Royal Ascot Day Four Preview
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Royal Ascot Day Four Preview

Friday at Royal Ascot is the penultimate afternoon of action and it's a brace of Group 1s via the Commonwealth Cup and the Coronation Stakes. The fillies are to the fore and there's an intriguing clash between 1000 Guineas winner Cachet and last year's champion two-year-old Inspiral on her belated comeback. They race once more at Royal Ascot from 2.30pm-6.10pm on Friday afternoon and the Racing Post has got analysis and selections for all the action as we hit the home straight.


2.30pm - Albany Stakes (Fillies' Group 3, 6f)

Aidan O'Brien took until the final race on day two to hit the scoreboard and plenty will anticipate a strong showing from the Irishman as we hurtle towards the weekend.

He's got the market leader in Mediate here, the No Nay Never filly making it 2-2 with a Group 3 win at Naas last time. She's got plenty of scope for better and is a leading contender, one that the market has clearly identified.

Joining her atop the betting is Mawj for Saeed bin Suroor courtesy of a really impressive opening display at Newmarket five weeks ago when she readily moved clear in the final stages. She can take a big step forward from that opening gambit and looks a key player.

There's significant depth to this Albany Stakes and the big pair are unlikely to have it all to themselves. Any of Cathy Come Home, Fully Wet, Elvenia, Queen Olly and Powerdress could improve from their respective debuts and go well.

LADY BULLET gave away a penalty in making it 2-2 at Ripon three weeks ago and did so in convincing fashion when clocking a good time. She was strong at the finish and the Alice Haynes-trained daughter of James Garfield is worth her place at this higher level. She's taken to outrun a decent price.

Selection: Lady Bullet

Next Best: Mawj


3.05pm - Commonwealth Cup (Group 1, 6f)

Winning machine El Caballo comes into this top 3YO sprint in supreme form, seeking to win for the seventh time on the spin since his Doncaster debut second last spring. Progressive on the all-weather over the winter, he was better than ever in last month's Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock when holding off today's rivals Flaming Rib (second), Wings Of War (third), Go Bears Go (fourth) and Gis A Sub (ninth) for that Group 2 win.

Karl Burke's charge remains on the up and has strong claims on this graduation into elite company.

However, he may do well to claim the scalp of PERFECT POWER for Richard Fahey and Christophe Soumillon.

He was a dual Group 1-winning sprinter last term, including the Middle Park at Newmarket, and he returned with a strong display to win the Greenham at Newbury over 7f in April. He still looked speedy in that race, but connections were eager for a tilt at the 2000 Guineas where Perfect Power ran a sound race (seventh) but didn't quite appear to get home. A strongly run 6f at this track could be optimal now.

Tiber Flow has form ties with El Caballo and isn't crossed off as William Haggas reaches for a pair of cheekpieces now, while Irish pair Twilight Get and Sacred Bridge are also noted.

Ger Lyons' challenger tackled 7f on comeback at Leopardstown this term but was no match for subsequent Irish 1000 Guineas winner Homeless Songs and, having won a Listed race since at Cork over 5½-furlongs, might be the each-way option.

Selection: Perfect Power

Next Best: Sacred Bridge


3.40pm - Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (Handicap, 1m4f)

Just Fine is the market leader for Sir Michael Stoute after a solid return at York last month. He doesn't have big miles on the clock and is entitled to due consideration, but it's worth recalling he was a fader over C&D last summer in a 3YO handicap on his sole Ascot start.

In a field as deep as this, there surely will be better value than the 7/2 market leader.

The likes of Stay Well for Hughie Morrison and David Barron's hat-trick seeking Contact are players, the latter has really found his groove in three runs this season and could go well despite a further 6lb being added for his recent win at Haydock.

At the bottom of the handicap, experienced hurdler Ajero isn't one to overlook. He's finished second in three spring starts on the level for Kim Bailey and he's only got 8st 10lb under David Egan here.

Johnny Murtagh will be sweet on the chances of MASHHOOR after he won with plenty in hand at the Curragh (1m2f, good to yielding) in May on his second start after a switch from the UK. He beat 18 rivals that afternoon and did so in clear-cut fashion. The assessor has taken no chances - he's 12lb higher now - but he could have plenty more to come upped in trip and can go close under Ben Coen.

Selection: Mashhoor

Next Best: Contact


4.20pm - Coronation Stakes (Fillies' Group 1, 1m)

We get the winners of the English and French Guineas clashing here, Cachet and Mangoustine, though sadly Irish Classic winner Homeless Songs has missed out.

Cachet led all the way at Newmarket in early May for a surprise Classic win, just doing enough to hold off Prosperous Voyage in second with Epsom Oaks winner Tuesday in third.

