Richard Hannon took the first race on the opening day of Royal Ascot and can repeat the feat this afternoon by taking the Silver Royal Hunt Cup with Ouzo.
Ryan Moore’s mount was progressive last year and looked even better when a shade unlucky to run into one on his return, nine days ago, at Newmarket.
On that occasions, he responded well to Moore’s urgings to take up the lead a furlong out and looked a winner, but he was run down by the fast-finishing Bell Rock, the pair clear of the remainder. Off the same mark he is certainly well capable of winning and can give Ryan Moore his second winner of the meeting, having been successful on Circus Maximus in the Queen Anne Stakes.
Moore should also be on the mark aboard Japan in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes. He was deeply impressive winning the King Edward VII Stakes at this meeting in 2019 and followed it up with two more wins at the top level before finishing fourth to Waldgeist in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The lack of a recent run is not a concern, nor is the return to ten furlongs as he beat Crystal Ocean in last season’s Juddmonte International. Headman has potential for improvement and can fill the forecast spot.
Trumpet Man is worth taking a chance on at huge odds in the King George V Stakes. Trained by Mark Johnston, he ran three times last season and ran well each time without managing to get his head in front. Those runs were all over a mile, or very slightly further, and he starts this season off at 12 furlongs, which seems sure to suit. He is by Epsom Derby and Prix de l’Arc De Triomphe winner Golden Horn, out of an unraced half-sister to Lammtarra, who also won the Derby and Prix de l’Arc.
The selection, who has been gelded since his last run, is not going to live up to his breeding but there was enough encouragement in last season’s runs to believe he could be much better over today’s trip. Joe Fanning can go forward from his stall one berth and, at around 28-1, he is worth a small interest in an open race.
Meanwhile the Mansionbet Proud To Support Irish Racing Handicap, which is the second race on this afternoon’s card in Gowran Park, looks a terrific race, with numerous promising sorts for the season ahead. Psyche heads that list having been runner-up to subsequent Irish 2000 Guineas runner-up Vatican City on his second start and having won a maiden at the next time of asking. Those two runs were on the all-weather at Dundalk and, on paper, the worst of his three runs was on his only outing to date on the turf.
However, that was his debut and he didn’t enjoy much of a run behind well-regarded stablemate Valeria Messalina, who was subsequently beaten just seven lengths in the Irish 1000 Guineas. Those that raced near the pace that day finished in front rank, so that run can be ignored. He remains capable of much better and, with the stable in superb form, Jessica Harrington’s colt can make a winning return.
So Suave and Thames River are other likely improvers. The former followed up a promising debut with an easy victory in a Dundalk maiden and will appreciate this longer trip. Thames River also won a Dundalk maiden despite still showing signs of greenness. He may prefer a bit further, but must be respected, nonetheless.
There are some interesting races in Limerick, where the feature is the listed Martin Molony Stakes. Pondus, who is making his debut for Joseph O’Brien, had some fine form last season in Britain, including when runner-up to Fox Chairman, and when filling the same spot behind Addeybb, who is a leading fancy for the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes on today’s card in Royal Ascot. A run close to that level would make him hard to beat.
In the first division of the nine-and-a-half-furlong handicap at Gowran, Mohtarrif can recoup last week’s losses. Favourite for a one-mile handicap on what was his first start for Ger Lyons, he was held up early and didn’t enjoy much of a run in the closing stages. The longer trip, the application of blinkers and the favourable draw all add up to a much better effort this time. Segenhoe, a promising sort for John Murphy, is having his first run for Charles Byrnes and is worth noting in the betting.