Turf Talk: Frankie Dettori should lead Stradivarius to more Gold Cup glory at Ascot
Harrogate Advertiser horseracing correspondent Jeff Garlick's latest weekly column.
Aidan O’Brien continued his dominance of the British racing scene when Peaceful won the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh on Saturday.
This filly, as tipped in this column last week, now joins Love, who won the English equivalent race, in a combination that looks to have all the top fillies races at their mercy throughout the season.
The O’Brien bandwagon rolled onto Ascot on Tuesday where his Circus Maximus was an impressive winner of the Queen Anne Stakes.
But the best performance that day had to be Battaash in the Kings Stand Stakes.
Regular readers will know he is a personal favourite of mine and to see him finally break his Ascot hoodoo was brilliant. He blitzed a decent field leading from the start.
Ascot got a lot of criticism for sticking to its guns and running the royal meeting on the original dates when other courses were either postponing or cancelling their big races.
But their decision has been justified and the meeting has been a great success with people getting into the spirit of Ascot and getting dressed up to hold Zoom parties toasted with Champagne.
The action continues at Ascot on Thursday where the feature race is the Gold Cup.
Stradivarius is going for his third win in the race and he looks rock solid under jockey Frankie Dettori.
Mark Johnston saddled Dee Ex Bee to be second in 2019 and his Nayef Road could be the one for the forecast this year.
Johnston also has a decent chance with his juvenile Golden Flame in the Chesham Stakes. He was a big ‘talking horse’ in Middleham before his debut at Haydock but found one too good.
Dettori has been booked on Thursday and there is no better pilot around Ascot.
On to Friday and sprinters take to the stage in the Group One Commonwealth Cup.
That bloke O’Brien could be the trainer to follow again.
He is represented by Lope E Fernandez. This horse was third to Siskin in the Irish 2,000 Guineas last Friday after travelling like the winner for most of the race.
The drop to six furlongs from a mile is bound to help and if he has recovered from his exertions of seven days ago then he must go close.
In the Hardwicke Stakes, I will give another chance to the Yorkshire-trained Elarqam.
He’s another from the Johnston yard who will be trying this 12-furlong trip for the first time. He always gives the impression that the distance will be no problem and he will have the in-form Jim Crowley in the saddle.
There are three Group One races on Saturday’s card at Ascot and an amazing day is in prospect.
I am hoping that Pinatubo can return to winning ways in the St James’ Palace Stakes. His only defeat came when third in the 2,000 Guineas and he could face the second horse that day, Wichita.
The Wokingham Stakes must be the hardest race of the week to win. It’s a six-furlong cavalry charge where a lot of luck is required.
Summerghand loves the hustle and bustle of this type of race and if the breaks come at the right time he should run well for Yorkshire trainer David O’Meara,
I expect Aidan O’Brien to seal a super week in Berkshire by winning the two Group Two juvenile races with More Beautiful and Admiral Nelson.
Garlick’s Ascot Goodies: Thursday 3:00 – Golden Flame, Thursday 3:35 – Stradivarius, Friday 3:00 - Elarqam, Friday 3:35 – Lope E Fernandez, Saturday 1:15 – More Beautiful, Saturday 1:50 – Admiral Nelson, Saturday 3:00 – Pinatubo, Saturday 4:10 - Summerghand.