18th June 2012
Royal Ascot Betting: Meehans Rascal to take the Windsor Castle from stall one
5.35 Ascot: Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed) (5f)
One of the lesser quality races brings down the curtain on day one of the Royal Ascot Festival, The Windsor Castle Stakes over 5f for the two year olds is always a difficult race to weigh up and over the years we have had 33/1 and 100/1 winners although in 2011 the favourite Frederick Engels was successful for trainer David Brown. This year’s market leader is Lyric Ace who represents the popular combo of Hannon and Hughes and he can be backed at 9/2 with Paddy Power.
Winner of his last two starts Lyric Ace was beaten when odds on at Kempton on his debut, the stable were not firing early on and his last win from Chilworth Icon reads well and that was the first time Hughes was on board. Ryan Moore rides Ask Dad, he was second on debut at Newmarket last week and this may come too soon. The stables other runner is Alhebayeb, he made a meal of winning a poor race at Nottingham by a neck and was very green that day and should come on for the experience, Hanagan rides that one for the Maktoum family. Surprisingly the Windsor Castle is one two year old race the Hannon yard has failed to win and would love to get that monkey off his back.
One trainer that does know how to win this race is Mick Channon, twice successful since 1999 and he saddles Pay Freeze who will be ridden by Johnny Murtagh. He won by 5 lengths last time out at York over further but led all the way that day and looks speedy enough for this trip. Brian Meehan’s Smoothtalkinrascal comes here with some useful form in the book, he was second to Englishman in a hot maiden at Newbury and then followed up with an easy win at Leicester on good to soft ground. He’s drawn one which coincidentally was the stall where the winner came from the last time it was ran on the soft side of good.
The Irish trainers have a poor record in this contest and Aiden O’Brien will be hoping for a change of luck with Parliament Square ridden by his son Joseph. He was fifth to the useful Dawn Approach on his only outing to date and will have to improve. Another Irish raider is Dylanbaru from the Tommy Stack yard; he’s had four starts and is only win was at Dundalk on the AW. He stayed on well last time to finish second but I think he may want further to show his best in time.
Two others worth a mention are Hototo and Liber; Hototo is trained by Kevin Ryan who will have had a few two year olds to choose from for this race and Liber runs for Sir Mark Prescott who was a touch disappointing at Epsom last time over 6f, earlier he had won over this trip so is not out of it.
The race is full of potential improvers and I’m concerned by the Hannon record in this race and I’m more in favour of the Meehan runner Smoothtalkinrascal who has done nothing wrong yet and could be well drawn in stall one. I think Pay Freeze is worth saving on for an interesting combination of Mick Channon and Johnny Murtagh.
2pts Smoothtalkinrascal 9/1 William Hill
1pt Pay Freeze 11/2 BetVictor
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Author: Ray Singpost