Andrew Balding: Cleonte our best chance on a busy final day
The Betway ambassador assesses the chances of all nine of his Royal Ascot runners on Saturday, with at least one representative in every race on the card.
We were really happy with Bangkok in the King Edward VII, it was a massive relief that he bounced back to form after his disappointing run in the Derby.
We can put a line through that now and make a plan. He might be one for some of those American turf races.
Saturday is our busiest day of the week with a runner in every race and nine overall. As you’d expect, the racing is very competitive, but we’re looking forward to it.
It’s going to be a big ask for Montanari to run in a Chesham first time out but he’s a horse we like a lot and has shown plenty at home. He’s a strong, well developed horse and if he’s not too green I think he can run well.
As everyone knows, racing experience is invaluable and he is the only one in the field who hasn’t had a run yet. He has quality and class, though, and he deserves to be in the field.
He’s a future middle-distance horse, but he’s not short of speed and there are certainly worse 66/1 shots running at Royal Ascot this week than him.
We run two in the Jersey and although Happy Power only ran last week at York, he won well. It’s always a concern running them back quickly and we wouldn’t want the ground to dry out too much.
The draw is a bit of a concern as he’s out on the wing on the far side. If he can tack on to the field and grab some cover, he should have every chance.
Bye Bye Hong Kong is dropping back in trip and he really hasn’t done anything wrong this year. I’m very happy with him in terms of his well-being and the straight track at Ascot normally suits these American-bred horses. Hopefully he might be able to sneak into the places.
You have to respect Space Blues who has won his last two well and Urban Icon wasn’t far behind him at Epsom last time.
Morando goes for the Hardwick and we all wish this race had been run a couple of days ago. He loves soft ground and I’d say a place would be his best chance.
Masar is the obvious one, as a Derby winner without a penalty, while Defoe won a Group One last time and also doesn’t have to carry a penalty. Salouen is no mug either.
I’d be absolutely delighted if we could get a place.
It’s a similar story with Donjuan Triumphant in the Diamond Jubilee. He’s a genuine mudlark and the more the ground dries out the more his chances diminish.
He ran a good race last time and if it somehow stays slow, he would have a chance of being placed. He’s a terrific horse on his day and there will be some other big days for him in the autumn when the rain comes.
We run three in the Wokingham and Foxtrot Lady ran well in a Listed race last time. I think she’s on a decent mark. She won a big sprint handicap at the July meeting last summer so is well equipped for this kind of race.
She’s drawn on the far side and who knows if that’s going to be an advantage or not by five o’clock on Saturday.
Stone Of Destiny ran a blinder to be fourth in the Commonwealth Cup last year and this type of race is his bag. He is drawn high and wants something to aim at. He has a fair each-way chance.
Straight Right is drawn down the middle so he has options. He’s got some excellent form on the all-weather and is another with each-way claims.
The Wokingham is so hard, though, it honestly wouldn’t surprise me if any horse wins it.
We might be saving the best to last as I’d say Cleonte is our best chance of a winner on the day in the Queen Alexandra.
He’s very solid, goes on any ground and has been in great form. You can forgive him his run in the Chester Cup which was run in atrocious conditions.
I think he has a good chance and should be in the first three.
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