Racing: Presumed shows firm promise

THEY SAY that no-one ever remembers who comes second, but punters would do well to commit Docksider's performance in the opening race yesterday to memory before they tackle the next three days.

Docksider asks for only one thing if he is to give of his best, as he clearly did yesterday, and that is ground which rattles his bones. After a broiler of an afternoon the Ascot ground is fast, and getting faster all the time.

Several of today's runners, particularly the classically-bred three-year- olds, will never have raced on such a firm surface. Some of them will not like it one bit.

Others may discover that firm going is what they have been waiting for all their lives. Precisely how they will react is another unwanted variable at a meeting which already has more than its fair share. Take the reliability of Classic form from the early part of the season. Sometimes it holds its own at Ascot, but more often this is when it starts to evaporate into the air like the heat haze in the middle of the course yesterday.

It makes sense. Horses like Wannabe Grand and Pescara, two of the main contenders for the Coronation Stakes, have been prepared through the winter to run the race of their lives at Newmarket in early May, not Berkshire in flaming June.

There are figures to back the theory, too. In the last 15 years, six winners of the Irish 1,000 Guineas, run in the later part of May, have followed up in the Coronation. The last Newmarket Guineas winner to complete the double, though, was One In A Million 20 years ago.

This might seem to point the arrow towards Hula Angel, the winner at the Curragh. She too, though, was a runner at Newmarket, while Valentine Waltz, the French Guineas winner, was in action back in April in the Nell Gwyn Stakes.

Ignore these fillies who may now be ready for a break, and look instead to Presumed (next best 3.45). Unbeaten in two minor races, she has shown immense promise both times and an ability to act on fast ground too. The 14-1 this morning is much too big a price.

SHOWBOAT (nap 4.20) also stands out at 14-1 for the mad dash of the Royal Hunt Cup. While his high draw might normally count against him, there is plenty of pace on the far side.

Mensa (2.30), who ran particularly well on fast ground at Kempton last time, is another 14-1 chance to consider in the Jersey Stakes, in which the favourite Enrique - runner-up in the Guineas, remember - is another who may be feeling a series of hard races. Take a close look too at Compton Ace (4.55) in the Queen's Vase, but sit out the Queen Mary, in which Rowaasi is too short to support but impossible to oppose.

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