James Doyle was the darling of the racing media last weekend following an ice-cool ride in the Irish Oaks to win on Sea Of Class and there could be more Group 1 glory for the in-form pilot at Ascot on Saturday.
The King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes takes place at Ascot as legendary trainer Sir Michael Stoute seeks to continue his love affair with the Berkshire track by landing a record breaking sixth win in the race. He’s got two outstanding candidates, with Doyle’s mount the fancied one.
Poet’s Word, Ascot 3.40 to win @ 5/2
Poet’s Word arrives here on the back of a career-best effort in winning the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Ascot last month over 1m2f, flooring odds-on favourite Cracksman in doing so. That rival had previously beaten him by some seven lengths in the Champion Stakes back in the autumn.
Their careers are going in opposite directions right now although perhaps Cracksman will turn things around later in the year. John Gosden’s charge was a surprise entry here and will surely need plenty rain to fall if he’s to take part.
Poet’s Word might find that stablemate Crystal Ocean is the biggest barrier to his hopes. Last year’s St Leger second was a decisive winner of the Hardwicke Stakes over C&D last month and has plenty stamina.
The trip shouldn’t be a worry for Doyle’s mount, either, as he won over it at Goodwood last summer and his superior turn of foot might well be the trump card in this race.
Cardsharp, Ascot 3.00 each-way @ 18/1
Doyle will hopefully be going into the King George oozing confidence after a big run from Cardsharp in the International Stakes.
Mark Johnston’s runner was a Group 2 winner as a juvenile and has already scored this term in Listed company at Salisbury last month.
More recently, he ran a stormer in the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket when finishing just 1L down in fourth spot behind the re-opposing Burnt Sugar.
He carried a penalty into that race and so now meets many of the same rivals on better terms. A similar effort here will surely see Cardsharp outrunning his current odds and he looks too big in the each-way market.
Trouble And Strife, Lingfield 6.00 to win @ 7/4
Keep some powder dry for Lingfield later on Saturday where we’ll follow the raging hot Sir Mark Prescott stable. The trainer has compiled a 44 per cent strike-rate from 25 runners and his Trouble And Strife is fancied on the turf at Lingfield.
The Declaration Of War filly has twice won at the track recently and looks sure to relish this extra yardage on offer in a 1m6f handicap.
Surrey Blaze looks her main danger, having completed a double with a tidy win at Bath last time out.
Arguably it is Trouble And Strife who holds more scope for further progress and having the determined Luke Morris on board could also be a key factor if things get frantic late on in this six-runner heat.
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