Saturday at Royal Ascot: Garrity picks the Jersey, Hardwicke and Diamond Jubilee on soft turf
The big news from the Royal Ascot meet on Friday was the weather: After ideal conditions, the rains came, and a turf course that had been pretty firm became soft and boggy. The forecast for Saturday, the final day of the brief meet, is not quite as wet, but that won’t matter, as the water has passed under the bridge, as the saying goes, and the turf is going to be soft. Late Friday, the course was listed as heavy, and we’re expecting that to be the case for Saturday’s races as well.
There are three Group stakes races on Saturday, and we have plays in each of them. Let’s go.
Royal Ascot, Race 2, 10:05 am ET
Group 3 Jersey Stakes, 7 furlongs, Turf, 3-Year-Olds
Sixteen colts and three fillies, all of them 3-year-olds, line up for the Jersey Stakes. The field is a good illustration of the importance of conditions in handicapping these races: We probably would not like 10-Mutasabeeq on firmer ground, but on heavy turf, he is the pick. He won the first two starts of his career at Newmarket, both on softer grass, and then faltered, finishing 6th, in the Group 1 2,000 Guineas, also at Newmarket, on a course rated good to firm. Here he cuts back in distance to 7 furlongs from the mile of his last, and he also faces a much less difficult field. We will bet him to win at 5-1. The bet: Ascot, Race 2, $35 to win on 10-Mutasabeeq.
Royal Ascot, Race 3, 10:40 am ET
Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes, 1 ½ miles, Turf, 4 & Up
A smallish field of six goes in the Hardwicke. The pick is 2-Broome, an Aidan O’Brien runner with good recent form and an affinity for softer ground. His success has been in longer races, but we think that the short field will allow him to take the prize here. We will bet him to win at 7/2. The bet: Ascot, Race 3, $40 to win on 2-Broome.
Royal Ascot, Race 4, 11:20 am ET
Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes, 6 furlongs, Turf, 4 & Up
Twelve older horses line up for the Diamond Jubilee. The pick is 2-Dream of Dreams, who ran in some very, very difficult races last year, winning a Group 2 at Newbury and a Group 1 at Haydock, and who won a race at Windsor last month that was a good prep for this spot. He’s 7 years old now, and while his age makes it fair to wonder if he’s lost a step, his trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, seems to have the old warrior primed for a big run here. And he will love the soft going. We will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Ascot, Race 4, $50 to win on 2-Dream of Dreams.
That’s all for Royal Ascot for today, and for the year. Until the next time, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.