6/19 – Day 5 – Royal Ascot 2021
The Diamond Jubilee headlines Day 5 to close out Royal Ascot 2021. A race that continues to spotlight the great sprinters that Europe has to offer and this year is no exception. The mile and a half Hardwicke Stakes has brought together a strong field of 15 runners, as well as 19 three year olds to contest the Jersey Stakes. It looks to be a competitive day of racing and lots of value to be had. One more card to go before the curtain drops on this year’s royal meeting. Let’s jump right in:
Race 1: Chesham Stakes – 7 Furlongs, 2 YOs (Restricted)
4 – Point Lonsdale – Heavy favorite in the field based on an impressive front running score at The Curragh. Only runner in the field for Aidan O’Brien who’s taken the Chesham 5 times, including last year with Battleground. Ground was on the softer side that day in Ireland and should be similar today. Being a son of a multiple Derby winner and a full-brother to Broome, you would envision longer distances, however the dam was group stakes placed at two in the Princess Margaret at Ascot.
2 – Masekela – Looks to provide sire El Kabeir his first stakes victory after a mature performance at Goodwood. Handled the soft condition well in that effort and looks to improve in this spot. Sire was a precocious two year old, however the breeding suggests much longer distances are in this horse’s future.
3 – New Science – A key day at Yarmouth unveiled the maiden breaking scores for New Science and Queen’s Vase winner, Kemari. This filly got an uncontested lead going the straight seven and had to work mid-stretch. However, once she found her second wind she kicked away nicely towards the line.
Race 2: GIII Jersey Stakes – 7 Furlongs, 3 YOs
18 – Light Refrain – The other runner in the field for The Queen, her best form has been on soft ground and her recent form has taken a big boost with the performance of Dragon Symbol yesterday. Won going away in listed company at Nottingham, was last at the start of the 6 furlong trip but moved up and showed impressive turn of foot when reaching the frontrunners.
9 – Mehmento – After being DQ’ed out of a group one triumph yesterday, Archie Watson brings in a horse that rebounded extremely well off of a lackluster performance in the French Guineas. Should be up on the pace and handles moisture in the ground well. Was dominant early in the career with two starts over the all-weather at Southampton. Gets Hollie Doyle back after winning the Surrey Stakes LTO.
15 – Storm Damage – Will only be the second start for this young Godolphin runner but I was so impressed with the debut run. Over the all-weather at Kempton, Storm Damage settled well from an outside draw, looked very relaxed around the track and headed the leader with something left in the tank. A slow track at Kempton will be a big disparity from first time on a bogged down turf at Ascot, but there is no questioning this horse has promise.
Race 3: GII Hardwicke Stakes – 1 1/2 Miles, 4 & Up
2 – Broome – Few horses have been as consistent this year as Broome. Opened up the season with three consecutive stakes scores in Ireland, as well as a heartbreaking loss to Helvic Dream in the Tattersalls Gold Cup. He is in top form and handles the ground extremely well. The complaint with him will be his 0 for 3 record at the distance, but if you look closer two of those efforts came on firm ground. One was the Epsom Derby behind Anthony Van Dyck, the other was the Coronation Cup finishing behind Ghaiyyath, Anthony Van Dyck & Stradivarius. No worries there.
14 – Albaflora – Another horse that, like Japan, ran a good race in the Coronation Cup, but was no match for the top two. Defeated a head by Berkshire Rocco in the Noel Murless, who went next up to finish 2nd in Saudi Arabia. Albaflora also won the Buckhounds Stakes, a race won by Dashing Willoughby the year prior, winner of the Henry II Stakes next time out. Not to mention, both of her races came at Ascot on soft ground.
7 – Japan – His career has been back and forth with both distance and performance. A horrific 2020 for a horse that showed so much promise as a Juddmonte International winner. This season, the O’Brien team decided to extend Japan and he has responded well. Looked back in form when winning the Ormonde defeating a good soft ground stayer in Trueshan. Both Pyledriver and Al Aasy put together monster performances in the Coronation Cup, considering I thought Japan ran a good race.
