Thursday Tips for Royal Ascot
Last Updated: 20/06/19 6:09am
Nick Robson makes Stradivarius his best bet for Thursday and he has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.
It is hard to see beyond Stradivarius winning back-to-back Gold Cups at Royal Ascot.
John Gosden's street-fighter is aiming for a seventh successive win and has emerged as the pre-eminent stayer of his generation.
While he would not want very soft ground, the forecast is not yet too worrying on that score in the lead-up to the race - and in any case, Stradivarius handled the mud fair enough on Champions Day.
One thing he probably does not get enough credit for is his versatility, winning the Yorkshire Cup on his return over one-mile-six and being able to handle the two and a half miles of the Gold Cup.
If he was ever going to be beaten it was probably going to be at York over the trip which is his bare minimum on his first run of the year - but he kept on well to beat Southern France last month.
While his victim there is not at the top of the tree for Ballydoyle, he would be in almost any other yard and is far from a mug.
Stradivarius never gives himself an easy race. But he does possess that rare thing in a stayer - a turn of foot, which makes him a potent force.
Star Catcher is expected to thrive for the step up in trip in the Ribblesdale Stakes and can give Gosden and Frankie Dettori a big-race double.
While she finished behind the favourite Queen Power at Newbury, she attempted to make all and was actually coming back at the winner at the line.
In the end she was beaten half a length, but Dettori told owner Anthony Oppenheimer he felt she was the best filly in the race and that he should have made more use of her. He gets that chance now.
Being by Shamardal, there is no guarantee the favourite wants this trip.
Sunday Sovereign can continue to prove a wise investment for owners King Power Racing in the Norfolk Stakes.
Paddy Twomey's colt was snapped up by his new owners after beating Arizona by a very comfortable three lengths in a maiden at the Curragh last month.
Since then, he has further advertised his claims by landing the odds with ease at Tipperary two weeks ago - and he has the profile of a leading contender here.
Headman may have only clung on by a short head at Newbury in the London Gold Cup - but that race is notoriously red hot, and to win it off top weight was no mean feat.
Roger Charlton has an excellent record in it, though, and he habitually then runs the winner in the Hampton Court Stakes - having done the double with Time Test in 2015.
A big unit, Headman will be a potent force as long as he does not leave himself with too much to do by getting behind early on.
Martyn Meade's stable endured a torrid time in the early part of the season, but all appears well again at Manton - and King Ademar can prove the point in the Britannia Handicap.
Meade deploys his Scat Daddy colt in first-time cheek-pieces in search of a breakthrough victory, after three successive seconds from only four career attempts in all.
The latest of them came when beaten a neck in a Nottingham handicap, the trainer's first runner back on course after a temporary shut-down.
It was a highly promising return, and enough to give the go-ahead for this challenge.
Mark Johnston's three-year-old handicappers are always worth following when they get on a roll, and that is the case with Sir Ron Priestley who lines up in the King George V Handicap.
Johnston won it last year with Baghdad, who arrived off a win at York - while Sir Ron Priestley has won both starts this year at Ripon and Haydock.
He stays the 12 furlongs well and looks rapidly progressive.
ROYAL ASCOT: 2.30 Sunday Sovereign, 3.05 Headman, 3.40 Star Catcher, 4.20 STRADIVARIUS (NAP), 5.00 King Ademar, 5.30 Sir Ron Priestley.
CHELMSFORD: 1.50 Hard Nut, 2.20 Carvelas, 2.55 Tahreek, 3.30 Shareef Star, 4.05 Inference, 4.45 Furious, 5.20 Withoutdestination.
FFOS LAS: 6.00 Free Stone Hill, 6.35 Silent Steps, 7.10 Zolfo, 7.40 Young Wolf, 8.10 Follow The Bear, 8.40 Sizing Tara, 9.10 Sinakar.
LEOPARDSTOWN: 5.40 Law Breaker, 6.15 Clockers Corner, 6.50 Little Clarinet, 7.20 Toronto, 7.50 Raffaello, 8.20 Invasion Day, 8.50 Time For Mabel.
LINGFIELD: 5.50 Billyoakes, 6.25 Green Door, 7.00 Brogans Bay, 7.30 Tamerlane, 8.00 Crazy Spin, 8.30 Cherokee Mist, 9.00 Mondain.
RIPON: 2.10 Al Aakif, 2.45 The Defiant, 3.20 Battle Of Wills, 3.55 Borodin, 4.35 Mr Carbonator, 5.10 Tadaany, 5.45 Gold Arch, 6.20 Theatro.
DOUBLE: Stradivarius and Sir Ron Priestley.