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Royal Ascot Ultimate Guide - 2019-06-06

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Improving Rawdaa could be class above

WEDNESDAY 4.20 DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE STAKES

Tom Collins

Agrotera An improving filly who is owned by Bjorn Nielsen of Stradivarius fame. Agrotera is a strong-travelling chestnut who, following an unlucky second in a conditions race at Ascot on her reappearance last year, landed a Windsor maiden and the Sandringham at this meeting. Running off a mark of 88 on her handicap debut that day, Agrotera made up a ridiculous amount of ground from the back of the field to win going away at the line for favourite backers. She was obviously chucked in off that mark but struggled in three subsequent Listed races to end the season and was then given the winter off. She dotted up on her first start this year at Kempton despite pulling hard and will appreciate a good pace in this race. Beshaayir Quite a big filly who appreciates good ground and has needed time to come to herself. Has won five of ten career starts but has had excuses for some of her defeats, including when banging her head on the stalls three starts ago and facing unsuitable ground on debut. Beshaayir isn’t the easiest horse to ride, either, as she gets lonely out in front and needs to be delivered late, which may work against her in a race like this. Returned this season with an impressive front-running score at the Curragh and, although there was a speed bias that day, she has to come into the reckoning after that display. Billesdon Brook Rather exposed four-year-old filly for trainer Richard Hannon and I was surprised she is racing on this season given she landed a shock Group 1 victory in the 1,000 Guineas last year and would be worth her weight in gold at stud. Has found life a lot harder in Group 1s since that 66-1 Classic success, but has never been disgraced and continues to rack up prizemoney for connections. Can race keenly, which shouldn’t be a problem behind a fast pace, and does stay further but may just lack the toe of some improving protagonists. I Can Fly One of two fillies who will have to give away a penalty due to a Group victory within the last 12 months, I Can Fly, who secured that success in a Leopardstown Group 2 in September, is a clear player on form and should take a lot of beating. I Can Fly can certainly do just that, but she does chuck in the odd disappointing effort, which is a major doubt. However, her second behind Roaring Lion in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes here in October is the strongest piece of form on offer, while her sixth in the Lockinge was highly creditable. Hard to beat if she is on a going day and caught the eye with good late headway at the Curragh behind Beshaayir when last seen. Pretty Baby Prolific filly who seems to handle all kinds of ground and trips. Pretty Baby cost $190,000 at the breeze-ups but unlike a few from that sale, she has passed the test of time and continues to improve, winning five of seven starts and finishing runner-up on the other two occasions. Trainer William Haggas has been rather slow in progressing her up the grades (much like stablemate Beshaayir) but she has won Group 3s on her last two outings and is certainly worth a crack at this race. Her form is okay if not spectacular, but she seems to have had plenty go her way throughout her career and may find this tougher. Rawdaa An improving and interesting filly who is trained by a master in Sir Michael Stoute and is likely to land a fillies’ Group 1 this season based on her profile. Unraced at two, Rawdaa won two of five starts last year but looked rather immature throughout the campaign – especially when beaten at 1-12 on the allweather. She ended the season on a high, though, when dotting up in a Newmarket handicap and resumed with a close third to Agrotera when given too much to do. The step up to 1m2½f at York for the Middleton saw Rawdaa take a huge leap forward by running Lah Ti Dar, who entered the season as one of the smartest fillies in training, to a neck. Has to go close. Red Tea Exposed mare who bids to become just the second sixyear-old to win this race in 16 years after Soviet Song’s victory for James Fanshawe in 2006. Red Tea has made 32 starts and progressed up the handicap ranks over the last three years, going up over 31lb in the weights, but never stamped herself as a Group-class filly when with trainer Peter Hiatt. However, she seems to have turned over a new leaf this year since moving to Joseph O’brien and recorded a comfortable handicap victory at the Curragh before gaining her first piece of black type in a Group 2 at that track when last seen. Rider Donnacha O’brien put up 1lb overweight on that occasion, so she gave weight to the first two home – Beshaayir and I Can Fly – but it would take another jolt of improvement to see her reverse the form. Threading Mark Johnston’s filly was extremely exciting after her first two runs – both of which resulted in a decisive victory – but the wheels came off quickly and she has never managed to really hit the big time. A seven-length victory in Listed company last May is the major highlight of her career and she ran well in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes here last year, but her form tailed off quickly and she has run more bad races than good. Johnston is known for keeping his horses on the go, so the fact she hasn’t run yet this year is also a concern. Veracious Well-bred Cheveley Park Stud filly who has been found out by a lack of a sixth gear in Group 1s in the past, but has looked up to this standard in the past and must have a reasonable chance if she produces a career-best performance. She often needs her first run of the season and that couldn’t be more obvious than this term when travelling well at Newmarket, only to fade away late over 1m½f. She was disappointing, however, when last seen at Epsom. Wearing a tongue-tie for the first time, Veracious had every chance approaching the final furlong but was the first of the front three to crack. Dropping back to a mile is a plus but she has work to do with Awesometank and Anna Nerium. Verdict Rawdaa could prove a class above. She is a rapidly improving filly for Sir Michael Stoute and her last run behind Lah Ti Dar is a strong piece of form. I Can Fly looks to be the one most likely to pick up the pieces if Rawdaa doesn’t land the prize, but she has become quite exposed and I would be disappointed if she came out on top. Course specialist Agrotera is likely to be overpriced and can fill the frame. 1 Rawdaa 2 I Can Fly 3 Agrotera

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