After landing 5/6 in his last preview and going agonisingly close to landing the Place 6, Steven Dowler tackles the Rollover Place 6 at Royal Ascot on day 2. Read on for his Royal Ascot 2020 day 2 preview.
Royal Ascot 2020 Day 2 Preview
13.15 – Silver Royal Hunt Cup – 1m
The first race in my Royal Ascot 2020 day 2 preview is a new addition to the 2020 Royal Ascot programme, and I have chosen six interesting runners who will hopefully get us off to a decent start.
ZHUI FENG is 6lb lower than when winning the main event of this race (Royal Hunt Cup) on this card back in 2017 off a mark 100. He ran well when last seen to finish fourth at Newmarket on his reappearance, and he goes well for jockey Martin Dwyer. He has stall 22 to contend with here off a reduced mark 94, which is a big positive based on the fact that those who are drawn high tend to do fare best around here.
AMBASSADORIAL is drawn down the middle in 11 which isn’t too bad at all, and he has shown good form in all five races this season, placing on four occasions. He did little wrong when only finding the well-handicapped Montatham too strong last time out. He has only been put up 1lb by the handicapper to 90, meaning he has been given another chance of going close in a race that will suit his style of running.
SALAYEL is a typical, unexposed improving filly from the Roger Varian camp. She showed a lot of promise on her four starts last year and with another season under belt, she looks the type of horse to improve with age now a four-year-old. Being drawn nicely in stall 17, I can assume connections will fancy their chances, especially with Andrea Atzeni in the saddle.
Meanwhile, DEAN STREET DOLL was highly tried last year when trained in Ireland, which saw her compete in many Listed/Group races, and her best effort came in the Irish 2,000 Guineas. She finished a creditable fifth that day and arguably her best form has come over 1m on the turf. There is no doubt she would have needed her stable debut run at Kempton last time out, and the return to the turf here over her favourable distance will be much more to her liking.
Both SUCELLUS and ALTERNATIVE FACT round off the list of six. They are sure to be popular with the presence of Frankie Dettori on the former and Ben Curtis on the latter. The pair seem to be thrown in here off a mark 90, which gives both of them strong each-way credentials.
Selections: ZHUI FENG, AMBASSADORIAL, SALAYAL, DEAN STREET DOLL, ALTERNATIVE FACT, SUCELLUS
13.50 – Hampton Court Stakes – 1m2f
I am quietly confident we have the winner of this race if all goes to plan. JUAN ELCANO comfortably won on debut last year before placing twice in Group 2 company. He was sent off 66/1 for the 2,000 Guineas but defied those odds to finish fifth of 15 runners. Providing that run just 11 days ago hasn’t taken too much out of him, he should relish this longer trip on pedigree and easily brings the best form to the table.
I was very much taken by KENZAI WARRIOR who finished ninth in the same race. He beat a subsequent Group 3 winner on debut and then almost fell out of the stalls in the 2,000 Guineas. To his credit, he stayed on well to not be beaten all that far which was a decent effort to say the least, and I am hopeful he will be thereabouts at the business end of this easier assignment.
Selections: JUAN ELCANO, KENZAI WARRIOR
14.25 – King George V Stakes – 1m3f
HUKUM made a promising debut to finish third at Newbury before going two places better at Kempton next time easily. His opening handicap mark looks reasonable, adding in the fact he ticks a lot of the key trends for this race.
HUGHIE MORRISON has a good record in this race, and KIPPS has a leading chance. He shaped like a horse who would relish this extra furlong the way he stayed on well last time out once headed, and he’s yet to finish outside the top two in three starts. I think he has a real nice chance of enhancing the stables fine record in the contest.
SUNMERONSEVENHILLS is more exposed than most, but his third behind Epsom Derby hopeful English King is one of the strongest pieces of form on offer. He was no match for the winner that day but if the winner is as good as everyone says he is then surely this three-year-old is way too overpriced.
BRIGHT MELODY won well on debut at Chelmsford before running well to finish third in a Group 3 last time out despite showing plenty of greenness. The added cheek-pieces should help her settle a lot better and with the presence of William Buick in the saddle, she should show further progression here dropping down in class.
