Punter's Diary by Malcolm Heyhoe

[this month's diary]

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punter's diary
Updated: 1st June 2013 -

June's Top Action

Every Flat racing fan knows that Epsom's idiosyncrasies remain a key part of the course's unique appeal yet year after year they continue to unsettle even the smartest of horses but in time-honoured fashion, the Epsom Derby is almost always won by the very best horse.

Dawn Approach
© Caroline Norris

Dawn Approach

The Derby fixture ushers in a wonderful month of Flat racing in June, and in 2013 the final day of the two-day Epsom meeting concludes on June 1 with the Investec Derby. Ever since Dawn Approach landed the Newmarket 2,000 Guineas in imperious style the outcome of the second colts' classic has seemed to hinge upon a single question, namely whether Jim Bolger's high-class colt will last out the Derby distance despite an unpromising pedigree.

Nothing is ever straight-forward in racing and Bolger may have slept less easily with the news that Magician, a brilliant winner of the Irish 2,000 Guineas, might take his chance at Epsom in what would have been an audacious piece of placing by trainer, Aidan O'Brien. Described by the latter as a potentially a 'great horse' after his recent classic success, Magician may well have been a spanner in the Derby works for all of his rivals but, sadly, it is not to be.

Al Kazeem
© Racehorse Photos

Al Kazeem

Five of the very best days of Flat racing to be found anywhere in the world begins on June 18 with the opening day of Royal Ascot, and the highlight has to be the Queen Anne Stakes over a mile featuring the potential clash between American superhero, Animal Kingdom, and Godolphin's still improving Farhh. Home advantage and late blossoming maturity tip the balance firmly in the latter's favour.

On Royal Ascot's second day, June 19, the Prince Of Wales's Stakes takes centre stage and Al Kazeem is likely to be among the favourites for this Group 1 event, though there is a chance that Farhh will sidestep the Queen Anne and bid to go one better here than he managed twelve months ago when just touched off into third by So You Think in the same race.

On Thursday June 20, the Ascot Gold Cup is the highlight of the day and this looks like offering Estimate, the Queen's wonderfully tough filly, a second chance to land a royal win at the eponymous Ascot meeting. Sir Michael Stoute's talented and consistent sort was an easy and heavily-gambled upon winner a year ago in the Queen's Vase and she could well be improving quicker than the rest in this sluggers' division.

Just The Judge
© Racehorse Photos

Just The Judge
Friday's action on June 21 features the Coronation Stakes, a Group 1 race over a mile for the best fillies in town. Mikel Delzangles' Flotilla might well spring a surprise here given that the form of her French 1,000 Guineas success has been largely overlooked. Sky Lantern and Just The Judge, winners respectively of the English and Irish equivalents, should provide the sternest opposition in what promises to be a compelling contest.

Saturday June 22 belongs to the sprinters in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes. It seems a shame that the European and British speedsters have mustered so little in the way of serious opposition in recent years but all that may be out to change with Society Rock shaping this time around as if he might take plenty of beating in the six furlong dash.

The sprinters take the limelight too in the Wokingham Stakes on Royal Ascot's final day and while no one can predict the vagaries of the Ascot draw for this fiendishly difficult six furlong sprint handicap, the rule of thumb here is generally to stick with a horse in form.

Sir Michael Stoute's Enrol screamed big handicap winner when scoring so cosily at Doncaster the other day while on a different tack, Khubala is one who seems to have been hiding his light beneath a bushel this term. The four-year-old may just be the sort to thrive given the ultra-competitive nature of this race.

June's fabulous month of Flat racing closes on June 29 with the Northumberland Plate and Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle while over at the Curragh in Ireland, the Irish Derby takes pride of place and Aidan O'Brien seems sure to have a strong hand for the premier Irish classic over a mile and a half.

Malcolm Heyhoe writes weekly horse racing articles for GG.COM-Horse racing betting, information, news, results and free daily tips

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