1pt win Novemba in 4.20 Ascot at 10/1 (General)
1pt win Riknnah in 5.00 Ascot at 25/1 (Paddy Power)
1pt win Mirann in 5.35 Ascot at 12/1 (General)
1pt win Desert Gulf in 6.10 Ascot at 33/1 (bet365)
The cat is out of the bag with Eve Lodge, who had halved in price (from a best 28/1) prior to trainer Charlie Fellowes taking her out of Wednesday’s Queen Mary on account of the very lively ground.
With Clive Cox’s Get Ahead – who had beaten Eve Lodge a length and a half on their respective debuts here last month – running a fine race in sixth in the Queen Mary, we have a mini-form boost to work off too, but I can’t quite recommend her at the shorter prices now, despite the Albany Stakes being a Group Three and the longer trip on softer ground (rain forecast) also looking positive factors.
A similar ‘thanks, but no thanks’ approach to the King Edward VII Stakes where I was hoping Title might be a shade bigger in the betting as he has a stone and more to find with a few of these after winning a Yarmouth maiden.
It looks a statement of intent to run him here rather than in Wednesday’s big, mile and a half handicap given his mark of 92 and it’s not hard to see the ambitious move paying off.
The returning Fivethousandtoone – arguably able to lay claim to being the best sprinter sired by Frankel so far – might be the one if easing a bit more to 20/1 and beyond, but it’s quite hard to oppose unbeaten Suesa with conditions evidently coming in her favour too.
I’ll have to rely on antepost play Diligent Harry who looks about as exciting as anything in here but you’ve got to respect Adam Kirby’s decision in sticking with stablemate Supremacy, who has been off the track since his comeback flop in the course and distance trial and now goes with blinkers.
In the Coronation, the bet has to be NOVEMBA at double-figure prices.
She’s something of an unknown quantity in these parts but it’s obviously pretty significant that her German connections have opted to travel amid the current situation and trainer Peter Schiergen tends not to send no-hopers to the UK.
He enjoyed his biggest moment in Britain with Danedream winning the 2012 King George here and if you go back to 2000 he sent out the Prince of Wales’s Stakes runner-up Sumitas, who was a 66/1 chance behind Dubai Millennium.
Novemba should arguably be among the favourites in this, not only due to being top-rated on Timeform figures following a breathtaking, seven and a half-length German 1000 Guineas success, but also due to the fact she’ll love any easing of the ground.
On top of that, David Egan won’t be needing any riding instructions as she blasted out and made all on home soil (good to soft) last month and his near-permanent smile must have broadened when he saw they’d been handed stall one.
Everything looks in place for Schiergen’s filly, including a potential class edge over most of the field, and I’d happily back her at anything north of 6/1.
The first handicap of the day is the Sandringham Stakes where the eye is drawn to Hayley Turner, who has won the last two editions. This year she rides Richard Spencer’s Professional Widow and the grey looked to opener her account a shade cosily on handicap debut at Nottingham last month.
A 3lb rise could definitely underestimate her but preference is for another lurker near the foot of the weights – Simon and Ed Crisford’s RIKNNAH, who was a highly promising fourth under a prominent ride on debut when Professional Widow filled the runner-up spot (having third start) at Newmarket on April 14.
Riknnah is bred to be really smart being a half-sister to Red Mist, who did well for the same stable a couple of years ago, and Feedyah (Charlie Appleby), who has an eyecatching profile having won over a mile on the round course at Ascot in 2013 before being beaten less than two lengths when sixth off a mark of 96 in the following year’s Sandringham.
A daughter of Shamardal, Riknnah sneaks into her first handicap with a rating of just 82 on the back of a Wolverhampton maiden win and a neck victory under a penalty in a Lingfield novice event.
Despite the narrow verdict last time, she had loads in hand, coming really wide into the home straight and clearly pricking her ears once hitting the front under Mark Crehan.
She’s getting back on a straight track, stepping up to a mile for the first time since the debut and is 1lb better off with Professional Widow on these terms. She also has the assistance of Silvestre De Sousa for the first time and a forward ride up the stands’ side from stall 26 could be in the office.
I’m more inclined to look nearer the top of the weights in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes as we’ve had some classy winners of this mile and a half handicap over the years.
MIRANN could be the one having looked the best horse in the race by a fair margin when ultimately second in a premier handicap at the Curragh last month. That was his first run following a short break and he just got trapped down on the inside when the action began to unfold, Ben Coen only able to really go for him when it was too late.
The way he powered home over the 10-furlong trip there strongly suggested a move back up in distance would prove beneficial and that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given he was second to Lynwood Gold over a mile and three-quarters on his second start for Johnny Murtagh last summer.
He runs off 102 here, the same mark as when third (extended 10 furlongs) at Dundalk in August and the son of Motivator smacks of a horse who will continue to improve with age.
Another seriously tough race to close the card but DESERT GULF is worth a small interest under Hollie Doyle in the Palace Of Holyroodhouse Stakes.
His trainer William Knight – back to form lately with a couple of winners in the past fortnight - pulled off a surprise win with Progressive Rating in a valuable, three-year-old sprint handicap at Newmarket last season and this horse looks to have been aimed at something similar, running two nice races on the all-weather in the springtime.
The striking aspect to both runs is that the son of Kodiac looks to be getting quicker as he matures, running a big race before not getting home over seven furlongs at Wolverhampton.
Last time at Lingfield there was a change of tactics as Callum Shepherd tried to hold him up last back at six furlongs but he again raced with the choke out as they dawdled through the early stages. Despite that, he flew home late to be beaten under two lengths without Shepherd even resorting to the stick.
The third Mitrosonfire, another ridden towards the rear in the Lingfield race, has emerged to win two turf handicaps at Pontefract and Ripon since, while fifth home Tenaya Canyon has subsequently won over five furlongs at Haydock off the same mark.
So the switch to turf and first crack at the minimum trip looks a fascinating move with Desert Gulf, who wasn’t too far behind Significantly on debut last season and is 12lb better off with Karl Burke’s relatively well-fancied horse here.
Published at 1500 BST on 17/06/21