AS sporting weeks go, they don’t get much bigger than this. The World Cup continues to thrill but a wonderful side dish is provided by Royal Ascot 2014. Five wonderful days of racing, supplemented by the usual dose of tradition and heritage that resonate not just with racing purists but the nation as a whole, start tomorrow. Finding Royal Ascot winners won’t be easy, especially in the big-field handicaps. But here are five horses who will, hopefully, pay their way…
MIND OF MADNESS (Windsor Castle Stakes, Tuesday): David Brown’s juvenile could not have been more impressive when winning on his Newmarket debut. He followed up by running Adaay close at Yarmouth over 6f, which was no disgrace as that horse is a leading contender for the Coventry Stakes tomorrow. In fact, if Adaay runs a big race, then Mind Of Madness will probably see his price contract. Mind Of Madness gave the impression that 6f was stretching his stamina that day and he reverts to 5f in this speed contest. If Jamie Spencer can get him relaxed and well positioned then he has the turn of foot to go very close.
LIKELY (Albany Stakes, Friday): Another Qatar Racing two year old who made an almighty impression when cruising home on her debut at Carlisle. David Barron trains this one and Jamie Spencer will again be in the saddle. Al Fareej’s mum won this race many moons ago and she could outrun her odds under Kieren Fallon.
BROWN PANTHER (Ascot Gold Cup, Thursday): Michael Owen’s stayer has shown definite improvement this year in winning his two races with real authority. He looks better value at around 10/1 than Leading Light and Estimate, although they are both well respected. Soft ground-loving Tac De Boistron is another for the each-way shortlist although connections will rue the fact the race is not earlier in the week as the ground is likely to dry out as the week goes on.
SNOW SKY (King Edward V11 Stakes, Friday): Snow Sky missed the Epsom Derby and that could be a blessing as far as this race is concerned. He won the Lingfield Trial with authority and will be coming into this race fresh. Adelaide could be interesting if he runs while the Derby also-rans such as Western Hymn may struggle after a hard race at Epsom.
TELESCOPE (Hardwicke Stakes, Saturday): On the bare ratings, Telescope has it all to do if Trading Leather and Ruler Of The World turn up. But he should get his preferred fast ground and correct trip for the first time since the Voltiguer at York last August and could offer some value.