Royal Ascot Thursday Spotlight: Seeking consequential result in Norfolk

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

June 21st, 2017

Ladies Day (Thursday) at Royal Ascot kicks off with the five-furlong Norfolk Stakes (G2), an affair so contentious I felt comfortable eliminating only five of the 18 entrants on my first run through the race. Ultimately, you have to take a stand, and I've done so using a little pedigree research but relying more on visual impressions and some (hopefully good) intuition.

1. #3 CONSEQUENCES (15-1), like my Coventry (G2) choice Headway on Tuesday, has made a favorable impression (on me anyway) so far in two starts. Debuting in a relatively lucrative spot at York, he traveled very comfortably before seizing control a quarter-mile out. However, the more experienced #14 SANTRY (6-1), having already won on soft, handled the testing ground a little more effectively and Consequences was 2 1/2 lengths down at the finish. A prohibitive favorite in a cheaper spot at Catterick Bridge earlier this month, Consequences got the maiden win out of the way without much effort over dryer ground. Provided the Ascot surface doesn't get inundated with heat-breaking rain by post time, this colt might show some late kick with a journey similar to the ones he's enjoyed thus far.

2. #16 TRUE BLUE MOON (8-1) enters perfect from two starts for jockey-turned-trainer Joseph O'Brien. After beating next out winner Dali over the synthetic at Dundalk, he again showed useful acceleration when asked inside the final furlong to land the Rochestown Stakes at Naas, also over five furlongs. One of two previous stakes winners in the field, he should continue to improve.

3. #11 NINE BELOW ZERO (8-1), from the family of Commonwealth Cup (G1) winner Quiet Reflection, is another that has traveled well en route to two convincing wins. Obviously takes a major step up in class after beating seemingly modest fields at Salisbury and Royal Windsor, but the ante post action he's generated so far suggests punters have been similarly impressed and not too concerned about where he's run and against whom.

Ringo Starr fans, of which there might be a few in Britain, will have a hunch play in #7 IT DONT COME EASY (10-1). Fourth first out in the aforementioned race at York that included SANTRY and CONSEQUENCES, he, too, rebounded on more favorable ground taking a $25,000 conditions event at Musselburgh. SANTRY is two-for-two on soft ground, and can be upgraded if the course receives some unexpected cut in the ground. Otherwise, he'll have to prove he can be just as effective on a faster surface. Is the Wesley Ward trained #9 McERIN (3-1) too fast for these? Quite possibly, but I'm willing to take a stand against him at a short price to find out. Speedster #6 HAVANA GREY (8-1) won the National Stakes at Sandown and is one of several others that would merit inclusion if you're spreading a lot in Trifectas.

Check out my views on the three other group stakes at Royal Ascot on Thursday at

For the complete running order, with post times, visit the special Royal Ascot page. The free Brisnet international PPs are accessible here, and don't miss the jam-packed betting guide.