The second day of Royal Ascot hurt, mainly due to Blair House and his brilliant run in the Royal Hunt Cup, albeit an effort that yielded absolutely zilch in the end as he finished in the runner-up position having been backed at 20/1. He moved brilliantly throughout the race and hit as low as 2/5 in-running when making his move to get into contention, but the front-running winner simply wouldn't stop and held on by a half-length. There are no excuses or complaints, it's just super frustrating when you land on a cracking bet in a massive field handicap and it yields nothing. Time will show that the horse was well-treated off his mark of 97.
Bossy Guest ran in the same race but was drawn in the lower half and had no chance of getting involved. He could be spotted finishing the race off strongly, though, and remains on the radar as his day will come eventually. When is anyone's guess. Dream Castle lined up in the Jersey Stakes but over-raced again despite being dropped a furlong in trip and the wise tactic might have been to let him run from the front. He ran well to finish in fifth spot but for a horse with such ability, he should be doing better than that and maybe dropping to a sprinting trip would be wise. It'd teach the horse how to race. Lastly, Really Special went amiss.
-4.50pts on the day.
The show continues. Four bets for day three. It Don't Come Easy runs in the Group 2 Norfolk and I'm really interested to see how he gets on. He was unable to beat Santry on debut when fancied to get much closer but that was at York on soft ground and he was entitled to come on for the experience. That proved to be the case as he turned over an odds-on favourite in the Edinburgh Castle Stakes at Musselburgh second time up, breaking the juvenile course record in the process. This obviously demands a lot more but there's no way he has shown his full hand as of yet and I think that he's potentially smart enough to win today.
Mori is supremely bred, being by Frankel and out of Midday, but whilst I can understand her market prominence, she is now too short at 2/1. Coronet is a viable alternative back on a more conventional track having found the nature of Epsom to be too demanding when last seen running in the Oaks. Despite not handling the downhill run in particular, it was encouraging to see her passing rivals in the straight on her first try at the mile-and-a-half trip and I would take more positives than negatives from the performance. This will be more to her liking and I'd have her at least a couple of points shorter in the betting.
Finally, a couple of bets in the two handicaps. City Of Joy caught my eye in no uncertain terms at Chelmsford last time out, making inroads through the field in next to no time after they had swung for home and any horse who can do that in a solid field must be smart. He's 5lbs higher now but doesn't look to be terribly treated off 94 and shouldn't be inconvenienced by the draw in 17. First Nation runs in the King George V and represents the winning Appleby/Buick combination from two years ago. He doesn't have a dissimilar profile to that victor and looks certain to improve for this first attempt at a mile-and-a-half.
2:30 - It Don't Come Easy - 1pt @ 8/1 (General) - 5th @ 8/1; ran well, just not good enough.
3:40 - Coronet - 1pt @ 9/1 (General) - Winner @ 9/1; met trouble but powered home late.
5:00 - City Of Joy - 1pt @ 9/1 (General) - 10th @ 8/1; better than form, got no run through.
5:35 - First Nation - 1pt @ 14/1 (General) - 2nd @ 8/1; cracking effort. Winner just too good.
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