Marsha can burn off rivals in King's Stand
With favourites expected to dominate the big races on the opening day of Royal Ascot next week, Marsha may prove the best-value bet on the card in the King’s Stand Stakes (3.40).
Sir Mark Prescott’s progressive filly earned excellent figures when just outpointing Easton Angel at York in July and, following a couple of reversals, she proved too good for Washington DC in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Chantilly in October.
She gave weight and a beating to that rival in the Palace House at Newmarket in April, clocking a personal best on this timepiece, and is 7lb better off on Tuesday.
The obvious danger is Lady Aurelia, whose visually stunning display in last year’s Queen Mary was backed up by the findings of the clock.
Ribchester will be a tough nut to crack in the opening Queen Anne Stakes (2.30).
Richard Fahey’s stable star underlined his wellbeing with a terrific win in the Lockinge last time out and goes particularly well at Ascot having won the Jersey Stakes at this meeting 12 months ago. He earned his best figure on the clock when chasing home the brilliant Minding in the QEII over course and distance last October.
Lightning Spear has finished behind him in the QEII and the Lockinge, so it’s hard to see him reversing the form.
Mutakayyef, winner of the Summer Mile in July, produced a career-best on the clock when a creditable third behind Postponed in the Juddmonte International at York and could be in the shake-up for minor honours.
Dual Guineas hero Churchill is difficult to oppose in the St James’s Palace Stakes (4.20).
Aidan O’Brien’s golden miler, now a four-time Group 1 winner, easily landed the odds in the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh just over three weeks ago, earning an improved Topspeed figure in the process, and he boasts an enviable timeline of 104, 100, 102 and 107.
It will take a very smart performer to clip his wings and, while Barney Roy is lightly raced, he may again have to play second fiddle.
Improving Copper Knight has hat-trick prospects in the Randox Health Scurry Stakes (2.40) at Sandown.
Winner of the Lily Agnes at Chester last season for Hugo Palmer, he was snapped up for just 5,000gns by Tim Easterby at the autumn sales and has since won back at Chester and again last time at York.
He looks more than ready for this step up in class as he has posted an improved speed figure on each of his three outings this term.
Meadway heads the ratings for the Scottish Sprint Cup (3.15) at Musselburgh and, while he may end up in the earlier consolation race, Bryan Smart’s six-year-old would be worth backing in either.
His two best efforts on the clock have come in the consolation race – he won it last year having finished second in 2015 – so he clearly thrives over course and distance.
Rasheeq is more likely to squeeze into the main event and is also worth a bet wherever he ends up. Tim Easterby’s charge finished second in two hot sprints at York last month.
Bloomfield (77) overcame a tardy start to make a successful debut in a 1m2f Curragh maiden on Saturday and much more could be heard of Willie McCreery’s promising filly.
Glorious Journey (35) cost 2.6 million guineas as a yearling and justified favouritism on his Newmarket debut on Saturday, but the time was slow and a watching brief is advised for now.