Sport

Royal Ascot Day Two: Free Eagle to soar

SportBy Shuki Byrne
There are high expectations for the Weld-trained Free Eagle
There are high expectations for the Weld-trained Free Eagle

As the temperatures rose in the balmy Berkshire countryside, thousands of well-dressed race-goers descended upon Ascot Racecourse for the world-famous annual meet.

Television presenters Ant and Dec, former England footballer Gary Lineker and actor Damian Lewis were also among the star-studded crowd in attendance yesterday at the opening day of Royal Ascot. 

In sweltering temperatures in the southern English countryside, which is expected to experience 22C later today, punters and notables alike were witness to some truly top-class races. 

Buratino, tipped on sundayworld.com yesterday at 10/1, was arguably the highlight of the day after he stormed home in the Coventry Stakes. The Mark Johnston-trained 2-year-old, who is tipped for success in next year’s 2000 Guineas, travelled beautifully during the race and showed an excellent turn of foot. 

He showed off his gears as he quickened up to the lead and William Buick pushed him out to see off Aidan O'Brien's Air Force Blue by two lengths.

Aidan O'Brien's Gleneagles justified short-price odds with a dominating win in the St James's Palace Stakes and headed a 54-1 treble for jockey Ryan Moore. 

Day two is looking to be every bit of exciting as day one. 

The opener is the Jersey Stakes (2.30, 7 furlong) and the Richard Hannon-trained Ivawood (7/4) tops the betting at a short price. 

Third in both Guineas, the 3-year-old is certainly the one to beat. He is closely matched on form with Bossy Guest (9/1, half length) in the English Guineas with the latter being five pounds better off in the weights.  

Bossy Guest ran on well in the English Guineas suggesting a mile and further is up his alley. 

An interesting runner is the Halford-trained Toscanini (10/1) who has James Doyle in the saddle. He may be a little bit stretched by 7 furlong having raced well over 6 but will give a good account of himself and may go very close. 

The Haggas-trained Hathal (12/1) is a very interesting runner for an in-form yard and with Dettori in the saddle will be thereabouts. 

Next up is the Queen Mary Stakes (3.05, 5 furlong). 

Easton Angel (6/1, below) was unbeaten in her two starts and kept on very strongly in a class 2 race at Beverly in May, beating off some good horses. The Dods-trained filly looks a top-class sprinter and may get further in time. The conditions are right for a yard and jockey in form. 

Tommy Stack put Cry Me A River (12/1) into a Listed Race and the filly gave an excellent account of herself that day in the Curragh. She was just three lengths of Washington DC, who won well in Ascot yesterday. 

There are a number of runners open to improvement including the Johnston-trained Delizia (10/1) and Besharah (8/1). 

The Duke of Cambridge Stakes (3.40, 1 mile) follows the sprint and features a short-price favourite in Integral (5/6)

The Michael Stoute horse looks set to capitalise on a relatively weak field and can come out on top. Euro Charline (6/1), an interesting contender, can follow her home. 

Next is the Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes (4.20) and the exciting Weld-trained horse Free Eagle (3/1) tops the betting. 

The lightly-raced 4-year-old ran a good race on heavy ground in the Champion Stales at Ascot last year behind Noble Mission and is well-thought of by Dermot Weld. 

It's a tentative selection due to an apparent injury which might have kept him out of some other races but he looks an excellent prospect. 

The French-trained Ectot (5/1) is a live danger given he too goes well fresh, while The Grey Gatsby (13/2) is expected to have improved markedly for his recent outing behind Al Kazeem at the Curragh. 

Picks for the day

Toscanini (10/1, each way) in  the Jersey Stakes (2.30)

Cry Me A River (12/1, each way) in the the Queen Mary Stakes (3.05)

Easton Angel (6/1, each way) in the the Queen Mary Stakes (3.05)

Free Eagle (3/1, win) in  the Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes (4.20)