July Cup and Haydock Sprint Cup winner Harry Angel casts a long shadow over the market for Europe’s richest sprint, the Champions Sprint Stakes on Ascot’s Champions Day card.
He was absolutely brilliant at Haydock and nothing even got close to him on the day, powering through the heavy ground further and further clear to the line.
With soft ground at Ascot he won’t fear conditions, but I’ve got concerns over his suitability to the track where his lack of a win from three starts there is a fact.
It’s a tough track for front runners and it suits hold-up horses, so if he blazes a trail from the front, as he has in his last three starts, he’ll be asked some serious stamina questions and could set the race up for a closer.
The last time he raced Ascot he got into a fight with Intelligence Cross in the Commonwealth Cup, somewhat setting the race up for the previously unbeaten Caravaggio for Aidan O’Brien.
The bad news for Harry Angel is he’s drawn near to Intelligence Cross and the other Coolmore pacemaker Alphabet, so don’t be surprised to see a repeat.
Caravaggio’s career has taken a turn for the worst since Royal Ascot and he has an awful lot to answer for after three underwhelming performances, which include a reversal by Harry Angel in the July Cup.
I love Caravaggio and he’s sorely tempting at 9/2 – in fact, I can’t see anything wrong with that price at all, it’s very fair.
I just can’t shake the feeling that others have progressed past him and that he gave his true running in the July Cup, where the previous year’s winner Limato placed second, half a length ahead of Caravaggio, to give some context and substance to his form against older horses.
That’s a fancy way of saying I think the older horses might have been underestimated in this, a race which often provides surprise winners and placed horses.
TASLEET is again the one I like at a big price of 14/1, despite him having four lengths to make up with Harry Angel from his second in the July Cup.
He was outpaced that day but stayed on strongly to finish well clear of the rest, and he’ll have no issue going through soft ground at Ascot, a track he likes.
He probably should have won the Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot but for a bad draw and a bump in the final furlong, and with a few more strides he would have got to The Tin Man.
He beat the mighty Limato that day on his favourite good-to-firm ground, so I’m in no hurry to label Tasleet as a soft ground specialist given the strength of that form.
Bear in mind Harry Angel only beat Limato a length and a quarter in the July Cup; there’s not much between him and Tasleet if you take Haydock out of the equation.
And let’s not forget Haydock was bottomless, awful ground – as bad as it gets – so even soft ground specialists can struggle to go through it and I’m hesitant to take that form too literally.
Previous Sprint Cup winner Quiet Reflection returns after an impressive comeback last month, and she gets her ground so must go close.
However she bombed in this race last year and the form of her Royal Ascot win earlier that summer hasn’t worked out either, so I’m inclined to think the track doesn’t suit.
In contrast, The Tin Man loves Ascot – but on this ground I’d really fancy Tasleet’s chances of reversing the Diamond Jubilee form.
Tasleet is very much a forgotten horse in this and 14/1 is too big.
Each-way terms are pretty terrible with just three places offered and only Bet365 offering 1/4 odds, so I’m actually going to be a pussy and back Tasleet in the ‘without Harry Angel’ market with Betvictor at generous odds of 8/1.
1pt win Tasleet (W/O Harry Angel) @8/1, 14:00 Ascot, Saturday (Betvictor)Leave a comment