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Royal Ascot blog - reacp the day five action, including the Wokingham Stakes

Recap the action from the final day of Royal Ascot where Khaadem, a Value Bet 22/1 selection, retained the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes.

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1821: There were some big cheers as the very well backed 2/1 favourite ran out a ready winner under rising star Dylan Browne McMonagle.

The winner and third were trained by Joseph O'Brien and there's a suspicion that he may be targeting this race! It's worth a not to be sniffed at £59,400 after all.

Uxmal was sired by a certain Galileo who ends the week as the leading sire and you'll be able to read about that elsewhere on the site very shortly....

Quotes about the winner will be found in the Royal Ascot review (link at the top) while there will be plenty of reflection, rewards and the like on these pages over the course of tonight and tomorrow as well as into next week and they will all be worth a read as we digest the action once the dust has settled.

I'm away to see if that glass has still got my name on it but I hope you've all had a fantastic week, there's been some really superb action. Goodbye for now.

Queen Alexandra Stakes

1755: Fortunately I have no view at all on the finale except it's too long and there's a glass with my name on it. The good news though is that the Punting Pointers team do have a fancy and this is the case they made this morning:

"Jamie Osborne allows DRAWN TO DREAM to take his chance after his sixth to Belloccio in the Copper Horse Handicap here on Tuesday, a good effort considering it was his first start for the yard and also his first run since last October.

A Listed winner in Germany over 2m4f, his sire Iquitos was a G1 winner, and he’s bred very much for stamina. 20/1 and bigger looks worth taking, for all he could blow out if he can’t take two quick runs in a week."

There are five non-runners, some of whom have been taken out since that advice was posted earlier today so there will be a Rule 4 for anyone who got the 10s. In order to win, he will have to get the better of last year's winner Dawn Rising.


1st Uxal 2/1 favourite
2nd Run For Oscar 4/1
3rd Dawn Rising 3/1


1744: Mr Buick did make amends and Hand Of God did win as though he had those 16lbs or so in hand. Sometimes it does all work out and that will be a happy and proud moment for the Charlton family. And no small relief I should cocoa.

When asked what it means by Fitzgerald, the trainer simply replied: "Everything."

Jim McGrath just pointing out that Hand Of God has entries in two early closing handicaps, he could end up being quite well in even under a penalty if taking his chance at either Newmarket or York.

A word from the jockey: "King's Gambit was very unlucky in the Hampton Court. That was down to circumstance but everything went right for us today. He's a very talented horse. I believe this is Harry's first Royal Ascot winner, he's had two seconds, so I'm delighted for him and delighted that we could get some compensation.

"I loved everything he did. He gets into a lovely rhythm. We were draw in stall 17 so it's wasn't an easy task. It's fantastic. He's a horse who's fast improving."

Sky Bet make Hand Of God 6/1 from 10s for the John Smith's Cup at York, the second of those early closers.

Harry Charlton: "He didn’t have a great trip again, but he had a clear run at least time and he picked up very quick from the three to the one, and William said he almost got there too soon. It was hard to plan, actually - the complexion of the race changed so mcuh with the reserves, and we were originally drawn 17 of 19, and actually it’s come down to being 10 of 12, so it wasn’t as bad as it looked when we first drew it. The plan was to try to sit mid-div and not to be three off the rail, and I think he was further back than mid-div and three off the rail at some time, so it wasn’t perfect, but he picked up great.

“Obviously Mohammed Jaber has had a tough week, watching King’s Gambit, and we all thought we were a bit unlucky that day, so for him to get a winner is so important. I think he’s still a 10-furlong horse; he’s got a great mind and is good physically. He’s not done much wrong and I guess he’s probably due a step up in class. He works with King’s Gambit, so we were all quite confident, and Kikkuli was another positive.”

Golden Gates Stakes

1727: The London Gold Cup was considered for Hand Of God but the owner and trainer had another horse for the Newbury handicap called King's Gambit so Hand Of God went to Sandown instead where he won. His stablemate also won his race and was one of the best backed horses of the week when an unlucky second in the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes.

Trainer Harry Charlton has been knocking on the door having sent out Kikkuli to finish second in the Jersey today ("We’re delighted with him. Oisin said it was a bit of a head up, head down - he rode him to follow Haatem and Doyler on a miler started stretching two down, and Oisin said he’s run great. It’s a shame to be second twice, but we won’t take anything away from the horse, he’s run great against a hardened Group One horse who’s had a lot more experience than him.") could probably use a change of luck.

King's Gambit was rated 107 going into the Hampton Court and won the LGC off 93. Hand Of God went up 3lbs for Sandown and is 'only' 91. There's a fair bit of conjecture here but if it really was an either / or for connections and they hold them in similar regard there could be a huge upside to Hand Of God.

That hasn't been missed and at 5/2 and with William Buick drawn out at 17 I think we can afford to let him go unbacked even if the jockey is keen to make amends for missing out on the other one.

