The Mandarin’s Ascot Racecard for Saturday July 23rd


Princess Margaret Keeneland Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies) 1.50
Frankie Dettori has an outstanding record around here, but returns to the home of the Royal meeting with a point to prove after a less successful campaign in 2022. However, Lezoo, his winner of the Listed Empress Stakes at Newmarket last time out can get his day off to a good start. She’s the class act of the field, and out to make it three wins from just four races under rules

Longines Valiant Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies) 2.25
Roger Charlton’s Gleneagles filly will find this a tad easier than the French 1,000 Guineas she last lined up in. Her eighth place in a blanket finish in that Group 1 was a better run than it looks on bare paper, and she’s sure to have been well placed here by her smart trainer. Hollie Doyle is on the reins to add to the appeal, sure to go close

Moet & Chandon International Stakes (Heritage Handicap) 3.00
Dark Shift
Dark Shift could be the answer to this ever competitive handicap, and Charlie Hills is sure to have him well prepped for this valuable prize. Last seen taking the Royal Hunt Cup, the annual Cavalry charge at Royal Ascot, there’s every reason to expect another big run at a course he excels on, with four wins here in six starts. Horses for courses, so Dark Shift to put in a good shift, and super each way value

King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes (Group 1) 3.35
Westover (nap)
We tipped him for the Irish Derby, which he won at a canter, so we’ll stick with our selection, though this is a very deep race. There’s quality all round in this small but select field of six, and seeing the likes of Pyledriver and Broome at odds of over 20/1 in the ante-post markets just shows the depth of this field. There’s even the winner of last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in the bottom half of the betting, so this Group 1 has to be one of the highlights of this season. Westover looks a very smart colt, though, and with Irish Champion Jockey Colin Keane over for the ride, there’s lots to like, with Emily Upjohn the main danger

Pat Eddery Stakes (Listed) 4.10
Finn’s Charm (nb)
There’s sure to be plenty of support for Naval Power after the season Charlie Appleby has had out of his Moulton Paddocks yard, but we’ll buck the trend and nail our colours to the green silks of Finn’s Charm. Frankie Dettori has been booked for the trip, and on a mission back at Ascot, he’s sure to put up a good fight for black type in this small field

Porsche Handicap 4.45
Archie Watson seems to have as good a chance as any for this hot handicap on the straight course. This Kingman gelding was an excellent, two length third in the Royal Hunt Cup over course and distance at the Royal meeting, so any run close to that level puts him firmly in the picture. Regular partner Hollie Doyle is back in the saddle, and Tempus looks sure to be in the mix for place claims at the very least

Garrard Handicap 5.20
Mountain Peak
Horses for courses once more, so we’ll side with Ed Walker’s seasoned campaigner Mountain Peak in the final race. He won the corresponding race last year, and this time around has the notable booking of Ryan Moore to guide him home. Out there and fully exposed after thirty-five career starts, so possibly vulnerable to younger legs, but remains a solid pick

The Mandarin

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