Five price horses of interest at Royal Ascot 2020
As we begin to offer our Royal Ascot selections and analysis, here’s an early look at a price horse of interest in five Group 1 events across the meeting. With fields for later in the week still in flux, the final two on this list are more provisional.
1) Tuesday’s Queen Anne
Considering the muddled picture of the European mile division, and the fact that favorite Circus Maximus struck me as slightly opportunistic last year, this “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) looks ripe for an upset. The trick is finding the right candidate among a few plausible alternatives, and I’ve landed on the 10-1 Roseman as an upwardly mobile type for Roger Varian. The lightly raced 4-year-old was last seen dominating a pretty solid yardstick in Century Dream at Newmarket in November. That came off a layoff of more than four months, indicating he can fire fresh here. A blueblood by outstanding young sire Kingman, Roseman is entitled to pick up where he left off and reach new heights this season.
2) Wednesday’s Prince of Wales’s
Last year’s Cambridgeshire hero has continued to improve since then, most recently beating a select field in the June 7 Brigadier Gerard (G3). On a strict formline through runner-up Elarqam, Lord North can be competitive with hot favorite Japan. The improving son of Dubawi handles all kinds of ground, an adaptability that will come in handy with the chance of rain, and he’s handy enough to work out a trip in what shapes up as a tactical affair. The 12-1 shot promises to put up another bold effort.
3) Thursday’s Gold Cup
It would take a combination of soft ground and a rival running the race of his life to deny two-time defending champion Stradivarius. Nayef Road is reportedly sitting on a move forward after his Sagaro (G3) prep for Mark Johnston, lending him at least exacta appeal and possibly more if the favorite is vulnerable. Nayef Road was among the leading 3-year-old stayers last season, notably winning the Gordon (G3) and placing third in Logician’s record-setting St Leger (G1). The son of Galileo was previously a close third in last summer’s Queen’s Vase (G2) here, on soft ground, so he’s likely adaptable to a range of conditions. Nayef Road is a logical “each-way” proposition at a bigger price than the others with claims.
4) Friday’s Commonwealth Cup
Lope Y Fernandez
Going into last week’s Irish 2000 Guineas (G1), trainer Aidan O’Brien had freely confessed the suspicion that Lope Y Fernandez might in fact be a sprinter. That view was arguably substantiated after the son of Lope de Vega made a big move to strike the front in the mile classic, only to get outkicked late by the impressive Siskin and then nabbed for second by Vatican City. Lope Y Fernandez had the option of cutting back plus getting class relief in Thursday’s Jersey (G3), so it could be read as an added vote of confidence from the “lads” that he’s still in this spot. With a recency (and experience) edge over early favorite Pierre Lapin, Lope Y Fernandez can secure his future as a Coolmore stallion in an open-looking renewal.
5) Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee
The two-time Prix de la Foret (G1) heroine has the added appeal of Ascot form. Last seen finishing second at this course and distance in the Oct. 19 British Champions Sprint (G1), One Master also swept to the lead in last summer’s Queen Anne before getting collared in third. Trainer William Haggas opted to begin her campaign in this 6-furlong sprint, as the most suitable place since she’ll be pretty fresh off the layoff. One Master has run well, albeit in defeat, first up in the past, but she was also resuming over longer in 2018-19. In light of the price you’re apt to get on a runner of her proven Group 1 ability, she’s worth a flyer against other accomplished rivals in the same boat, and with class-climbing favorite Sceptical untested at this level.