Aidan O’Brien is synonymous with Royal Ascot. And why shouldn’t he be? The Irishman has made the meeting his own with two wins in the last three years, and he brings plenty of strong chances to the table this time around, probably headed by Leading Light in the Ascot Gold Cup and The Great War in the Norfolk heading his chances before Adelaide runs on Friday in the King Edward Stakes. However there’s a lot of completion on all fronts for his trainers crown and it maybe that Richard Hannon proves to be the better bet for the honours at a far better price. Hannon has an incredibly strong depth to his challenge this week, starting with Toronado and Kool Kompany and then with Night of Thunder, and he also has Sky Lantern to come in the Duke of Cambridge tomorrow. In the shape of Tiggy Wiggy beforehand he has a strong contender in the Queen Mary Stakes and Sea Shanty a berry red shut then most in the Hunt Cup. Armed with plenty in top handicaps too – the like of Windshear in the King George V – he should have leading chances in at least half the races and could rack up well in the place standings too for count back.
Sir Michael Stoute’s middle distance hand is a strong one but preference is for John Gosden to make a bold showing. Kingman is a fine chance for him on day one and while The Fugue looks to have a lot on her plate in the Princess of Wales’s against Treve, she’s likely to be one of the leading contenders should the French mare falter. From then his leading chances may not be as plentiful as others but he does bring a strong handicap challenge to the table. William Haggas is most interesting of the biggest priced contenders.
In the jockeys battle, Richard Hughes appeals most of the leading contenders. As main stable jockey to Richard Hannon, he has fine chances over the first two days especially, and they look of a stronger quality than Ryan Moore’s or Joesph O’Brien’s best hopes.
However this is a market open to bigger prices and Jamie Spencer’s position as number 1 to Qatar Racing offers some fantastic opportunities, not least Hot Streak and Mind of Madness on the opening day, and later inn the week he gets a chance to go at Ahian Emerati (Norfolk) and Inchila (Ribblesdale) on the Thursday. He could easily take the beating.
Advice – Top Trainer
2 pts Richard Hannon (7/2 Hills)
1 pt John Gosden (10/1 general)
Advice – Top Jockey
1 pt Richard Hughes (7/2 general)
1 pt Jamie Spencer (16/1 general)