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Richard Hoiles: My picks for every race at Royal Ascot on Friday

20 Jun | BY Richard Hoiles | MIN READ TIME |
Richard Hoiles: My picks for every race at Royal Ascot on Friday

The horse racing broadcaster offers his best bets for each of the races on day four at the Royal Ascot meeting, including the Coronation Stakes.


Day four starts with the Group 3 Albany and the two-year-old I have most been looking forward to all week in FAIRY GODMOTHER / . She really impressed me when winning at Naas, when it looked as if she had given the eventual third first run but picked up well to get up close home and was value for more than the winning margin. First time out, she had raced a little keenly and clearly part of the objective in the second run was to get her to settle early. She is a beautiful looking horse with plenty of strength and rates as one of the week’s best chances.


The first Group 1 is the Commonwealth Cup and sees owner Sheikh Obaid with a strong hand courtesy of both Elite Status and INISHERIN / . He deserves plenty of credit for sticking with their regular but lower profile jockeys in Clifford Lee and Tom Eaves, resisting temptation to teleport in a higher profile rider who will not know the horse as well. When analysing the 2000 Guineas, Inisherin came out with plenty of credit as being one of those up with a strong gallop who was still not beaten far at the finish, but I expected him to go up rather than down in trip. Instead, he was dropped to 6f to win the Sandy Lane, a traditional trial for this race. That was run in quite gruelling conditions, unlike today’s race which will be far more of a speed test, but it could just be he is just a very good horse and this year’s 2000 Guineas continues to work out really well. The ground will be no object to Elite Status but he may just lack the class of Inisherin. Jasour is also a danger if he settles early.


The feature race is the Coronation Stakes, which features a rematch for several who fought out the finish of the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. That was a painful watch, with our selection, Ramatuelle kicking for home too early given she was always going to be potentially suspect at the trip. Oisin Murphy rides this time and her natural speed should allow her to get a position, but this is quite a stiff mile and it was noticeable at Newmarket how little she has grown.

By contrast, the winner that day, Elmalka, took a while to get going and even though it was only her second race start, the shorter straight on the round course may count against her. She may end up over more ground by the end of the season. The selection is the filly who split them at Newmarket, PORTA FORTUNA / , who arguably has the best of both worlds, is drawn nicely in stall 5, won at the meeting last year, and yet is a longer price than either of them. Opera Singer is widely expected to come on for her run in Ireland but that looks factored into what looks a very short price.


Things become harder for the second half of the card, which starts with the 1m 4f Duke of Edinburgh Handicap, where Ireland looks to hold a strong hand with Ethical Diamond, Crystal Black, and Deakin. ETHICAL DIAMOND / is unexposed on the level for Willie Mullins, having been purchased from a lower profile yard with the initial idea of going hurdling, but showed he was well treated on the Flat when losing out in the final few strides at Leopardstown over 10f.

The return to 12f will suit and it is highly likely that he can achieve a higher level of form from his current yard than the one he was purchased out of. He is certainly a short price but could just prove too good. Crystal Black and Deakin fought out a finish at the Curragh and there should be little between them, but Ethical Diamond looks to have the greater potential to improve.


The big-field straight course handicap of the day is the Sandringham for Fillies over the mile, where SOPRANO / may be suited by stepping up to this distance for the first time. She was placed in the Albany on this day last year behind Porta Fortuna, and this will be her first run in a handicap. She hit the line well over 7f at Musselburgh last time and George Boughey has been in fantastic form, while Billy Loughnane has already been on the mark this week. A central draw is always handy as it gives options if a bias does look to be developing.


In the Ascot Derby, the King Edward VII, DIEGO VELASQUEZ / can get his career back on track on his first start at 1m 4f. He is related to both Broome and Point Lonsdale and even though he was behind a couple of these in the French Derby, the return to a faster surface could be key. The fact he ran in the 1m Futurity at Doncaster on heavy ground as a juvenile suggests stamina was clearly not thought to be an issue and again it could well have been the ground that contributed to a below-par display that day. There will be few excuses on that front here.


The finale is a big field 5f dash where Kevin Ryan’s VANTHEMAN / can go well. He ran second at York on his last start and meets the third horse that day, Pilgrim, on better terms after that horse franked the form by winning well at Musselburgh. Like Soprano, he has a middle gate to ensure he is not committed to either side. It could be a big day for the yard with Inisherin earlier on the card, and they have already scored this week with Windsor Castle winner Ain’t Nobody.

Good luck with your selections for Day 4.

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Richard Hoiles

Richard Hoiles

Richard is a horse racing broadcaster and commentator who has been involved in the sport since 1992.

Richard Hoiles

Richard Hoiles

Richard is a horse racing broadcaster and commentator who has been involved in the sport since 1992.