Royal Ascot Day 5: Dartmouth looks better than ever while the fast ground is perfect for Limato


Some racecourse, some week so far, and still six more opportunities to back a Royal Ascot winner... 

The perfect way to sign off what has been a thoroughly enjoyble meeting would be with a winner or two on Saturday afternoon, and few things sum up the Royal fixture better than a big race success in the colours of Her Majesty The Queen, and that's precisely what could be on the cards in the Hardwicke Stakes (3.40pm).

The master trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, has won the Hardwicke six times in the last 10 years, and fields a very strong hand to try and enhance that record.

Last year's King Edward VII Stakes winner, Across The Stars, forms half of powerful Stoute-trained challenge, which also features the 2016 winner of this race, the Queen's Dartmouth

Across the Stars will rightly have plenty of fans, but with Ryan Moore in the saddle my vote is firmly in the Dartmouth camp. 

He was as tough as they come when digging in to win the Yorkshire Cup on Soft ground last time out, in the process lasting out a longer trip to see off a former St Leger winner. 

Does he have to have it on the easy side though?

Not really, as proven by his quality second in the Canadian International at Woodbine back in October on Firm ground, a race in which he had the re-opposing Idaho in rear. 

Furthermore, Dartmouth ran a rock solid race on Good to Firm at Ascot when third to Highland Reel here in the King George in July.

His principal danger here, Wings Of Desire, was ahead of him in second that day and his fans will rightly cling to that, but don't forget Dartmouth was trying to concede nearly a stone then, whereas here they face-off at level weights.

Dartmouth is a dual course winner at Ascot and looks better than ever this year, whereas Wings Of Desire has to prove he's ready to roll after an absence of 311 days. 

Dropping back in trip with fitness assured, Dartmouth is a confident selection to win this race for a second time.

Lastly, a popular saying in the breeding industry goes along the lines of: 'send the best, to the best, and hope for the best!'

If you apply that to Saturday afternoon's feature, the six furlong Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (4.20pm), you would surely come up with the Henry Candy-trained Limato.

The top-rated horse in the field shortened in price midweek when it revealed Ryan Moore, the best in the business, would be riding him.

How has Limato risen to a rating of 122? 

To put it simply, by winning eight of his 15 career starts, but to drill down a little further, by posting lifetime figures to date of 2, 1, 2, 4, 1, 2, 1 when running in European Group 1 races.  

Fast ground is perfect for a horse who has been first and second on his two previous visits to this venue, and with Moore riding him for just the second time ever he looks to hold a major chance of netting a third career Group 1 prize. 

Good luck!

 

Saturday's best bets with Unibet at Royal Ascot:

3.40 - Hardwicke Stakes - 6 Dartmouth (win)

4.20 - Diamond Jubilee Stakes - 7 Limato (win)