While day two of Royal Ascot wasn't too bad for Update subscribers, day three was very poor indeed. Constantinople looked set to salvage something in the finale, the King George V Handicap, when Ryan Moore's mount hit the front. However, Aidan O'Brien's colt was collared close home by stablemate South Pacific and was denied by a neck.
King Power Racing appeared to have a strong hand on Thursday but, unfortunately, things didn't go to plan. Sunday Sovereign faded tamely inside the final furlong in the Norfolk Stakes, Fox Chairman met as much trouble as he had on his previous start at Chester in the King Edward VII Stakes before running on when it was too late, Queen Power didn't give herself a chance of staying a mile and a half in the Ribblesdale Stakes by pulling too hard early on, while Hero Hero was ridden too aggressively in the Britannia Stakes and probably didn't stay in any case.
It was Frankie Dettori who dominated the day though with a superb four timer. Stradivarius provided the highlight by winning his second consecutive Ascot Gold Cup. The winning margin may have only been a length but John Gosden's five year old always looked in control and was value for more than that winning distance. Dee Ex Bee ran well in second but I feel he would have benefited from going a stronger gallop. Mark Johnston's four year old is a strong stayer and is the sort to win something like the Doncaster Cup later in the year.
Admittedly, his SP was prohibitive but the best result on Thursday, as far as the Update was concerned, came at Ripon with the impeccably bred Faylaq making a mockery of his opening mark of 73 on his handicap debut. Stepping up to twelve furlongs, the son of Dubawi, who is out of the Arc and King George winner Danedream, was always cantering under Danny Tudhope before easing clear to win hard held by four and a half lengths. The handicapper will have his say but it will be a surprise if William Haggas' colt can't win more races this summer and beyond.
Indeed, the Names To Note section in the Update has had a good couple of days with Southern Rock (2/1) also winning on his handicap debut at Hamilton on Wednesday. I must admit though when David O'Meara's three year old was headed with two furlongs to run, his prospects didn't look bright. However, the ex-French gelding rallied well and won going away over an extended mile. Bought out of Andre Fabre's yard for 30,000gns at the start of the year, the son of New Approach will be even better over ten furlongs.
With dry weather forecast at Ascot over the next couple of days, the prospect of good ground at some stage on Friday looks realistic with the possibility of fast ground by Saturday. After the results on Thursday, that can only be a good thing.
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