STAR PREVIEW: Royal Ascot Day Two
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]wo steps forward yesterday but two steps backwards too.
The banker Ribchester obliged at 11/10 in the opening Queen Anne Stakes but the two remaining bets, both trained by Wesley Ward, in the concluding Windsor Castle Stakes both conspired to finish out of the frame.
They finished 6th and 17th but still fared better than the red hot favourite Declarationofpeace who finished stone last of the 22 runner field.
Nine runners without a win for Aidan O’Brien on the opening day of Royal Ascot which for mortal trainers wouldn’t be anything untoward but with AOB the early alarm bells are already ringing – it wasn’t just the abject performance of Declarationofpeace but dual Guineas winner Churchill was as flat as a pancake.
O’Brien supporters will look towards the well backed Highland Reel to turn things around on Wednesday’s card. The five-year-old relishes the fast ground as he proved when winning the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita last season when the ground was firm and he proved his current well being with a win in the Coronation Cup at Epsom.
There was a swift going change after the first yesterday when, as suspected, the good in places proved fantasy. Only semantics but surely the going never really changes after the first but is more corrected?
Highland Reel steps back in trip today which is a slight concern as I think his optimum is a mile and a half.
However, there are also question marks about his two principal rivals. Jack Hobbs has yet to win on anything faster than good and hasn’t been seen since winning at Meydan in March and Ulysses looks plenty short in the market for a horse that has been winning at Group 3 level.
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