Steve Hughes previews Day Four of Royal Ascot
Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore kicked into gear on Thursday and I expect them to have another good day on Friday. We finished off strongly on Thursday with Baghdad winning (9/1) and First Eleven placed for the each-way bet (advised 13/2)
Ascot 3.40: Equilateral & Sioux Nation
A huge field for the Commonwealth Cup although it does not look as classy as last year’s stellar renewal won by Caravaggio. I have two selections here.
Equilateral has put in two exceptional looking performances in weak races, sandwiching a poor run at York (where there was an excuse). An 8l win on quick ground at Doncaster marks him down as a potential group 1 performer, even though he beat nothing of note. Charlie Hills has had a batch of top sprinters through his hands in recent years and this could be another one.
However marginal preference would be for Sioux Nation, not least because he has a middle draw so should be in the heart of the action. He has won his last four races on good ground or quicker, including in the Norfolk Stakes last year. I also like his racing style which tends to be from off the pace, which is a big asset on this stiff, straight track.
Ascot 4.20: Clemmie
It is not often a horse has a warm up race in a classic, but Clemmie effectively had that in the Irish 1000 Guineas having endured a delayed preparation for the race.
It was notable how easy her jockey was on the day, the horse having not been able to race in a trail due to a small injury. Aidan O’Brien’s horses usually come on a great deal for their first run. Clemmie was top class over 6f last season, landing a Group 1 at Newmarket plus a Group 2 & 3.
However being a full sister to last year’s 2000 Guineas winner Churchill she will surely be better again at this mile trip. An inside draw on this round course will be a help and I am sure she will leave her form from the Curragh way behind.
Ascot 5.35: Appeared & Eynhallow
Not much of a weight difference between top and bottom and with plenty of pace expected I am picking two horses likely to come from off the pace.
Appeared has an excellent record fresh having won first time out in 2016 and 2017 and presumably it has been the plan to bring him to the Royal meeting this year without a run. He has been a regular visitor to Ascot and was a 4l winner on his seasonal debut in 2017. He then went on to finish second in this race twelve months ago and although his form dipped after that, his profile suggests he needs time between races, something he has got here.
Eynhallow is a horse right at the top of my horses to follow for 2018 and makes his first appearance in this country for Godolphin after two solid efforts at Meydan over the winter. That track would not ideally suit this hold up performer, but a likely solid gallop should set things up nicely for him here. A fast ground specialist he was a fine second in a valuable Newmarket handicap last autumn and he looks the type to progress as a 4yo.
1pt win – Equilateral – 3.40 Ascot – 9/2 Paddy Power
1pt win – Sioux Nation – 3.40 Ascot – 9/2 Bet365
1.5pts win – Clemmie – 4.20 Ascot – 4/1 general
0.75pts each-way – Appeared – 5.35 Ascot – 12/1 Paddy Power (1/5 odds first 5)
0.75pts each-way – Eynhallow – 5.35 Ascot – 12/1 Bet365, BetVictor