Royal Ascot Trials Day tips: Jamie Lynch’s five to follow including Trueshan and Lusail!
Sky Sports Racing’s senior analyst Jamie Lynch is back with five runners to note ahead of Wednesday’s Royal Ascot Trials Day, all live on Sky Sports Racing.
1.30 – Howden Manny Mercer Apprentice Handicap
It’s only two or three times a year that you will see a horse in a handicap like Yaanaas, who has been worth the wait and looks worth the weight, and then some.
His load of 9-13 translates in this handicap to a mark of 92, which almost certainly undersells Yaanaas as it’s rare that a four-year-old can overcome the weight-for-age first time out as he did at Newcastle and rarer still that one defies a penalty against previous winners like he managed at Kempton, where the half-length winning margin was unflattering on him, left playing catch-up in a race that turned into a sprint.
Performances of that power and potential straight off the bat are usually the hallmarks of a least a listed horse, which Yaanaas probably is, making it interesting that Roger Varian is setting him this alternative assignment of a big-field handicap on turf, at Ascot , presumably as a test run for the Royal Hunt Cup.
The All-Weather was coincidental to when he was (belatedly) ready to get going and there’s no reason to think he will not be at least as effective on grass, by Ulysses and out of a sister to Almanzor, the reason he cost 320,000 guineas as a yearling, as well as further evidence for thinking 92 will not accurately assess his ability.
It’s an apprentice race and therefore a big chance for Aidan Keeley, the grandson of Brian Rouse, who is yet to ride a winner for Roger Varian (from seven attempts) since joining the stable at the start of the season, though he is no stranger to straight-course success having landed last year’s Cambridgeshire on Majestic.
2.40 – Naas Racecourse Royal Ascot Trials Day British EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes
We are dealing off the bottom of the deck in the fillies’ novice because they have all raced so little, or not at all in the case of the blue-blooded Queen For You, whose intrigue is increased by the fact the Gosdens won this with a newcomer (Grande Dame) last year, but the bottom line to this race is that Dancing Goddess sets the bar very high, probably too high for the rest to surpass.
The five-year average for the winner’s Timeform rating in this event is 93, and Dancing Goddess is already 97, while heading higher. Running Lion has only been taken out of the 1000 Guineas at the latest forfeit stage this week, but is clearly aiming for the top, and she had both an experience and tactical edge over Dancing Goddess when they met at Kempton last month, reflecting well on the green-running Dancing Goddess that she got within a length by the line.
Charlie Appleby has run three fillies in this race, Creative Flair and Dathanna both successful, while the other was a needy debutante last year but Eternal Pearl ended up just 9-2 for the Fillies’ & Mares’ Stakes on Champions Day after winning four in a row including two Group 3s. It will take something very, very good indeed to beat Dancing Goddess here.
3.15 – Longines Sagaro Stakes
The Sagaro Stakes feels like a career crossroads for Trueshan, at the age of seven, in the sense that if he does not win this then his days at the top level are almost certainly behind him.
Following an unblemished 12 months – between July ’21 and June ’22 – during which time he carried all before him, some scuffs and tears have since been inflicted onto his cloak of invincibility, losing three of his last four races, surprisingly so on his Nottingham comeback at the hands of the inferior Rajinsky.
He is not the only one in this field with an ‘I beat Trueshan’ t-shirt, because Coltrane got one, too, after the Doncaster Cup last September.
The fault lines in Trueshan are more visible and less guarded these days, but it was still only last summer that he produced one of the handicap performances of all time, and the reason the Sagaro is in effect D-Day for him is that there are no excuses for him this time, with a run behind him, on ground he loves, at a track where he’s undefeated, comprising three long distance cups.
So, what’s it to be, Trueshan, at the career crossroads? The path to retirement, or the path to resurgence? It’s all up to him, and his best friend Hollie, to show us the way.
4.25 – Howden Bloodstock Paradise Stakes
There’s no arguing about the best horse in the Paradise Stakes, a mere listed race, way beneath one with an official rating of 121 as My Prospero now is following last year’s sign-off when right amongst Bay Bridge, Adayar and Baaeed in the Champion Stakes .
However, racing is rarely ever a black-and-white issue, and the gray area for My Prospero is two-fold, firstly the distance, short of his best form, and secondly his agenda, with bigger fish to fry later on, unlikely to be razor-sharp for this, the two factors combined potentially leaving him vulnerable.
That’s the theory, anyway. Lusail actually finished a short-head in front of My Prospero when the pair were second and third in last year’s St James’s Palace Stakes and, though they went their separate ways thereafter, with My Oberon hitting new heights, Lusail is his worst nightmare here, because he’s up and running for the year (ran well for sixth in the Turf Sprint Cup in Saudi), and he’s probably the pacier of the pair, which will be a useful weapon in what promises to be a tactical race up the straight mile.
A peak-form My Prospero would indeed pick this lot up and carry them in mid-season over 1¼m, but this is the start of his season and a messy mile in prospect, and if Lusail is ever going to give him a fright it will be here
5.00 – Svend Kold Memorial Handicap
There are several ‘firsts’ in play with Rambuso Creek here to act as a catalyst to unlock the sort of performance he has often shaped was in him.
For starters, it’s his first visit to Ascot, a track that should suit him given he’s a strong-travelling hold-up horse with a turn of foot.
Then there’s the new jockey for him, Hollie Doyle getting aboard for the first time, with the hope that she will sprinkle some of her magic on him, and, more practically, he’s being tried in cheekpieces to help generate that extra edge.
He had a run at Beverley a fortnight ago to blow away the cobwebs, and it’s worth remembering how he sprang forward from his comeback last season to win second time out.
The case for him is based more in hope and hunch than expectation, but there are various reasons for an uplift by him at Ascot, and it’s a risk worth taking at a double-figure price.