Ronaldinho gets a chance in the Close Brothers Property Finance Handicap
Brazilian football player Ronaldinho was left out of his disappointing national world cup squad so it is up to the equine Ronaldinho to make headlines this week in our feature race, the 1m6f Close Brothers Property Finance Handicap (3.40).
He has not run over such an extended trip as this on the Flat but, being a son of Jeremy it should suit, though he will want every drop of this week’s rain to fall on Ascot racecourse.
Min Alemarat is a lightly raced three-year-old, but gets the handy weight-for-age allowance and capable trainer Marco Botti would not be pitching him in here if he thought race conditions were against his horse.
The year older Glenard finished eighth last time in the Northumberland Plate and fourth here last season in a valuable heritage handicap. In-form jockey George Baker rides and on that basis alone Glenard must be respected.
Cave to open account
A field of nine two-year-old maidens go to post for the opening 6f Helical Bar EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes (2.30). Of those who have run, Fingal’s Cave, a son of the exciting young stallion Fast Company, boasts the best form as he finished third on his sole start to Weatherbys Super Sprint hopeful Magical Memory at Leicester in June. He had a nice introduction there and can put that positive experience to good use here. The betting market will indicate the chances of his unraced opponents.
Hitch a ride with Louie De Palma
The second two-year-old race on the card is the 6f Commercial Property Law by Darbys Solicitors Nursery (3.05) and this could fall to the Clive Cox-trained Louie De Palma, the winner of one race from one run.
Cox said to the Racing Post after the horse’s debut win: “He is nice and will go on for this as mine are not wound up first time. He has done everything nicely and I like his attitude.”
Apprentice Ryan Tate takes a handy 3lb off and the son of Pastoral Pursuits can take this on the way to better things.
Call won’t Miss in the fillies handicap
The improving Missed Call could give jockey George Baker a double on the card in the 1m4f Cushman & Wakefield Fillies Handicap, due off at 4.15.
Trained by Martyn Meade for owner Malcolm Denmark she has won or placed in all bar two of her seven racecourse outings. She was a little one paced two starts back over 1m2f and then missed the kick when beaten at tight Chester last time; this longer trip and galloping track should suit.
Tioga Pass has won her last two and is bidding for a hat-trick. She still has room for improvement, but may want the ground a little softer than is expected.
Go Red in the Long Harbour
The biggest field of the day at 18 run in the 6f Long Harbour Handicap (4.50) and the top weight Red Refraction, who was second over course and distance in May, looks to have every chance.
The horse has since won twice over 7f, but this stiff 6f should suit well and the capable apprentice Cam Hardie, who won on the horse last time for trainer Richard Hannon, claims 5lb.
Stable jockey Willie Twiston-Davies rides Shore Step for trainer Mick Channon over stablemate Chilworth Icon. After a seasonal debut when eighth here in May, Shore Step has been putting in some good placed efforts and deserves to get his head in front.
Crystal is one for the future
The JLL Handicap (5.20) for three-year-olds only is run over a mile on the round course and Crystal Lake can continue his upwardly mobile career path for trainer Ralph Beckett and jockey Jim Crowley.
He was beaten in his bid for a hat-trick on his last start at Newmarket when third, but that was no disgrace – Muteela, the winner that day, went on to success the Sandringham Handicap here at Royal Ascot, while Pretzel who was second converted 11-10 favouritism into a 4l success at Ayr in June.
Baarez was not suited by the soft ground at Haydock and could be expected to put in a stronger performance here on a faster surface, a comment that also applies to Voyageofdiscovery. Pupil has been highly tried in his last three runs and now that he has dropped in class the Hannon team could have found an opportunity. Adam Kirby rides and he bagged a three-timer at Windsor earlier this week.
Hardie and Hannon team to take the last on the card
Cam Hardie can round off a good day for Hannon in the concluding Signature Capital Apprentice Handicap on Lord ofthe Shadows. The gelding has not won since 2011, but he always puts in a consistent effort and looks well in here with Hardie’s claim. Suehail with Willie Twiston-Davies booked appears to be the biggest threat.