Gearing up for Royal Ascot

EVEN though I wanted Seville to win the English Derby, I would have loved to see the Queen’s Carlton House prevail but it wasn’t to be and he could only muster third.

EVEN though I wanted Seville to win the English Derby, I would have loved to see the Queen’s Carlton House prevail but it wasn’t to be and he could only muster third.

Carlton House’s jockey Ryan Moore was angry in that he felt his chance was damaged by outsiders hampering his mount and some people have said that they believe ‘no-hopers’ should not be allowed to run in championship races.

But I do not subscribe to this view as how can you define whether a horse is good enough to run in a certain race?

We as bookmakers price up races and have an opinion but what was our opinion worth when Clive Brittain’s Terimon finshed second to Nashwan in the 1989 Derby at 500-1.

Bearing in mind that horse later won the Group 1 Juddmonte International, that price in hindsight can be considered slightly generous!

Presumably those calling for no-hopers to be banned would not have let him even line up at Epsom and his place in the annals of racing history would never have occurred.

Regulars know that I always try and concentrate on Irish racing but with this weekend’s feature being the Kerry Group Noblesse Stakes at Cork and, at time of writing, 48 horses still engaged, I’m going to have a look at the first day of Royal Ascot next Tuesday instead.

This is arguably the best day of the meeting and my mammy’s horse Sole Power is a possible contender for the King’s Stand Stakes, although Edward Lynam will not make a final decision until close to the weekend so hold your bets until he gets the green light.

The Coventry Stakes is often considered the primary two-year-old event of the fixture and while I have previously highlighted the chance of Power in this contest, he’s been backed into 3-1 now and I’m not sure there’s much value left in that.

Instead I’m going to opt for Mark Johnston’s Fulbright, 10-1 as I write, who impressed me when winning Saturday’s Woodcote Stakes at Epsom.

I don’t think that he was helped by the unusual track and also another horse drifted off the rail, making my fancy a bit unbalanced.

But once he sorted himself out he stayed on again well and I think the Ascot six will be right up his alley.

The Queen Anne Stakes on the same day looks likely to be one of the matches of the week and we cannot currently separate Goldikova and Canford Cliffs.

I’d like to select something at a bigger price but I can’t get away from the big two and am going to go for the latter.

Goldikova proved it was the right decision to keep her in training when winning the Prix d’Ispahan over a distance that slightly stretches her.

But I think that age is on the side of Canford, who comfortably won the Lockinge on his reappearance, and Richard Hannon saying that he is the best horse that he has trained is more than good enough for me.

The US Open golf starts next Thursday and we have Lee Westwood and Luke Donald as 12-1 joint favourites.

But I’m going to recommend having a few quid on Rory McIlroy at 18-1, possibly each-way as we’re paying five places.

He was in a fine position to win the Masters leading by four strokes going into the final day before posting an 80.

But last week he putted really well at the Memorial tournament where he finished fifth, which bodes well for the Maryland extravaganza and if he can cut out a few little mistakes, he goes into the tournament with as much chance as anyone.


Tuesday Royal Ascot 2.30pm Canford Cliffs

Tuesday Royal Ascot 4.25pm Fulbright

US Open Rory McIlroy each-way

The Paddy Power Column