Royal Ascot Tips: My Nap, Lay and Big Priced Fancy across the five day festival
We are less than a week away from Royal Ascot providing some world class thoroughbred action, and our man Steve Chambers previews the five-day Flat extravaganza here and picks out his banker of the meeting, as well as his best lay, and a big-priced fancy that could run a huge race...
Banker - Perfect Power to win Commonwealth Cup @ 9/2
It may still be in its infancy, but the Commonwealth Cup has rapidly become one of the most exciting races of the entire week as a multitude of speedy three-year-olds do battle for Group 1 glory in a race that was first run back in 2015. Won by the likes of Muhaarar, Caravaggio and Campanelle, this year's star sprinter can be the Richard Fahey-trained PERFECT POWER, who is currently heading the betting at 9/2, but he has shaped like he could be a real top notch performer over six furlongs.
A narrow winner of the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot last season over five furlongs, where he beat Go Bears Go (10/1 third fav. for Commonwealth Cup) by a head, Perfect Power then went on to excel in the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville before he ended his juvenile campaign with a sparkling win in the Middle Park Stakes. A classy winner of the Greenham Stakes at Newbury on his first start this season over seven furlongs, Richard Fahey's son of Ardad was then sent to Newmarket for the 2000 Guineas, but he failed to see out the mile trip as he finished a creditable seventh of 15.
Now set to return to sprint trips, Perfect Power can well and truly outclass his rivals in this contest, as he has shown a sparkling turn of foot at the business end of a race, and while the likes of the aforementioned Go Bears Go, El Caballo and Twilight Jet could prove to be notable rivals, he can prove to be a real cut above and looks a cracking price to land another Group prize.
Lay - Trueshan & Stradivarius - Gold Cup @ 7/2
With the weather forecast suggesting that we may have a relatively dry period up until Royal Ascot must put a cloud over the participation of Trueshan in the Gold Cup next Thursday, and Alan King's 7/2 market leader is worth laying at the moment. There's no doubting that the Barbury Castle inmate is the classiest stayer in training with a bit of cut in the ground, but with the trainer regularly opting to avoid quicker ground then from a punting perspective you can only lay the classy stayer.
Add into the mix the three-times winner Stradivarius, who may have made a winning return in the Yorkshire Cup, but he beat significantly inferior rivals that day, and the eight-year-old horse appears to be failing to reach the levels of yesteryear, and having lost his crown to Subjectivist last year he will fail in his quest to emulate his 2018, 2019 and 2020 wins.
Likely to sparkle in the marathon event is the new kid on the block Kyprios, who could be the next staying superstar off the Aidan O'Brien production line, as he has been nothing but impressive this campaign, and the Ballydoyle battalion could be boosted by the impressive Chester Cup winner Cleveland, who will need to improve on that effort, but could run a huge race in what is a race that should take significant shape at the final declaration stage.
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Big Priced Fancy - Bring On The Night - Queen Alexandra Stakes @ 14/1
Willie Mullins has won three of the last ten renewals of the Queen Alexandra Stakes, which will bring the curtain down on Royal Ascot for 2022, and having saddled Stratum to victory in the race 12 months ago he is sure to unleash a strong team again for the 2m 5f 143y contest.
One that certainly catches the eye that Mullins has suggest could be Queen Alexandra bound is 14/1 shot BRING ON THE NIGHT, who was a winner on the Flat for Andre Fabre over a mile-and-a-half before he switched to the Closutton yard. A winner of a maiden hurdle at Naas on debut for Mullins, he was next seen being handed the unenviable task of trying to live with Constitution Hill in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Sent off 28/1 that day, he finished a creditable fourth behind the runaway Nicky Henderson-trained winner, but he certainly showed like he could be a decent performer for the future.
Sent to the Punchestown Festival next time out, he could only finish fourth in a Grade 1 event, which was slightly disappointing, but a return to the level could see him in a much better light, and with Mullins sure to have him primed up for this event, which can often attract quality National Hunt horses, it's Bring On The Night that can bound to glory for Mullins in the finale.