Royal Ascot ended with Ryan Moore crowned top jockey although I am not convinced he was at the top of his game during the week. Jamie Spencer and William Buick stole the show for me in the saddle while Coronation Stakes winner Alpha Centauri was the equine star.
Owned by the Niarchos family it would be no surprise if Jessie Harrington’s filly were aimed at the Breeders’ Cup Mile later in the season and the 8/1 with BetVictor looks a fair price although the recommendation must be to wait until connections confirm her end of season target.
The handicapper could have been harsher on Buffer Zone (7.40) than a 6lbs rise for his facile win over tonight’s C&D at Windsor earlier in the month and this Bated Breath colt is taken to follow up for Roger Charlton who, surprisingly perhaps, had just the one runner at Ascot last week. The Beckhampton trainer did have a double at Wetherby on Friday evening and his string are in great shape at present.
Worth Waiting (8.40) is another Bated Breath progeny and David Lanigan’s filly easily landed the odds when winning a Redcar maiden last month stepped up to ten furlongs. She loves fast ground and is open to further improvement after just three career starts – note she still holds an entry in the Irish Oaks next month.
At Southwell Lotus Pond (2.15) looked one to follow when scoring at Ffos Las just four days ago when very well backed and coming home clear. A 7lbs penalty is unlikely to prevent a follow up for Peter Bowen’s ten-year-old if in the same mood.
The Wicket Chicken (2.45) is fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time for Neil Mulholland but is 2lbs higher than when finishing runner up at Huntingdon last time. Hunter Chaser Changeofluck finished third in the John Corbet Cup at Stratford last time but may have been flattered passing beaten horses over an additional half-mile and a 7lbs rise may be a shade harsh.
Free Stone Hill (3.15) was caught out be the rain-softened ground at Newton Abbot last time but failed to get home having travelled like the best horse for much of the race. Everything does have to fall into place for Dan Skelton’s eight-year-old but Volvalien should ensure there is plenty of pace in the race and the hope is that the selection can pick up the pieces.
Simply Lucky (4.45) has won two of his three starts for Dan Skelton and a 7lbs penalty may not prevent him following up last week’s Uttoxeter success. It should be noted that his one loss was gained over today’s C&D although he lost ground at the start on that occasion and was beaten less than two lengths.
In the finale, Craigmor (5.45) steps up a furlong from when a beaten favourite – running on – at Bangor last time for Olly Murphy whose string has cooled since he made an excellent start to the training ranks.