Dubai Station, whose form tailed off dramatically after finishing third in last year’s Norfolk Stakes due to some niggling injuries, can prove his win first time out this season was no fluke by winning Friday’s Commonwealth Cup.
“He’s totally underestimated and has a fantastic turn of foot,” said his trainer Karl Burke on Thursday. “He wants cover and riding for speed so his draw might make it a bit awkward and Ben (Curtis) will have to take a pull and ride him for a bit of luck. He’s definitely over-priced.”
Neither the Mill Reef winner Pierre Lapin or the Middle Park runner-up Golden Horde have had a run this season and might not be so effective on the ground while many of the rest are backing up quickly after trying to stretch their stamina to a mile in either the 2,000 Guineas or Irish Guineas.
The ground should play into the hands of Andrew Balding’s Morando in the Hardwicke Stakes.
Last season he won the Ormonde on soft first time out beating Kew Gardens eight lengths and, in October he won the Cumberland Lodge by six lengths at the track.
Read more: Tips and best bets for Royal Ascot
Elarqam, out of Attraction by Frankel, will not be far away and his head defeat by the Prince of Wales’s winner Lord North at Haydock now has a rather nice look to it. Last season his best race was his defeat to Japan in the International but, for me, he needs to go and do it on a big occasion. Having beaten Addeybb on soft, the ground will not be an excuse.
It is good to have last year’s Derby winner here in Anthony Van Dyck but he has not won a race since, and although his second to Ghaiyyath reminded us that there is an engine in there somewhere, he does not look good value for favourite.
In the same ownership, King Power Racing, as Morando, Art Power does not look like he will be kicking around in handicaps much longer so should be hard to beat in the Palace of Hollyroodhouse Handicap, particularly as he ticks the boxes on draw and ground.
The two-year-olds get their chance to show us what they are made of on Friday. Those races that have not been run on the all-weather have, invariably, been run on pretty quick ground so that could throw the form out a bit.
Valpolicella won her maiden at Newmarket marginally quicker than Satarhe beating Cirrus in their division, so I am not totally sure why Paul and Oliver Cole’s grey is twice the price in the Albany and though it was quick that day, her sire Tamayuz loved a bit of soft ground so it might be worth a punt.
Mark Johnston’s Eye of Heaven probably put up one of the most eye-catching runs by a two-year-old so far and that form was a big boost by the victory of the third, Tactical, in the Windsor Castle on Wednesday.
He will be all the rage for the Norfolk but you cannot go with the favourite all the time and I like Mike Bell’s The Lir Jet who broke the track record at Yarmouth on debut. It might be worth noting that his sire, Prince of Lir, won this race on soft.