Royal Ascot Ultimate Guide - 2019-06-06


Equilateral can land first Group victory at seventh attempt


Ben Harris seeks out the value over the five days

TUESDAY Coventry Stakes Sunday Sovereign, an exciting son of Equiano, was snapped up by of King Power Racing after a decisive victory at the Curragh on his second start. He missed the break on his debut, but still looked to be travelling best of all two furlongs from home and was ultimately found wanting for a bit of speed over 5f. He was seen to much better effect next time over six furlongs, when again he travelled strongly into the race before storming clear of the field to win cosily by three lengths. He had the Ballydoyle-trained Arizona in behind. Has since won by eight lengths and, on that form, he looks to present King Power with a live chance of a winner at the royal meeting. He was due to run at Tipperaray after this publication went to press. King’s Stand Stakes Equilateral produced a career-best effort when runner-up in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket last time, registering an RPR of 117. He travelled like the winner and went a couple of lengths clear of the field before being denied on the line by Mabs Cross. Charlie Hills has always held Equilateral in high regard and he was sent off at 6-1 in the Commonwealth Cup last year. He looks to be have improved this season and the drop back to 5f seems to have suited. If he is able to build on his career-best performance last time, he has a chance of landing his first Group race. WEDNESDAY Royal Hunt Cup Raising Sand has raced at his favourite Berkshire venue no less than ten times, and this dual course-anddistance winner bids to better his seventh-placed effort last year’s contest. He missed the break and it quickly transpired he was disadvantaged by his low draw, with 12 of the first 15 home drawn high and racing in the main stands’ side group. He made a pleasing return to action this season making good, late progress to finish fourth in the Victoria Cup and with some luck in running he should have a real chance of improving on last year’s result, with any rain enhancing his claims. THURSDAY Gold Cup Falcon Eight, a lightly raced halfbrother to the classy Free Eagle, made eyecatching late headway in the Saval Beg last time on just his fourth start. Trainer Dermot Weld said he was immature last year and judging by his last run, he looks a much better horse this season. The Irish St Leger is perhaps on the radar later in the year, but he shaped as though the extra distance of the Gold Cup would be nothing but a positive. If Weld decides to take his chance here, he could be a lively outsider inwhat looks a fiercely competitive Gold Cup. Britannia Handicap The Richard Hannon-trained Masaru can resume his progression after failing to figure in the Silver Bowl at Haydock. Masaru was drawn widest of all and endured a troubled trip in a roughly run race, so he can be forgiven that effort. He had looked progressive when winning the Esher Cup at Sandown on his previous start, travelling like the winner throughout, he hit the front sooner than ideal and idled in front. He could warm up for the race on Saturday as he holds an entry at Newmarket. The straight mile of the Britannia and a big field should provide Masaru with plenty of cover and pace to aim at, which should see him put in a much-improved effort from his last outing. FRIDAY Albany Stakes Archie Watson has been flying with his two-year-old fillies this season, with 12 winners from his first 27 runners at a strike-rate of 44 per cent. Exclusively was well backed on her debut and duly obliged, staying on strongly to win cosily over the minimum strip. She was then beaten a neck by Good Vibes while shouldering a penalty at Salisbury but broke tardily and then overraced throughout. The pair pulled clear and the winner has since bolted up in the Marygate Stakes at York. The step up to 6f looks ideal for this daughter of Showcasing, and she can bolster her trainer’s record with juvenile fillies this season. Coronation Stakes Maqsad may not have taken the usual route to the Coronation Stakes, but after failing to see out the trip in the Oaks she could end up here. She travelled into the race well but confirmed the doubts over her stamina when tiring during the last few furlongs. She won the Pretty Polly in taking style before the Classic and does not look short of speed, having already won over a mile at the Craven meeting, so this sharp drop in trip should not be a problem. With ante-post favourite Hermosa likely to take her chance in the Prix de Diane, Maqsad could come into the race with a real opportunity to bounce back in style if her connections roll the dice. SATURDAY Diamond Jubilee Stakes US raider Bound For Nowhere is no stranger to Ascot, finishing third in this race last year and fourth in the Commonwealth Cup in 2017. Last year he showed the customary searing pace of a Wesley Ward-trained runner but quickly found himself racing in isolation in the centre of the track and probably did well to finish a close third. He was then stretched out when winning the Tourist Mile at Kentucky Downs before boiling over in the Shadwell Turf at Keeneland. The fiveyear-old finished a satisfactory second on his prep run for the royal meeting over 5½f, but has reportedly done well since and looks overpriced in an open Diamond Jubilee Stakes. Wokingham Handicap Summerghand, like many of Lope De Vega’s progeny, has got better with age and his official rating went up 20lb to 98 during his four-year-old season. In just two starts this year he has shown enough to suggest there may be more improvement to come. He bumped into one in On The Warpath last time but finished best of the rest in second. After a possible run at Newmarket on Saturday, he could get his ideal conditions in the Wokingham with plenty of cover and pace to aim at, and Ascot’s stiff finish should suit.



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