There is talk of a statue of Stradivarius if he wins the Gold Cup for a fourth time in a fifth Royal Ascot success on Thursday, and I really think he will if the weather holds. If the ground was to go soft, Trueshan and the brilliant Hollie Doyle may have something to say. Either way, Stradivarius may still get his statue for five Goodwood Cups next month.
Hopefully the four I have put up will handle conditions whatever they are and run well in some unbelievably tough events.
His late withdrawal on Derby day was much discussed and cursed by ante-post punters, given he was a single-figure price for Epsom after strolling home in two small-field Newmarket events this spring, most recently an effortless Listed success.
Mohaafeth certainly looked set for a good run at Epsom, so stepping down to Group Three level represents an opportunity to restore faith as much as anything. Most of these have already perhaps reached the ceiling of their form and none have the potential of the Haggas horse, whose latest win probably represents the best form anyway. He may have much further to go yet.
It didn’t work out for Summa Peto on his last visit to Ascot to July, ending up a well-beaten 50/1 shot on what transpired to his final two-year-old start. But whatever curtailed his season is clearly behind him, bolting up in two races so far this term. Both contests have already proven to be stronger than may have been expected, with good winners coming out of each race.
Summa Peto gets this mile trip well and trainer Keith Dalgleish does not waste bullets when putting runners in these big southern races. I’m hopeful the return visit to Ascot might be worthwhile this time around
Although Kondo Isami was beaten in a close finish last time, I’m taking the view that getting in a battle at this point in his career will prove a good lesson ahead of running in the toughest three-year-old handicap of the season so far.
Kondo Isami won well in another battle at York on his penultimate start and runner-up Takshan went on to win well next time (reopposes here on 8lb worse terms).
Mark Johnston unsurprisingly has a good record in the King George V Stakes race given his horses are usually more battle-hardened than some arriving here and that may be a key factor.
I don’t feel the drop back down to a mile and a half will be a negative at all, as this race is certain to be a real test at 12 furlongs. His draw is fine and everything points to a big run, albeit in an extremely tough race.
The pace might be among the high numbers in this handicap, in which several formerly had Group class aspirations.
Persuasion ran well in what turned out to be a pretty good Group Three contest as a juvenile and was subsequently tried in the 2000 Guineas – won by Kameko - at a trip which he just doesn’t stay and at a level which he wasn’t up to in any case.
Persuasion disappointed in four runs as a three-year-old last term but has been in much better form this season, looking about to work his way back up the ladder. He beat his stablemate Dulas in a competitive Haydock handicap last time and, given that horse won well next time, the 3lb rise for that victory definitely looks lenient.
Seven furlongs is definitely his trip, so this race was clearly earmarked for Persuasion since then. Battaash may have been turned over in the King’s Stand but the Charlie Hills yard remains in very good form.Start your free one month trial of Racing TV now and enjoy all the action from Britain and Ireland!
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