Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Royal Ascot 2012 - Thursday is Ladies' Day

The highlight on Ladies' Day is the Gold Cup (3.45), one of my favourite races at this meeting, run over two and a half miles.

The formidable Yeats, trained by Aidan O'Brien, won four consecutive renewals (2006-09) before Dermot Weld's Rite Of Passage sprang a surprise at odds of 20/1 in 2010. Normal service was resumed last year when Coolmore's Fame And Glory landed some sizeable bets beating Opinion Poll three lengths (with Askar Tau a further five and a half lengths away fifth). The form is in the book and the layers aren't taking any chances this time with Fame And Glory (rated 120) odds-on in most places at the time of writing - Blue Square stand out offering 11/10.

Several see Jamie Spencer's mount banker material but others are more cautious, arguing this year's race is more competitive. I'm in the latter camp and was disappointed to see Donald McCain's Overturn, second in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, omitted from the final declarations - he would have ensured a strong gallop from the off. On official ratings Opinion Poll (116), Colour Vision (117) and Saddler's Rock (114) are within striking range of the favourite - under the conditions of the race the last two named also receive two pounds from Fame And Glory. Colour Vision didn't look guaranteed to stay another two furlongs when third in the Cesarewitch last autumn so I'm going to chance Saddler's Rock against the favourite (9/2 in most places). For those possessing an adventurous disposition, I wouldn't put anyone off considering Askar Tau each-way (50/1 BetVictor); this one was in the mix last year and only beaten out of a place in the final furlong.

To a certain extent the Ribblesdale (3.05) looks like a re-run of the Epsom Oaks with six electing to do battle once again. Of course, there's no guarantee they'll finish in the same order, especially as this year's renewal looked a pretty rough affair throwing up any number of hard luck stories. The troubles of the The Fugue have been well documented  - the Weekender's Topspeed columnist Dave Edwards informs us that hand-held split timings show The Fugue came up the Epsom straight faster than Derby winner Camelot the following day. The question is can the fillies in question reproduce similar efforts three weeks on... Kailani was one of those badly hampered in the Oaks; this filly should appreciate the easier ground and at 12/1 she strikes me as reasonable each-way value.

Finally, I won't have a bet in the Norfolk (2.30) but Mick Channon's Cay Verde looks the one to beat.


GeeDee said...

In a thrilling finish to the Gold Cup, Ascot specialist Dettori got Colour Vision (6/1) home a half length in front of Opinion Poll (5/1) with selection Saddler's Rock (9/2) a neck away third. 4/5 favourite Fame And Glory never looked comfortable and failed to run his race, eventuaally coming home a well-beaten seventh.

GeeDee said...

Princess Highway (17/2) beat 5/2 favourite The Fugue in the Ribblesdale; selection Kailani (13/2) couldn't go with them from three out, finishing seventh. Several beat Cay Verde (11/4f) home in the Norfolk, Reckless Abandon (4/1) claiming the spoils despite conceding plenty of ground by drifting to the stand rail in the closing stages.