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ROYAL ASCOT 2011: Day 2 Preview

ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 14:  A general view of The Ascot Stakes during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot racecourse on June 14, 2011 in Ascot, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: A general view of The Ascot Stakes during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot racecourse on June 14, 2011 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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The second day of the 2011 Royal Ascot meet might not have quite the punch as a first day of Canford Cliffs, Goldikova and Frankel, but there is still an impressive line-up of Group stakes action, including the Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes for four-year-olds and up going 10 furlongs.  The Prince of Wales's Stakes will feature So You Think (NZ), an Aidan O'Brien trainee that has won his first two races in Ireland after shipping from Australia, including the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh on May 22nd.

So You Think sports a sterling record of 14-10-2-1 in flat races on the turf and won six G1 races in Australia prior to his move to Europe.  In his initial race in Ireland, the Group 3 Mooresbridge Stakes, he steamrolled a field of six by ten easy lengths at the wire.  The competition increased a bit in the Gold Cup, but So You Think's dominance was no less impressive during his 4 1/2 length win over Campanologist.

Bookmakers in the U.K. have set the odds on So You Think in the 1/3 to 4/9 range. 

The second choice in the ante post market is Planteur (FR), winner of the Group 1 Prix Ganay at Longchamp on April 30th.  Planteur was 7th in the Arc last fall, before being disqualified for interference.

The third choice in the ante post market is a battle between Twice Over (GB) and Rewilding (GB).  Rewilding is coming into the Prince of Wales's Stakes off a win in the G1-Dubai Sheema Classic on the World Cup undercard. Twice Over also ran in Dubai, but he finished a disappointing 9th in the G1-Dubai World Cup.  He followed that race up with an attempt at a mile race in the G1-Lockinge Stakes, but he was well behind winner Canford Cliffs (IRE). Twice Over appears to be off his best form at this point in the season.

The Prince of Wales's Stakes is the third race on Wednesday's Royal Ascot card.

Other things to look for on Wednesday:

  • Wesley Ward will send out Gypsy Robin in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes for two-year-old fillies at five furlongs.  Gypsy Robyn enters the Queen Mary off of an impressive 7 1/2 length victory in a Maiden Special Weight at Keeneland back on April 22nd.  Ward is likely hoping for firmer ground on Wednesday that will help his speed juvenile.
  • The fourth race on the card is the Royal Hunt Cup, a one mile handicap for three-year-olds and up featuring an insane field of 33 horses.  33.  I have no idea how to handicap a race with 33 horses.  Talk about a difficult task of envisioning how this race will unfold; who knows what can happen with that many horses running that short of a distance. 

    Green Destiny (IRE) is on a bit of a roll with three wins in his last three starts, including his seasonal debut at Newmarket in the Suffolk Handicap, a race I saw in person on Guineas day.  The Suffolk featured a 19-horse field going 9 furlongs and I was just as clueless in that race as I am in this one. He seems as good a choice as any.
  • About the only race where I really liked a specific horse was the first race of the day, the Group 3 Jersey Stakes.  The Jersey Stakes is a 7 furlong race for three-year-olds with a field of 10.  I like the looks of Havane Smoker (GB), a French-raced colt that enters Royal Ascot off of a couple of 2nd place efforts at Longchamp (G1-Poule d'Essai des Poulains) and Masions-Laffite (G3-Prix Djebel) this spring.

    Ante post odds on Havane Smoker range from 4/1 to 9/2.