Sky Sports Racing ambassador Hollie Doyle discusses a live chance in Saturday’s Wokingham Stakes but is praying for rain for her star horses Trueshan and Glen Shiel.
Tabdeed brings Group form to big handicap
A Group winner in a handicap always catches the eye and my partner Tabdeed certainly lives up to that billing in the big cavalry charge at Royal Ascot on Saturday, the Wokingham Stakes (5.00).
He’s been running well for my boss Archie Watson since being bought out of Owen Burrows’ yard at the sales last year for 110,000 guineas.
He’s made the frame in Listed races at Windsor and Haydock Park and brings plenty of other quality form to the race after winning the Group Three Hackwood Stakes at Newbury in 2020.
I am happy with my draw in the middle in stall 14 and the cut and thrust of a big field charge like this will suit him. He will handle the ground if it stays on the quick side, too, and has every chance of extending Archie’s good form at the meeting.
Draw makes Sweeping’s task much tougher
Sweeping returns to the meeting he finished fourth at in last season’s Listed Chesham Stakes but the draw has been far from kind to him in the Golden Gates Stakes (5.35).
I have been set a difficult challenge from such a wide starting point in stall 18 so will need plenty of luck in running to get competitive in such a demanding race.
The 10-furlong trip should be ideal for him at this stage of his career. Unfortunately, his first attempt proved inconclusive as he simply did not handle Epsom’s undulations but he will be much more at home on this more conventional track.
His seasonal return two weeks earlier over the extended mile at Wolverhampton was much more encouraging, losing out only to William Haggas’s Yonafis, who ran creditably in Thursday’s Britannia Stakes.
Fast ground likely to thwart Glen’s participation
This week’s fast conditions put paid to Trueshan’s participation in the Gold Cup on Thursday and threaten to deny another of my star horses Glen Shiel his chance in the Group One Platinum Jubilee Stakes (4.20) on Saturday, too.
Like Trueshan, Glen ideally needs soft ground to perform to his best – he won the 2020 Champions Sprint on testing ground – but with no significant rainfall in the forecast looks almost certain to miss the race.
His trainer Archie Watson has been very happy with his homework following two runs in May and has him spot on for a race he finished such a gallant second in last year, but will not want to risk him on fast ground.
I have galloped the big chestnut since he finished fourth in the Group Two Greenlands Stakes at The Curragh which really seems to have brought him to peak fitness and have been really happy with his progress.
If conditions somehow turn in his favour he will have plenty going for him in a fascinating renewal, not least his draw right beside Wesley Ward’s US speed machine Home Affairs. He will be sharp out of the gates and may just give me a nice tow into the race.
Trueshan ready for plan b in Queen Alexandra
Trueshan has a second chance of a run at the Royal Meeting as he has been declared for the week’s longest race, the Queen Alexandra Stakes (6.10) on Saturday. This was always a contingency plan if unsuitable ground ruled him out of his main objective the Gold Cup which, of course, it did.
He would be the one they would all have to beat if he did stand his ground but all we can do is keep watching the skies and hope. There’s no guarantee the going will turn soft enough to convince his trainer Alan King to run him but he’s been finely tuned with this week in mind and ideally needs to run again as soon as possible.
Trueshan also holds an entry in next weekend’s Northumberland Plate but has been allotted a massive 10st 8lb in the big handicap which would probably make his task even harder than when he finished a gallant fifth under a big weight in the Newcastle showpiece 12 months ago.
Great to see Hurricane back in Hardwicke
One of the highlights of Royal Ascot week for me is the return to the track of last season’s St Leger winner Hurricane Lane in the Group Two Hardwicke Stakes (3.40) on Saturday.
Despite rounding off a momentous season with three Group One wins, Charlie Appleby’s star can run in this mile-and-a-half feature without a penalty, which is a significant advantage.
I see Sir Michael Stoute’s impressive Chester winner Solid Stone as his biggest danger but taking on Hurricane Lane off level weights makes his task so much tougher.
Godolphin’s star has been working impressively back in Newmarket and looks set to round off what has been a successful week for Charlie and his jockeys William Buick en route to a possible crack at the King George back at Ascot next month.
Day of reckoning in France for Nashwa
After a busy week at Royal Ascot I will be flying to France on Sunday to ride my boss Imad Alsagar’s homebred Nashwa in the French Oaks, the Prix de Diane Longines (3.00) over ten-and-a-half furlongs at Chantilly.
I have been itching to get back on board this lovely filly since her courageous third in the Cazoo Oaks over a mile-and-a-half trip that just stretched her stamina that bit too far.
The turn off foot she’s inherited from her sire Frankel should prove a vital part of her armoury over the shorter distance and she has the credentials to run a massive race.
Nashwa proved her aptitude for this kind of trip when impressing in a Listed race at Newbury on the run up to Epsom.
John and Thady Gosden have been happy with her since. She’s ideally drawn in stall two and I don’t think the predicted easy ground should pose any issues.
It’s already been a memorable week thanks to Bradsell’s amazing performance in the Coventry but to cap it off with my first Classic win would realise my biggest dreams.
Hollie Doyle was speaking to Sky Sports Racing’s Simon Mapletoft
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