Selections: HUKUM, KIPPS, SUMMERONSEVENHILLS, BRIGHT MELODY
15.00 – Prince Of Wales’s Stakes – 1m2f
This will be a fascinating race once again as it never fails to deliver, and it’s hard to oppose the top-two rated JAPAN and ADDEYBB. Both rated 122, they are rated clear of the remainder. JAPAN was a dual Group 1 winner last year at Longchamp and York while also claiming a Group 2 at this meeting. He was unlucky in last year’s Epsom Derby when third and the same can be said when he finished a brilliant fourth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe considering he was poorly positioned in the testing ground. He’s yet to win first time out in any season but he clearly has the best form in the race as he bids to give Aidan O’Brien a fourth success in the race.
ADDEYBB has been in tremendous form this year since finishing second over C&D in the Champion Stakes behind the wonderful Magical. The winner is rated 122 and Addeybb was giving her 3lb when beaten just under one length. The top-class global six-year-old doesn’t have to give weight away to an Aidan O’Brien horse time around, and comes into the race in superb form having claimed Group 1’s in Australia while any rain that falls will benefit him massively.
Selections: ADDEYBB, JAPAN
15.35 – Royal Hunt Cup – 1m
One thing I find interesting about this race is the fact Jim Crowley who ridden Afaak to win the race last year and rode the improving Montatham to win last time out has decided to ride top-weight ALRAJAA instead of those two. He’s won his last four starts and has been put up 9lb for slaughtering a decent field by three lengths at Lingfield last time out. The stable has been flying since the resumption of racing and although he has to concede weight to the whole field, I actually think he’s capable of further improvement.
The price about AFAAK seems wrong. He was runner-up in this race back in 2018 before going one better last year under a good ride from Jim Crowley on his seasonal debut. It is clear to see that fitness will be no issue and the talented apprentice Cieran Fallon takes off a handy 3lb meaning he’s on the exact same mark as last year if you take that into consideration. Afaak is drawn well in stall 18 (21 last year) and regardless of Jim Crowley jumping ship, he should go close, especially with his form over C&D reading impressive figures of 7-4-2-1, and all those runs have been in fields of 28 runners or more!
There is three others I expect to go well. One of those being DARK VISION, a former Group 2 winner who has good form over 1m including when eighth of 28 in last years Britannia Stakes over C&D off a 5lb higher mark. He ran well to finish a close second on his reappearance and must have a good chance of backing up that performance here with William Buick on his back.
BALTIC BARRON has only won once in his career and although he could only finish seventh at Newmarket 10 days ago, he has never been beaten that far in all his career races and his mark of 97 looks attractive along with his high draw in 19. He is a strong finisher who will relish this stiff finish and the first time cheek-pieces could be the key to unlocking his hidden potential.
INDEED has progressed nicely for his current stable, winning twice last year before placing twice in pattern company. His third behind Lord North last time out looks even better now with the winner running in a Group 1 earlier on in the week and he could be let in here lightly off a mark 107 with more improvement to come.
Selections: ALRAJAA, AFAAK, DARK VISION, BALTIC BARRON, INDEED
16.10 – Windsor Castle Stakes – 5f
I really like the look of CHIEF LITTLE HAWK for the Windsor Castle Stakes, the final leg of the Royal Ascot 2020 day 2 preview, who has been very profitable for Aidan O’Brien in recent years. He was a good winner on debut when making all the running at Navan last week and connections seem keen to let him roll again here. He’s the choice of Ryan Moore over his mount’s stable companions so providing stall 2 doesn’t complicate matters, he must have strong each-way claims.
HYDE PARK BARRACKS was an expensive purchase by Aidan O’Brien, and he ran a race full of promise when third behind Chief Little Hawk on debut. That was a fair effort considering he was restless in the stalls beforehand and the yard’s juveniles tend to improve hugely for a run so he could go well with Sean Levey being an eye-catching jockey booking.
GET IT only just failed to make all the running on debut when denied in the dying strides and that experience will have done him the world of good, heading into a race of this calibre. Clive Cox has just this one runner on today’s card with Adam Kirby riding so he should go very well if stall 1 doesn’t backfire on him.
Selections: CHIEF LITTLE HAWK, HYDE PARK BARRACKS, GET IT