Windsor and Lingfield offer up the perfect Royal Ascot appetiser on a competitive Monday before eyes turn to the big five-day meeting, all live on Sky Sports Racing.
6.40 Windsor – Group Three winner headlines Sprint Series feature
The Fitzdares Sprint Series Qualifier Handicap (6.40) returns at Windsor, with the previously promising Cairn Gorm back in action for the Kevin Philippart De Foy team.
He was a Group Three winner as a two-year-old but has struggled since then. However, he did finish a good third at Ascot in a Class 2 heat and was sold for 105,000 guineas at the Horses In Training sales.
The four-year-old also made a winning debut at this venue, but faces tough opposition headed by Asad – ridden by Hollie Doyle – who has put together a string of decent efforts.
In the opener, the British Stallion Studs EBF Restricted Novice Stakes (5.40), Raducanu, who was a one-time Royal Ascot hope, will bid to get off the mark at the third time of asking for Rod Millman, with Silvestre De Sousa in the saddle.
Pundit picks – Anthony Ennis
6.10 Windsor – TWELFTH KNIGHT
6.40 Windsor – CAIRN GORM
3.30 Lingfield – Big run from Big Meeting?
The afternoon racing comes from Lingfield, with Godolphin’s Big Meeting the headline act in the Follow @attheraces On Twitter Handicap (3.30).
The five-year-old gelding took a big step forward at Chelmsford when bolting up last time out, although this looks a deeper contest, with four of this field having won over the course and distance.
Another interesting contender is Aeonian from the Derby-winning Sir Michael Stoute outfit, who won on debut and has since finished third in a good event at Haydock – he could take some stopping in this grade on handicap debut for the Flaxman Stables.
4.00 Lingfield – Tawtheef goes for hat-trick
In the following race, Tawtheef – who took his 14 starts to get his first victory – bids for a hat-trick in the Royal Ascot On Sky Sports Racing Handicap (4.00).
The Patrick Chamings-trained gelding has been nudged up in the weights but should still go well, although he takes on the likes of Imperial Eclipse, who could improve on handicap debut after a gelding operation.
Sophie Leech’s Defildade is another interesting opponent, making his first start at Lingfield after finishing second at Wolverhampton last time out.
Monday racecards I Latest Sky Bet odds
Twelfth Knight looks like a short-priced favourite that will be hard to stop at Windsor tonight (6.40). The three-year-old only just got touched off by in-form sprinter Lil Guff at Yarmouth last time and has a superb draw to make a bid for the stands rail in this Class 4 handicap.
James Doyle takes over in the saddle and there’s a chance Archie Watson’s charge might still be progressing, as this is only his fifth lifetime start. His main threat Dandy Dinmont could struggle to get into it if missing the kick from a high draw.
We haven’t seen Cairn Gorm since the beginning of October when he ran well at Ascot and he’s previously produced some good performances, particularly in his first season when with Mick Channon.
The four-year-old moved to Mick Appleby as far as I’m aware but never ran for that yard. Now with Kevin Philippart de Foy, I think Cairn Gorm can go in first-time after a lay-off, with an excellent draw in stall one to operate from (6.10). That means with a slick getaway, David Probert will hopefully be able to bag the stands side rail, which is a huge advantage on good and good to firm going.
Going back to his juvenile days, he was a Group Three winner in France and can now race off a 1lb lower rating than his last appearance at Ascot. I’m hoping with a new stable he can recapture his old form and win in handicap company for the first time, despite the 255-day absence.
Watch every race from Windsor and Lingfield live on Sky Sports Racing (Sky 415 | Virgin 535) on Monday, June 13.