While it wasn’t quite as successful as last year and, unfortunately, I was unable to unearth another Amazing Maria, I was more than satisfied with 9 winners during the course of the week for the Royal Ascot Update. The final day was very good with three more winners, including Outback Traveller’s victory in the Wokingham Stakes (who was given a superb waiting ride by Martin Harley). Thank you very much to those clients who have already emailed this evening – it sounds as though plenty of you had a successful week.
There were a couple of particularly good juvenile performances. Lady Aurelia produced an awesome display of raw speed in the Queen Mary Stakes. Touted as being every bit as good as stablemate and last year’s winner Acapulco, Wesley Ward had expressed one or two doubts about the easy ground. However, those fears were soon allayed as she powered clear under Frankie Dettori to win by seven lengths. The Scat Daddy filly threatens to be even better on a sound surface. She will take the world of beating between now and the end of the season. I was also impressed with Caravaggio in the Coventry Stakes. Another of Scat Daddy’s progeny, he had won on soft ground in the Marble Hill Stakes at the Curragh last time and he quickened up smartly inside the final furlong to beat Mehmas. He may not have raced on the best part of the track but still proved too good for the opposition. The third Psychedelic Funk raced a shade too keenly early on and would have appreciated more cover. Ger Lyons’ colt is capable of winning a good juvenile event this summer.
I was delighted to see Twilight Son win the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, not least for his trainer Henry Candy, who has endured a difficult season. Last year’s Haydock Sprint winner has providing the Wantage trainer with only his fourth winner of 2016. Clearly sharper for his run in the Duke of York Stakes last month, he was given a strong ride by Ryan Moore as he got the better of Gold Fun to prevail by a neck. The big disappointment of the race was The Tin Man who over raced during the early stages. This was too bad to be true.
Amazing Maria may have only finished sixth in the opening Queen Anne Stakes but she remains a filly of interest for the weeks and months ahead. I spoke to David O’Meara at York last Friday and he reported his dual Group 1 winner was in terrific order at home and he was expecting a very big run. However, the slow ground blunted her turn of foot and she did well in the circumstances to finish as close as she did. Granted a sound surface, she will take some stopping in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket’s July meeting next month.
Even Song was a good winner of the Ribblesdale Stakes for Aidan O’Brien and it would be no surprise if she follows up in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh. The unlucky horse of the race though was undoubtedly Queens Trust. Held up in a steadily run race, she was set an impossible task by Olivier Peslier before finishing strongly. If she had been better positioned, she would have given the winner something to think about. She is more than capable of winning Pattern races and may improve again on better ground.
I was disappointed with Out And About in the Britannia Stakes. William Haggas’ gelding was prominently ridden but couldn’t pick up when it mattered and finished sixth. I would be prepared to give him another chance though on better ground. His trainer felt in the winter fast ground would bring out the best in him. There is a valuable one mile handicap for three year olds at the same track on King George day in late July. Compensation may await if the conditions are more favourable.
Toofi could only finish eighth in the Wokingham Stakes behind his stablemate Outback Traveller on ground which didn’t the best out of him. Despite that, he is shortlist material for the Stewards’ Cup, a race he finished second in last year. Held up, he stayed on well and will be a different proposition on a livelier terrain. Also placed in last season’s Ayr Gold Cup, he can win a big handicap for Robert Cowell.
The most frustrating race of the week was unquestionably the Royal Hunt Cup. Even though Librisa Breeze and Mitcham Swagger ran crackers to be placed it was very much a case of what might have been. Granted lower draws, I am sure one of the pair would have prevailed. To make it even worse, the winner Portage was my selection for the Wolferton Stakes on Saturday. Ironically, he had beaten Sir Isaac Newton at the Curragh on his previous outing. You couldn’t make it up but there are no complaints overall. I would have taken 9 winners at the start of the week, especially with the uncertainty of the ground etc.
Moving away from the Royal meeting, I was pleased to see Central Square win for the second time this season when capturing the ten furlongs handicap at Ayr. Ridden by Paul Mulrennan, Roger Varian’s lightly raced four year old showed a good attitude to get through a gap on the far rail to win going away. Not for the first time, he left the impression he will improve again when tackling a mile and a half for the first time. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see if his connections consider the Old Newton Cup at Haydock in a fortnight’s time.
Finally, congratulations to the ValueRacingClub.co.uk, for whom I am ambassador, who were responsible for the winner of yesterday’s juvenile hurdle at Market Rasen. Milrow, who was a maiden on the Flat for Martyn Meade, was bought privately by Dr Richard Newland and he made an immediate impact under his new discipline winning by a hard held ten lengths. A gelding by Tamayuz, he is a half-brother to Group 2 and Old Newton Cup winner Star Lahib and looks another useful recruit for the syndicate. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the club have enjoyed tremendous success in the last couple of years and Milrow looks like their latest success story. Please refer to their website if you wish to get involved. Racing manager James Couldwell has done a superb job and he will won’t let you down.
“Thank you for a very successful and profitable email service. My personal highlight was the win of Aloomomo whose romp round Uttoxeter was a joy. Keep up the good work with all your services, the books and updates, they are simply the best by a very long way.”
“Just want to say thanks for running the service again this year, I have ended up with a nice £756 profit from it so I'm obviously very happy with that so thanks a lot!”
“Thanks for your email Mark would just like to say your selections and insight has been awesome. Keep up the good work sir your service is the best.”
“Thank you for an excellent tipping service throughout the three months. It has been a pleasure and profitable to be a member of your service. Your indepth knowledge and analysis of the race has been excellent. I honestly rate your service as one of the best and most profitable.”
“Thanks very much for the fantastic service you have supplied, I have been involved with racing tipsters for over 30 years and never had as good a strike rate as yourself, out of this world.”
“The email service as usual has been brilliant and this season's OJA seems to continue to unearth amazing insight if you have the time to trust and follow it in detail over a period. Thanks as always for your outstanding value for money publications.”
“Superb information again Mark, I managed to get some 11/4, will certainly pay for Xmas. Different class.”
“Awesome result the magicman strikes again. Won with plenty in hand and not a moments worry great write up spot on again and results speak for themselves best service I've tried, keep up the fantastic work sir. Very happy customer!”
Mark Howard Publications Ltd.
69 Fairgarth Drive