Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:
Top horse-racing tips and the latest news.
ROYAL ASCOT takes centre stage in world horse racing next week where many of the best thoroughbreds in the world contest some of horse racing’s biggest prizes.
The Royal meeting combines five days of high-quality racing and glamour, which is staged at the Berkshire racecourse from Tuesday June 18 to Saturday June 22.
The final fields will not be revealed until next week. But while trainers put the finishing touches on their potential Ascot runners, Horse Talk has some early tips.
Phoenix of Spain: (St James’s Palace Stakes)
Phoenix of Spain defied an interrupted preparation to land the Irish 2000 Guineas on his seasonal debut. The three quarters of a length victory over Too Darn Hot (who re-opposes) followed a series of solid efforts last term, that culminated with a narrow defeat in a Group 1 at Doncaster when denied by a head by 2019 QIPCO 2000 Guineas winner Magna Grecia.
“We were obviously delighted with him at the Curragh,” Hills said. “He was going away from them at the end and galloped right through the line.
“You’d like to think there’s some improvement there, and it’s quite nice to be going into Royal Ascot with just one run under his belt this year – he’s going there nice and fresh.”
Crystal Ocean: (Prince of Wales’s Stakes)
Crystal Ocean is unbeaten in two starts in Group 3s this season and is taken to make his breakthrough at the highest level by landing the 10-furlong feature race on Wednesday.
The ultra-consistent five-year-old has won seven and placed seven times in 14 starts, winning six Group races and finishing runner-up in the St Leger, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Champion Stakes.
“Crystal Ocean is in good shape and the plan is to go for the ten-furlong race on the Wednesday with Frankie [Dettori] to ride,” trainer Michael Stoute told the Racing Post.
Dee Ex Bee: (Gold Cup)
The Mark Johnson-trained four-year-old is another who in unbeaten in two Group 3 races this season and was always in control when scoring over an extended two miles at Sandown in May.
“We had some reservations about coming here for a five-runner race,” Johnson said after the Sandown victory. “From the point of view of Dee Ex Bee’s rating, value, reputation, he probably had not a lot to gain tonight and everything to lose. The aim is to try to win the Ascot Gold Cup and if we want to do that he needed another run.”
Advertise: (Commonwealth Cup)
For punters looking for some each way value 16-1 shot Advertise may be the answer.
Advertise showed his liking for Ascot when finishing a close second in the Coventry Stakes last year, in an ultra-consistent campaign that netted three wins and two seconds from five starts and included a six-furlong Group 1 victory in Ireland.
The Martyn Meade-trained colt disappointed in his sole start this year when 15th in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas. The trainer now suspects the colt may have been suffering from an untraceable virus at Newmarket.
“One can only put it down to the fact that he was a little bit below-par,” Meade said. “It must have been one of those untraceable viruses because everything else was right with him. We scoped him immediately after the race and his blood was perfect.
“It’s why we had a month off and hopefully he will now reproduce what he is capable of. His form ties in with all the top two-year-old performers – he’s just got to reproduce it. I’ve been happy with the way the horses have been running since we called a halt.”
Blue Point: (King’s Stand Stakes / Diamond Jubilee Stakes)
Course specialist Blue Point has won three of his four starts at Ascot, highlighted by a victory in the 2018 King’s Stand Stakes. The Charlie Appleby-trained five-year-old has won all of his three starts this year which were all at Group level. The son of Shamardal has been entered in both the King’s Stand Stakes (Tuesday) and Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Saturday) at the Royal meeting and should be supported in whichever race he contests.
Horse Talk with Simon Jackson. Showcasing horse racing in London and the south east.