ITV Racing Tips: Home Affairs to complete foreign takeover of Ascot
Temperatures at Royal Ascot have been rising all week and they reach boiling point this weekend with the £1 million Platinum Jubilee Stakes which has drawn a truly international cast list for its richest edition.
We have seen how overseas competition can really lift the royal meeting with Australian sprinter, Nature Strip producing probably the performance of the week in landing the King’s Stand Stakes.
Winning trainer and jockey Chris Waller and James McDonald, who are both Kiwis, combine with Home Affairs in the 6f Group 1, but there is also a runner from Japan, Grenadier Guards plus last year’s Commonwealth Cup winner Campanelle from the US.
Around the day’s showpiece race are the Hardwicke Stakes, featuring the return of last year’s Irish Derby and St Leger winner Hurricane Lane, and the always hard to solve Wokingham Stakes.
All seven races will be shown live by ITV with coverage of the closing Queen Alexandra Stakes shifted to ITV4.
Coverage begins on ITV from 13:25 and we have previewed the three most significant races of the day in our ITV Racing Tips.
Hurricane Lane, one of last season’s top performers at middle distances, makes his long-awaited return to action and this could not be a better place for him to start.
The four-year-old enjoyed a brilliant campaign last year, not only winning the Irish Derby, Grand Prix de Paris and St Leger, but finished third in the Derby, won by stablemate Adayar, and third in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The only one of his opponents with that level of experience is Broome, who finished 11th in the Arc and second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. He is hard to catch right and, in any case, should be blown away by an on-song Hurricane Lane.
The first £1 million edition of this 6f Group 1 has a field it deserves with two Australians, an American and one from Japan amidst the usual European contenders.
If there has been an overriding theme to the week it has been Australia with not only Nature Strip winning the King’s Stand Stakes and Cox Plate winner State Of Rest winning his Australian investors but also Jane Chapple-Hyam, an Australian, winning two races.
It could be difficult to stop the visitors here too with Home Affairs leading the charge. Though not in the class of Nature Strip, he has beaten his stablemate this year so should be well up to the task of winning this prize.
Watch out for the other Australian Artorius, who will be held up for a late run by Jamie Spencer, who has been purposely booked for the task. He could be a good each-way bet.
Wesley Ward has had a dreadful week and his decision to employ Irad Ortiz, a brilliant jockey but with no previous experience at Ascot, will have backfired unless they can win this race. Campanelle certainly has all the right credentials, but Home Affairs has better ones.
You could use a pin for this or have a closer look at the runners for a likely candidate. Rohaan and Fresh, first and second last year, return.
Rohaan has been running at a much higher level since without showing very much but the fact Ryan Moore sticks with him could be taken as a vote of confidence, but Fresh has remained the more consistent and should feature again.
Silver Samurai has won his last two since concentrating on 6f races but has yet to try this level. That does not apply to Bielsa who knows what is required having won the Ayr Gold Cup last year. He went up the handicap for that victory but after three runs this year is now back to a mark just 2lb above his rating at Ayr.
He was the beaten favourite in this race in 2020 but he has much more experience now and was making noticeably good late progress when seventh at York last time. He should be well suited to Ascot’s stiffer finish.
ITV Racing Schedule, Saturday, 18th June
14:30 Ascot – Chesham Stakes
15:05 Ascot – Jersey Stakes
15:40 Ascot – Hardwicke Stakes
16:20 Ascot – Platinum Jubilee Stakes
17:00 Ascot – Wokingham Stakes
17:35 Ascot – Golden Gates Stakes
18:10 Ascot – Queen Alexandra Stakes
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication