17:35 - Royal Ascot Preview & Tips
A two year old race over five furlongs, this is often a big test of a juveniles temperament at this stage of the season. A huge field is likely to see plenty of hard luck stories and as such it’s a great contest to re-watch with the future in mind. Read on for our Windsor Castle Stakes expert tip and runner by runner preview.
IN SUMMARY: A pair for Wesley Ward make this an interesting puzzle for punters, especially as both beat the same horse into second place. Elizabeth Darcy is the less favoured in the betting yet she won by the wider margin, after the runner up had been beaten by Nootka Sound. Bryan Smart runs Excellently Poised for whom the return to quicker ground is a plus, while Simmy’s Copshop also holds smart each way claims. A juvenile race on quick ground though, it’s hard to get away from a War Front and in DECLARATIONOFPEACE, the Ballydoyle juggernaut should claim another Royal Ascot contest after he was so impressive last time at Dundalk.
1 ANOTHER BATT – Bounced out and made every yard of the running on his recent U.K debut at Ripon. Was 1/3 favourite on that occasion, but as the old adage goes, you can only beat what is put in front of you and he did it in style. Silvestre De Sousa keeps the ride on this much quicker ground but he will need a fair jolt of improvement to figure.
2 AREEN FAISAL – Shaped with plenty of promise on his Newmarket debut but failed to back that up at Beverley last time. The return to quicker ground should suit but would be a surprise if he were good enough to make the frame.
3 AUTUMN LODGE – A four race maiden for Stan Moore, he looks to give connections a fun day in the sun but no more than that.
4 BLACK ORANGE – Produced a career best last time when runner up in the Lily Agnes at Chester. The bare form of that is unlikely to be enough to trouble the principals but he showed smart speed and a good attitude so it would not be a surprise were he to show up well for a long way.
5 CHATBURN – Made the most of his experience when leading from pillar to post in a Redcar novice. He was unable to utilise the same tactics in a deeper race at Beverley last time, fading out of contention on the uphill climb to the line, similar likely here.
6 CITY GUEST – Has taken a step forward with each run, coming home powerfully at Brighton last time. An extra furlong and a nursery are going to show him in a far better light than here.
7 CORINTHIA KNIGHT – Won his first two starts on the all weather but saw his winning run abruptly halted over this course and distance on his first go on turf. That isn’t to say he ran badly, with his conqueror a 14/1 chance for Thursday’s Norfolk Stakes, but that level of form leaves him with something to find.
8 DAHIK – Quick ground suits him well, bounding clear to break his maiden at the third attempt last time at Bath. That was a poor contest however and although it may have done his confidence the world of good, the level of form is still someway below what is required here.
9 DECLERATIONOFLOVE – Another to break his duck on the third go, he impressed in the parade ring at Windsor on his debut as one for the long term. Unlikely to be good enough to get involved at the business end of this race, but should have a decent future as a handicapper.
10 DECLARATIONOFPEACE – Just outstayed on his debut over the stiff six furlongs at Navan, he made no mistake when dropped back to this trip at Dundalk. He won as he was entitled to there as the long odds on favourite, with the second scoring next time out. He is a half sibling to Grade 1 and 2 winners in the States and by one of the top juvenile producing sires in War Front, whose progeny love quick ground, it very much makes him the one to beat in this field.
11 DRAGONS TAIL – Impressive winner at the second time of asking at Chester, running the field into the floor from the front, showing a smart mix of speed and strength. The Tom Dascombe yard know the time of day with their juveniles and he is an interesting contender.
12 EXCELLENTLY POISED – Was well supported to make a winning debut at Musselburgh and as trainer Bryan Smart said afterwards, “If I bring a two-year-old to Musselburgh for his debut, I like it.” Royal Ascot was mentioned as the aim then (in April) and although he failed to back up the impression he made next time up at Beverley, the ground may have been too soft for him, A return to quicker ground can see him in a better light and he has an each way squeak.
13 JAMES GARFIELD – Was an eyecatcher on debut behind June Dog, missing the kick before the penny dropped, making giant strides in the final quarter mile. That was over six furlongs which is a concern and it’s likely his future lays over further than this.
14 JUNE DOG – Beat James Garfield over six at Leicester last time, looking in need of the line close home, so it is no surprise that connections opt to drop him back to five here. This is a far deeper race but he showed enough natural speed there to suggest he won’t be embarrassed in this company.
15 LAST PAGE – Four race maiden is already gelded and has filled the runner up spot on three of his starts, unseating the rider in the other. First time cheekpieces are going to have to perform miracles to get him involved.
16 MAGNUS – Another for the Dascombe team, the penny has been a little slower to drop with him but he got the idea, scoring at Wetherby last time. The softer ground unsurprisingly suited the son of Makfi with conditions now unlikely to see him in such a positive light.
17 MOKAATIL – Once raced, he showed smart form when runner up at Salisbury. The winner of that contest has won since and is a best priced 10/1 for the Norfolk Stakes. He travelled like the best horse in the race, but ran green when asked for his effort. By Lethal Force out of a juvenile winning daughter of Exceed And Excel, he is bred to be an early type and it would be no surprise to see him in the first few home.
18 ROUSSEL – Looked very green when making a winning debut at Leicester but he justified strong support that saw him sent off odds on. A £360,000 buy from the Doncaster Breeze Ups, a bold sighting is likely providing the much quicker ground holds no fears for him.
19 SIMMY’S COPSHOP – Beat a smart type in Havana Grey first time up, losing a shoe when just fading into third in a Listed contest at Naas last time out. The Richard Fahey yard are running at a very slick 20% strike rate with their juveniles this season (15% the last five years combined) and he looks another for whom an each way case can be made.
20 SOUND AND SILENCE – Cheekpieces get added by connections after he found disappointingly little off the bridle in the National Stakes at Sandown. Havana Grey was the winner there, leaving him with a little to find unless the headgear has a profound effect.
21 T FOR TANGO – Weakened out of things having been up with the pace the whole way when just behind Simmy’s Copshop last time. This stiff track is likely to test his stamina again and he looks set for a midfield finish.
22 ELIZABETH DARCY – The same owners also have Nootka Sound, also trained by Wesley Ward. She beat the same horse home that her stablemate beat on her debut but she won by further, running out a 7 3/4 length victor which is perhaps better form given the second had a run to her name. She cost 88,000 Euros as a yearling and is speedily bred by Camacho although her dam did run over a mile and further. She looks closely matched with her stablemate and as with any of Ward’s at Ascot, commands the utmost respect.
23 MARCHINGONTOGETHER – Defied her £800 price tag when winning on her debut at Leicester. Since purchased by Qatar Racing, she was Ivan Furtado’s first two year old winner. This looks plenty tough enough for her.
24 NOOTKA SOUND – Wesley Ward trains the second favourite and she arrives here on the back of a 5 1/4 length victory at Keeneland at the end of April. Like many of Wesley Ward’s 2yo runners, she thrashed her opponents on a fast surface in a Maiden Special Weight and she’s open to any amount of improvement now she arrives in Europe for her second career start. Likely to be popular with Frankie Dettori taking the mount..