Race 4: GI Diamond Jubilee Stakes – 6 Furlongs, 4 & Up
5 – Glen Shiel – The ground at Ascot on British Champions Day was listed as soft, yet the performances throughout the day suggested that it was on the heavier side. On a day when many of the heavy favorites struggled, Glen Shiel relished the surface, as well as in the group one Sprint Cup at Haydock. Wasn’t his best first up this prep at The Curragh, but will appreciate getting back to Ascot.
14 – Sonaiyla – Winner over the soft going LTO in Ireland, Sonaiyla has been very consistent the last two years with her only blemish coming on British Champions Day on extremely wet ground. Jockey Billy Lee gets aboard after giving up a full card yesterday at Limerick to come across the Irish Sea for one ride.
2 – Dream of Dreams – Could this finally be the year for Dream Of Dreams? Two massive efforts have resulted in second place finishes in the last two renditions of this race. Defeated in those races by multiple group one sprinters in Hello Youmzain and Blue Point. This field is much less accomplished than the past two years.
Race 5: Wokingham Stakes – 6 Furlongs, 3 & Up
4 – Rohaan – Multiple group stakes winner stepping into handicap company. After Dragon Symbol’s effort in the Commonwealth Cup, his stock has risen even higher and I am expecting a negative correlation with his price on the day. He won the Sandy Lane Stakes on heavy ground but is proven on firm ground as well. Should be tough to beat in this spot.
16 – Chiefofchiefs – The winner of last year’s Wokingham Stakes has not found the winner’s enclosure since. Despite failing to win in over a year, this old warrior has put together some good efforts as of late in handicap company. Will be a big price but has been improving and gets back to a preferred trip.
15 – King’s Lynn – Drops in class back to handicap company after contesting the group one King’s Stand. Ran respectably against high quality sprinters, moving up in distance for this start. Although he’s never won at the distance, he has more than proved his ability at 6 furlongs.
Race 6: Golden Gates Stakes – 1 1/4 Miles, 3 YOs
2 – Pythagoras – Fought hard to win at Pontefract in the Silver Tankard Stakes. Richard Fahey decided to step this horse up in distance and class heading into 2021. Contested the Dante at a big price and was no match for a quality group two field. Stepping back to the mile and a quarter will benefit, as well as the class drop.
11 – King Frankel – Super consistent in handicap company this season, however the only win came in a landslide against two other rivals at Pontefract. Has run well on rain affected ground and will have no trouble at the distance. Gets Frankie aboard for the first time.
14 – Irish Legend – Took one shot at stakes company and ran into a strong field in the Classic Trial at Sandown. Has won all three starts outside of that stakes attempt. Has not won by much in those starts, but has continued to show lots of toughness late. Colin Keane takes the ride after a full card at Limerick yesterday, rides only Irish Legend and New Mandate earlier in the card.
Race 7: Queen Alexandra Stakes – 2 3/4 Miles, 4 & Up
8 – Falcon Eight – Swept around the field in a flashy victory in the Chester Cup. Frankie will be back aboard a horse he rode in the group one Prix du Cadran in 2019. From the family of multiple group stakes winners, including the 2-Time Irish St. Leger winner, Search For A Song.
15 – The Grand Visir – Ran one of the best races of anyone in the Chester Cup, a race won by Falcon Eight. Has several performances over 2 miles, including a stakes race over hurdles at Cheltenham. The Ian Williams trainee has placed in group company on several occasions including a Doncaster Cup behind Spanish Mission and a recent third in the group two Prix Vicomtesse Vigier in France. Prefers a level of moisture in the ground.
2 – Mildenberger – A winner over 2 Miles on the all-weather, Mildenberger ran a respectable 6th when jumping up in class to contest the Red Sea Handicap in Saudi. Has proven he can compete with some of the top stayers, including a close second behind Nayef Road in the Sagaro. By Teofilo, who seems to be winning every major staying contest out there at the moment.