1pt win Blue De Vega @5/1, 15:05 Ascot, Thursday

This looks a tricky and competitive renewal of this mile-and-a-quarter Royal Ascot Group Three.

Hawkbill seemingly sets the form standard for Charlie Appleby, having beaten the favourite, Abdon, on good-to-soft ground on their seasonal reappearances.

The market seems to be expecting a reversal on this softer ground, but I’m not so sure.

Prior to that he’d racked up a hat-trick of all-weather wins at the back end of last season, so he’s done very little wrong and gets into this race without a penalty for his previous efforts.

One who does carry a penalty today is Irish 2000 Guineas third BLUE DE VEGA, who might have set the form standard for this race with that run.

The winner on that occasion, Awtaad, was slightly disappointing in the St James’s Palace Stakes on Tuesday, but Galileo Gold, the Newmarket Guineas winner and second at the Curragh, certainly franked the form by winning.

Blue De Vega was four lengths behind Galileo Gold at the Curragh, so, with this being a Group Three and that Guineas form working out so well – Newmarket third Ribchester was a big winner yesterday – that form might be plenty good enough for this lesser grade.

On official ratings and with the 4lb penalty he’s wrong at the weights with Hawkbill, but connections have rated him a ‘massive chance’ so the 5/1 about looks worth chancing.

Aiden O’Brien’s Long Island Sound rates a big threat but connections have sounded caution about the soft ground, so despite his tempting odds he’s passed.

1pt win Blue De Vega @5/1, 15:05 Ascot, Thursday

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