September 24, 2023

Royal Ascot sneak preview: Saturday

Limato drops into Group 2 company for the Lennox (Photo courtesy Newmarket via Twitter)

Continued from Friday’s Royal Ascot forecast


Royal Ascot post times here

One year after Churchill broke his maiden in the Chesham, baby sister Clemmie might attempt the same in this seven-furlong test. But as noted in the Albany above, September is likewise in the frame for both races, so we’ll know for certain as the declarations roll out.

The 1 1/4-mile Wolferton, a listed handicap, serves as the preamble to the Group races.

The 1 1/2-mile Hardwicke is in flux at this preliminary stage, with Highland Reel and Jack Hobbs both eyeing an alternative in Wednesday’s Prince of Wales’s. At least defending champion Dartmouth is confirmed for Stoute, who’s had a stranglehold on this race. The Queen’s colorbearer edged a gutsy Highland Reel last summer, and would give the patriotic crowd much reason to cheer if he can deliver another Royal Ascot trophy. Dartmouth’s sire, Dubawi, could have the exacta. Godolphin’s Frontiersman, by Dubawi and out of the great Ouija Board, is penciled in after his fine second to Highland Reel in the Coronation Cup.

[Monday update: Highland Reel and Jack Hobbs both opted for the Prince of Wales’s.]

The meet’s final U.S. hope, Long on Value, tackles a competitive field of sprinters in the Diamond Jubilee (G1) over six furlongs. The Bill Mott trainee had multiple Group 1 star Limato well adrift when just missing to The Right Man in the Al Quoz Sprint (G1) on World Cup night, but the yielding ground had a lot to do with that. Limato is favored to bounce back in style here. Magical Memory, beaten a half-length in fourth in last year’s edition, is eligible to improve on that effort this time around, as is The Tin Man, an also-ran on rain-affected ground who captured the British Champions Sprint (G1) on better going in October. Tasleet enhanced his resume with a prep score in the Duke of York (G2), but reigning Commonwealth Cup heroine Quiet Reflection has yet to recapture her 2016 form. O’Brien is running out of time to get Acapulco right after an ill-timed setback; ruled out of her intended target in the King’s Stand, this would be a fall-back position if she makes it. Now in foal to Galileo, Acapulco is due to retire to the paddocks.

[Monday update: Acapulco has been withdrawn, and in a less expected development, so has Quiet Reflection.]

Following the Diamond Jubilee is the Wokingham, a heritage handicap at the same trip. Finally, the Royal meeting ends with the Queen Alexandra, a conditions race over the unique distance of two miles, five furlongs and 143 yards.

Now that we’ve set the table with an overview, we’ll be back every day with detailed selections on our Royal Ascot page and additional analysis on the blog.