Following two more victories yesterday, it proved to be a successful week for subscribers to the Royal Ascot Update. The 42 page Update provided 8 winners and 11 places from the 25 races covered over the five days. The winners were - at the advised prices - Calyx (3/1), Without Parole (11/4), Settle For Bay (16/1), Stradivarius (9/4), Agrotera (14/1), Dash of Spice (10/1), Crystal Ocean (6/4) and Merchant Navy (4/1). Amongst those selections placed included Advertise (2nd @ 16/1), Shades of Blue (3rd @ 6/1), Could It Be Love (3rd @ 9/1), First Eleven (3rd @ 8/1), Sabre (2nd @ 12/1), Bound For Nowhere (3rd @ 12/1), Dreamfield (2nd @ 4/1) and Tis Marvellous (4th @ 25/1). Thank you to all the subscribers who have emailed, your kind words are much appreciated.
As discussed in the Introduction of Ahead On The Flat at the bottom of page 5, I was excited by the sprint division this summer and I was particularly pleased to see Merchant Navy (see the top of page 131 in AOTF, too) win the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on Saturday. Aidan O'Brien's Aussie import had produced a fine effort to win the Group 2 Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh last month under a penalty and his trainer had indicated there was plenty of improvement forthcoming. The three year old received a bump from Bound For Nowhere yesterday at a crucial stage and did well to recover and still prevail from French raider City Light.
Crystal Ocean outclassed his four opponents in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes and, in doing so, provided Sir Michael Stoute with his eleventh win in the race and his fourth of the week at the Royal meeting. The four year old has got better with each start this term and will return to the same track next month for the King George. With Cracksman producing a moody display in the Prince of Wales's Stakes on Wednesday, the son of Sea The Stars will have every chance of landing his first Group 1 win.
The Wokingham Stakes is my favourite race of the week and, having tipped the winner of the Royal Hunt Cup earlier in the week, it would have been nice to land the 'double.' Unfortunately, Brian Meehan's Bacchus scuppered those hopes by winning on his reappearance. A neck winner, the result may have been different had Dreamfield been given a better draw and possibly a less forceful ride but fair play to the winner, he dug deep and found plenty for pressure in the closing stages. Tis Marvellous ran well in fourth and was beaten less than a length. I suggest readers keep an eye on the seventh Gilgamesh. George Scott's lightly raced four year old was dropping back to six furlongs for only the second time. Tapped for speed when the tempo lifted, he stayed on well and was beaten less than three lengths. The Bunbury Cup at Newmarket's July meeting (14th July) looks tailormade for him and, off a mark of 100, I would expect him to be very competitive in such an event. A stiff seven furlongs looks ideal. He doesn't want soft ground though. Bet365 have priced him up at 20/1, which looks generous.
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