Graeme Rodway on the importance of getting the right rider in the Sandringham
5.00 Royal Ascot
Sandringham Stakes (Handicap) (Class 2) | 1m | 3yo fillies | 0-105 | ITV/Sky
The last six winners of the Sandringham have been ridden by three jockeys. Frankie Dettori won it twice in 2015 and 2016, then Jamie Spencer landed it in 2017 and 2018, and the last two runnings have gone to Hayley Turner. So maybe getting the right rider is key?
If you compare all jockeys who have had more than ten rides in mile handicaps at Royal Ascot by strike-rate since the start of 1997 then the top three are Spencer (18 per cent), Dettori (14 per cent) and Turner (13 per cent), and they have been profitable to back blind.
All three have rides here and Dettori has the best chance according to the market on Kestenna, who finished fifth behind Coronation hope Primo Bacio at York last time.
Dettori teamed up with John Gosden for his 2016 win on Persuasive and he and son Thady saddle Kestenna. The yard is 1-14 in this race in the last ten years (-£10.25 to £1 level stakes).
Spencer rides Prado and her form ties in with Kestenna. Prado finished fourth to Creative Flair over course and distance last time and Creative Flair was three positions ahead of Kestenna at York last month. There isn't much between Prado and Kestenna on that form.
Turner teams up with trainer Richard Spencer on Professional Widow, who is a big price overnight. She has a better draw (stall 29) than Prado (21) and Kestenna (7) if the high numbers are still favoured after the rain. It certainly paid to be high earlier in the week.
Mark Crehan has been handed a golden opportunity on board the Hugo Palmer-trained Glesga Gal and the 3lb claimer has a winner and a second from five rides for the yard.
Marco Ghiani showed his prowess on the straight track when winning the Royal Hunt Cup on Real World on Wednesday and he teams up with Simon and Ed Crisford on Far Hope. Ghiani has a winner and a second from three rides for the new team.
Race analysis by Graeme Rodway
'We're excited about Glesga Gal'
Hugo Palmer has been rattling the woodwork so far this week but is hoping a long-term plan can come to fruition for Glesga Gal in the Sandringham.
The Newmarket trainer saddled Ebro River to finish fifth in Tuesday's Coventry Stakes, while Dig Two beat all but Chipotle home in Wednesday's Windsor Castle Stakes.
"You'd rather hit the crossbar than the corner flag," said Palmer. "We're excited about Glesga Gal and she takes as good a chance to an Ascot handicap as you can ask for, but it's a hard place to win."
"The plan has been for a longtime to win off her mark and then go for the Sandringham and hope she improves for stepping up in trip to a mile, which I think she should. I think she's pretty versatile on the ground but I'd hate to see it bottomless."
What they say
Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Friendly and Montego Bay
Friendly is still a maiden but ran very well in the Irish Guineas while Montego Bay has good form and is a bit lower down the handicap.
Joseph O'Brien, trainer of My Generation, Thinking Of You, Camdeboo and Messidor
Messidor ran well last time when she was giving away a lot of weight in a race at the Curragh which has worked out well. Camdeboo probably has to prove herself at the distance while I'm not sure how well-handicapped Thinking Of You is. My Generation is up there at the top of the weights but she was a Listed winner. Hopefully the rain stays away for her.
Thady Gosden, joint-trainer of Kestenna and Star Of Emaaraty
Kestenna ran well in a hot Listed race at York last time and has come out of that in good shape. Star Of Emaaraty will find this easier than the 1,000 Guineas last time.
Johnny Murtagh, trainer of Create Belief
She has run well on nice ground in the past but hopefully we get more rain as she likes soft ground.
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Juddmonte, owners of Lucid Dreamer, Pomelo and Beheld
We always had this race as a plan for Lucid Dreamer after the Fred Darling to give her time but it's a comeback mission for her. We have a good opinion of Pomelo and again she took a bit of time to come to herself but seems in good shape now. Beheld was a bit free at Kempton last time. She's got a hood on and the straight mile should suit.
Chris Richardson, managing director of Cheveley Park Stud, owners of Belief
She may be going into the deep end a little but it's a race we've had success in with nice fillies before and she's progressive.
Ed Crisford, joint trainer of Far Hope and Riknnah
I wouldn't want the ground too soft for either but they're both going in off the back of wins and I'm sure they're going to run good races.
Roger Varian, trainer of She Do
She's not guaranteed to get the stiff mile but if she does, she's weighted to run a nice race.
Reporting by Lewis Porteous
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