In a shakeup of the running order at Ascot for this year’s Royal meeting, we’ve ended up with not only the ultra-competitive Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes Handicap on Friday but also now the Sandringham and it’s the fillies’ mile race we start with, naming five against the field and a potentially well priced up winner:
Sandringham Stakes (1m Fillies’ Handicap, 5.00 Ascot)
Aidan O’Brien is known for his globetrotting Group 1 runners more than handicappers, however in Broadway he may well have a filly who can land Coolmore a not insignificant pot and another valuable Royal Ascot winner.
Not lacking speed despite being a Galileo, she won a Naas maiden in easy fashion and having taken four runs to get off the mark she has been rather overlooked by many for this. It must be remembered though that she has run a close-up third in a Group 3 and off a mark of 99 could be fairly well handicapped under Donnacha O’Brien.
A speedy enough daughter of Oasis Dream, Ralph Beckett’s entrant may appreciate this drop in trip down to a mile and if so could be very well-in having beaten Sea Of Class over a mile in the spring on her second racecourse start, that horse now a dual Listed winner rated 107 and sure to go into Group company.
She’s rated 90 and could be a handicap blot, though this is very competitive and it’s not certain that she’s been drawn on the right side of the track.
Sir Michael Stoute is right back to his best results-wise and his filly here is going for the hat-trick, although the drop in trip may not play entirely to her strengths. Josie Gordon rides; place chance.
Won a soft ground maiden last time, though her victory was in spite of the ground and not because of it so I’d expect plenty of improvement on this better ground on what is only her fourth racecourse start.
Had she been out this season already and drawn more centrally I’d be all over this one. Stepping up from 7 furlongs to a mile is a positive but on seasonal debut she may find this tough. She may need another two furlongs in time and will definitely contest group races, though there are perhaps just too many “maybes” for today.
Godolphin’s Poetic Charm and the potentially very well handicapped Ceilidh’s Dream are obvious sorts if everything falls right, however it’s hard to get away from the chances of the improving BROADWAY for the O’Brien yard and she gets the nod.
Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (1m4f Handicap, 5.35 Ascot)
Eve Johnson Houghton and Charlie Bishop started this meeting off in the very best possible way on Tuesday and they’re in with a chance once again. A course and distance winner last time out in May, Count Calabash has been laid out since then for this race and has every chance in a competitive field.
Possibly a little overpriced, Marco Botti’s runner isn’t bred for this trip but he’s improved fairly steadily and was a good second at York last time out.
Dash Of Spice
Silvestre De Sousa was seen at his best on Thursday in the Britannia Stakes and he must fancy his chances of riding another winner on David Elsworth’s colt who romped home at Epsom last time and who comes here the very strong fancy of many to double up.
Behind stable mate Walton Street in Dubai in the spring as the pair finished 1-2 at Meydan with both put away in readiness for an attack on Ascot. This one ran on well that day and is 3lbs better off now making it hard to pick between them.
Having beaten Eynhallow in Dubai you would expect Charlie Appleby to keep faith in this one, however he carries Godolphin’s second colours in fact though retains a great chance being that we have not gotten to the bottom of him.
Eynhallow carries the first colours of the boys in blue, but having handed a couple of lengths beating to him and with more improvement to come I’d expect Walton Street to once again win their private battle, though both may struggle being this fresh to contain Epsom winner DASH OF SPICE who is in fine form and has more to give.