So where do we go instead?

I was sweet on Portsmouth at Epsom but he was too keen and I'm in no rush to go in again for fear of the same and I settled on a stablemate who I've just seen is a non-runner, back to the drawing board!

Ben Linfoot is with Palace Green more usefully. I'm intrigued by Miletus who was taken out of the Britannia, presumably once they knew they were in this race. Stepping up in trip on quicker ground he has plenty to prove but connections have booked James Doyle and are having a good day. Approval is quite well backed and could provide Haggas and Marquand with a quickfire double but I'll join the non-runners on the sidelines and cheer on whatever you've backed. Good luck.


1st Hand Of God 9/4 favourite
2nd Cambridge 17/2
3rd Black Run 16/1


1709: "She is the most gorgeous filly she really is. From what we know, which isn't very much, we thought the ground was too fast and we thought she had the worst draw in the race," said Maureen Haggas.

"We only ran her because Mrs Thompson (owner) wanted to have a runner because she's got all the family here. It's been a frustrating week. This is such a lovely, kind generous filly so for her to win this race is great."

It's a funny old game.

I don't know what you make of that. Someone fancied her as she was returned at 12/1, even if it wasn't Mr and Mrs Haggas.

Lethal Levi ran a blinder from the front because I think everything else came from a way back. Orazio was almost last and had to take the 'Fairy Godmother path' to the line but absolutely flew but at least confirmed his last run to be all wrong. It looked for all the world as though Dark Trooper was going to be another Wathnan success story when he burst through while back in fifth Glenfinnan ran a big race, securing some each-way returns for Value Bet and followers.

Tom Marquand may just have been the coolest man on the course.

"To be honest, I never really had a moment of worry," he said.

"Drawn 1 looked one of the most horrible draws of the lot. I saw that the first eight in the betting were drawn high and you think, well it's not a write off until it's a write off but it's as near as.

"I said on the way out, this is one of my favourite fillies in training. She's just gorgeous. She obviously went on a good run last year, she won a few. "She's just fantastic. She's Cheveley Park's as well, which is great. She's a sweetheart as well as being very talented. That was a very well deserved win."

Wokingham Stakes

1645: Rare scenes for me this week with one of the best bets going in at Newmarket; now, if Harry Three can only go and win the Wokingham that should give me the boost to get through to the end of the Queen Alexandra.

One man who won't need a pick-me-up is Doyle who is on four winners for the week and having a great time but sparing a thought for others: "There is a select few lads in the week that are happy and there are a lot of unhappy lads in the weighing room. There have been some great stories this week. There was plenty of pressure coming into this week to perform. It's no secret about the money that's been invested by Wathnan so it's great that we've got some results on the board through the week."

Some of that money has been spent on Dark Trooper who is a very short price to give Doyle winner number five and he is popular with the boys at Betfair as you can hear above. He won four on the spin for Ed Walker before a decent sixth in a Group 3 here in October and was then sold to Wathnan and joined Alain de Mieulle. He's been backed as though he is the group horse in a handicap and we saw one of those the other day in English Oak in the same colours, incidentally trained by Walker.

Sean Levey and Hannon have had a good week and they team up with Mums Tipple, a close fourth last year and 4lbs lower this time around; he was the best on looks in the paddock according to ITV Racing. Saint Lawrence won that renewal but was friendless in the market this morning; he's also been ghosted by Hollie Doyle who rides Albasheer instead and told her blog on ATR: "My best chance of a winner on the final day is enigmatic sprinter Albasheer.

"Archie Watson’s speedball was in red hot form on the All-Weather over the winter, winning twice at Newcastle, but can exploit an 8lb lower rating on turf. He’s no stranger to big summer handicaps, however, dead-hearting with Summerghand in a valuable race at York’s Ebor Festival last August and then finishing fourth in the Ayr Gold Cup."

Lethal Levi and Rumstar were first and second at Newbury but one's 9/1 and the other 33s. Burke seemed hopeful of a big run from Levi. I've a soft spot for Rumstar but doubt he's got enough in hand off 104 to be winning this but Johnny Portman tells ITV they've had this race in mind for a while and he's looking forward to it. I don't mind (too much) being wrong.

We're about to find out.


1st Unequal Love 12/1
2nd Dark Trooper 4/1 favourite
3rd Orazio 16/1
4th Lethal Levi 28/1
5th Glenfinnan 22/1
6th Vafortino 28/1

Haatem (near side) narrowly wins the Jersey Stakes
Haatem (near side) narrowly wins the Jersey Stakes


1629: That is close.

A thoroughly deserved success for Haatem who has gone down on his sword in both Guineas and he was pushed much harder here than looked likely when he burst clear. He could have been excused for thinking he'd done enough with the runners to his right failing to match strides but three challengers came from further back on the stands' side, including Kikkuli, a brother to Frankel, and he had to pull out all the stops to see them off. What a warrior.

