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Winter Power has what it takes to conquer favourite Battaash in the King's Stand Stakes (3.40) on day one at Royal Ascot.
The three-year-old filly has risen through the ranks on a variety of different going – and gets a crack at the highest level.
She can take another big step forward here under Silvestre De Sousa.
Newsboy's verdict on day one of Royal Ascot:
1 ORDER OF AUSTRALIA
2 PALACE PIER
3 REGAL REALITY
ORDER OF AUSTRALIA put up a personal best under these conditions at last year’s Breeders’ Cup, and is the value play against hot favourite Palace Pier.
As a son of 2014 Derby hero Australia, it is no surprise that the Aidan O’Brien trainee spent most of 2020 running over middle distances.
Order Of Australia racked up wins at Dundalk and the Curragh in September but it was a step back in trip for the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland in November that saw my selection take a big step forward.
Unconsidered in the betting at 40-1, Order Of Australia led inside the final furlong to beat stablemates Circus Maximus and Lope Y Fernandez by a neck and three-quarters of a length.
A sixth in the Hong Kong Mile at Sha Tin 12 days before Christmas rates a few pounds below that form, but the choice of Ryan Moore is unexposed at a mile.
Palace Pier has suffered just one defeat from eight starts and is a three-time Group 1 winner, but there’s little juice in the market leader’s odds.
At bigger prices, the fact he showed his best form at this distance on his final three outings of last season makes Regal Reality a podium candidate, along with 2019 victor, Lord Glitters.
3 THE ACROPOLIS
KAUFYMAKER gets the vote to take her career tally to 2-2 and give her trainer Wesley Ward a 12th Royal Ascot triumph.
A son of American Grade 1 winner Jimmy Creed, Kaufymaker made her debut in a maiden special weight over four and a half furlongs on dirt at Keeneland in April.
Sent off the evens favourite in a field of six, my selection took over in front at the top of the straight and motored to a six-and-a-half-length supremacy under today’s river John Velazquez.
Kaufymaker trained by Wesley Ward
Ward has been pleasantly surprised at the filly’s recent progress on turf, and Kaufymaker has plenty of improvement up her sleeve as she bids to make the most of the 3lb gender allowance she receives from the colts.
Gisburn showed he had learned plenty from his Newbury debut behind Berkshire Shadow with a wide-margin score at the same course second time up.
He is capable of a bold show, while the fact Aidan O’Brien has won this race nine times makes The Acropolis worthy of respect.
1 WINTER POWER
WINTER POWER keeps producing personal bests – and another could well see her clinch the first Group 1 prize of her going-places career.
Talk of the top level would have seemed fanciful after Tim Easterby had trained the daughter of Bungle Inthejungle to lift a Redcar nursery last July.
But Winter Power took off in the second half of the truncated campaign, adding to a Ripon novice stakes in September with scores in Ayr’s Listed Harry Rosebery Stakes 17 days later and the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes at Newmarket the following month.
The latter success was gained at a distance of three lengths, and Winter Power enjoyed the same cushion in the Listed Westow Stakes at York last month.
Second home Atalis Bay went one better in the same grade at Sandown Park on Saturday, and Winter Power still looks a fair way from the bottom of the barrel.
Battaash returns to defend his title but the fact that Charllie Hills’ popular speedball suffered a fractured joint in an accident during the winter is a concern for the outstanding five-furlong performer of recent summers.
In a larger field than expected, Oxted, Ubetterbelieveit and royal representative King’s Lynn are all capable of playing a part.
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1 POETIC FLARE
3 HIGHLAND AVENUE
POETIC FLARE sets the standard as Jim Bolger’s hardy perennial takes in his fourth Group 1 test in the space of 45 days.
The sequence began on May 1 with victory in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket as the bay son of Dawn Approach beat Master Of The Seas by a short head, with Lucky Vega (third), Chindit (fifth), Wembley (11th), Battleground (13th) and Thunder Moon (14th) in arrears.
A trip to France for the Poule d’Essai des Poulains saw Kevin Manning’s mount unable to find his footing on the ParisLongchamp turf.
But a short-head second to stablemate, and Derby fourth, Mac Swiney in the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh on his most recent start – Lucky Vega returned in fourth, La Barrosa sixth and Wembley 11th – was much more like it.
Poetic Flare is evidently thriving on his work, and Bolger saddled Dawn Approach to land this race in 2013, 17 days after he had trailed home last of 14 in the Derby.
The unbeaten Mostahdaf held Highland Avenue by half a length for the Listed Heron Stakes at Sandown Park last time and both colts have more to offer.
1 M C MULDOON
3 CAPE GENTLEMAN
M C MULDOON, representing the Willie Mullins-Ryan Moore partnership that has captured three of the past nine runnings, is hard to get away from.
The grey son of Mastercraftsman, who has stamina in his pedigree, has won one of his four starts over hurdles since joining Mullins last winter.
Willie Mullins pictured at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival
It’s true the six-year-old needs a personal best as he makes his return on the Flat, a sphere in which he last appeared for Peter Chapple-Hyam 976 days ago, but it is likely we will see a different horse today.
Closutton stable-companions Rayapour and Royal Illusion deserve to be high on the list, in company with top weight Cape Gentleman and Chester runner-up Postileo.
1 PATRICK SARSFIELD
3 FATHER OF JAZZ
PATRICK SARSFIELD has the right credentials to give Joseph O’Brien a first Royal Ascot victory.
The son of Australia has already proved himself above Listed level with a success in the Group 3 Meld Stakes at the Curragh last July.
The deadline for penalties is August 31, so Patrick Sarsfield – who went on to make the podium in Group 1 and Group 2 company on the continent – is unencumbered this afternoon.
My selection made his return to the fray in the Listed Orby Stakes over this 10-furlong trip at the Curragh 13 days ago, and emerged with plenty of credit in finishing a head second to Reve De Vol.
Patrick Sarsfield lost out only in the shadow of the post that day, but is taken to go one better here.
Forest Of Dean carries a penalty as a result of his win in the Group 3 Winter Derby at Lingfield Park in February but has to enter calculations, with Felix and, at bigger odds, Father Of Jazz others to go into the melting pot.
1 SLEEPING LION
3 ARTHURIAN FABLE
SLEEPING LION impressed on his first start for Roger Charlton, and another good account is on the cards.
The son of Teofilo, a three-time winner for James Fanshawe, took in the Queen’s Prize at Kempton Park in April following a switch of stables hit the bullseye under Kieran Shoemark, mastering Postileo by a neck.
The pair crossed the line seven lengths in advance of the third horse – hence the 7lb rise in the weights, and Sleeping Lion has been kept in his cage at Beckhampton with the royal meeting in mind.
His latest success came over two miles, but the six-year-old has gained each of his previous victories over shorter, so the step back in distance should not prove a problem.
Favourite Saldier is well treated under a 4lb penalty for a seven-length margin at Listowel nine days ago, and the Willie Mullins-Ryan Moore combination is always to be feared.
At bigger prices, Arthurian Fable and Cardano are of most interest in a fascinating close to Tuesday’s fun.