Chris Waller will bid to make it a Royal Ascot sprint double, as his Home Affairs leads a bumper 27 declarations for Saturday’s Platinum Jubilee Stakes — but the Aussie raider is too short in the market for betting purposes.
Stablemate Nature Strip demolished his foes in Tuesday’s King’s Stand Stakes and Home Affairs is the 7-4 favourite to secure six-furlong honours, having won two Group Ones so far, including when beating his fellow Waller inmate earlier in the year. As such, he does look a standout on form.
The race is open to horses aged four or older, but three-year-olds foaled in the Southern Hemisphere are also eligible, so Home Affairs gets in, but he is taken on with Charlie Appleby’s Creative Force. He was hot favourite to win at Meydan last time but his running was too bad to be true — and afterwards he was found to be lame. He loves it at Ascot, scoring twice here as a three-year-old.
With the stable having a terrific year, and the Aussie raider potentially setting it up for a closer, he appeals.
The Chesham (2.30) should go to hot favourite Alfred Munnings, who has a beautiful pedigree. More pertinent is how good he looked on debut at Leopardstown. He beat a well-touted horse on that occasion in a canter and will be a major fancy here, with the Aidan O’Brien-Ryan Moore team winning the Gold Cup yesterday and their juveniles generally running well enough this week.
Royal Ascot tips
2.30 Alfred Munnings 5-6
3.05 Star Girls Aalmal 8-1
3.40 Third Realm 9-1
4.20 Creative Force 9-1
5.00 Fresh 8-1
5.35 Falling Shadow 13-2
6.10 Wordsworth 7-2
The Jersey (3.05) can go to Star Girls Aalmal and thus provide trainer Henry de Bromhead with his first Royal Ascot winner. She was a market springer in the Irish Guineas and justified that with a big run; she was unlucky not to be placed and was not far off Tuesday, who since won the Oaks. She races like seven furlongs might be even better, with Billy Lee an excellent booking in the saddle.
Appleby has come out the right side of some narrow finishes this week and stable form is not a concern as Hurricane Lane makes his seasonal debut in the Hardwicke (3.40).
The Frankel-bred colt should win this if back to his best, such as when winning the Irish Derby last year, but he is taken on at the prices with Third Realm.
Roger Varian’s charge looked better than ever at Goodwood last time, though he was behind Hurricane Lane in the Derby last year.
The Wokingham (5.00) is exceptionally tough and Fresh is a shot in the dark. Stamina is no issue for this course-and-distance winner, and he seems ground-versatile. He just failed to last out seven furlongs here last time.
Appleby’s Falling Shadow is a fascinating runner in the Golden Gates Stakes (5.35) after routing his rivals in a maiden at Newbury, the form working out well. He has been gelded since that run and, while this is far, far tougher, he seems to have a touch of class about him.
O’Brien has an interesting candidate in the final race of the meeting, the Queen Alexandra.
Wordsworth is bred to stay well and is pretty unexposed. With Trueshan a likely non-runner, his main challenger may also be Irish-trained as Falcon Eight will relish these conditions, having disappointed in the race last year when the rain came, something which would have been welcome at Ascot this week.