Seven races, running from 1.15 until shortly after 5.25, accompany what looks a red-hot renewal of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday 29 July.
Here are a few tips – including two in the feature – for the occasion.
1.50 – Pretty Crystal @ 10/3
The first of three Group races at Ascot on Saturday is the G3 Princess Margaret Stakes, which has attracted 11 juvenile fillies (although that number is likely to be reduced by at least one as Soprano ran at Sandown on Thursday).
The one that stands out to me is Richard Fahey’s Pretty Crystal, who – if you take out Soprano – heads the field on official ratings.
As is almost always the case in these top two-year-old sprints, there’s a whole host of unexposed opponents that are hard to weigh up, but this daughter of Dubawi boasts very strong form that won’t be easy to better.
Her debut win at Ripon has been franked by the runner-up and her fifth in the Albany Stakes doesn’t need much explaining – although that didn’t look a vintage renewal it must be said.
I don’t think she was seen to best effect there though. I suspect she’ll be better when ridden just off the pace, which is hopefully the case here.
As I write this, I’ve just this quote from Mr. Fahey: “She’s been working great. I’m delighted with her.” Lovely stuff.
3.40 – King Of Steel @ 4/1 & Westover e/w @ 12/1
Click here for the detailed reasoning behind my two selections for the King George – one of the Flat season highlights.
4.50 – Lattam @ 2/1
For me, the best bet at Ascot on Saturday is William Haggas’ Lattam in the Betfred Handicap – a 0-105 contest over 1m.
The four-year-old is pretty lightly-raced for his age, but he’s gained some valuable experience in competitive handicaps so far in his career.
It’s strong form he boasts too – especially his most recent triumph at Newcastle last month off a mark of 94. Amazingly, the handicapper has only raised him a pound for that, which I feel is rather generous.
The son of Lope De Vega is proven on soft ground, his trainer’s in wicked form and he’s got the brilliant Ryan Moore on board for the first time – plus there’s significant question marks about some of his nine rivals.
Akhu Najla has a 308-day lay-off to overcome, Ghaly appears to have zero juice in his current mark and the others are either too inconsistent or have it all to prove.
It’s fair to say I’m very hopeful about his chances here.