Richard Brown of Blandford Bloodstock has been buying the horses for Wathnan Racing and Haatem was picked up after the Curragh; he looks to be very pleased with the performance. And no doubt a little relieved. Also very pleased is James Doyle who has had a good week for his new retainer.

"I've never had a horse get so much love from a lot of people, he deserved that, his day in the sun," says Hannon.

"There are some lovely races out there for him, there are races in Australia and......It was a bit of a risk coming back to seven although, in fairness, between Jamie Spencer and James Doyle they said it wouldn't be a problem. It gets a bit boring these jockeys being right all the time."

Hannon didn't mention the Sussex Stakes but he has been cut to 7/1 (from 12s) for the Glorious Goodwood highlight by Betfair, Paddy Power and Sky Bet.

I couldn't see any excuse for River Tiber who travelled quite close to the winner and close to Never So Brave on whose quarters he finished in eighth. The winning distance was only a neck with a length back to the third; the time was 1m 26.85s.

It seems ages ago know but Bedtime Story won the Chesham over the same C&D in a time of 1m 27.01s.

Doyle: "I had no idea if we'd won, I had my head down. Oisin asked me if I'd got back up so that kind of showed me that he had an idea. What a horse. He's an absolute warrior he is. It wasn't his ideal set-up today, we've come up with a plan and it worked. If he had got beat he would have been robbed because he responded well. Oisin quite smartly challenged away from me and he did spot him late on and he responded well. What a horse. Jamie Spencer said to me that he quickened really smartly in Ireland so I wasn't surprised by the way he picked up. We were trying to put a square peg in a round hole today but because he's such a versatile horse it worked."

Jersey Stakes

1605: The Hills stable hadn't been in the best form so that's a huge confidence boost for them and I wonder if that will give Saffie Osborne a boost ahead of her ride on Orazio in the Wokingham? Orazio hasn't quite lived up to market expectations but he's been relatively ignored today and his last run is easy to forgive.

Osborne has a big ride before the big handicap as she partners Never So Brave in this race for Sir Michael Stoute. A veteran of four starts and the winner of a Chester handicap last time, this is some step up in grade and it would be a little surprising but not beyond the realms if he proves up to it.

This may be a Group 3 but with the second from the Newmarket and Curragh Guineas in the field and the third from the latter race, who also won last year's Coventry, it has more than a little Group 1 colour to it.

The proverbial buses are busy as Hills has just sent out a winner at Newmarket too.

Back to the Jersey and a fascinating puzzle as Haatem, who had race fitness on his side in Ireland, has to concede 3lbs to River Tiber and the market is expecting the weight and expected physical progress to be enough for the Ballydoyle runner to reverse the form but Haatem is an admirably tough nut to crack.

Market mover Pearls And Rubies has run well on the two occasions she's encountered quick ground and her juvenile form has been well advertised this week. Task Force was fancied for the Guineas in places (and is selected again on these pages) while Mountain Bear, Night Raider and Eben Shaddad also ran in that Classic or equivalents. In short, it promises to be a cracker.

Richard Fahey has won this race with Ribchester and Space Traveller and is represented by Native American about whom he told us: "He has to step up on what he’s shown so far to win a Jersey but the last race will have done him the world of good. I’m happy that seven furlongs is his trip, especially the stiff seven here, that will really suit him."

They are heading to post with River Tiber 6/4. Haatem 4/1 and 8s bar. I like the big two and I think it could be forecast time.


1st Haatem 7/2
2nd Kikkuli 14/1
3rd Chicago Critic 80/1

Khaadem wins again at Royal Ascot
Khaadem wins again at Royal Ascot


1549: There are more tears on the racetrack at Ascot - and in the office where Matt is celebrating another Value Bet winner - with one young lad quite overcome with emotion, I don't know if he's a young Hills or.....but it's all too much.

It wasn't too much for Murphy who came in for the spare ride when Jamie Spencer plumped for Mitbaahy but last year's winner travelled like a dream in behind them before quickening past with his stablemate some way out of his ground and only able to make modest late gains.

Jim McGrath and Jamie Lynch were speculating that the pace wouldn't be as strong this year as last and perhaps those closer to the fore were advantaged. For those with standard times and the like at their fingertips the winning time was 1m 12.25s with half a length, 1 1/4l and 1l the margins.

Believing was fourth and Vadream, who played up in the paddock, running a huge race in fifth.

Murphy on Khaadem: "What an amazing horse. I think he's eight years of age, back-to-back wins in the race, incredible training performance from Charlie Hills and his team. Wonderful. I thought for the majority of the last two furlongs he would win and I was able to enjoy it a little bit.

"There was a lot of speed on, particularly after a furlong. When it began to slow down late on he came alive. I just wanted to copy Jamie Spencer from last year!"

