KARL Burke knows a good horse when he sees one. Although his stable star Quiet Reflection is missing from Royal Ascot this week, he has a great chance of notching a winner for the north at the Berkshire track. HAVANA GREY has won two out of three and goes in the Norfolk Stakes on Thursday. Like most juvenile races at Royal Ascot, it is a fiercely competitive affair, but Burke is confident that we haven’t seen the best of Havana Grey.
The juvenile won the National Stakes at Sandown beating a small but select field. His rivals couldn’t lay a glove on the grey flier but Burke thinks there is even more to come and has been talking up his turn of foot. Cardsharp, also trained in Yorkshire by Mark Johnston, should run a solid race and is strong each-way value. But Havana Grey is taken to land the opening race on Thursday, which is day three of the royal meeting. Here is a race-by-race guide to all Thursday’s races.
2.30 Havana Grey (Norfolk Stakes): See above.
3.05 Mirage Dancer (Hampton Court Stakes): Epsom Derby fifth Benbatl is the form horse here but he may struggle to let himself down on the fast ground. Mirage Dancer made a huge impression both in the parade ring and on the track when staying on late to be fourth in the Dee Stakes at Chester. This strapping son of Frankel was only three lengths behind Cliffs Of Moher who went on to be second in the Derby.
3.40 Alluringly (Ribblesdale Stakes): The Epsom Oaks third is a very good filly and has the best form in the race. Mori is progressive and there are other unexposed fillies lurking in the pack but Alluringly has been unlucky to come up against Enable twice.
4.20 Simple Verse (Ascot Gold Cup): Order Of St George should win if he shows his form but he can run the odd stinker. Simple Verse offers strong each-way value as she oozes class and will relish the 2m 4f trip.
5.00 Keyser Soze (Britannia Handicap): Richard Spencer and Stevie Donohoe had a brilliant success with Rajasinghe in the Coventry Stakes on Tuesday and this highly progressive three year old has a good chance of giving them a double at the meeting. He was very impressive last time.
5.35 Weekender (King George V Handicap): John Gosden’s lightly-raced three-year-old creeps into this race at the botttom of the weights and looks dangerously well handicapped. On closer inspection this race is not as competitive as it might look on paper although the scopey Atty Persse is an obvious danger.