A hugely competitive sprint handicap as always but one that can still hand us a good betting proposition, this time in the shape of a hugely exciting John Gosden colt:
Blue De Vega
There has always been a thought that there will be plenty of improvement come from this horse, eked out by masterful sprint trainer Robert Cowell and although we haven’t seen too much evidence of it so far the step up in trip to six furlongs in a fast run race could be the making of him.
He was underwhelming at both Epsom and Haydock most recently when sitting out the back but was much better in his opening race of the year when kept up with the pace, something I think Oisin Murphy will be keen to do this time and it’s a tactic which could earn him a valuable place.
Make no mistake; the performance this one put in on debut back in 2016 marked him out as a genuine Group 1 horse of the future and but for an injury setback my feeling is that by now we would have already seen him at that level.
Making his belated return for just third start over course and distance in May, he made a mockery of decent opposition and still holds some fancy entries and may well be aimed at the July Cup at Newmarket at the highest level.
He is a short price going into this race but it’s easy to see why and in a race understandably full of sons of Oasis Dream it’s obvious that he is the best of them.
George Scott’s four-your-old is well fancied going into this having taken a decent seven furlong handicap at York latest and it’s not thought that the drop to six will inconvenience him.
His best form has been on quicker ground and he is an obvious improver so we have not seen the best of him yet, Eddie Greatrex’s job will be to ensure he gets into a good early position ready to strike late on.
Made all to win a good handicap at Newbury last month before being put away for this, he is a gelding still getting better despite his relatively high mileage having run fully 28 times already and he won’t be easy to pass if still in with a winning chance going into the final furlong and a half.
Eve Johnson Houghton’s team are in terrific form going into this race and so on the basis that we can expect this horse’s best run to date, a top six finish is far from off the agenda.
The Ryan Moore factor will mean this horse not being as big a price as he should be, but that is not to suggest that he doesn’t have a solid enough chance for the Richard Hannon yard considering we are talking about a horse who was a close up third to Brando in a Group 1 last year.
He hasn’t shown anything like that level of form since of course but he has slipped down the weights having not run well when taken to Dubai in the spring and so he may well have a few pounds in hand this time.
American star Wesley Ward knows how to train Royal Ascot winners and in fact this horse won the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes back in 2015.
The fact that he is now in a handicap rather than in that race is testament to his regression unfortunately, however a mark of 103 reflects that and he may yet have a say in the finish.
Another four-year-old with improvement still to come, Victory Angel ran rather well on his seasonal reappearance at Newmarket in finishing fourth to Gifted Master and that form entitles him to a fair chance in this race.
He was readied first time up in 2017 and was sent off favourite at HQ to win before disappointing somewhat and the thought may have been this time around to go with a steadier approach, so I’d expect that he wasn’t fully wound up last time and can be significantly better today.
Many in with chances here though Gilgamesh and Victory Angel are two I’d want on my side if I were a bookmaker, however the one I’d run from completely is DREAMFIELD who despite not being a great price quite rightly comes into the race with a massive reputation and can take this on the way into Group 1 reckoning.