Similar tactics were deployed at Longchamp a fortnight later by James Doyle and Cachet was once more gallant in front but she couldn't hold off Mangoustine for the Mikel Delzangles and Gerard Mosse team. They come here with leading claims now in a race where French raiders tend to do well.

Ralph Beckett's Prosperous Voyage has been kept fresh since that slender 1000 Guineas defeat and could improve again, while it's fascinating to see unbeaten US-trained filly Spendarella taking her chance here with William Buick on board.

Irish raiders are Discoveries and Tenebrism aren't dismissed despite coming up well short behind Cachet at Newmarket but that race left the impression of 'what might have been' for INSPIRAL.

The Frankel filly was the champion two-year-old last year, progressing with each of four runs to win the bet365 Fillies' Mile at Newmarket in October. In both that race and Doncaster's May Hill Stakes, she put Prosperous Voyage to the sword impressively. A minor setback caused John Gosden to skip the Rowley Mile Classic but she is still the most exciting 3YO filly around and she can start making up for lost time now.

Selection: Inspiral

Next Best: Mangoustine

Royal Ascot Day Five Preview

Royal Ascot Day Five Preview

5.00pm - Sandringham Stakes (Fillies' Handicap, 1m)

HEREDIA has won all three starts to this point and she looks to still be ahead of the handicapper after the latest of those at York. Richard Hannon's daughter of Dark Angel was held up in that Knavesmire contest and found her path blocked at a crucial stage two furlongs from home. She got into clear daylight however and powered home to earn a slender verdict. The assessor wasn't fooled by the head-margin and has raised her 7lb but this filly looks to have plenty more to come.

Gatecrasher Girl has won three on the trot and is progressing, albeit William Knight's charge has plenty more on her plate in this line-up, while the Owen Burrows-trained Washraa took another step forward when bringing up a double at Nottingham in May in a race that has worked out well, with runner-up Invigilate re-opposing now.

Lullaby has come up shy in pattern races this season in Ireland, Aidan O'Brien lowers her sights now back in a handicap, while Kings Joy has run well here in one of only three starts and was just touched off on handicap bow at Kempton this month for John & Thady Gosden. She could have more to give.

Persist won a maiden at Ripon on her comeback last month and an opening mark of 83 looks fair for William Haggas' Frankel filly, ensuring she's got claims under Cieren Fallon.

Selection: Heredia

Next Best: Persist


5.35pm - King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2, 1m4f)

CHANGINGOFTHEGUARD was making it 2-2 this season when he dominated the Chester Vase under Ryan Moore in May with a really smart display. He went to Epsom for the Derby since and the forcing tactics in first-time cheekpieces didn't pay off. It's probably an effort best overlooked and with Moore back in the plate now, a dominant display in this line-up is very likely.

He has a great chance of bouncing back straight away in a race that has gone to some classy sorts in recent times, with Japan, Pyledriver and Alenquer the last three winners.

The likes of Grand Alliance and Savvy Victory have lots of work to do to overturn recent defeats to some of these rivals, while Dark Moon Rising needs a leap forward on his Dante fourth last month.

Lysander represents last year's winning trainer William Haggas but was beaten fair and square when third in the Listed Cocked Hat at Goodwood last month. That was on soft ground, however, and this faster surface may suit him well.

Ottoman Fleet was a Listed winner last month at Newmarket, overcoming a stumble leaving the stalls to beat main market rival Zain Sarinda close home (with Savvy Victory in third). Charlie Appleby's gelded son of Sea The Stars can improve again upped in trip, but he'll surely have to in order to thwart Changingoftheguard.

Selection: Changingoftheguard

Next Best: Lysander


6.10pm - Palace Of Holyroodhouse Stakes (Handicap, 5f)

Ruthin tops the weights for Wesley Ward but things haven't really been falling for the American trainer this week. The Ribchester filly ran a sound race in the Windsor Castle here last summer and will no doubt give this a bold sight on the front end, but she might be vulnerable late on.

For one that typically likes to be close to the pace, TIPPY TOES made a slow start in last month's Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock. Joe Fanning had to expend more petrol than desired to get into a challenging position and his mount wilted late on in that Group 2 contest. A host of those that were ahead of her will have taken in the Commonwealth Cup earlier in the day and, off 98, this Havana Gold filly can make an impact switched into a handicap.

This is a deep field and second choice goes to Ladies Church, flagged up this week by trainer Johnny Murtagh as one of his leading chances at the meeting.

She was second in a Listed race at Cork behind the smart Sacred Bridge (also Commonwealth Cup bound) at the start of May and is expected to come on plenty for that first run of the new term.

Selection: Tippy Toes

Next Best: Ladies Church






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