Thursday, 18th Jun 2020
Having ran a cracker on seasonal reappearance, Summerghand looks weighted to run a huge race in the and valuable 6f Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday (16:10).
This David O’Meara trained six-year-old poste a string of solid efforts last year, including in this contest when staying on strongly to finish a never nearer three-length fifth of 26 to Cape Byron off a mark of 100.
Summerghand ran well to finish third to Danzeno in a conditions contest at Haydock, before finishing a cracking 3 3/4 lengths fourth of 27 to handicap blot Khaadem in the Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood.
The son of Lope De Vega then found only Dakota Gold too good when a 2 1/4 lengths runner-up in the 17-runner Great St Wilfrid at Ripon, again off a mark of 100.
Summerghand raced on the unfavoured far side and was attempting to give 1lb to the winner, who has scored three-times since to be rated 110.
He backed that up with a fine 1 3/4 lengths fourth in the Ayr Gold Cup off 102, before going on to gain a deserved success at Wolverhampton three starts later.
Summerghand is now able to race off 101. That entitles him to be very competitive on the pick of his form.
He also comes into this having looked as good as ever on return to action at Newmarket when a fast-finishing never nearer 1 1/4 lengths runner-up to Tinto.
Summerghand now meets the winner, who was enterprisingly ridden that day, on 4lb better terms – so that should be more than enough to see him turn the tables with that rival.
Everything points to a big run and Summerghand can be backed at 12/1 with Betway who pay five places.
In a typically fierce and wide-open renewal of this hot handicap, Stone Of Destiny looks overpriced on the pick of his form and another well worth considering each-way.
This five-year-old won twice as a juvenile when trained by David Simock and ran a cracker on his second start in 2018 after joining Andrew Balding when a 1 3/4 lengths fourth of 22 to Eqtidaar in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at this meeting.
Stone Of Destiny also ran well in the Wokingham Stakes 12 months ago when keeping on from off the pace to to be beaten only 5 3/4 lengths when 13th of 26 to Cape Byron off 102.
The son of Acclamation was also not beaten far when eighth of 27 to Khaadem in the Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood of 100, before showing a game attitude to bag a deserved success here off 97.
Stone Of Destiny is able to race in this off the same rating, so that makes him a key player from a handicapping perspective.
There was also lots to like about his seasonal bow when a 2 1/2 lengths fourth to Makanha at Newmarket earlier in the month and that spin should have put him spot on for this.
With the yard in good form and Silvestre De Sousa in the saddle. Stone Of Destiny looks to have more going for him than his odds of 20/1 with Betfair would suggest.
Hence, with that firm paying five places, he had to feature as another potential each-way punt in the Wokingham Stakes.
In the 6f Silver Wokingham Stakes that gets proceedings underway on the final day of the meeting (12:40), the Roger Charlton trained Blue Mist makes plenty of appeal at the 7/1 on offer with William Hill.
This Prince Khalid Abdullah owned five-year-old has proven form at the track having won once and been placed one in three starts.
The success came over a mile back in October 2018 where the son of Makfi showed a good turn of foot to easily beat Kitaabaat by 3 1/2 lengths off a mark of 88.
Blue Mist got out up to 97 for that victory, but ran a blinder off his revised rating first time up last season when running on strongly from off the pace to finish a never nearer three-length sixth of 26 to Cape Byron in the valuable Victoria Cup over 7f at this venue.
He also ran very well two starts later, again over 7f here, when beaten just under three lengths into third in the 23-runner International Stakes.
Blue Mist has had just one start this season when finishing second to Breath Of Air in a five-runner affair over 7f at Newbury.
He threw down a strong challenge inside the final furlong before being unable to find any extra close home to be beaten just over a length.
It was run which suggested he was well-worth a crack at the shorter 6f trip of this and Blue Mist is entitled to come on for it.
A strong end-to-end gallop also looks assured in this 24-runner event, so that will bring Blue Mist’s stamina into play.
Of those at bigger odds, Gunmetal makes plenty of each-way appeal at the 14/1 on offer with BetVictor who pay five places.
Trained by David Barron, this seven-year-old won three of his six starts in 2018, with the last of those coming in the competitive 22-runner Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon where he made all and ran on strongly to easily beat Dakota Gold by 2 3/4 lengths off a mark of 97.
Gunmetal got put up to 104 for that taking success and, although he failed to get his head in front last year, he did post several solid efforts in defeat.
They included when when a 1 3/4 lengths fourth of 19 to Duke Of Firenze at York off 103, a three-length sixth of 26 to Cape Byron in the Wokingham at this meeting off the same rating and when runner-up at Ripon off 98.
Gunmetal is now able to race off a reduced mark of 93 – his lowest rating in two years – having shaped well when a 1 3/4 lengths third to Silent on seasonal reappearance at Newmarket off 1lb higher.
He showed plenty of early dash to lead until getting headed inside the final furlong and being unable to find any extra close home.
That should have blown away the cobwebs and put him spot on for this. Ben Curtis also gets a good tune out of Gunmetal having won twice and been placed once on him in four starts.
So, given that he is now too well-treated to ignore, Gunmetal looks overpriced at the odds on offer and more than capable of at least hitting the frame.
Mekong looks a cut above his rivals and a worthy favourite to bag an overdue success in the 2m 5f Queen Alexandra Stakes (16:40).
This five-year-old progressed throughout 2018 when in the care of Sir Michael Stoute when winning three times and finishing a fine second to Ghostwatch in a Listed 1m 6f contest at this venue.
Mekong also ran very well first time up last year when 1 1/2 lengths second to Dee Ex Bee in a Group 3 at Sandown and when beaten just a head by Falcon Eight in a Listed affair at the same venue.
The son of Frankel was also far from disgraced here on British Champions Day in October when finishing a 6 1/4 lengths fourth of nine to Kew Gardens in the Group 2 Long Distance Cup.
Mekong then joined Jamie Osbrone and ran solid races for his new handler in Dubai at the start of the year when finishing fourth in a Listed contest and second in a hot handicap.
The form of those races set a clear standard in this and Mekong is the highest rated in the line-up off 112.
It gives him 5lb and upwards in hand on his 10 rivals, so very much makes him the one to beat. This class 2 conditions contest also represents a drop in class and Mekong has won twice and been placed once in five starts in the grade.
So, taking everything into account, odds 9/4 with Betfred look fully justified for Mekong to land ths staying test which brings the curtain down on this year’s Royal spectacular.
Should Mekong fail to live up to expectations, then the Ian Willimas trained The Grand Visir, who can be backed at 4/1 with Coral, appeals as the one most likely to take advantage.
This six-year-old enjoyed his finest hour at this meeting 12 months ago when landing the 2m 4f Ascot Stakes by just over a length from Buildmeupbuttercup.
Under a confident ride for Richard Kingscote, The Grand Visir was held-up well off the pace in the earlier stages.
He was then switched out wide two from home and made stealthy headway to take up the running at the furlong marker before running on strongly to readily fend off Willie Mullins’ charge.
The Grand Visir was then far from disgraced when dropped back to 2m and finishing seventh of 16 to Withhold in the competitive class 2 Marsh Cup at Newbury.
This is easier than both those contests. The Grand Visir hails from a shrewd yard who are sure to have him tuned to the minute to do himself.
He does have 8lb to find with Mekong on official ratings, but with Kingscore once again in the saddle it would be no surprise if he gave that one plenty to think about.