Simon Holt Royal Ascot day two preview and tips

Our intrepid columnist Simon Holt takes two against the field in the Royal Hunt Cup amid five tips for day two of Royal Ascot.

Recommended bets: Simon Holt


2pts win Jack Hobbs in 4.20 Ascot at 3/1

1pt win Le Brivido in 2.30 Ascot at 7/2

1pt win Usherette in 3.40 Ascot at 9/2

1pt win Banksea in 5.00 Ascot at best morning price

0.5pts each-way Early Morning in 5.00 Ascot at best morning price

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Jack Hobbs, back to his best when winning the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan in March, can again take the beating in the Group One Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot on Wednesday.

After a fine three-year-old campaign which produced a five-length victory in the Irish Derby after chasing home stable-companion Golden Horn in the Derby at Epsom, John Gosden's 2016 season began badly when he fractured his pelvis first time out and, in the circumstances, he ran a fine race (given plenty to do) behind Almanzor and Found on a belated reappearance over the course and distance in the Champion Stakes last October.

Fitted with blinkers and ridden more prominently than before in Dubai, Jack Hobbs cruised into the lead two furlongs out and won in tremendous style from Seventh Heaven and Postponed on ground described as yielding.

It's possible that a mile and a quarter on a faster surface might not be quite so suitable, but under a similar ride he has the class to prove too good for main rivals Highland Reel and Ulysses.

While effective at this trip, there can be little doubt that Highland Reel, recent winner of the Coronation Cup at Epsom, is probably better suited by a mile and a half and one would imagine that the usual positive tactics will be deployed again. On the other hand, a strong gallop would almost certainly suit the selection too.

Aidan O'Brien's five-year-old is a great stable servant and, while he ran well to chase home Postponed in the Juddmonte International at York last season, he achieved more when second to stable-mate Found in the Arc and when slipping the field in the Breeders Cup Turf, both over a mile and a half, later in the campaign.

And, at this meeting last year, connections opted to run Highland Reel in the Hardwicke Stakes (1m4f) in which he just failed to hold off Dartmouth.

Despite being quite stoutly bred by Galileo out of the Oaks winner Light Shift, Ulysses could be better suited by this distance as he didn't seem to get home when fourth in the Breeders Cup Turf and then made a fluent winning seasonal debut over a mile and a quarter in the Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown.

That was only a Group Three but Sir Michael Stoute's colt has long been held in high regard and, while this requires a step forward, he could be about to blossom this summer.

Jebel Hatta and Tattersalls Gold Cup winner Decorated Knight is probably the other possibility though those two Group One wins were not as strong as this race.

The day begins with the Group Three Jersey Stakes and, in a hot renewal, the French colt LE BRIVIDO boasts arguably the strongest form.

Andre Fabre's charge went down narrowly to subsequent Prix Du Jockey Club winner Brametot in the French Guineas and it could be hugely significant that third-placed Rivet was fully three lengths further back with the fourth another six lengths behind.

On a line through Churchill, there is little between Rivet and Josephine Gordon's mount Dream Castle who finished fifth behind Aidan O'Brien's dual classic winner in the 2000 Guineas so Le Brivido seems to have an edge.

Smart filly Daban ran exceptionally well to take third behind Winter and Rhododendron in the 1000 Guineas but has to carry a 3lb penalty for her earlier success in the Nell Gwyn Stakes.

In the Group Two Duke Of Cambridge Stakes, USHERETTE is taken to repeat last year's comfortable win (from the re-opposing Furia Cruzada) and strike another blow for France at the likely expense of her compatriot Qemah who took the Coronation Stakes at this meeting 12 months ago.

Both fillies lack a recent victory but Usherette has come back well after a lay-off to finish third in two Group races against colts and will find it easier racing against her own sex. Her trainer Andre Fabre is bound to have targeted this race again.

Qemah's defeat at the hands of Mix And Mingle at Lingfield last month was something of a surprise though the seven furlong trip that day probably suited the winner better.

After winning here last year, Jean-Claude Rouget's filly followed up in the Group One Prix Rothschild at Deauville before proving a little disappointing in third behind Alice Springs in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown. This is a bit of a recovery mission.

The progressive, upped-in-class Laugh Aloud, high class ex-South African mare Smart Call (winner of the J & B Met in January, 2016) and last year's Argentinian 1000 Guineas winner Greta G add to an exciting line-up.

Finally, your intrepid columnist loves to have a crack at the Royal Hunt Cup and BANKSEA, who did us a good turn when winning the Newbury Spring Cup in April, could be poised to follow up.

That form looks decent with both the second and third, Another Touch and Fastnet Tempest, winning since and they now meet the selection (who went up only 4lb) on considerably worse terms.

The still lightly-raced Banksea finished a good second on his only previous visit to Ascot and should find this stiff, strongly-run mile very much to his liking.

If you are seeking an each-way possibility, then Early Morning could be the one. Harry Dunlop's likeable, often front-running, grey was beaten just over three lengths when eighth to Portage in this race last year and later confirmed his liking for the course with a victory in August at the Shergar Cup meeting and then a game second to Aclaim who proved very progressive subsequently.

Posted 1230 BST on 20/06/2017


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