsal makes her handicap debut this afternoon and a check of the market is advised.
Swansdown (3.30) is no star but she is certainly bred to win her fair share of races and she may have found the ground too quick on her reappearance at Haydock last month. The selection is unproven on soft ground, but she is the half-sister to a number of previous winners and looks well up to defying her current mark.
There is a good Beginners Chase at Punchestown this evening and Minella Times (5.40) has a good record fresh and promises to make up into a better chaser than hurdler for Henry de Bromhead. He would be receiving weight from the Gordon Elliot-trained runner Count Simon, who has won his last couple of starts over timber, if this were a handicap hurdle but I feel the switch to the larger obstacles will be the making of the selection.
Mondain (7.20) has been a beaten favourite on both starts so far this term but he drops back in trip by a furlong at Kempton this evening, has a good draw and Oisin Murphy takes over in the saddle. Mark Johnston’s gelding is entered over 1m 6f on turf on Friday, but I feel this intermediate 1m 3f trip could be his optimum.
Briyouni (8.20) has gone well fresh in the past and he remains potentially well treated in the ultra-competitive 7f handicap for Ralph Beckett. One interesting note; the 6-y-old has run 4 times at Kempton in the past and has won twice and finished last on the other two!