At Royal Ascot 2020 do these horses have something to prove?
Royal Ascot 2020 is fast approaching and promises to be bigger and better than ever. The prestigious Flat meeting held near the royal residence at Windsor Castle is held over five days in the middle of June, but this year there are extra races for punters to get stuck into.
An expanded Royal Ascot format was announced in May but, away from the consolation events and new handicaps added to the now 36-race schedule, there are horses heading to the Berkshire track with something to prove. Let’s take a look at two of those and why they have critics to answer?
Brilliant sprinter Battaash has third King’s Stand crack
Would you make a horse beaten at Royal Ascot three times in the past favourite for a Group 1 race at the meeting? That’s precisely what bookmakers are doing with the mercurial sprinting talent Battaash.
Charlie Hills’s stable star chased home the magnificent Blue Point in each of the last two renewals of the King’s Stand Stakes over the flying five furlongs. He now bids to make it third time lucky and no longer has the Royal Ascot sprint double winner owned by Godolphin to contend with.
With Blue Point retired to stud, and how he does there is well worth keeping an eye on, the way appears clear for Battaash to finally win at the royal meeting. Odds of 15/8 reflect this and the fact that many of the latest Ascot betting tips side with him.
The only question mark over Battaash is whether the uphill finish on this particular track suits him.
All previous doubts about the triple Glorious Goodwood winner handling the course and occasion at York were dispelled by a scorching victory in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at the Ebor Festival there last August, and he could do likewise here.
owners Godolphin and their retained trainer Charlie Appleby had a potential
superstar on their hands in Pinatubo. He put all-comers to the sword as a
two-year-old and earned the highest rating for a juvenile on the Flat for 25
However, precocious talents must train on and Pinatubo disappointed when sent off odds-on to win the 2000 Guineas on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket. He could only finish third to Kameko and a length behind the runner-up Wichita in that Classic contest.
With his unbeaten record gone, Pinatubo could be out for redemption in the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. This race has been delayed from its usual slot on the opening day of the meeting to the Saturday to give the three-year-old colts extra time to recover from their Newmarket exertions.
As Pinatubo is the 11/8 favourite, but has a length to find on potentially re-opposing 2000 Guineas runner-up Wichita, there is definitely something for him to prove. The St James’s Palace is a valuable race in its own right which Godolphin have won this century with Barney Roy, Dawn Approach and late super sire Shamardal.