The Ahead On The Flat Royal Ascot Update got off to a good start with a couple of winners on the opening day. Arizona (advised @ 5/2), who is featured in AOTF (page 106), was given a tremendous ride by Ryan Moore to provide Aidan O'Brien with his ninth win in the Coventry Stakes. An eight lengths at the Curragh last time, the son of No Nay Never came off a bridle at halfway but was cajoled into contention by the former champion jockey before staying on powerfully to beat previous winners Threat and Guildsman by half a length and a neck respectively. An exciting prospect, Arizona will be even better when stepping up to seven furlongs.
Blue Point (advised @ 3/1) confirmed his superiority over Battaash at Ascot by taking the King's Stand Stakes for a second consective year. Charlie Appleby's five year old had looked better than ever in Dubai during the winter winning all three of his races. Given a break, he was given a positive ride by James Doyle and he ultimately outstayed his old rival who loomed up travelling strongly under Jim Crowley. That is his fourth win at the Berkshire track from five starts.
As regards my other selections, One Master (advised e/w @ 25/1) ran a terrific race in the opener, the Queen Anne Stakes. William Haggas' Group 1 winning filly was patiently ridden by Pierre-Charles Boudot and produced with her challenge approaching the final furlong. She hit the front but, like Battaash, was outstayed by both Lord Glitters and Beat The Bank. Beaten a length, the Fastnet Rock arguably produced a career best here.
Too Darn Hot held every chance inside the final furlong in the St James's Palace Stakes and I must admit I thought he was coming to win once upsides the eventual winner Circus Maximus but his effort flattened out late on. Perhaps the fact he was having his third race in a little over a month caught up with him here. Finally, Magic Wand ran very well in the Wolferton Stakes to end the card. The rain softened ground wouldn't have played to her strengths so it was a creditable effort to finish second behind William Haggas' Addeybb, who revelled in the conditions.
All in all, Ahead On The Flat had a successful day with Lord Glitters (14/1), The Grand Visir (12/1) and Addeybb (5/1) all featured in the Talking Trainers section. Blue Point was in the Appendix and, as discussed, Arizona, was highlighted in Ballydoyle Juveniles.
With significant rainfall predicted overnight at Ascot, I dread to think how soft it is going to be on day two of the Royal meeting. I am heading north of the border to Hamilton tomorrow, so I will update the Diary on Thursday.
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