2017 Royal Ascot Thursday tips: Havana Grey is white hot

Havana Grey

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.

3 thoughts on “2017 Royal Ascot Thursday tips: Havana Grey is white hot”

  1. Graham Oliver says:

    Hi Jason,

    Ah well, a new dawn, a new day.

    No winners, but I was chuffed that Harbour Law finished third in the Gold Cup at 33/1. Not a bad each way tip.

    Right, on to Friday. Best advice, obviously, is not to put any money on anything that I recommend.

    Here goes:
    2.30 Albany Stakes Alpha Centauri
    3.05 King Edward V11 Stakes Permian (Call To Mind ew)
    3.40 Commonwealth Cup Caravaggio
    4.20 Coronation Stakes Winter
    5.00 Queen’s Vase Wisconsin
    5.35 Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes Oasis Fantasy ew

    Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


    1. Graham Oliver says:

      Royal Ascot last day.

      Great, I finally managed a winner, well three actually. Permian was a good price at 6/1. Winter not so good at 4/9 (who else knew?)and Caravaggio tipped by nearly all.

      Saturday’s racing is fantastic, but I suspect winners will be even harder to come by. However the following should give a favourable account of themselves.

      2.30 Chesham Stakes September looks a good thing. Brilliant breeding by Deep Impact X Peeping Fawn, and a five length winner of her only start. Will probably start odds on.

      3.40 Hardwicke Stakes. I hope and would love to see Dartmouth repeat last years win for Her Majesty. However I have a feeling that both Idaho and Wings Of Desire may prove quicker on this ground. I will be delighted to be proved wrong.

      4.20 Diamond Jubilee Stakes. Very difficult. I have no particular fancy, but Martyn Meade’s Aclaim at 33/1 might be worth a little each way. Jamie Spencer rides.

      5.35 Queen Alexandra Stakes. The Getting Out Stakes! Although he was runner up in last years Derby, US Army Ranger is not the horse that Coolmore hoped he would be. In truth the 2016 Derby was a very average affair, even though the winner, Harzand, annexed the Irish version on his next start.

      Trying US Army Ranger over two miles five might give him a chance to excel over a distance that he has not been over before. Victory would turn him into a possible cup horse. There are now five Group One two miles plus staying races in England and France, six if you count the Irish St Leger.

      The two French ones in particular are generally not contested by top class animals, so US Army Ranger might have a career as a Coolmore National Hunt stallion if he could win two or three of these over the next couple of years.

      Tomorrow’s finale is not a one horse race though. In fact he probably will not start favourite. That honour will go to Thomas Hobson, six length winner of the Ascot Stakes on Tuesday. He is now to be ridden by Martin Harley, as Moore will be fulfilling his obligation to ride Ranger for Ballydoyle.

      It should be a really good last race of the meeting. I have no fancy for any runner in either of the other two handicap races. Just watch and enjoy!


  2. Graham Oliver says:

    Hi Jason,

    Another great card on Thursday, especially the Gold Cup.

    Despite the constant media carping about the race being an old fashioned aboration, racegoers love it, and so do I. Indeed one of the greatest races of the last century was when the Joe Mercer ridden Le Moss led from start to finish, on his first start of the season, and held off Ardross in a titanic struggle all the way up the straight to win the 1979 Gold Cup. The same result was repeated when the pair met again in the Goodwood and Doncaster Cups.

    Ardross then went on to win the next two Gold Cups, on both occasions ridden by Lester Piggott. Lester’s last win on Ardross brought his personal Gold Cup tally to eleven, a record.

    I wonder if this years renewal might concern three St Leger winners. Order Of St George won the Irish version in 2015, and Simple Verse won at Doncaster the same month. I agree with you that Simple Verse may triumph today, but she may be shaken up by last years St Leger winner Harbour Law, if he is back to near his best. He has had just one run since, when finishing last in the Sagaro Stakes here last month. That run was too bad to be true, and he represents decent each way value at 25/1. Summing up, Simple Verse to win from Harbour Law and Order Of St George.

    I hate to give you bad luck by also agreeing with you about Alluringly in the Ribblesdale. Mori and Coronet may follow her home.

    I think Prix du Jockey Club fourth Taj Mahal will win the Hampton Court Stakes from your selection, Mirage Dancer, and Orderofthegarter.

    In the opening Norfolk Stakes my unadventurous choice is Wesley Ward’s American trained favourite McErin, ridden by David Flores, who has flown over for this one ride. Flores has ridden over three thousand winners in his career including three at the Breeders Cup.

    In the two three year old handicaps, I take Graham Lee to win the Britannia Stakes on Hyde Park (22/1) for John Gosden, and Ryan Moore to triumph in the final King George V Stakes on Homesman (12/1) for Aidan and ‘The Lads’.

    Well, that’s the idea anyway. Good luck with your selections Jason!

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