Hills: "What a horse, to win two of these races, plus a Palace House, Stewards' Cup, King George at Goodwood, he's a very good horse. He got a fantastic ride there, off the pace, he never looked like he was going to get beat, travelled beautifully. He loves this track. I think it's pretty much the first time he's had his ground since he ran here last time. I think fast ground is key to him.

"He had a lovely pitch, they went a good strong pace in front and he just travels for fun. He's such a versatile horse. He was making the running over five furlongs two years ago. We thought we'd ride him differently today, drop him in and it seems to have suited him really well."

Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes

1523: I don't think I'll enjoy another race as much today as I did the Hardwicke, I'm a softy at heart and it's great to see that emotion and how much it means. Happy days.

There are some happy days around the corner for whoever wins the Group 1 feature and I'm rather hoping it's Mill Stream. Partly nostalgia based with some fond memories of those famous silks and getting on the back of the odd touch but also because I've taken a shine to the horse and he's 'trending in the right direction' having won at York last time.

Whether he's a bet at 9/2 is another ball game with these sprints being so open. Boughey spoke with some confidence about Believing earlier and she has been well supported while Washington Force, Khaadem and Mitbaahy have all been tipped on these pages; it's that sort of race.

So where are we going to go?

Hmm. Burke made a reasonable case for Swingalong outrunning her odds (see previous posts) while Shartash and The Wizard Of Eye are both unbeaten for their current trainers and, therefore, open to more progress in theory. I might just have to stick with sentiment and Mill Stream but hopefully you've already formed a more stringent case of your own.

The last two years have produced shock results with 80/1 and 33/1 SPs but fancied runners did well prior to that and seem more than likely to collect with the outsiders hard to fancy.

Stewart Williams trains one of them in Quinault and explains his reasoning for running here saying they are rated 102 and he probably needs 10lbs in hand to win the Wokingham and if he's an 112 horse then he should be running in this race.

Mitbaahy's claims are more obvious after he beat Regional last time. Regional, of course, was second to Asfoora on Tuesday, finishing half a length and a short-head in front of Believing. Drawing straight lines like that doesn't work but Charlie Hills' runner is twice the price of Believing. They are loading.


1st Khaadem 14/1
2nd Swingalong 14/1
3rd Mill Stream 9/2


1509: Blowout!

But not the biggest surprise with all that connections had to say about Continuous. Middle Earth was more disappointing with Murphy scrubbing along at the top of the straight to no great effect, he did stay on but quite slowly. Continuous looked to be travelling great to my eye and he stayed on fine into fifth without 'being given an unduly hard time'.

But let's celebrate Isle Of Jura, George Scott and Callum Shepherd and, of course, Dave who spoke to Sky this morning about the apple of his eye and who did give him a chance.

There are emotional scenes on ITV with a tearful Shepherd choking back the tears as he speaks to Persad. Jockey off Ambiente Friendly ahead of the Derby by the owners (which is part and parcel of the game), this win clearly meant so very much to him and it really is fabulous to see. There are hugs all round after he's out of the saddle with Isle Of Jura looking pretty frisky in the winner's enclosure where there's a broad, broad grin and a clenched fist to camera from Shepherd.

Great stuff, it warms the heart.

The winning time was 2.32.19 and the margins 3 3/4 lengths and 3/4 length.

Scott is talking about his friendship with Shepherd and tells ITV they deliberately took him away to Lingfield on Derby Day so that he wasn't exposed to all the hoopla. It's no wonder this win means such a lot to all involved.

The winner was a Godolphin cast-off after one run but it's fair to say he's come of age now, just like his jockey and his trainer.

Betfair make Isle Of Jura 8/1 from 50s for the King George back at Ascot and 25/1 from 66/1 for the Eclipse at Sandown.

Graffard on Goliath: "We came here because we wanted to avoid the French style of racing, with no pace, and unfortunately today they decided to do a little bit of the same. My horse was a bit too keen through the race; he’s difficult to manage, but not too bad today. I walked the course and there was a good cover of grass and I thought it was safe ground for him, but he’s probably better with a bit of cut. He has to settle in his races to be able to stay and to produce a good turn of foot, but we are very pleased with the run - he’s a very nice horse and we beat some very nice horses, too. He’s entered in the King George, but we’ll see what the weather forecast is. I don’t know - it’s a long journey and a tough race, but why not?”

If Goliath ends up back at Ascot in the King George he will be catching up with Isle Of Jura again, all being well.

Scott on Isle Of Jura: “He is a special horse. He has improved all the time and has been a pleasure to train. He has just kept improving physically – he is the most ginormous horse, beautiful mover, a lot of hard work has gone into him at home. It was a moment I will never forget, everything stopped for a minute and I could enjoy the last half-furlong. Most best-laid plans go to pot, but this has been a long-term plan. This was an obvious race for him. We knew Goodwood would bring him on, and it has. We knew he would get the ground, and he has. It was a scintillating performance, so we shall enjoy it.

