Trio kick off Royal Ascot

Mon 17 Jun 2019

The best week of the racing year is upon us and the yard are straight into action with runners in the two races which bookend the opening day.

The G1 Queen Anne had been pencilled in for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid’s Sharja Bridge since his exploits in the Doncaster Mile on the opening day of the season, and despite a couple of defeats at Group level since there are sound reasons to believe he can recapture his best form tomorrow. Produced with every chance at Sandown in the mile G2, the five-year-old didn’t quite let himself down on ground he would definitely have found lively enough and although he followed that very fair effort up with a well below-par one in the G1 Lockinge at Newbury he clearly failed to give his running that day. An SP of 8/1 that day would suggest he would’ve had a live chance had he run his race in the Lockinge, and as a course and distance winner over the straight mile at Ascot we would be hopeful that he can run close to, or even improve on, his better efforts. As expected, Andrea Atzeni will ride.

Sharja Bridge was sent off 5/1 for the Wolferton last year in its new guise as a Listed race, and we’re doubly represented this time around having declared both Willie John and Mountain Angel. The Ziad A Galadari-owned Mountain Angel has impressed with the way he’s handled Epsom on both occasions this season, winning two valuable handicaps and earning a rise to a mark of 106 off the back of those performances. He’s clearly still progressing as a five-year-old after 17 runs and his form points to him being capable of a bold show at Listed level. Oisin Murphy will be on board for the first time. Willie John has already had experience in this grade having finished second to likely favourite Elarqam at Goodwood. Strictly on the book the 3lb penalty Elarqam has to carry shouldn’t be enough to turn the tables from that run and the ground may be a touch on the slow side, but Willie John came from a less than ideal position and having had just five runs we would be hopeful of more to come. Andrea takes the ride for his boss. 

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