Andrew Balding: I'm hoping this will be our strongest Ascot yet
The Betway ambassador previews his best chances for the first day of the Royal Meeting at Ascot.
It’s going to be a very strange experience having Royal Ascot with no crowds, but they deserve full credit for their determination in getting the meeting to go ahead.
We’re going there with our largest team and I hope it’s our strongest Ascot yet.
Straight Right runs in the opening race (13:15) and, if the meeting starts on good ground or faster, then I think he’ll run very well.
His turf form doesn’t seem to match his all-weather form, but I don’t think there’s anything in that.
He’s in good form and it would be nice to get the meeting off to a good start with a place.
Fox Chairman , on the other hand, would appreciate any ease in the ground for the Queen Anne Stakes (13:50). He doesn’t need it soft, but he just has a preference for getting his toe in slightly.
It’s a wide-open and competitive race, but I expect him to be a player over this mile trip. He’ll come on for the run, too.
Hold Fast isn’t without a chance in the Ribblesdale (14:25). She impressed me at Kempton a couple of weeks ago, where she beat the colts. I think time will tell that it was a strong race. She’s in great nick and could get placed at a big price.
Papa Power is a horse we’ve always rated highly and held high hopes for. He hasn’t don’t much wrong and goes to Ascot with a real sporting each-way chance in the King Edward VII Stakes (15:00), despite it being a six-runner field.
Diocletian runs in the Ascot Stakes (16:40) and, while it’s a bit of a punt going this far on his first run of the season, if he ran to the same kind of level that he showed at Chester and stayed the trip, then he’ll be bang there. He’s got the ability, that’s for sure.
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