“All roads to the King George, 100%.

“Callum gave him a perfect ride. He sat nice and tight to a slow pace. He was in pole position and able to make use of his position, kick nice and early and put the race to bed. It was a perfect ride.”

Hardwicke Stakes

1445: O'Brien and Moore have a leading fancy in the Hardwicke Stakes too but Continuous does represent a conundrum. He's working well and ready to do himself justice but he is expected to come on for the run and Fitzgerald says 'there is something to work on, there is no doubt'.

He could still be good enough though.

Middle Earth is rated one of Oisin Murphy's best chances of the week and may just be a rapidly progressive individual. He is rated 115 to Continuous' 120 but if he's moving forwards and Continuous isn't quite ready to run to that mark then there's not a lot between them and in contrast to Bedtime Story, Continuous has been easy to back. They are 7/4 and 9/4 on my screen at present.

Candleford was backed down from 20s this morning and is a C&D winner while Tom Marquand felt that Desert Hero's Newbury run was readily excused (came too soon) and he's another with the C&D marker. Missed The Cut is used to racing over here but struts his stuff in the US of A nowadays although he did see some familiar faces when splitting Silver Knott and Bold Act last time.

The French have enjoyed a pretty decent week at Royal Ascot and their winner yesterday was mightily impressive and Francis-Henri Graffard will be hoping for more of the same from Goliath. Could Goliath topple, er Goliath?

The ground will be the fastest that he's encountered and, sweeping statement alert, he has that German suffix which so often suggests a soft ground performer but he's progressive and was only four and a bit lengths behind Horizon Dore four runs ago. The slow tempo was against him when ridden by William Buick last time and he could get a test that will show him in a better light here.

I think he's one of the more interesting runners against the big two.

Almost set.


1st Isle Of Jura 16/1
2nd Goliath 18/1
3rd Middle Earth 9/4

Bedtime Story is almost 10 lengths clear at the line
Bedtime Story is almost 10 lengths clear at the line


1436: Bedtime Story has won by a NH type distance. Those margins were NINE AND A HALF LENGTHS and half a length. The time was 1m 27.01s and there will be some fascinating analysis of the speed figures on site next week.

Given both she and Fairy Godmother were well backed, it makes you wonder how good they thought Whistlejacket was given the money for him. He may yet show us what he'd been showing at home.

Betfair Sportsbook have made Bedtime Story their 3/1 favourite for the QIPCO 1000 Guineas with Fairy Godmother their 9/2 second favourite. It's going to be fun seeing what those fillies can do next.

"Very good filly," Moore tells Rishi Persad. Not only a master jockey but a master of understatement.

More reaction will slot in here as it comes through but you can also head to our Royal Ascot review for the full lowdown and the replays.

More from Moore: "She travelled very easy, they've gone too slow for her really. I had room at the three so we started going forward and the race was over very quickly. Obviously, she's a level above all of them.

When asked about comparisons with Fairy Godmother, he added:

"It's a hard one. They haven't really been asked to do too much at home. We don't know a whole lot about them, we don't know what they've beaten yet but they are two very exciting fillies. A performance like that, you don't see normally."

And second home Tom Marquand is counting that as a winner.

“I think we can probably count ourselves the winner of one race, and Ryan was the winner of the other! He’s obviously run massive and bumped into an extremely good horse.”

Derrick Smith: "I asked Ryan if she was as good as she looked and he said 'absolutely'. You can't get better than that. They don't win like that here. I'm speechless really."

Chesham Stakes

1415: Those in the carriages in the Royal Procession have alighted and it's almost time to get this show on the road.

The 'big two' are represented by Bedtime Story and Age Of Gold and I couldn't have the latter given the week that Charlie Appleby has had.

Diamond Rain was more D:Rain than D:Ream, Notable Speech was awful and the juveniles no more than okay. There may well be valid reasons for all of their performances but it's hardly encouraging no matter how useful Age Of Gold looked at Yarmouth and there's clearly confidence there with Boughey giving him a big shout earlier.

(Appleby has saddled a winner at Newmarket in Ancient Truth, a two-year-old who is now two from two)

It wasn't a shout, more of a barely audible whisper but I did hear that Mr Chaplin would run well in the Coventry; he didn't and nor was he backed as though better was expected. However, if you take it at face value that Mr Chaplin was expected to perform creditably then it might stand to reason that Defence Missile ran quite well when second to him at Newbury.

Obviously that bare form leaves him with plenty to find but, like them all, he is open to improvement. There are only three horses in single figures which is fairly remarkable; I think Motawahij was single figures earlier but he's out to 12s now. Some have run well at big prices in the other juvenile races and you wouldn't be any great surprise to see one of the outsiders in the mix.

They're trying to hurry things along in the paddock. I think the carriages were a little behind time and there's a rush to get this race off on time. They're on the way down and Fitzgerald reports Motawahij was 'getting a bit of run on Clifford Lee', hopefully he can settle him down.

