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Preview of day four and horses to follow on Friday

Our experts take a look at the entries for day four at Royal Ascot and answer some of the key questions facing punters on Friday.


If there is no Fallen Angel in the Coronation Stakes, is the door open for Opera Singer?

Tony McFadden: Opera Singer was Timeform’s highest-rated junior mare last season, following her emphatic five-length success in the Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp on Arc Day, and she ran respectably when third on her return in the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh last month, especially then taking into account that she might have needed the run after suffering a setback.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Opera Singer improve with that run under her belt, but I prefer the claims of Ramatuelle whose speed on this lap course could be decisive. She finished close to home in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and was eventually beaten by a neck and a short head in third place by Elmalka, although she deserves credit for being comfortably the best of those who raced prominently in a strongly run race , and she was impressed with how she got through most of that competition.

David Ord: It’s one big danger gone, but there are many more and I think Aidan O’Brien’s attack is too short at 6/4.

Oisin Murphy is a positive booking for Ramatuelle, and racing around a corner will help her too. Fellow French raider Rouhiya is upwardly mobile and showed good turn to win the French 1000 Guineas. Devoted Queen is three from three and improving for Godolphin the whole Porta Fortuna is teak strong and ran a cracker to finish second in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.

But with a few high-profile bad luck stories behind that day, I don’t think so Elmalka got the credit she deserved for winning. After all, it was only her third career start, she still had a rough edge and if she was more professional on Friday, she has the engine to run them all.

Ben Linfoot: Aidan O’Brien’s daughter of Justify would have had a job to turn around Ireland’s 1,000 Guineas form with Fallen Angel as she had to make up around five lengths, but there’s no doubt she’s expected to improve now that she’s had that seasonality has reappeared under her belt.

It’s a good race and Ramatuelle could be that of the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, but Opera singer seems to justify favoritism with her very good two-year-old form in mind. I can’t see myself betting against her at this stage.

Are you for or against Vandeek’s return to the Commonwealth Cup?

Tony McFadden: Vandeek was the highest rated youth player trained in Britain last season after an unbeaten season that culminated in victory in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket, but he was well below that level when he finished only third behind Inisherin in the Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock.

That lackluster effort leaves doubt as to whether Vandeek will be able to replicate his two-year form while Inisherin ran to a very smart standard at Haydock on his first start at six furlongs and, with the potential for more to come, he’s the one I’ll be siding with.

David Ord: He could do it, but there’s no escaping the fact that the Sandy Lane return was boring and his tendency to overrace early was again evident.

If he finds the best of his two-year-old form he’s still setting the standard, but Haydock winner Inisherin is approaching that sort of Timeform figure himself and is a big player along with Newbury winner Elite Status in the same side. .

There are others too, I think Jasour is a very solid each-way bet at around 10/1. He looks like a top class sprinter and his performance in winning the trial over this course and distance in the spring suggested he is on the verge of becoming one too.

Ben Linfoot: I think the ground influenced his return to third behind the redefending Inisherin and if he goes faster next Friday we could very well see the real Vandeek emerge.

That said, I also think a few of these have overtaken him and yet he’s still priced like he could be a notch above the opposition, so I can see myself taking him on. Jasour and Jim Crowley, who get along so well, are at the top of the shortlist at the time of writing.

The King Edward VII Stakes has the usual mix of most Derby horses and their trials. What is your perspective?

Tony McFadden: Nothing here sets a high standard, so I’ll look for an unexposed improver to make a big leap forward. Someone who fits the bill is Space legend as he made a good impression when winning at Leicester on his return and then looked desperately unhappy when second to Meydaan in the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood last time.

Space Legend ran out of space and shuffled back at a crucial stage, leading to Meydaan taking the first point, but he impressed with how strongly he finished to cut the deficit to a neck and remains in position to better some luck give when running.

David Ord: Aidan O’Brien is clearly a starting point, as he numerically dominates the entries. The initial suggestion was that Chief Little Rock and Illinois were the potential runners, but it’s clear things could change.

The latter would be very interesting after his second place at Ambiente Friendly in the Lingfield Derby trial where he looked uncomfortable on the track. Bellum Justum and Macduff represent the Derby form but were well beaten at Epsom. Voyager will be given the chance to have a shot at another major prize after his early misfortune there, but I think the dominant form could come to the fore at Goodwood.

Meydaan won that day and keeps moving forward Space legend in second place he looked unhappy as he ran out of space far out and shuffled straight back at a crucial s5age. He came home okay, only suffered a neck blow and seems ready for this kind of test.

Ben Linfoot: I think agenda is a good horse and he ran a good race from the front when second in the Chester Vase. He had the best results that day, but I suspect he will be quite versatile in terms of tactics and Aidan O’Brien’s mount can probably play a big part in this, on just his fourth career start.

It was interesting that he missed the Derby to come here and this seems the perfect next step for the son of Galileo, who could well take a high place among the three-year-olds in the middle distance later in the season, despite everything he has done. did. looks a bit slow.

And where should punters look at the handicaps on Friday?

Tony McFadden: Deakin ended last season on a roll, following a win by a comfortable margin in a Roscommon maiden with an equally emphatic success in a handicap at Thurles, and there was much to like about the way he shaped up as he finished runner-up to Crystal Black on his return at the Curragh last month. Deakin, who had been falling during the trip, looked the likely winner when he briefly broke free approaching the final furlong, but headed in the closing strides.

That form has already been boosted by his third valuable handicap win at the Curragh and Deakin has every right to be fitter with that performance under his belt. He is a versatile middle-distance handicapper with more to offer and will certainly stand out wherever he plays at Royal Ascot.

David Ord: The closing Palace Of Holyrood Stakes is ultra-competitive – no, to be honest, it is – but I think it can be tailor-made for Mukaafah.

He will be racing at five furlongs for the first time, but he is performing strongly in his races and will finish strong. Kevin Philippart de Foy’s strike was a revelation when he made his first start at Doncaster last month, clearly thundering to beat Cool Dividend by length and three-quarters.

The runner-up winner was a winner at Haydock on his next start and although the selection at Ascot is up eight pounds this should allow him to sneak into the race and he looked a sprint handicapper to follow at Town Moor.

Ben Linfoot: I was happy to see Indelible in Sandringham and The share right at the Palace Of Holyrood House handicaps as both are very much on the radar as I wrote this piece here.

The other handicap on day four is the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes over 1m4f and the Irish look likely to have a strong hand. Willie Mullins’ Ethical diamond Things are likely to look better if he moves back to 1m4f and with Ryan Moore, who has won this race three times in the last decade, already taking the piss out of him, it looks like connections mean business.



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