All eyes are on Ascot this Saturday as the King George VI Stakes provides a fantastic Group 1 contest, headlined by superstar Mare Enable bidding to repeat her 2017 success. Fresh from victory in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown, this relentless John Gosden five-year-old takes on Sir Michael Stoute’s Crystal Ocean in a tantalising clash. I’m lucky enough to be attending the Berkshire track on Saturday, and can’t wait to see Enable once more. Elsewhere we also have good action up at York, where Ante-Post selection Regal Reality lines up in the Group 2 York Stakes. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @JakePriceRacing for live updates throughout the day, and to ensure that you don’t miss any selections going forward. Good luck with your bets and enjoy the Flat Racing!
14:25 Ascot – Porsche Handicap (Class 2) 3yo – 1m
Motakhayyel won a similar event to this on July Cup Day at Newmarket fourteen days ago and re-opposes with the second placed Flashcard here. Considering there is a 6lbs swing in the weights for a two-and-a-quarter length defeat, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the form reversed – but Wings Of Time could be an even bigger threat. This Charlie Appleby Gelding ran over the same course and distance as the aforementioned pair at the Newmarket July Festival, contesting a 3yo+ Handicap. Despite racing alone for most of the contest and drifting further toward the stands rail over a furlong out, James Doyle was still able to galvanise this Godolphin horse and clinch victory by a neck. Whilst the bare form of beating an 85 rated horse might not suggest he would be up to winning a contest like this, the time recorded was 2.09 seconds faster than the three-year-old Handicap won by Motakhayyel (both contests ran on good-to-firm). Considering the time recorded was noticeably faster despite Wings Of Time drifting across the track suggests he is useful, and the way he stayed on so strongly suggests a stiff finishing track such as Ascot will be right up his street. The rest of his form also looks useful having beaten Reggae Runner (85) in a Maiden at Wolves in February (his first start after a Gelding operation), before finishing second to Cadre Du Noir when trying to give him 6lbs in a Novice Stakes at Newmarket just last month. With this only being his fifth start on a racecourse, Wings Of Time could yet find more improvement from a mark of 96 – especially as he is a full-brother to Group 3 winner Local Time.
Wings Of Time @ 7/2
14:40 York – Sky Bet Dash Handicap (Class 2) 3yo+ 0-105 – 6f
Whilst the majority of my attention this week has been on Ascot, Gulliver looks worth a play up at York. Daniel Tudhope is in flying form in his quest to become Champion Jockey, and David O’Meara has given him an excellent chance of bagging another victory here. All-weather performances such as when second to Kachy and Island Of Life last season leap out of the form book, but recently Gulliver has shown he can be just as effective on turf. Third behind Hyperfocus (91) in a Class 3 Handicap at Ripon last month, Gulliver again shaped well at Windsor twelve days later when finishing three-quarters of a length fourth in an extremely tight finish – despite carrying top weight 10-0. This five-year-old Gelding finally got his head in-front over today’s course and distance 28 days ago in another big field Class 2 Handicap, convincingly beating Growl by one-and-a-half lengths. A 5lbs rise looks very fair considering the winning margin, especially as this horse was rated 107 in March 2018. Down to a mark of 100 now, we can take comfort in that our selection has won off 101 in the past – showing he is very fairly handicapped. His record at York is another plus, with form figures reading 31001. A further positive is that the opposition Gulliver faces doesn’t look remarkable; Camacho Chief has never won over 6f, Staxton would prefer slower conditions, and a lot of the rest are out of form. Growl and Golden Apollo are interesting considering they did run well behind our selection last month at York and are now better off at the weights, however both have been well beaten in runs since. Stall 7 shouldn’t cause any issues for Gulliver, so I am hopeful Daniel Tudhope will be adding another win to his tally.
Gulliver Each/Way @ 8/1
15:00 Ascot – Moet & Chandon International Heritage Handicap (Class 2) 3yo+ – 7f
With the International Stakes looking as competitive as ever, I think I’ve found one at a massive price worth an each/way play. David O’Meara will hopefully have already won the 6f sprint at York by this point and can aim to quickly follow up with 40/1 chance Summerghand. Unlucky not to have visited the winner’s enclosure so far this season, this five-year-old Gelding always runs well in defeat. Second behind Flavius Titus (99) on seasonal reappearance at Newmarket’s Craven meeting, Summerghand was unlucky to be defeated by a neck – not getting a clear run through the field but very much doing his best work in the final furlong. The pair re-opposed over the same course and distance in May where the form was reversed, however Summerghand yet again found himself finishing second – this time behind the extremely impressive Godolphin owned horse On The Warpath (110). Having had no luck before bumping into a potential Group horse, connections decided to let Summerghand take his chance in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot in June. Again running a fantastic race, David O’Meara’s horse finished fifth behind the useful Cape Byron (113), who has since ran in the Group 1 July Cup. Summerghand ran on extremely well that day to once more do his best work in the final furlong, and the form has worked out very well since. The second Tis Marvellous (111) won a Class 2 Handicap at Ascot earlier this month, the fourth Raucous (104) won a Class 2 Claiming Handicap at Yarmouth, the seventh Perfection (101) finished second in a Group 3 at Fairyhouse, and the eighth Lake Volta (102) finished second in the Scottish Stewards Cup at Hamilton. Perhaps most importantly to our selection here is that the third Danzeno (105) has since won a Class 2 Conditions race at Haydock – where Summerghand was last seen on the track finishing third. Again shaping well from his held up position, this Son of Lope De Vega once more stayed on strongly to be an ever closer one-and-a-quarter lengths behind the Michael Appleby horse come the finish. Although Summerghand has never ran further than 6f before, the way he has shaped in each start this season suggests that an extra-furlong will really suit. His performance at Royal Ascot is a bonus as it shows that he handles the track, and I am willing to take the chance he can see out 7f here at such a big price.
