Talking Horses: Symbolize can capture Victoria Cup at Ascot | Horse racing

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The strong chance of rain at Ascot overnight does not make Saturday’s Tote+ Victoria Cup any easier to unravel and the long-standing belief that the stands’ rail is best on testing ground has also looked shaky since the track was relaid in 2006.

The very limited evidence of eight big-field handicaps on soft or heavy since then includes three winners from stall one or two, but what could be significant on Saturday is that the speedy Sunset Breeze is drawn against the near rail in 29.

He should give the high numbers a decent lead and Symbolize (3.40) could be the main beneficiary. Andrew Balding’s gelding has yet to add to his solitary win on debut in May 2019 but has plenty of form at Ascot – including a third in last year’s Jersey Stakes over this trip – and looked better than ever on his first run since being gelded, finishing second to a handicap blot at Newmarket in April.

Ascot 1.55 Conservatoire posted wins on soft and heavy ground in a progressive two-year-old campaign, starts the season on a fair mark and should appreciate the step up to a mile.

Lingfield 2.15 Wirko did not boost the Blue Riband form in Wednesday’s Chester Vase but Technique, the runner-up at Epsom in April, did really well against the colts first time up and should build on that here.

Ascot 2.30 Albaflora was second to a subsequent Listed winner last September and will appreciate softening ground.

Lingfield 2.50 Adayar made plenty of ground to finish second in Sandown’s Classic Trial and looks sure to be suited by this step up in trip.

Haydock 3.10 Another valuable jumps race looks booked for export as Irish raider Shanroe progressed with every run last season, concluding with an easy success over Easter weekend at Fairyhouse.

Lingfield 3.25 Double Or Bubble steps up from handicap company but her sister Mix And Mingle took a similar path to Pattern success and she brushed her opponents aside in impressive style at Newmarket last time.

Lingfield 4.00 Just four runners but tricky all the same. Asad is the marginal call after a positive start to the year.

Quick Guide

Greg Wood’s Saturday tips


Lingfield Park 

1.05 For Richard

1.40 Natty Night

2.15 Technique

2.50 Adayar

3.25 Double Or Bubble

4.00 Asad

4.35 Cloudy Dawn 


1.15 Dark Shift

1.45 Cowboy Soldier

2.20 Seagulls Nest

2.55 Last Empire

3.30 Morlaix

4.05 Bint Al Anood

4.40 Keeper’s Choice 

Haydock Park 

1.25 Corrieben River

2.00 North Of Amazing

2.35 Cape Byron

3.10 Shanroe

3.45 Tomfre

4.20 Ffion

4.55 Fortified Bay

5.35 Exelerator Express 


1.55 Conservatoire

2.30 Albaflora

3.05 Desert Dreamer

3.40 Symbolize (nap)

4.15 Louganini (nb)

4.50 Highly Sprung

5.25 Miss Mulligan 


2.10 Itsnotyouitsme

2.45 Milans Edge

3.20 Sheriff Garrett

3.55 Dr Kanaga

4.30 Tara Mill

5.05 Absolutely Dylan

5.40 Betty Baloo 


5.12 Erne River

5.45 Mister Watson

6.20 Pounding Poet

6.50 Sandymount Rose

7.20 Stormy Flight

7.50 Max Dynamo

8.20 Walkonthewildside 


5.30 Mo Celita

6.05 Ustath

6.35 The Thin Blue Line

7.05 Sociologist

7.35 Frantoio

8.05 Atiyah

8.35 Asmund

Ascot 4.15 Louganini did not seem to appreciate good-to-firm ground last time but has every chance if he can return to the form of his second in the Old Rowley Cup on soft at Newmarket last autumn.

Frankie Dettori ends 30-year wait for Chester Cup

Frankie Dettori overcame a slow start from a tricky draw to land the Chester Cup for only the second time in his career, bringing the top-weight Falcon Eight, a 15-2 chance, with a powerful run to lead well inside the final furlong and beat The Grand Visir by two lengths, Greg Wood reports from Chester

Dettori was just a few months past his 20th birthday when he took the Roodee’s famous staying handicap in 1991 and he needed to draw on his decades of experience to get Falcon Eight home after he was slow to stride from stall 10.

Dettori had just four of his 15 opponents behind him as they passed the winning post with two circuits to travel and was still in the same position after another lap of the Roodee. He made steady progress towards the leaders from three out, however, and Falcon Eight’s Group-class finishing speed proved overwhelming when Dettori kicked at the top of the straight.

“We all have plan but when you get that many runners on such a tight track, you have to adapt and readjust your tactics and let the race unfold,” Dettori said, “and that was the case for me today. I took a pull and saved ground all the way to the back, then I got to three-and-a-half and went two or three wide and sling-shotted around the turn, and in fairness, he picked up.

“He’s a Group horse really, Dermot [Weld, his trainer] always had this race in mind and he booked me for this three weeks ago. He can be lazy at times but today he showed a good turn of foot.”

Armory, placed in Group One company in Australia last time out, dropped back to Group Three company to record an easy success in the Huxley Stakes and will now return to racing at the highest level, probably in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot next month.

“He’s really matured,” Aidan O’Brien, Armory’s trainer, said. “He has an unbelievable turn of foot which is a great thing in a horse as you don’t mind if they go fast or slow, he quickens very well.”

Armory is an 8-1 chance to win at Royal Ascot, in a market headed by Lord North, last year’s winner, at 9-4.


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