A longshot for every day of Royal Ascot 2022
While Royal Ascot showcases the talents of the superstars, the ultra-competitiveness of the summer festival can also produce some big prices.
Here are five contenders likely to get overlooked amid the depth on offer.
Tuesday’s King’s Stand (G1) – Mooneista
With Wesley Ward’s brilliant Golden Pal and Australian supremo Nature Strip on the scene, this five-furlong dash will be a speed exhibition. Whichever one prevails in their heavyweight bout, chances are that the closers will enjoy the race shape, and potentially punch above their weight. Irish filly Mooneista is a case in point. A Group 2 winner over older males last summer at this trip, she cuts back after an excellent runner-up effort in the six-furlong Greenlands (G2). Mooneista also has Ascot form, with a sneaky sixth in the Commonwealth Cup (G1) here a year ago on unsuitably heavy going.
Wednesday’s Prince of Wales’s (G1) – Grand Glory
If Shahryar makes a lot of sense in this spot, why not Grand Glory who was just 1 1/2 lengths behind him in last November’s Japan Cup (G1)? Shahryar was third, and Grand Glory was a fast-closing fifth at Tokyo. That was an outstanding run from the French Group 1-winning mare over a distance that suited Shahryar better, and their rematch comes in Grand Glory’s 1 1/4-mile wheelhouse. She enters in razor-sharp form, after two decisive wins in Paris that prompted connections to supplement her here.
Thursday’s Ribblesdale (G2) – Magical Lagoon
Skipping Epsom by design, trainer Jessica Harrington has kept Magical Lagoon for Royal Ascot ahead of a tilt at the Irish Oaks (G1). She just lost on the head-bob in the 1 1/4-mile Salsabil S. to Concert Hall, the subsequent third in the Irish 1000 Guineas (G1) and fourth in the Epsom Oaks (G1). Magical Lagoon’s pedigree points to improvement at this 1 1/2-mile distance, as a Galileo filly who is a half-sister to Novellist, the course record-setter here in the 2013 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth (G1).
Friday’s Commonwealth Cup (G1) – Sacred Bridge
There’s no shortage of value in this six-furlong sprint for three-year-olds at various stages of development. Yet Sacred Bridge is eligible to go off at least twice the odds of others who would qualify in this slot. The Juddmonte homebred appeared bound for stardom at two, until ending her season on a subpar note. A flirtation with the classic trail saw her try seven furlongs in her comeback, but a fourth to the superb Homeless Songs ensured that Sacred Bridge’s future lies in shorter races. The Ger Lyons trainee rebounded in her tune-up that should put her just right. The replay from last summer’s Round Tower (G3) shows what she can do at her best.
Saturday’s Platinum Jubilee (G1) – Diligent Harry
While Japan’s Grenadier Guards has appeal at double-digit odds, Diligent Harry is under the radar at an even bigger price. Trainer Clive Cox, who has had several sprint standouts, rates him as Group 1-caliber. Diligent Harry hasn’t had the chance to live up to that judgment yet, and his lone start on this course was a toss-out on soft going last fall. But his collateral form through Happy Romance supports Cox’s faith. If he’s fit and good to go after a spring hiccup, Diligent Harry can make his presence felt.
"He’s got to break his duck in group company" - York could be on the cards for Diligent Harry!— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) March 30, 2022