Summerghand Each/Way @ 40/1
15:15 York – Sky Bet York Stakes (Group 2) 3yo+ – 1m2½f
I made Regal Reality an Ante-Post selection on Monday almost as soon as the Market went up, with the race sponsors originally going 7/2 about this Sir Michael Stoute horse. As stablemate Sangarius is not running, the path looks clear for our selection to record a second victory this season. Clearly this talented Colt has his quirks, but the form of his three starts this season read very well. Third on his seasonal reappearance in the Group 2 Bet365 Mile in April behind the late Beat The Bank (Group 2 Summer Mile winner since), Regal Reality produced a great effort when stepped up in trip to 1m2f for the first time a month later. Contesting the Group 3 Brigadier Gerald Stakes, Ryan Moore was given a rough time in the preliminaries by this four-year-old who arrived at the post five minutes after the rest. Despite his antics, Regal Reality relished the extra two-furlongs to beat Matterhorn (115) by three-and-three-quarter lengths. The last time we saw this likeable Cheveley Park Stud Colt was in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse, coming up against super-star Mare Enable. The mountain faced was made steeper before the race had even started as Regal Reality led Kerrin McEvoy the wrong way to post, meaning he cantered the full 1m2f trip before racing had begun – but this didn’t stop him running a cracker. Held up in the last trio, Kerrin McEvoy made progress with two-furlongs to run before asking his mount for an effort, eventually staying on for third – two lengths behind Magical (123) and a further three-quarters of a length to Enable (125). Considering you can upgrade his performance due to his antics pre-race just highlights how good a run this was, and a repeat here should see him land this Group 2 prize at York. He obviously won’t be an easy ride to post for Richard Kingscote, but he has slowly got better with each start this season.
Regal Reality Ante-Post @ 7/2
15:40 Ascot – King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes (Group 1) 3yo+ – 1m4f
There aren’t many things left that can be said about Enable, but the very fact that I am attending King George Day at Ascot just to see her again speaks volumes. A horse with the power to attract punters and fans to the racecourse is simply an amazing thing. I clearly will not be backing against this super-star Mare, as she just wins. I am however also looking forward to seeing Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck, the very tough Defoe, and of course Crystal Ocean once more. As I’ve said before, racing needs superstars, and it doesn’t get much bigger than Enable paired with Frankie Dettori on the Flat!
Enable (No Bet)
16:15 Ascot – Wooldridge Group Pat Eddery Stakes (Listed Race) 2yo – 7f
Away from the ITV Racing action on Saturday, Sun Power looks the pick of these two-year-old Colts in what is seemingly a decent Listed event. Despite being sent off favourite on his debut at York in May, this King Power Racing Colt could only finish fifth behind Bomb Proof. That has turned out to be a fairly hot Novice Stakes with the likes of Monoski (95) and Summer Sands (96) also in the race, so Sun Power really had no room to be slowly into stride like he was that day. This Richard Hannon horse clearly learnt a lot from his debut however, making a trip to Wolverhampton worthwhile when comfortably beating Homespin by two-lengths under regular rider Silvestre De Sousa. With two runs under his belt, connections stepped Sun Power up in class for his next start to contest the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot. Despite racing fairly keenly in the opening stages when anchored out in the rear, Richard Hannon’s Juvenile made headway around the half-way stage before eventually staying on for a credible fourth. Whilst that doesn’t sound particularly impressive, the winner that day was Pinatubo (110), who broke a track record in defeating the promising Lope Y Fernandez by three-and-a-quarter lengths. These Juveniles look to be some of the best we’ve seen in the UK so far this season, so the fact that our selection ran well behind them clearly highlights his ability. With seemingly nothing as good as that pair in this race, I’m hopeful that Sun Power can put his best foot forward today, especially with vital course experience under his belt. Silvestre De Sousa is riding up at York on Saturday so Oisin Murphy takes over the reigns – similarly to how he picked up a spare ride on Mystery Power when winning the Group 2 Superlative Stakes earlier this month.
Sun Power @ 4/1
Good luck! – Jake Price