Harry Allwood marks your card for the racing action on day four of Royal Ascot where the ground conditions are likely to be significantly different to the first three days.
The rain has well and truly arrived at Royal Ascot as the ground is now soft, and there are showers forecast throughout Friday.
I would not be surprised if the going was changed to heavy at some point, and there are already some significant non-runners, including Supremacy and Diligent Harry in the Commonwealth Cup, and Primo Bacio in the Coronation Stakes.
If the ground had remained good to firm, then I would have been siding with French-raider Suesa in the Commonwealth Cup (3.40pm). A quick glance at her form suggests she relishes softer ground and she landed a Group Three in style on soft last time out.
However, connections said afterwards that their unbeaten filly would be seen to better effect on a quicker surface and she was more impressive when successful the time before on good to soft ground, which was actually verging on good.
Suesa faces her strongest opposition yet on Friday and will need to be at her best to defeat last year’s Queen Mary winner Campanelle, who produced her career-best effort on soft ground last year.
Wesley Ward's charge got on top close home to score at Royal Ascot 12 months ago over the minimum trip and showed an extra furlong suits when winning the Prix Morny in impressive style on her next start.
She relished softer ground on that occasion, and I think the stiff six furlongs at Ascot will be ideal for her. It was also interesting to hear Wesley Ward say that Campanelle, who he described as a "big filly" last year, has filled into her frame, and further improvement can only be expected from his Group One winner as a three-year-old.
One slight worry is that she lacks a recent run due a slight setback (bruised heel), but it doesn't sound like she missed much work and this has been the long-term plan for the selection who was last seen finishing fourth at the Breeders' Cup where she failed to stay a mile.
The improving Dragon Symbol went close on heavy ground last time out, so is at least proven in the conditions, and he should be capable of being in the mix. However, although a case can be made for some of the other opposition, most need to up their game to trouble the leading protagonists, or are unproven on softer ground, and Campanelle will have almost everything in her favour.
I backed Primo Bacio ante-post for the Coronation Stakes, so it's a shame she is out of the Coronation Stakes, but I think it is a wise decision as soft ground would have surely blunted the turn of foot she has, and I'll be siding with her wherever she does run next.
The Sandringham Stakes (5.00pm) looks an impossible puzzle to solve, and the Duke Of Edinburgh (5.35pm) is also fiercely competitive, but one who looks over-priced in the latter contest at 20-1 with Ladbrokes and Paddy Power, who are both paying five places, is Favorite Moon who returns from a successful stint in Australia.
The four-year-old landed two valuable handicaps last year at Haydock and defeated Thursday's Gold Cup winner Subjectivist in the first of those two victories. He bolted up by almost nine lengths on the other occasion and both efforts were on soft ground, which he clearly relishes.
Although he did produce two below-par efforts at York last season, he was sent off favourite for both contests and it is possible he isn’t seen to best effect on the Knavesmire.
The son of Sea The Moon improved again to win a Group Three handicap over this trip - again on soft ground - on his first start in Australia at Rosehill and although he failed to back that effort up in a Group One next time out, he was stuck behind a wall of horses at a crucial stage and failed to pick up on the fast ground, so I’m willing to forgive him that run.
He certainly has the ability to go close if he can bounce back and soft ground looks the key to him, so it is likely he will get his favoured conditions on Friday.
Stall two could be seen as a negative as no horse drawn in single figures has won this race in the past decade, but the runner-up was drawn two last year, and the third was drawn next door in three.
The Palace Of Holyroodhouse Stakes (6.10pm) may be a 0-105 handicap, but it doesn’t look the strongest contest on paper and preference is for the improving Warrior Brave who is officially 7lb well-in following his second in a Listed contest at Sandown six days ago where he split two 103-rated rivals.
He showed a good attitude there, despite hanging left slightly, and was closing on the winner again towards the line. I expect his shrewd connections have had this race in mind for a while and this stiff finish will play to his strengths as he stays six furlongs.
Cheekpieces are replaced with blinkers and he ought to go close off a rating of 93 if he handles the ground, especially as he’s still relatively lightly-raced, and Silvestre de Sousa is on board again.
The two at the front of the market – Equality and Boomshalaa – are both unexposed, although the former needs to take another big step forward, and the latter was slowly away last time and won’t get away with that here.
How to bet £20 on the fourth day of Royal Ascot:
3.40 Ascot: Campanelle - £6 win at a general 9-2
5.35 Ascot: Favorite Moon - £2.50 each-way at 20-1 with Paddy Power and Betfair (who are paying five places)
6.10 Ascot: Warrior Brave - £2.50 each-way at 8-1 with William Hill (who are paying six places)
50p each-way trixie - Campanelle, Favorite Moon and Warrior BraveGet a FREE Racing TV Sports Jacket! Click here for more details.
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