Mark Your Card: Royal Ascot Day Two

Niall tossed a coin and napped a winner at Royal Ascot yesterday. Here are his best bets for Day Two.

Image: John Walton/EMPICS Sport

THE CARD FOR Day Two at Royal Ascot might not be quite as attractive as yesterday’s stellar line-up, but there is still plenty to get excited about.

The Prince of Wales’s Stakes (15:45) is the sole Group One engagement of the afternoon and, if all the chatter yesterday was about Canford Cliffs, Goldikova and Frankel, today is about one horse and one horse alone – Aidan O’Brien’s Australian sensation So You Think.

Nine years ago, the racing world was enchanted by High Chaparral, winner of both the English and the Irish Derby in 2002. Today, his son, a five time Group One winner Down Under, comes to town with the weight of expectation firmly on his shoulders; the longest price you’re likely to find quoted is 1/2.

That won’t bother So You Think’s connections though. Since landing at Ballydoyle, he has hardly put a foot wrong and was exemplary in winning his two seasonal outings at the Curragh. Neither the ground nor the distance should cause any problems, and it is difficult to see him losing this afternoon.

Of the other contenders, Elie Lellouche’s Planteur might pose the most serious challenge. The French raider has been prepped with this race in mind and has looked sharp over the distance in his two outings at Longchamp in April.

It would be similarly foolish to discount the Godolphin horse, Rewilding, a distant third in last year’s Epsom Derby but a two-time winner since then. However, the trip may be slightly on the short side for a horse who traditionally prefers an extra two furlongs.

Henry Cecil’s stable is obviously in good form of late, and the distance should suit Twice Over more than the stiffly-run mile did on his disappointing turn in the Epsom Derby.

Today’s card begins with the Group 3 Jersey Stakes (14:30), with Henry Candy’s Codemaster the standout candidate for the seven furlong sprint. His two-length victory over the same distance in the King Charles at Newmarket is an excellent indicator of what he is capable of as he continues to improve. His prospects are strengthened by the withdrawal of Fury who certainly would have made the frame, leaving the French three-year-old Havane Smoker as his principal opponent. Christophe Soumillon’s mount is yet to win a Group race but his best performance to date has come over this distance.

The Windsor Forest Stakes (15:05) for fillies is also an intriguing puzzle with three horses bunched tightly together at the head of the market. I’m A Dreamer certainly underlined her credentials with a well-run Group 3 win at Newmarket last month, sitting pretty at the rear of the field before bursting through to claim a four-and-a-half length victory. Today’s race does represent a step up in class however, and Godolphin’s classy filly Sajjhaa may be a more obvious candidate, particularly if she can reproduce a gallop like the one which saw her finish second to Midday in the Middleton at York.

Gavin Cooney
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Nap of the Day

At odds of 2/1, Codemaster represents a excellent opportunity for punters to get the day off to a good start. Havane Smoker, Western Aristocrat and Oracle do boast the form to cause some concern, but if Henry Candy’s horse improves as promised, he should be good enough.

Each way

An intriguingly-handicapped Traffic Sister (20/1) has the potential to mount a challenge in the Sandringham at 17:35. She has already beaten less illustrious company over a mile this season and, with Jamie Spencer on board, is sure to be given every chance.

Read: Frankel hangs on to maintain unbeaten record >

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Niall Kelly

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