Five horses who will love soft ground at Royal Ascot with ‘heavy’ rain forecast

THE sun is meant to be shining in June but sadly the weather doesn’t look like playing ball for Royal Ascot.

The Met Office say ‘heavy’ rain could hit the Berkshire track in the build-up to Flat racing’s biggest fixture.


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And thunderstorms are likely too meaning the already stiff run-in could get a whole lot more testing should there be a downpour.

It won’t be bad news for everyone, though.

These horses will love some dug in the ground and could go off shorter on the day if the forecast proves correct…

Big Rock 14-1
Queen Anne Stakes
Tuesday June 18

French horses are used to running on soft ground – which may prove a bit of an excuse for this previously jaw-dropping horse’s nightmare last run.

Big Rock, who recently switched trainer, was amazing in winning a soft-ground QEII Stakes by six lengths on Champions Day last October.

He was sent off 11-4 for his return in the Lockinge last month on good ground but folded tamely to finish a well-beaten sixth.

It could take a leap of faith to back him now but with proven success on heavy (Group 3 win at Chantilly last year) plus a runner-up finish to Arc hero Ace Impact, there’s no doubt the class is there.

Trueshan 40-1
Gold Cup
Thursday June 20

Alan King’s eight-year-old stable star may be getting on a bit now but if there is one thing he loves it’s soft ground.

His Prix Du Cadran win came on very soft, his Long Distance Cup victory at Ascot came on soft, as did his Doncaster Cup win.

Few Flat horses are quite so dependent on the going.

And, being old in Flat horse terms, he needs everything going his way to strike again.

A soft-ground Gold Cup could be just that and expect his price to shorten on the day should we get it.

White Birch 11-4
Prince Of Wales’s Stakes
Wednesday June 19

Unbeaten this calendar year, not many horses have shown such rapid improvement as this mud-lover.

White Birch has gone from Group 3 winner on heavy to Group 1 champion on good to yielding in three successive races.

He saw off previous Derby hero Auguste Rodin when last seen at the Curragh last month.

The Prince Of Wales’s looks wide open this year with Horizon Dore 8-1 third-fav also showing a liking for rain-sodden ground.

Don’t be surprised to see those two fighting it out at the post.

Gentleman Joe
Copper Horse Handicap
Tuesday June 18

Owners Robcour are best known for their jumps horses including the likes of Gold Cup runner-up Gerri Colombe.

But, following a trend of National Hunt horses taking on the Flat, they have got Henry de Bromhead to enter Gentlemen Joe in the race won last year by Vauban.

Gentleman Joe finished second to the Aidan O’Brien-trained and Ryan Moore-ridden Hans Andersen at Dundalk in April.

Beaten only a length-and-a-quarter, this son of Authorized was sent off 25-1 but plugged on gamely against the 4-6 jolly in the 1m4f race.

The Copper Horse is over two furlongs further and his stamina shouldn’t be a doubt given he won a 2m hurdle at Clonmel on soft last year.

Vandeek 5-1
Commonwealth Cup
Friday June 21

Vandeek was last seen being turned over at odds-on at Haydock – but losing his unbeaten run could have been a blessing in disguise.

The Simon and Ed Crisford-trained three-year-old was up against fit rivals that day and looked in need of the run.

There is no doubting his ability to win on soft ground with his Richmond Stakes and Prix Morny triumphs testifying to that.

Inisherin, the 4-1 fav for the £650,000 race, also likes soft but Vandeek might have more under the bonnet with just one run this season.


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