Jamie Spencer gives his thoughts on a top class card at Royal Ascot
I ride Peace And War in this. Likely was meant to run and I’m disappointed that she’s not as she would have had an excellent chance. But Peace And War won well at Lingfield and looks a really nice filly so has a chance. I thought Bitter Lake and Elite Gardens were the ones to beat. Bitter Lake was very impressive off a slow pace on the July Course a few weeks ago. Elite Gardens won on Guineas weekend against the colts and Fallon is very keen on that. It’s a race full of unknowns, and it really depends on which horses improve and take the race well.
I was going to ride Just The Judge but we’ve decided to not to run on account of the ground and find more suitable conditions for her. Wigmore Hall has come down the weights. He was 117 just a year ago so he’s 12lbs below his top mark and he’d have to have an each way chance. The great thing in this race is there’s only 10lbs between them all so it’s a very tight handicap.
King Edward VII
I don’t have a ride in this but I like Eagle Top in this. He’s closely related to The Lark who I know well and she improved a lot as time went on. Eagle Top won a maiden at Newbury and then at Leicester everything went wrong for him. He was on the outside and never got in and was racing from four out. I know they like him a lot. He’s 15lbs below his stablemate, Western Hymn, on the ratings but obviously William Buick’s riding him for a reason.
I ride Kiyoshi. This year she’s had her issues. She got an infection the night before the 1000 Guineas and she was lame behind and it’s taken a while to get her right. But I’ve ridden her three times in the last couple of weeks and each time she’s improved. I worked her at Newbury last weekend and I’m not saying she’ll win but I’m really excited to get her back on the track. I have no doubt that she’s the best filly in the race, but whether she will be the best filly on the day is another matter as she may need it a little bit. But we are happy to get her back on track.
What I would say is that I went to ride Lightning Thunder recently in a piece of work and I have never been so amazed by the transformation in a horse. I rode her in February and she went well round Lingfield one day but didn’t give me the feel of a Classic horse, and when I rode her the other day after she’d had two tough races in the English 1000 Guineas and the Irish Guineas I was expecting a skinny filly. Well she’s not. She was very masculine, strong and powerful and she clearly thrived on the racing and I think she’s just about unbeatable. She’s got nothing to find and I think she just has to maintain her form to win. Olly has come close twice with her but he’s taken the pressure well and he’s trained her very, very well. When she ran in Ireland, she was only out of her stable for 14 hours because they flew her in on the day, so it was like a normal day’s racing for her rather than three days travelling.
I ride Min Alemarat. He stays really well. I actually won the Lingfield Oaks trial on his dam, and she’s a half-sister to Pilsudski so he’s really well bred. When he won at Haydock the other day he was flat out the whole way and when he got to the final three furlongs he ground it out. He’s the ideal horse for this race. The first stop in this race normally is to look at Aidan’s runner but his horse, Century, is out of Mixed Blessing who was a six furlong horse for Alan Jarvis so you’d have to say there may be stamina doubts about him and it’s his first race past a mile and a quarter. My horse stays really well and I think he has a really good chance.
Horsted Keynes is 11lbs higher than when he won at Yarmouth but I think he can easily handle the weight increase. He is a very good horse. He always has been. I rode him as a two year old but didn’t get to ride him last year. When I went to ride him at Yarmouth he absolutely cruised through the race and won easily. There’s the old saying that if you’re on a Group horse in a handicap you should be winning and we definitely think he could be a Group horse in the making.