The last race on day two is a new event; a hugely competitive handicap over a mile and three-quarters.
There are several in the line-up with the sort of profiles that always make public gambles possible, so strong money for a number of different runners would be no surprise, though these six are the most solid according to our knowledge and they make up the Copper Horse Handicap shortlist.
Strictly on the numbers, this horse must have as good a chance as any in the line-up. A season of improvement last year ended with him being favourite for a race over this course and distance in which he was a fine third in on soft ground.
Having been brought along slowly by Sir Michael Stoute in typical fashion, as well as now having been gelded, the money would be this one taking another significant step forward now. However, for whatever reason he’s been moved across to David Simcock’s yard and with the greatest of respect that doesn’t appear to be a positive so enthusiasm is tempered just a bit.
Keith Dalgleish has sent a fine team to Ascot and this is another with a big shout in a valuable handicap. Alright Sunshine, a five-year-old gelding, has done well on soft ground at Haydock and won over two miles at Ayr so should be staying on right to the line here.
He’s moving up the ranks very steadily and has race fitness on his side, though his handicap mark of 105 being enough to hold him up at this stage is a real possibility.
Hugo Palmer’s five-year-old is very well-bred, by Frankel out of a Daylami mare and he’s always looked as though these race conditions will suit him best.
His four turf wins (from 10) have all come on softer ground and his latest all-weather win (2 from 3) was over this trip, giving the impression there is still more to come at staying distances. Ryan Moore rides and he’ll get the best out of him, though with a 5lb penalty he is not guaranteed to be too far ahead of the assessor.
Roger Varian’s runner has a great profile for a race of this nature. A mature six-year-old yet with low mileage, Fujaira Prince handles softer going and shapes as though he really needs this trip to show off his best form.
He is trained and ridden by two of the best and so there is a lot in his favour on paper, the only slight negative being that we have to second guess whether or not he’s hit more problems recently having not run for a year.
Trusting the trainer as we do though and taking a glass half-full mentality, it seems a new career high is on the way and that would make him perhaps the best handicapped horse in this race.
Improving four-year-olds are almost always favoured in races of this nature and there’s no doubt Andrew Balding’s runner will attract his share of cash in the betting market.
Already a confirmed stayer having won over 1¾ miles on soft ground at Haydock, as well as having been sent off favourite for the Cesarewitch, Ranch Hand has been highly tried by the yard but could still be weighted well enough to land a blow.
Appearing to hold as strong a chance as stablemate Ranch Hand, Shailene is bound to be a bigger price and therefore represents some good each-way value in the race.
The mount of Silvestre De Sousa, the five-year-old is race fit and is having a belated second go at this distance after running very well in third at Glorious Goodwood last year, these easier conditions appearing to give him a chance to better that position.
Collide simply has to be bang there although perversely he’ll need a defeat or two soon enough if he is to be well handicapped enough to tackle big races later in the season, while Almania could be the best of these assuming there’s no real negative connotation to him having switched yards from one of the best in the business.
All things considered, and maintaining a willingness to take a slight leap of faith on wellbeing, the one with the talent to significantly outweigh his handicap mark is Roger Varian’s FUJAIRA PRINCE and so he is backed to provide Sheikh Mohammed Obaid with another high-profile win.