Loading underway a little past post time but they've done a fine job all week at getting everything off more or less to time.


1st Bedtime Story 11/8 favourite
2nd Pentle Bay 5/1
3rd Brian 28/1

Fashionable winner

1359: Royal Ascot is not just about the racing with the fashion stakes (although not the Height of Fashion Stakes) playing a prominent role.

It's certainly part of the fun and I find it a mildly diverting sidetrack - particularly when everything is losing - and I hope you've enjoyed the segments on ITV Racing. As someone who was once told 'I've thrown away better clothes than the ones you're wearing', I have, and will, avoid commenting.

There may be some reasonable fashionable sires in the Chesham Stakes but they won't be that precocious as the race is restricted to progeny of sires who won over at least 10 furlongs.

The favourite is trained by Aidan O'Brien who has just been collared by Mick Fitzgerald as he was overseeing the saddling of Bedtime Story.

"She works very good, she works like a very high-class group filly but whether she knows enough or not....She went to Leopardstown and we were thinking that she might run and come on and we were afraid she didn't know enough but she obviously won.

"All her half speed work is very good, hopefully she knows enough and we think she's a very high class filly."

"He had a few hold ups, a few little things, he had two pieces (of work) away, so he will probably will come forward for the run, it is his first of the year.

"We are very happy with his work and he's a lovely horse. He's lovely and we think he's going to be lovely at everything from a mile and a half up and hopefully he's gong to run a nice race."

"Delighted with his first run, we're very happy with him since. We had three choices of races to come here and we picked the Jersey because he can go back to the July Cup or up to the Sussex.

"We were trying to split them all up but everything is well, everyone is happy with him and we think he's come forward from the Curragh."

Sing when you're winning

1335: There is singing at the bandstand every day after racing at Royal Ascot I believe - as Graham Cunningham clearly enjoys - whether you have won or lost.

The Sky Sports Racing preview team have provided some winners this week with their team tips and here are today's selections:

Josh Apiafi: Hand Of God (540) & Run For Oscar (615)

Jamie Lynch: Haatem (425) & Glenfinnan (505)

Zoey Bird: Harry Three (505) & Postileo (615)

Gina Bryce: Middle Earth (305) & Task Force (425)

Seb Sanders: Continuous (305), River Tiber (425) & Harry Three (505)

Glenfinnan was also advised by Matt 'Value Bet' Brocklebank at 40/1.

Daydream believer

1309: It's been a pretty good week for George Boughey and he's hoping that it will get better yet. He runs two today with Believing out for the second time and Pentle Bay running in the opener.

"She's a pretty remarkable filly. When she won the Chelmer Stakes it was only five or six days after running so well in the Nell Gwyn and she bounced out of the race, I had to send her up Warren Hill yesterday morning she was in such good form and Holly, who rides her every day, is a huge part behind her. She knows her inside out and she watched her on the CCTV getting fed at about 0430 this morning, she was straight into her grub and trotted up sound before we left. I think the six will show her in a better light, she'll be able to travel that bit easier early doors and I'm really pleased with her. Looking forward to today.

"I think it's a pretty similar race, they're not vintage renewals of either but there's some pretty strong form. The York form is going to be pretty key I would imagine, possibly soft ground form in there. She wants rattling fast ground. I came back with my tail well and truly between my legs coming back from Hong Kong when it rained; we've got everything in place today and hopefully she turns up."

"It has always been the plan and Jamie gave him a brilliant ride. He's a pretty talented horse I think, he's done so well in a short space of time to get here and I think he's a live each-way chance. He's drawn next to Charlie's who I think is a strong fancy in the race."

'Charlie' is Mr Appleby of course and he had this to say about the aforementioned Age Of Gold:

"Aidan's filly is the one we've all got to beat. He's a smaller individual than Pinatubo and lighter framed but this horse is a very good moving horse, he's well related and has done nothing wrong. He deserves to be here and I feel he's a big player."

It's not been a great week for Appleby so far but he felt the ground was to blame for Diamond Rain's run yesterday and she will be put away until the autumn.

Back to Boughey who also had a word for his jockey Billy Loughnane, describing the teenager as 'the complete package'. His father sent him to Boughey saying 'I think the boy rides all right, see how he goes'.

The boy's done alright.

Boughey will also be cheering on former stablemate Missed The Cut in the Hardwicke in whom he still owns a small share.

Incidentally, his half-brother South Pole has joined Boughey from Aidan O'Brien's yard and has a couple of entries this week at Salisbury and Hamilton.

Under the radar

1246: Karl Burke has reflected on his week and looked ahead to today with Bird on Sky.

"It's been fantastic, two great results and third in the Britannia as well but there's been a few disappointments along the way.

