What a week it’s been! We’ve had glitz, glamour and a large injection of Italian – but sadly it must now come to an end.
It promises to be quite the finale, though, and I can’t wait to partner Black Corton in the Queen Alexandra.
Pinatubo probably has the strongest form in the opener.
He won at Wolverhampton on debut, and that has worked out sensationally well with the second that day then scoring at Leicester before just losing out in the Windsor Castle earlier in the week.
The third also won next time so it really does look rock solid.
Since then he’s gone on to land the Woodcote at Epsom and on that evidence it looks as though 7f will suit, as he ended up pulling away from the field in strong fashion.
The other obvious one is Lope Y Fernandez.
He’s only had the one to start and was reluctant to load but did the business very impressively once in the race.
That was over 7f, so the trip is fine and the O’Brien two-year-olds are firing at the moment.
Happy Power has won with cut in the ground and did it nicely last time at York so looks to have a good shout for King Power Racing.
Others to consider are Space Blues and Urban Icon, who fought out the finish of a Listed race at Epsom on Derby weekend.
Of the two I’d be more inclined to go with Richard Hannon’s colt, who’ll be better suited by this track.
However, whether they’ll be quite good enough to beat Happy Power, I’m not sure.
His Haydock form now looks strong and Silvestre De Sousa gets the leg-up, so he looks the one to be with.
This is very competitive and it’s a race I’m really looking forward to.
Defoe is a horse I love. I was delighted to see him bounce back to his best in the Coronation Cup, a race he deserved to win.
It’s taken a couple of runs for him to get back to his best this season but on that Epsom form he’ll take all the beating.
Masar is having his first run since winning the Derby last year and they’ve opted to come here rather than the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes earlier in the week.
It’s a tough ask winning in Group company at Royal Ascot after so long off the track, but I’m sure Charlie Appleby and the team will have him bang on and it’ll be interesting to see how he gets on now.
The other one to note is Mirage Dancer, who won impressively on return to the track at Goodwood.
That was only Listed company, for all that the second has form in Group races, and he’ll need to improve a touch.
Blue Point’s inclusion is fascinating.
He’s obviously bounced out of his King’s Stand win absolutely fine and if he comes here in the same form then he’s the one to beat.
The step up to 6f isn’t an issue and he’s very tough, so I imagine he’ll be bang there.
Invincible Army has been a good horse for the last couple of seasons but this year he’s really started to show what he can do as a four-year-old.
Some of those sprinters do improve with time and he looks as though he’s doing just that.
If there’s any doubt about Blue Point then Invincible Army is the one to give him a run for his money.
At a bigger price, Projection is worth considering. He loves Ascot and could nab a place.
Frankie is an interesting jockey booking on Danzeno.
He won on his first and only start this season, streaking away impressively at Nottingham.
Pulling five lengths clear over 5f is quite a good effort and although this is a slightly different test, he certainly catches the eye for his shrewd trainer.
Another I wouldn’t rule out is Lake Volta.
He’s pretty consistent and is usually there or thereabouts.
Clenote is the one we’ve got to beat in the finale.
He’s got great course form around Ascot, with a third in the Gold Cup trial behind Dee Ex Bee among his most notable efforts.
He was third in the Cesarewitch in October so stays all day and he’s a good marker for us.
Max Dynamite is a good horse but hasn’t won in a long time, for all that he’s been running in better races.
He now needs to prove he’s capable of doing it in this grade.
I ride Black Corton in the race. He’s a top class jumper, rated 158 over fences, and put up a career best at Sandown last time out over 2m4f.
He loves going right-handed, has won around here and he’s coming here in great form.
He stays all day and we could have a big chance.
Dad’s delighted to be having a runner at the Royal meeting and hopefully we can come home in front.