After a stunning four days of racing, today concludes a brilliant week at Ascot with the highlight being the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
14:30 Chesham Stakes
We start the day with a seven furlong Listed race for two year olds, and a very warm favourite (September) for the formidable team of Aiden O'Brien and Ryan Moore. Like the majority of this field, she has had just the one run so far, winning a fillies maiden at Leopardstown on softer going that she will encounter here today. She stayed on very strongly that day and is definitely bred for further, therefore in these faster conditions I have slight reservations about her having enough pace if they go quickly enough.
Mark Johnson tends to do very well towards the back end of Royal Ascot, and he has a very interesting contender in the shape of Nyaleti. She won a maiden at Salisbury over six furlongs last weekend, where she stayed on very strongly over the final furlongs, which means the step up in distance today looks perfect for her. She is by Arch, who has an excellent record with two year olds, and in what is a very tricky race to call, I think she could show herself to be potentially high class
15:40 Hardwicke Stakes
The Hardwicke Stakes is a Group 2 run over a mile and a half, and the Queen's horse Dartmouth, is the current 2/1 favourite. He ran on very gamely to beat the brilliant Highland Reel in this race last year, and a huge run is expected again. He won the Yorkshire Cup at York in soft conditions in what has been his sole appearance so far this year, however he has won three times on good to firm ground in the past, so today's conditions shouldn't be cause for concern.
Wings Of Desire hasn't been seen since disappointing at York almost a year ago, but assuming he has fully recovered, then he could have a big part to play. He was fourth in the Derby last year before finishing second behind Highland Reel here last July (a race in which Dartmouth was 2 and 3/4 lengths further back in third), so warrants plenty of respect. He was getting the three year old weight allowance when beating Dartmouth, so will need to have improved as a four year to get in front of him again, however he is a fascinating contender.
The Aiden O'Brien trained Idaho finished one place (and five lengths) in front of Wings Of Desire in the Derby, before going on to win a Group 2 at York. He has been tried over 15 furlongs so his stamina certainly isn't in question, and I think he may be strongest in the finish if this is run at a decent pace.
16:20 Diamond Jubilee Stakes
The only Group 1 race of the day, and over six furlongs, Ryan Moore will be looking to cap off another brilliant week for himself aboard the current 3/1 favourite, Limato. He won the July Cup at Newmarket last year before going on to take the Prix de la Foret at Chantilly in taking style. He was very disappointing at Meydan last time out, however I think a strongly run six furlongs on good to firm ground is perfect for him, and as long as he doesn't encounter too much traffic, he'll be very tough to stop.
The William Haggas trained Tasleet won a Group 2 on soft ground at York in May, and he has form over seven furlongs as well, so is another who will be doing a lot of their best work at the end. He hasn't had too many races on today's going, although he did win on good to firm ground as a two year old. I think that as long as Jim Crowley doesn't let him get too far behind early on, then he has definite place claims, at least.
Growl has disappointed this year but on going that hasn't been to his liking. When conditions fall right for him, he has shown to be a very good horse. He won a useful looking Listed race on good to firm going over six furlongs in November, and although this is a big step up in class, I can see him running a big race at a nice price.
14:30 Ascot - Nyaleti - 1 point @10/1
15:40 Ascot - Wings Of Desire 1 point @ 6/1
16:20 Ascot - Limato - 2 points @ 3/1