23rd June 2012
Royal Ascot Betting: Classy Dunaden taken to reverse form with Aiken in the Hardwicke Stakes
Ascot 3.05pm – Hardwicke Stakes – Group 2 – 1m4f
The in form pair of John Gosden and William Buick will be hoping for more Royal Ascot success and have a live chance here with Aiken, currently a 4-1 chance with William Hill. It has won its last 6 races, 3 this season and 3 last season, the most recent of these being a Group 2 win at Chantilly over 12f on good to soft ground. It was rated just 80 when winning a class 4 handicap at this course last July and is clearly progressing in leaps and bounds and is rated 113 now.
Dunaden faced Aiken last time out but was given too much to do by the French jockey on board, giving Aiken too much rope in front and first run. It was attempting to narrow that gap late on and ran on well but was also giving that rival 7lb last time out and now meets it on level weights, both carrying 9-0 today and Dunaden rated 4lb superior on official ratings. It will definitely enjoy this softer ground and if it is kept in closer contention they can make the most of its excellent turn of foot to power home in the last furlong and is a past Group 1 winner at Sha Tin and also in the Melbourne Cup, just beating Red Cadeaux.
Allied Powers and Calico Cat have both had recent wins but lack the form and class here and are 50-1 and 66-1 in the betting. Fiorente has failed to spark for Sir Michael Stoute and is a 25-1 chance and doesn’t seem to like softer ground. Hunter’s Light is a 33-1 chance for Godolphin and has Frankie Dettori on board today. It was 3rd to Carlton House last time out and that form wouldn’t be good enough to take a race like this.
Testosterone has had its problems, including a sinus operation and will like the ground but is reportedly behind schedule and comes back after a 265 day break. It could be one to keep an eye on for future races and will come on for this run. Quest For Peace won a Group 3 here last October and beat Arctic Cosmos but that horse has been dire this season and lets that form down now. It was destroyed by St Nicholas Abbey last time out at Epsom and was beaten 4 ½ lengths by Al Kazeem at Newmarket in a Group 2 race. Often races keenly and prominently but shouldn’t really be good enough.
Memphis Tennessee won a poor 4 runner race last time out at Chester when Brown Panther trailed in last and hated the soft ground. It was 4th in the Epsom Derby last year and then 3rd in the Irish Derby but the form reads very similar to Carlton House and it could also fall short against better horses. O’Brien has been in fine form this season and we can’t write it off too soon and it could still have enough improvement as a 4 year old to win this race.
Sea Moon was an excellent winner at York when taking the Great Voltigeur but with the exception of Al Kazeem that doesn’t look the best of form. It was 3rd in the St Leger when struggling to get a clear run and then a fine 2nd in the Breeders Cup. It didn’t impress on its seasonal debut when just winning a listed contest but could have come on for that run as Stoute suggested it would. It is the highest rated in the race on 121 and has winning form on good to soft and heavy.
Jakkalberry was 3rd in the Sheema Classic behind Cirrus Des Aigles and St Nicholas Abbey and that is very good form with Treasure Beach ½ a length behind in 4th. It won a Group 1 race in Italy but was only 7th in the Hong Kong Vase behind Dunaden and Red Cadeaux. SDS rides for the first time and this horse also has winning form on soft surfaces.
Red Cadeaux is 6 years old but has hit form this season, winning the Yorkshire Cup at York and finishing 2nd to Colour Vision and St Nicholas Abbey. The form with Colour Vision has been franked in no uncertain terms with that horse winning the Gold Cup this week. It has close form linked with Dunaden in Group 1 races abroad and like a fine wine this horse seems to get better with age.
The race has gone to a horse aged 4 in the last 4 renewals and there have been 4 favourites land this race in the last 10 years. This race looks open and competitive with question marks about a few with regards class and ground. It could pay to side with the reliable Red Cadeaux as an each way saver and Aiken or Dunaden would be my fancies to win the race, the latter not having any Group 1 penalty today.
2pts WIN – Dunaden 11-2 PaddyPower (BOG)
1pt EW – Red Cadeaux 10-1 Bet365 (BOG)
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Author: Formbook Frank