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The Timeform Expert's View: Royal Ascot Day One
Posted in: Royal Ascot Tips
Nap - Sharja Bridge, Wolferton Stakes, 5.35 Ascot, Tuesday
Run as a non-handicap for the first time this year, the Wolferton Stakes looks thoroughly competitive but the one that brings the most interesting profile into the race is Sharja Bridge. He progressed a lot in his first season of racing, culminating in a good second to The Grape Escape at Sandown (with that rival going on to win again next-time-out), and he ran a cracker in a really tough environment on reappearance at Newmarket, losing out only to another progressive sort. That experience is likely to serve him well and the step up to a mile and a quarter seems sure to suit; with further progress in the offing Sharja Bridge is one to take seriously.
Next Best - Wootton, St James's Palace Stakes, 4.20 Ascot, Tuesday
Without Parole could be the real deal in the St James’s Palace Stakes, unbeaten and well worth his place at the top table, but there is nothing in his price and it’s worth looking elsewhere for a bit of value, with the French-trained Wootton the one selected. He won his first three races, showing a likeable attitude to fend off Olmedo in the Group 3 Prix de Fontainebleau at Longchamp in April. Wootton was unable to confirm the form with that rival in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains last time but he wasn’t seen to anything like best effect, pulling hard and caught wide but still only beaten by less than two lengths. It’s possible that he resented being ridden with more restraint that day and may yet do better should connections revert to more positive tactics.
Longshot - Indigo Balance, Coventry Stakes, 3.05 Ascot, Tuesday
This is a potentially hot renewal of the Coventry Stakes, Calyx and Sergei Prokofiev both very impressive to date whilst Cosmic Law certainly isn’t one to dismiss on the back of his taking Epsom win, but one worth chancing at a price, certainly each-way with four places on offer, is Indigo Balance. From a talented family, closely related to smart performers Cable Bay and Sea Wolf, he made an impressive winning debut at the Curragh, the most noteworthy element of his performance being the ease in which he made ground from towards the rear to lead over a furlong out. That race has worked out quite well, a couple of winners already emerging from it, and though this requires a big step forward he could well outrun his odds.
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