Viztoria set to reign
Man On The Spot previews day four of Royal Ascot 2013 and he's backing Viztoria to produce a shock in the feature race.
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There looks to be some very speedy fillies in this and the majority are open to further improvement but SANDIVA appears to set the standard on her defeat of Heart Focus in a Listed race at Naas, where she quickened nicely and won with a bit in hand. Frankie Dettori has nominated her has his best ride this week. Wedding Ring represents his former employers and looked useful when winning her maiden at Newmarket while the O'Brien team expect the smartly-bred Wonderfully to step up on a narrow victory at Fairyhouse. Richard Hughes has chosen Windsor winner Midnite Angel ahead of Suite but the latter boasts decent form and has place claims while Joyeuse easily justified strong market support on her debut at Lingfield. The betting may be a guide as to whether any of the others, including dual winner Lucky Kristale, are expected to make an impact in this grade.
BATTLE OF MARENGO's defeat of Sugar Boy at Leopardstown in April has turned out be top-class form and he ran a brave race to finish a close-up fourth in the Derby earlier this month under a positive ride from Joseph O'Brien. Epsom form isn't always a reliable guide to this but the Ballydoyle colt is clearly smart and should be capable of defying his Group 2 penalty in this if on his game. Greatwood's run in the Dante was a big disappointment but he appeared to lose interest after getting behind at the start and is capable of better. Contributer was second to Irish 2000 Guineas winner Magician in the Dee Stakes at Chester before being beaten in a match at Goodwood but doesn't look good enough in the grade and Havana Beat was beaten fair and square by Greatwood at Newmarket in the spring. The unbeaten Mutashaded takes a huge leap in class and the remainder all have a bit to find to trouble the selection on these terms.
The draw hasn't done 1000 Guineas heroine Sky Lantern or the filly she beat at Newmarket, Just The Judge, any favours. The latter went on to land the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh where she beat Rehn's Nest, Big Break, Missava, Maureen, Snow Queen and Masarah. The latter three were also behind at Newmarket, along with Agent Allison, and will struggle to reverse the form here but a couple of less-exposed fillies could be a danger to the two classic winners. Both Pavlosk and VIZTORIA have yet to encounter ground likely to be this quick but the former looked a very smart prospect when running away with a Listed race at York five weeks ago and the latter has been aimed at this since making a winning reappearance in a Group 3 over 7f at the Curragh. Eddie Lynam's filly can take the step up in class and extra furlong in her stride as she boasted smart form as a juvenile and hasn't been over-raced. The aforementioned Big Break may have needed her run at the Curragh and shouldn't be left out of calculations.
Albasharah is working her way through the ranks and won by eight lengths on her reappearance at Doncaster. She may well be capable of earning some black type this season but preference here is for DICK DOUGHTYWYLIE. He's been very highly tried this season but was only beaten six lengths by Al Kazeem off level weights in a Group 3 at Sandown on his reappearance and has to be a threat to all back in a handicap. Inis Meain, Rewarded, Ottoman Empire and Sheikhzayedroad were all winners last time but have gone up in the weights as a result and just as interesting are Genzy and Fattsota. The former has been placed in three consecutive races at Listed level while the latter, a winner over a longer trip here in the autumn, didn't get the run of the race at Epsom last time. The market will probably be a good indication of what is expected from the returning Labarinto and Forgotten Voice back on the Flat.
The roof will be raised at Ascot should DISCLAIMER win this for Lady Cecil. The race has been renamed in honour of her late husband this year and Sir Henry trained the winner of it twice in the nineties. The gelding, a relentless galloper, has done nothing but improve this year and, though only beating one rival when completing his four-timer at Goodwood last month, looks sure to relish the extra distance and can get the better of Leading Light. The latter comfortably landed the odds on his reappearance in a Group 3 at the Curragh but his stamina will be tested here. Mister Impatience didn't appreciate the drop in distance at Newmarket after chasing home Derby winner Ruler Of The World in the Chester Vase and looks a threat as his yard has enjoyed plenty of success in this race in recent years. Sir Michael Stoute's name also features prominently on the role of honour and the stoutly-bred Yarmouth scorer Baihas will be staying on when others have cried enough. Ray Ward is a tough handicapper and could run well at a big price under Spencer.
Santefisio, Prince Of Johanne and Es Que Love all contested the Royal Hunt Cup on Wednesday and are bidding for quick compensation but others make more appeal. Enrol is sure to be popular as she'd won three in a row prior to going down by a nose to Nocturn over 6f at Newmarket. She was staying on well that day and the extra furlong won't be a problem. Highland Colori has a decent record in these big handicaps and was impressive when getting back to winning ways at Newmarket while Bertiewhittle was only beaten half-a-length over course and distance in the Victoria Cup last month and had a number of these in arrears. One of those was LIGHTNING CLOUD but Kevin Ryan's grey probably saw too much daylight and can be forgiven that effort. He definitely has the ability to win one of these off his current mark and today could be his day drawn right up against the stands' rail, though there are plenty of dangers. Ascot fourth Emilio Largo can reverse that running with Democretes as he looks as though he's been laid out for this while none of David O'Meara's quintet can be left out of calculations. Mont Ras, partnered by Joseph O'Brien, may be the pick of them. Jamesie and Johnny Murtagh's Campanology also go on the short-list.