The Italian Tourist Board Festival of Food & Wine features two days of exciting, competitive action on the track with more than £385,000 in prize money available across the weekend and seven races on each day.
A wide open field of 17 kicks off Friday’s card in the Italian Tourist Board British EBF Novice Auction Stakes over six furlongs. Cosmic Power has shown plenty of ability in his two starts finishing second on both occasions while Klopp Of The Kop took a big step forward when third at York during the Ebor meeting. Amarillo Star hinted at ability when fourth here in May but hasn’t been seen since and Bengal Bay is an interesting newcomer for William Haggas and Ryan Moore.
The Charbonnel Et Walker British EBF Maiden Stakes features some expensive purchases including Count Of Amazonia, a £160,000 purchase as a yearling for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum who holds a 2020 Derby entry and is in training with Richard Hannon. Crystal Pegasus is a home bred from the family of Crystal Ocean for the same connections and worth a watch on his debut while Qatar Racing paid £420,000 for Enemy, a half-brother to Magic Wand, as a yearling. Law Of Peace, narrowly beaten on debut, is the son of Certify, winner of the Group One Fillies’ Mile as a two-year-old and he will be expected to improve for his second start.
The feature race of the day is the Lexicon Bracknell Handicap worth £30,000 over a mile and Her Majesty The Queen is represented by the consistent Seniority who arrives in good form albeit without a win since August last year. He will be a popular choice but Dubai Legacy looks an improving three-year-old and with Cieren Fallon claiming a useful 5lbs he could be the one to beat.
More pricey purchases line up in the opening race of Saturday, the Italian Tourist Board British EBF Novice Stakes over seven furlongs with Business costing the expanding Phoenix Thoroughbred operation £180,000 and Hlaitan fetching £190,000 from Al Shaqab Racing. They are blown out of the water by Thrill Seeker though who was a £600,000 purchase in training with William Haggas and ridden by Tom Marquand on his debut. Ropey Guest must be one of the highest rated maidens in history with an official rating of 99 but no win from six starts. The best of those was his sixth in the Coventry at Royal Ascot and if he runs to that form it will take a good one to beat him.
A typically large field of 17 has been declared for the £80,000 Cunard Handicap over seven furlongs with Pogo, Ventura Ocean, Salute The Solider, Breanski and Spanish City all arriving after wins last time out. Ripp Orf always runs well at Ascot though and must be feared while Shady McCoy is also a course and distance winner who tends to come good at this time of year.
The feature mile and a half Lavazza Stakes for three-year-olds worth £100,000 looks a high quality renewal with Court Poet and Cap Francais rated in excess of 100. The later of those was a one-time Derby hope and could run well at a big price while Cirque Royal is still unexposed after only three starts on the All-Weather and Faylaq could yet fulfil his potential as the offspring of 2012 King George winner Danedream.
Away from Ascot, the Group One Betfair Sprint Cup takes place at Haydock where Royal Ascot star Advertise heads the betting narrowly from Ten Sovereigns, the July Cup winner. The two of them have been the stand out sprinters so far from the three-year-old crop but Khaadem, winner of the Stewards Cup, is fancied to run a big race stepped up in class. Of the older horses last year’s winner The Tin Man should run well and Dream Of Dreams, second in the Diamond Jubilee, will appreciate the likely soft ground.