We’ve teamed up with BetVictor and Charlie McCann to preview the day’s racing.
This afternoon marks the calm before tomorrow’s Royal Ascot storm and the Hannon and Hughes bandwagon can get the week off to the perfect start this evening at Windsor.
The champion trainer saddles Night of Thunder - 5/1 with BetVictor - in the opening Queen Anne Stakes and whilst Godolphin’s James Doyle looks set to partner last year’s Guineas winner instead of Hughes, the champion jockey will partner Sole Power in the King’s Stand Stakes and Eddie Lynam’s speedster 4/1 to complete a hat-trick of successes accordingly.
Hughes has four rides at Windsor this evening and, whilst boasting a terrific record for boss Richard Hannon at the track, also has a tremendous strike-rate when teaming-up with Hughie Morrison.
The pair can build on that record even further with Manolito (8.50) stepped up in trip for the competitive handicap over a mile and a quarter.
The selection is making his seasonal reappearance after finishing last season’s campaign a disappointing third on his handicap debut at Wolverhampton. The gelding was far from disgraced finishing third that day and stepped up in trip further, can make it fifth time lucky providing he is fully tuned-up for his first start in almost eight months.
David Brown’s Bright Flash (3.45) was unfancied in the market for her seasonal debut last month at Doncaster however this course and distance winner can build on that promising return in the feature 6f Fillies’ Handicap at Carlisle.
The selection won a five-runner maiden at the track last year, staying on strongly in the closing stages to win by a comfortable four lengths. Despite the form of that race not working out well she remains with the potential to be better than a 77-rated handicapper and aided by the 7lb claim of apprentice Hector Crouch can maintain her unbeaten record at the track.
Sir Mark Prescott’s Night Generation (5.15) was similarly friendless for his reappearance last month on the all-weather however should be stripped fitter to shed the maiden tag at the belated fifth time of asking under Luke Morris.
The selection built on three lacklustre efforts in maidens finishing fifth on his handicap debut earlier this month at Lingfield. The handicapper has dropped him a pound for that effort and the combination of a switch to turf and a step up in trip should see him progress even further.
There’s jump racing from Southwell, which brings two very progressive mares together in the Handicap Hurdle over the minimum trip. Whilst Miss Sassypants, Ginger Fizz and Ogaritmo are all respected, the race looks a two horse race on paper between the pair of last time out winners Shady Lane and Bella (4.00) with preference for the latter under Tom Scudamore.
David Pipe’s filly shed the maiden tag over timber last month at Warwick and despite a 9lb rise at the weights looks open to further progression and can follow-up accordingly. She isn’t without her quirks however a first-time hood should help her settle and she can concede weight all-round to make it 2/2 in handicap company.
New Horizons (5.00) is a fascinating runner in the competitive handicap hurdle over three miles, making his debut for a new yard after last month’s exit from Seven Barrows.
The well-bred son of Presenting was last seen finishing second for Nicky Henderson last month at Kempton, and was just unfortunate to bump into one on the day. A 4lb rise at the weights shouldn’t stop the gelding from progressive further and he is taken to make a winning debut for the Caroline Fryer yard with Jack Quinlan similarly in the plate for the first time.
Henry Daly’s Queen Spud (5.30) drops down in grade after being out-classed in a competitive handicap last time out at Aintree and can return to winning ways under Champion Conditional Sean Bowen.
The selection was successful two starts ago when making all under Jake Greenall at Fakenham and despite last month’s flop, should still be ahead of the handicapper despite a 6lb rise at the weights.
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