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Friday is Day 4 of Royal Ascot and WhichBookie horse racing analyst Will Smith is back with a number of selections for the Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap, Albany Stakes, Norfolk Stakes and Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes.
Dancin Inthestreet – 9/1 EW (Paddy Power)
While the ground was on the better side over the first two days, it definitely paid to race middle to stand side on the straight course. But after the deluge of Wednesday night into Thursday morning, that put paid to any advantage to be held by those draw high, and we started to see those drawn and racing more in the middle to far side of the track come to the fore.
Now that the ground is set to remain that way for Friday’s action, I am going to proceed in the assumption that middle to far side is where you want to be.
In the opening race, which is a fascinating new addition to the Royal Ascot program – a three-year-old 5f handicap, I like the look of William Haggas’ Dancin Inthestreet, who is drawn nicely in stall 11, at 9/1 with Paddy Power, who offer 6 places for each-way terms.
Sent off a well backed second favourite on seasonal reappearance at Haydock, she suffered a nightmare passage and was surely much better than the eventual third place position. A galloping track like Ascot on soft ground is sure to suit her well. Her sire Muhaarar signed off with a win in the Champions Sprint on soft ground here at Ascot, and her dam won a Group 3 on soft ground in France. So, there is every reason to expect that this race will see her produce a career best.
It is interesting that William Haggas is happy to run her from five pounds out of the handicap, and also has booked John Egan, who has ridden at a lowest weight of 8st 3lbs in the last 12 months. So, the fact that Dancin Inthestreet is scheduled to carry 8st bang on, means Haggas’ seems happy to burden his filly with that extra weight. Surely that means he is hopeful of a bold run.
Mother Earth – 4/1 (Skybet)
Setarhe – 7/1 EW (Paddy Power)
Again, I’m going to stick with those drawn towards the centre of the track here, and this fillies Group 3 can go the way of many other races over the years at Royal Ascot, and that is to Aidan O’Brien and Ballydoyle. Mother Earth looks a great price at 4/1 with Skybet, and could potentially go off a fair bit shorter if support comes for her, and well it should on the back of her hugely promising debut run at Navan.
While Navan is a stiff enough track, the extra half a furlong at Ascot will really suit her, as she was coming home strong once the penny dropped late on. She is drawn nicely in stall 5 and Ryan Moore will know where the best place to be is. She can join her stalemate Battleground, who readily won the Chesham, in improving markedly for that first racecourse run. If she does, she will be mightily hard to beat.
But if there is a filly in the field who could, it might just be Roger Varian’s Setarhe. The trainer enjoyed a brilliant treble on Thursday, and can continue the good run with his debut Newmarket winner. That she won two weeks ago doesn’t tell the whole story, as she had to challenge wider and from further back than ideal. At 7/1 with Paddy Power, who offer four places each-way, Setarhe is a sensible saver option against Mother Earth.
Tactical did us a nice favour when winning the Windsor Castle Stakes on Wednesday, and that represents the strongest piece of two-year-old form so far this season, so the winner of that race – Mark Johnston’s Eye Of Heaven – will be very hard to beat here.
But I do think that The Lir Jet is worth an each-way bet at 6/1, again with Paddy Power or Skybet, who both offer four places for each-way terms. If there was a race that threw up as notable a time as Eye Of Heaven ran at Newmarket, then it was the race won by The Lir Jet at Yarmouth.
Michael Bell’s son of Prince Of Lir, who himself won this very race on soft ground, was mightily impressive there, and has the services of Oisin Murphy here. While his draw in stall 1 would’ve been a death knell two days ago, now it might just be the winning of the race for The Lir Jet.
Medal Winner – 9/1 EW (Paddy Power)
Oisin Murphy could have a good day I’m hoping, as he rides my fancy in the closing handicap also. Medal Winner was a going away winner at Newcastle over 1m2f two weeks ago, and raced a lot more prominently than is ideal for the round track there.
At 9/1 with Paddy Power, who offer good place terms again, Medal Winner must be worth a stab. Granted an extra 2f and softer ground, thus a greater test of stamina, and Medal Winner can surely improve again. A big strapping grey, he has a nice draw in stall 17 here – as high numbers have an almost counter-intuitively good record over the 1m4f trip at Ascot.
This is a very competitive event, and a whole host of horses from leading yards making their seasonal debuts, but Medal Winner can show the benefit of the recent race and outrun his odds.