Tomorrow’s feature race is the Listed Londonmetric Noel Murless Stakes. It would be stretching the point a little to call it an Ascot “St Leger” but the race does mirror the conditions of the final Classic of the season and is designed as a springboard to the Pattern (Group Three to One) for next year’s potential Cup horses. As such, horses who have been running in some of the better handicaps (like Hereby) usually make up the field, as their connections start to consider what level they are likely to be able to compete at next year.
The most interesting race for us at Ascot, however, has to be the Canaccord Genuity Gordon Carter Handicap Stakes over two miles. This race sees the current flag-bearer of the Royal Ascot Racing Club, Platform Nineteen, going for a five-timer. This will be a big test for him but confidence is high and we will see tomorrow whether we have a genuine contender for next year’s Ascot Stakes at the Royal Meeting.
The big betting race of the weekend is The bet365 Challenge Cup on Saturday, the last of a series of straight seven furlong cavalry charges over the Flat season. Ascot regulars Ripp Orf and Raising Sand head the betting, with the latter expected to go extremely well on ground that will be ideal, having run with great credit in Group Three company over a mile last time out.
The Group Three John Guest Racing Bengough Stakes over six furlongs looks a decent renewal with the progressive Tabdeed and Wokingham winner Cape Byron heading the betting.
The mile-and-a-half Group Three Property Raceday Targets £3m Cumberland Lodge Stakes looks competitive with Morando stepping back in trip following a decent second in the Geoffrey Freer at Newbury and The Queen’s recent Chester winner, Sextant, amongst those with chances.