A good start, a good finish with a lot of rubbish in between probably sums up my selections in the Royal Ascot Update. Following the agonising defeat of Dream of Dreams (advised @ 14/1) in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes, it looked like being another disappointing day but thankfully the Roger Varian trained Cape Byron landed an almighty gamble in the Wokingham Handicap. Roger Varian's Victoria Cup winner was tackling six furlongs for the first time but it proven no obstacle for the five year old as he scored by a length and a half off a mark of 107. As his connections suggested afterwards, he was a Group horse racing in a handicap and the July Cup looks a realistic option next month. However, given his record at Ascot, the Champion Sprint in October over the same C&D may prove his best chance of Group 1 glory this term. Either way, it was a smart performance and capped a terrific week for his trainer who sent out five winners throughout the country on Saturday.
Then just for good measure, Cleonte brought the curtain down on the Royal fixture with a length and a quarter win in the Queen Alexandra Stakes. Rather like Cape Byron, Andrew Balding's charge boosted good course form having won at last year's Shergar Cup meeting and finished third behind Dee Ex Bee in the Sagaro Stakes this spring. Silvestre De Sousa and owners King Power Racing have endured a frustrating week but this was the ideal way to end the meeting.
Earlier on the card, I thought Mirage Dancer was given the perfect ride by Pat Dobbs in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes but wasn't quite good enough. Defoe backed up his win in the Coronation Cup earlier this month and the fact he didn't have to shoulder a penalty (they were abolished in 2012) was a bonus. As discussed, another Sir Michael Stoute runner Dream of Dreams produced a career best in the Diamond Jubilee. Given a patient ride by the in-form Danny Tudhope, he finished strongly and would have collared Blue Point in two more strides.
The attendances at Royal Ascot this week were as follows: Tuesday 45,135, Wednesday 39,386, Thursday 66,375, Friday 66,507 and Saturday 75,316.
Therefore in conclusion it has been a disappointing week with only 6 winners at the Royal meeting in the Update. The Names To Note section did us proud though with 4 winners from 5 runners. Away from Ascot, I was impressed with Cadre Du Noir's (11/4) victory in the first division of the one mile novice stakes at Newmarket. Featured on page 112 of the Maidens In Waiting section of Ahead On The Flat, Martyn Meade's colt was making his belated seasonal reappearance following an absence of 234 days. Well supported beforehand, the son of War Front who cost $1,100,000, was confidently ridden by Rob Hornby and once hitting the front never looked like relinquishing his advantage. A length and a quarter scorer, he has a bright future and it has been a good week for his stable with a Royal Ascot winner courtesy of Advertise.
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