Sky Sports Racing ambassador Hollie Doyle discusses her four rides on the opening day of Royal Ascot 2022 on Tuesday, including leading Coventry Stakes contender Bradsell.
Bradsell’s temperament a positive in Coventry
I have ridden Archie Watson’s exciting juvenile Bradsell in all his work and there’s no doubt he deserves to take his chance in the Coventry Stakes (3.05) on the opening day of Royal Ascot on Tuesday.
This Group Two demands a big step up but he could not have been more impressive on debut at York and he’s entitled to have come on for that experience. He has always worked like a very good horse but none of us could have expected him to win on The Knavesmire by a commanding nine lengths.
Though he’s only had one run and is less experienced than some, he’s a very straightforward, relaxed colt whose disposition will be an advantage amid all the buzz and noise of such a big day.
We are drawn low in stall two which might just prove to be an ideal starting point as we have two really speedy types either side in Paul and Olly Cole’s Goodwood winner Royal Scotsman and Alice Haynes’s Musselburgh scorer Remarkable Force.
Bradsell has changed ownership since that debut win under PJ McDonald and will now carry the colours of Bahrain-based Victorious Racing, so it could be a very exciting day for them.
Nicholls’ stayer can out-run big odds
My ride on tough stayer Scaramanga in the Ascot Stakes (5.00) will be only my second for his trainer Paul Nicholls but the signs are good ahead of the two-and-a-half-mile marathon.
A smart hurdler, he showed his versatility when winning a Class two handicap at Newbury last summer for the master jumps handler and remains fairly treated on that evidence.
This seven-year-old acts on quick ground, stays all day and is drawn low which should help me to get into a nice position early in the race. He is also match fit from a run over hurdles, too, so I’m optimistic he can out-run his big odds.
‘Certain’ of a bold show from Channon globetrotter
Mick Channon’s globetrotter Certain Lad is a big price in the Listed Wolferton Stakes (5.35) considering his excellent CV in Pattern company.
His comeback second in the Group Two Huxley Stakes was full of encouragement and could not have worked out much better, with the third Megallan winning the Diomed at Epsom last week and the distant fourth Majestic Dawn doing the business in a Listed race.
I won the Group Three Strensall Stakes at York on this lad last August so I know what he’s capable of and whilst that was on easy ground he has won on good to firm earlier in his career so hopefully the underfoot conditions won’t compromise his chance.
Verdon needs luck from difficult draw
Like Certain Lad, the decorated Red Verdon is also a massive price for a horse who has plied his trade in Group races for much of his career.
The winner of over £750,000 in prize money, the nine-year-old re-appears in the Copper Horse Handicap (6.10) over a mile and three quarters and is just the sort who could pop up with a big performance if things go his way.
I finished fourth on him in Saudi last year and he’s since run big races in better company than this, winning at Listed level and making the frame in Group company. Ed Dunlop’s freshened him up but I will have to ride for luck from a difficult draw in stall 19.
No stopping Baaeed on what could be big day for Haggas
It’s impossible to make a case against the unbeaten Baaeed in the opening Group One Queen Anne Stakes (2.30). This exciting colt has the world at his feet and while he does not need to improve to win this I am convinced there’s still more to come.
An exhibition round from him would tee up his trainer William Haggas for what could be a memorable first day as I respect both his runners in the St James’s Palace Stakes (3.05).
Like Baaeed, the Godolphin star Coroebus should take all the beating in that Group One feature but I expect William’s progressive colt My Prospero to give him plenty to think about under my husband Tom (Marquand).
Even though he showed signs of immaturity, the son of Iffraaj still ran out a convincing winner of the Listed Heron Stakes at Sandown, beating a good yardstick in The Queen’s Reach For The Moon.
I think he will prove himself up to this level while William’s other runner Maljoom is also improving at the right time. He retained his unbeaten record in the German Guineas and is an exciting ride for Cieren Fallon.
Right Royal chance in King’s Stand
It would be wonderful to see King’s Lynn win the Group One King’s Stand Stakes (3.40) for The Queen – and I’m certainly hoping she will be in the Royal Box to watch the race.
Andrew Balding’s sprinter has taken his form to a new level as a five-year-old, winning the Group Two Temple Stakes at Haydock in good fashion for big race jockey David Probert, who deserves his chance to shine on the biggest stage.
Henry Candy’s Twilight Calls was only just behind King’s Lynn in the Temple so is also entitled to be in the mix, but if the bullish reports about overseas raiders Nature Strip and Golden Pal are to be believed the ‘home’ challenge is going to be seriously up against it.
I love to see the international horses at this meeting. They really add some spice to the action and we’ve certainly learned to respect US trainer Wesley Ward, who tells us Golden Pal is the fastest he’s ever sent to Ascot!
US mission disappoints as Outbox flounders
While Wesley Ward’s team was settling in over here, I was on a morning flight to New York on Friday to ride Archie Watson’s Outbox in the Grade Two Belmont Gold Cup later that day.
It looked an ideal opportunity for Hambleton Racing’s seven-year-old, but he simply was not at his best and trailed in a disappointing seventh of eight.
Outbox loves to dominate but the pace was strong from the get-go and he just could not get his own way. He seems best fresh, as he was when winning in Qatar in February, so hopefully he will rediscover his form when we see him on the track next time.
Hollie Doyle was speaking to Sky Sports Racing’s Simon Mapletoft.
Watch every race of Royal Ascot 2022 live on Sky Sports Racing (Sky 415 | Virgin 535) from Tuesday 14th June to Saturday 18th June.
Source : Sky Sports