The Punter: Dettori set for big Ascot success
Godolphin, the boys in blue, are in rip-roaring form at the moment and I expect to see Frankie Dettori taking a flying leap in the winner’s enclosure at Ascot on Saturday.
Delegator, now under the Godolphin wing, can prove himself one of Europe’s top milers by taking the Queen Elizabeth Stakes following his success in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood for new trainer Saeed Bin Suroor.
He was runner-up to Sea The Stars in the 2000 Guineas, with Rip Van Winkle back in fourth, which makes good form reading now.
Winkle, one of four entered by Aidan O’Brien, gave Sea a bit of a scare in the Eclipse at Sandown but Delegator at 9-4 is taken to deny the Coolmore team who won this race in 2006 with George Washington.
Rip Van Winkle is the even money favourite as O’Brien is unlikely to run Mastercraftsman who has beaten Delegator twice this year, most notably in a rousing finish in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
O’Brien has always thought highly of Winkle and his judgement is worthy of total respect. His words were justified with an easy win for Rip in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood but with Godolphin currently firing on all cylinders, Delegator is worthy of support at the price.
Meanwhile, Sea The Stars has been shaved from 6-4 to 11-10 and 5-4 in places for Sunday week’s Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe in view of the current dry weather and little rain forecast for next week.
He only has to turn up to win and will be there unless the ground becomes very soft. He is sure to go off odds-on on the day.
Queen Elizabeth II Stakes: (Hill’s): Evens Rip Van Winkle, 9-4 Delegator, 4-1 Aqlaam, 10-1 Zacinto, 14-1 Famous Name, 25-1 Virtual, 33-1 Poet, 150-1 Windsor Palace, 200-1 Set Sail EW 1/5 1-2-3.