Angus McNae
Angus McNae's Racing UK Blog
Tuesday 17th June 2014

Racing UK

Let’s go to War with Command

It will be a privilege to be at Royal Ascot this week for as part of a dedicated team that has been working hard behind the scenes to make sure our presentation of this fantastic meeting is really special.

All we need is a profit on day one to give us plenty of confidence going forward and I am looking beyond the big two in the St. James’s Palace Stakes. Of course Kingman and Night Of Thunder are top-class racehorses and I am in no way looking to undermine their undoubted ability, but if value is what you are looking for then look no further than War Command.

This horse has already proved that he likes Ascot with a scintillating performance in the Coventry Stakes last year. He then went on to win the Dewhurst Stakes on his final start of the season.

This year things have certainly not gone very well for him, though, and he ran adequately in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket before being a late absentee in the Irish equivalent due to unsuitably soft ground.

On fast ground and on a track where he ran a big speed figure last year, the son of War Front can bounce back to his best and should be suported each-way at a decent price.

There are few chinks in the armour of the two main protagonists, although I would question Kingman's ability to handle really decent ground as well as soft. While he clearly goes on decent ground he may not be quite as effective. He is the most likely winner, but there is no juice in his price and I would much rather back War Command each-way.

Night Of Thunder ran the race of his life to win the 2000 Guineas and I am unsure that he will be able to back that up again. It is a big test for him to repeat that kind of effort twice in a row and for me - he is more likely to recoil than go forward. He could just disappoint and finish out of the frame.

My other selection on day one is Hootenanny. This Wesley Ward-trained colt has blinding pace as his Keenland maiden success showed. His trainer knows what it takes to saddle a Royal winner and has won three two-year-old contests at this meeting. What is perhaps more important is that this horse is drawn bang against the stands side rail in stall 25, and this horse looks certain to bounce out and bowl along up that rail.

If he gets away in front he will take a fair bit of catching and he warrants each-way support in a really competitive race.

Angus McNae's Tuesday tips:

4.25 Royal Ascot: War Command each-way at 7-1 with William Hill

5.35 Royal Ascot: Hootenanny each-way at 6-1 with Ladbrokes