"Leovanni was very professional, great mind especially for a breeze-up filly, they can have a tough time preparing them for the breeze-ups. She's taken everything in her stride. Shareholder is a beautiful animal and came with a big reputation, hadn't had him very long before his debut and he did everything wrong but came out of it really well and took a big step forward which he showed here on Thursday. I think he's a little bit special but she's obviously very quick and talented."

"He's by American Pharoah who obviously got this sort of trip really well. He's out of quite a fast family, he travels strongly and I think he'll take a big step forwards from his debut second at Hamilton, beaten by a nice horse of Richard Fahey's. I like him a lot and I think if he relaxes early and gets a bit of cover, he'll come home strong. He's a talented horse and we'll see how good he is today."

"I think she's going in under the radar. She was fourth here last year in the Commonwealth against the colts, she was fourth here on Champions Day, she loves the track, fast ground won't be an issue to her and she's in great shape. She's come on a lot for her first run, I probably didn't have her as fit as I should have first time up, she's stepped forward in a good way from that and we'll make plenty of use of her. She's got a big long stride and she stays the trip well."

"The trip should be spot on. The Guineas was a bit of a disaster, everything went wrong. I'm concerned about stall 1, he's a horse that needs a bit of cover so Danny is going to have to be on his A-game to get that but he's a talented horse. He's got a lot to prove now and needs to run well today. He's also a little bit edgy in the stalls so I've got to have a word with the starters and hopefully he won't be in too long."

"He's a great horse, one of the yard's favourites, and has been around us for a while now. Ran a fantastic race at Newbury with the first time blinkers on. Sometimes he can be slow away and if he does that today I think it will be game over but he hit the gates really strong at Newbury and I think if he does that and gets away he'll run a big race."

Prince of Wales's Stakes: Royal Ascot Memories

Mullins only third

1225: It's not often you can rule Willie Mullins out of winning any contest but he's guaranteed to come back in third today as that's the carriage he's in before racing.

1st Carriage: The King; The Queen; HH Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani; The Lady Charles Spencer-Churchill

2nd Carriage: The Earl De La Warr; The Countess De La Warr; Mr. Wafic Saïd; Mrs. John Harrington

3rd Carriage: Mr. Willie Mullins; Mrs. Willie Mullins; Mr. Jamie Snowden; Mrs. Jamie Snowden

4th Carriage: Sir Michael Stevens; Lady Stevens; Mr. Dominic Spencer-Churchill; Mrs. Dominic Spencer Churchill

In the actual racing he might have hoped for more than the one winner as he's had a few chances but he'll probably be content enough and without a runner today, he can put his feet up and enjoy the company and the action.

Seeing Wafic Saïd's name on the carriage list brings back memories of his brilliant mare Bosra Sham who was brilliantly handled by Sir Henry Cecil. Take a quick nostalgia dive into some Royal Ascot memories with the video above.

Eavesy does it

1217: It was a good Friday for Tom Eaves with that performance from Inisherin and he seemed in relaxed mood today, nothing like a big winner to ease those nerves.

"You try and run the race through your head going into the race and it all went quite smooth and he was impressive. He just backed up what he did at Haydock and he's very talented and he's got a very good mind to go with it. The race went to plan and I'm very pleased.

"Washington Heights is coming here off the back of two good runs and I'm delighted the rain has stayed away. He's got plenty of speed, he's quite a simple race and we'll see how we go. It looks a wide open race and he comes here in good form, we're looking forward to it."

Washington Heights goes in the Jubilee and the winner of that race is more than likely to go for the July Cup at Newmarket which is, of course, the intended target for Inisherin. I wonder who Eaves will ride if they both head there? Hmm

Moore the merrier

1203: The Retraining Of Racehorses charity will be cheering on Ryan Moore today as Ascot are donating £5,000 for every winner he rides at the meeting as part of their community and charity programme and he has another strong book of rides but it hasn't all gone his way this week.

Moore kicks off with Bedtime Story in the Chesham, a race Aidan O'Brien has won on six occasions, including with a filly. She was the stable second string on debut but won tidily and is quite strong in the market at 13/8.

Easier to back is Continuous in the Hardwicke Stakes and he featured among the market drifters. Clear on ratings and a Group 1 winner without a penalty in a Group 2 he's the one to beat but this is his first run of the season and although he may be ready to start off, it wouldn't be surprising if his team had still left something to work on with a long campaign ahead.

The Betfair Ambassador did say as much in his column on their site, commenting 'it is his first run back and that is definitely something to bear in mind as he takes on race-fit, in-form rivals'.

He teams up with Wizard Of Eye for Charlie Fellowes in the Jubilee Stakes; he has plenty to find but made a great start for his new yard when winning the Victoria Cup over seven furlongs.

River Tiber has more obvious claims and is priced accordingly in the Jersey; he receives 3lbs from Haatem and doesn't have too much to find on their running in the Irish 2000 Guineas.

It's market mover Harry Three for Clive Cox in the Wokingham before he signs off with the quirky (perhaps) Old Faithful in the Golden Gates.

