Ascot Victoria Cup Day Preview
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Ascot Victoria Cup Day Preview

Flat-racing returns to Ascot this weekend with two days of action at the Berkshire venue marking the start of the countdown towards next month's Royal Meeting. Saturday is Victoria Cup Day, with a seven-race programme from 1.45pm-5.15pm and the Racing Post previews the action.


1.45pm - Royal Ascot Local Schools Art Competition Handicap (1m4f)

Boss Power didn't run badly on the all-weather at Kempton last month on comeback for Sir Michael Stoute and there's a decent chance he'll do well this season. He has so far produced this best stuff on synthetics, however.

HMS PRESIDENT is one that might go well for Eve Johnson-Houghton and 3lb claimer Georgia Dobie. His comeback at Musselburgh was likely needed and it's worth recalling he did something similar last year at Newbury before scoring at Windsor next time. He is on a fair mark and a stiff mile-and-a-half at Ascot suits well, with his two previous runs here boding well.

David Menuisier's Flyin' Solo merits a close look on reappearance, while recent Nottingham winner Protected Guest had something to spare in that 1m6f score and has already won three times in 2022 after some very consistent all-weather form. He, too, has run well at Ascot in the past and is shortlisted.

Selection: HMS President

Next Best: Protected Guest


2.20pm - Carey Group Buckhounds Stakes (Listed, 1m4f)

Al Aasy missed an intended engagement at Chester on Friday. The William Haggas-trained gelding can go well fresh and is the most talented of this bunch, but after winning a pair of Newbury Group 3s last spring, things rather tailed off for him afterwards as he went 0-4.

He's got the ability and he's still quite low-mileage, if all is well and he does indeed line up, there's no reason he can't make another winning start.

MANDOOB also skipped an intended run on the Roodee this week, though presumably the rain-softened ground early in the week was a mitigating factor there. Brian Meehan's charge has no such worries now and, on just his fifth career start, is open to further progress this season. He's perhaps the one for an each-way play at the early prices, available as he is at 12/1.

Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni will be hoping there's more in the locker with Third Realm this season. He started brightly last term, including a Listed win at Lingfield and ran some good races in pattern-company afterwards. He was fifth in the Epsom Derby and is entitled to major respect.

Race-fit Stowell was third at Newbury last month in Group 3 company and should be sharper for that outing. With Frankie Dettori on board for the Gosden team, he's a player too.

Selection: Mandoob

Next Best: Third Realm


2.55pm - Jemima Howden Novice Stakes (5f)

Redemption Time was only third on debut at Newbury last month in a maiden after starting the 10/11fav for Clive Cox. The son of Harry Angel should improve for the run but faces no easy challenge here with some very promising newcomers to tackle.

Chief amongst those will be NOBLE STYLE and Walbank, each having changed hands for 525,000 gns as yearlings.

The former is by Kingman and makes lots of appeal on paper for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin with last weeks' dual Guineas hero James Doyle on board, though it wouldn't be wise to dismiss David Loughnane's Kodiac colt either.

Fellow debutants Belon (Charlie Hills) and Banddar (Saeed bin Suroor) have their merits too in what should prove to be a quality novice contest.

Selection: Noble Style

Next Best: Walbank

Haydock Swinton Handicap Hurdle Day Preview

Haydock Swinton Handicap Hurdle Day Preview

3.30pm - British EBF Fillies' Handicap (Str, 1m)

As open as any race on the card at Ascot. Strawberri has the form to go close for Andrea Atzeni and Roger Varian if fully tuned up on this seasonal return. The best of her form has come with some give underfoot however.

Delta Bay starts out for Hughie Morrison after a year off and is one to note in the betting, while Don't Tell Claire is a former C&D winner.

AURIA was a Sandown Listed winner in July last year before ultimately coming up shy in Group 3s over a mile and 1m2f at the Esher venue and Newmarket on her final two starts. Andrew Balding's daughter of Muhaarar appears to have been given a fair opening mark for this seasonal bow and with William Carver taking off 3lb, they could go well.

Selection: Auria

Next Best: Strawberri


4.05pm - Tote Victoria Cup (Heritage Handicap, 7f)

Hold onto your hats here, with 28 runners across seven-furlongs of Ascot turf. Fresh is an obvious starting point, with figures of 2123 at Ascot previously, the most recent of those coming behind Group-race performer in the making Aldaary last backend. James Fanshawe's gelding has also had a pleasing spin on the all-weather at Kempton to leave him ready for this.

Amongst those fancied to join him in front rank will be ARATUS for Clive Cox and Adam Kirby. The son of Free Eagle was far too keen in a three-runner Listed race at Leicester last month on his comeback run but he was a winner of all three starts last season at Doncaster, Newbury and Goodwood, the latter pair in handicaps. He's got to settle better but surely find some cover amongst horses now and there should be more to come from him.

Magical Morning has course form and should be fine at this 7f trip given the course, while Vafortino was agonisingly denied at Newcastle last month having moved to Kevin Philippart De Foy from Ireland. He can offer something in the hands of his talented 7lb claimer.

Mums Tipple, Star Of Orion, Gioia Cieca and The Turpinator are just a few more that can be considered contenders.

Selection: Aratus

Next Best: Fresh


4.40pm - Dare To Dream Racing On Facebook Fillies' Handicap (1m2f)

Twisted Reality has joined David Menuisier over the winter months and is unexposed at this trip, her only previous try being fourth in a Listed Newbury event last May. The handicapper has cut her some slack and, now at 4YO, she could be one to exploit that leniency before too long.

TREGONY is just about the choice in a competitive field. The New Bay filly was rather luckless at a crucial stage 12 days ago at Windsor when seemingly full of running but denied room. With that outing behind her, she could strike.

After The Rain built on three promising all-weather runs - including a Wolverhampton maiden win - by scoring on handicap bow at Windsor early last month and Charlie Appleby's Shamardal filly should go well again with Harry Davies' claim more than offsetting her rise in the ratings.

Selection: Tregony

Next Best: Twisted Reality


5.15pm - Ascot Shop Handicap (6f)

The get-out stakes won't prove easy with a field of 20 engaged over six-furlongs. Under The Twilight has shown plenty promise in three AW starts, including a win at Chelmsford in October, and returns from an absence for this turf/handicap bow with scope for better.

Phoenix Star and recent Yarmouth winner World Of Windhover are possibles but a chance goes to MISTER BLUEBIRD for the Heather Main team. He's run good races in defeat this spring at Newcastle and Windsor over 5f/6f and is likely to give his running again with Rossa Ryan on board for the first time on what is a first Ascot appearance for the 4YO gelding.

Selection: Mister Bluebird

Next Best: Under The Twilight






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