Royal Ascot Wokingham Stakes Ante-Post Preview
The Wokingham Stakes ranks alongside the Royal Hunt Cup as one of the trickiest races for punters to solve during the five-day meeting. The six-furlong handicap has seen many big gambles over the years, most notably the victory of Laddies Poker Two for Jeremy Noseda in 2010.
This is one of the few events at the Royal meeting to evade Sir Michael Stoute over the years but he trains two of the market leaders in Duke Of Firenze and Enrol. The former was an impressive winner of the Epsom Dash and has been favourite for this race since the entries were announced.
With a furlong to run at Epsom it looked unlikely that Duke Of Firenze would finish in the money but he found another gear when switched inside by Ryan Moore. His rider never had to resort to the whip, suggesting that there may be more to come from this progressive four-year-old.
Enrol has a similar profile and caught the eye when flashing home behind Nocturn at Newmarket last weekend. The winner will carry a 5lb penalty for that success at Ascot but that will at least guarantee a run for Jeremy Noseda’s sprinter whereas Enrol will need a lot of horses to come out.
William Haggas produced High Standing to win this in 2009 and he could be represented by Rex Imperator who went into many notebooks after finishing second at Doncaster last week. He cruised into the lead in that seven-furlong race before weakening close home to finish second. That was his first sign of form for some time and he could be a threat at this shorter distance.
Gabriel’s Lad is another to attract ante-post support following his second to Hamza at Newmarket last month. He won a decent handicap here in October and has only finished out of the frame once in ten career starts.
Trainer Robert Cowell has his sprinters in flying form with recent victories for Kingsgate Native and Spirit Quartz. There was a lot to like about the run of Goldream when an unlucky second at York and the son of Oasis Dream could also come into calculations.