Power packed

1140: Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield has been in touch with a betting update.

“The two at the front of the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee market, Believing and Mill Stream, both have plenty of supporters and we’re currently unable to separate them at 4/1," he reports.

"But punters really are steaming into the former after George Boughey’s winner at the Royal extravaganza yesterday and they clearly believe that the extra furlong today will assist her in going closer than her fourth in the King Charles III on Tuesday.”

230 Bedtime Story 6/4 from 13/8

305 Missed The Cut 11/1 from 12/1

345 Believing 4/1 from 13/2; Mill Stream 4/1 from 9/2; Shouldvebeenaring 10/1 from 12/1

425 River Tiber 5/4 from 6/4

505 Dark Trooper 9/2 from 13/2

540 Approval 6/1 from 15/2

He's a monster

1124: Is it telling that when I hear the words Isle Of Jura I think of a single malt?

It's probably a little early in the day to start on the whisky (in case the editor is reading) although Zoey Bird is interviewing a happy group of young people with pints in front of them; it could be non-alcoholic lager of course.

Earlier she went down to the stables and spoke to Dave who rides Isle Of Jura every day. George Scott's four-year-old is on something of a roll and takes another step up in class in the Hardwicke Stakes.

"He's very well. Excited to be here. He had a very successful spell in Bahrain and you never really know quite how that form holds up over here but he certainly backed it up at Goodwood in a Listed race and we're quietly confident of a good run today.

"The way the weather has been over here......we were praying for some good weather so we'd have good, fast ground here which we have so everything is really in his favour today and we're looking forward to it.

"He's very, very athletic for a horse of his size, he's just shy of 17 hands. He's very much a monster and to ride he's just an absolute gentleman, he's brilliant and I'm very lucky to be a part of it.

"He's special to me and I hope he can prove to the public that he's very special too."

Royal Ascot takeaway

1106: "I really, really love eating Chinese food in the car."

Those weren't words I expected to hear or a subject I ever expected to discuss - and we did - but they did crop up in the same conversation.

Just like racing, it's a game of opinions.

Fish and chips by the beach sure. So often it's raining on Albion's coastline and the car is the only sensible place to eat them before the batter gets even soggier but it had never crossed my mind to chew on a chow mein in the motor.

Digressions aside, there is no shortage of opinions on our pages and if you're reading this, I'm sure you know where to find them all without any pointing.

I'll throw in some nonsense of my own and try to bring you a range of views from elsewhere too in the hope of unearthing a winner or seven (yeah!).

Movers and drifters

1053: The bods on the telly have kindly put up the early movers and drifters and they are:

Movers Drifters

Motawhahij (230) 12/1 > 8/1 Pentle Bay 5/1 < 15/2

Candleford (305) 20/1 > 11/1 Continuous 13/8 < 2/1

Mitbaahy (345) 11/2 < 13/2

Pearls And Rubies (425) 50/1 > 14/1 Eben Shaddad 14/1 < 18/1

Harry Three (505) 16/1 > 8/1 [bah humbug] Saint Lawrence 10/1 < 25/1

Run For Oscar (615) 6/1 > 11/4

There's a story there with Pearls And Rubies, not a very good or interesting one, but I was talking to a friend last night and he was keen on her chance (he likes an outsider) and told me to look at her record on quick ground which is a decent two runs on good to firm and two second places.

Those two runs saw her post her highest figures and include a second to Porta Fortuna in the Cheveley Park Stakes, form boosted twice yesterday by the winner and by Soprano in the Sandringham. The other run came on this day last year when she went down by a head in the Chesham.

I was going to steal his work and put her up as an interesting 50/1 shot but that horse has well and truly bolted.

Royal Ascot Saturday tips!

Lara out without scoring

1045: Good morning, are you still feeling bright and breezy?

We're all set for another fine day's racing and, atypically, the weather is playing ball and Chris Stickels, who has just spoken to Sky, is looking quite relaxed, if a little tired. Four or five hours sleep a night this week apparently. I know some can and do but I am not one of their number.

There are a few non-runners and a couple of notable ones unfortunately with neither Kinross nor Primo Lara taking part. I see Trueshan, predictably, and Aleezdancer are also absent.

It says dry overnight on the below going update but Stickels did say they had had a few spots but it was barely enough to register on the rain gauge so qualified as none.

The going for day five of Royal Ascot, Saturday 22nd June, is Good to Firm.

GoingStick readings at 8am:

Stands’ side: 8.6

Centre: 8.8

Far side: 8.5

Round: 7.7


Straight Course: centre

Round Course: inside


Dry overnight. 1.4mm rain recorded over the past 7 days. Today is forecast to be generally dry with sunny spells, a light shower is possible.


Watered Straight Course with 4mm and Round Course with 3mm after racing on Friday.

More Royal Ascot previews, tips & features

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