Irish Eyes preview & tips Friday at Royal Ascot

Last Updated June 23 2017, 16:01Racing
Caravaggio
Caravaggio

Our Irish Eyes column expects Caravaggio to live up to star billing in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot on Friday.

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2.75pts win Caravaggio Commenealth Cup, 3.40 Royal Ascot at 10/11 (general)

1pt e.w Snowflakes Albany Stakes, 2.30 Royal Ascot at 25/1 (general)

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The fourth day of Royal Ascot could conceivably provide Ireland with four winners.  

Jessie Harrington saddles the favourite in opener with Alpha Centauri who, on form, looks easily the best two-year-old filly in training coming into this meeting.  However as babies, they are improving massively on a weekly basis, never mind every month, and rather than back the favourite, we seek a slightly better each-way bet elsewhere in the race.  

Clemmie finished third in her maiden at the Curragh on debut and it was plain for all to see that she is a filly who will win at group standard following that effort.  

Aidan O’Brien brought her full-brother here last year off the back of a Curragh third as well and he went and won the Chesham (Churchill) so he has set a precedent with this family.  

However she is priced accordingly, as third favourite at 7/1, so the each-way selection comes with another Irish-trained filly who has only managed to beat two horses on her only run to date, when 13th in the same Curragh maiden that Clemmie ran in.  

Snowflakes is another from the O’Brien string and like Clemmie, is a full sister to a Classic winner of 2017 in the form of dual 1000 Guineas heroine Winter, who runs later on the card in the Coronation.  

Snowflakes' debut was a non-event for her really.  She was all dressed up with nowhere to go a couple of furlongs out and there was nothing Donnacha O’Brien could do but sit up and suffer that day.  

Donnacha takes the mount on the Wesley Ward-trained second favourite in this race so Seamie Heffernan takes over in the saddle and of course he combined with O’Brien to win the race last year with Brave Anna at 16/1.  

It’s a bit of a leap of faith to see her improving from 13th of 15 to winning the Albany but as mentioned, a line can be drawn thorough that run and given she is trained by the incomparable O’Brien a chance is taken on Snowflakes especially at 25/1 with Sky Bet.

In the second race Ballydoyle again have a big chance of going close with Sir John Lavery who disappointed badly in a Derby Trial at Lingfield and consequently did not take his place at Epsom. 

Again, a line can be drawn thorough that run as it bore no resemblance to the form of his previous two maiden runs which have been franked this month.  

Grandee - who beat Sir John Lavery on debut - won a Listed event at Leopardstown and the two horses immediately behind him when he won by seven lengths have both won of late.  He should give a good account of himself.

Winter holds an obvious chance in the Coronation Stakes but is 1/2 favourite so we go back one race to the Commonwealth Cup for the nap of the day.  

Following the defeat of Churchill on Tuesday, Caravaggio can now take over the mantle as the fastest three-year-old colt at Ballydoyle and he could conceivably end up the champion of his generation by the end of the season.  

His sire Scat Daddy has already had three winners (from three races contested) at Royal Ascot this week.  Caravaggio won here last year of course on soft ground before hosing up in an admittedly weak Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh on good to firm ground.  

It was the manner in which he won as opposed to what he beat thatday which marked him down as special however and the same could be said for his season reappearance in a Group Three at Naas.  

On both occasions he showed an explosive turn of foot and it was noticeable that the normally stoic Ryan Moore was visibly impressed with him at Naas.  

Make no mistake, this is a tough race with Harry Angel appearing in the ‘could be anything’ category and obviously Blue Point, who beat the Clive Cox speedster in the Pavillion (1.55sec faster than standard), is a proper animal too.  

It looks set to be an absolute belter of a sprint but Caravaggio is chosen to prevail at 10/11. 


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