Ascot Summer Mile: Runner guide and big-race verdict
Ascot plays host to a fascinating feature on Saturday, featuring Hollie Doyle in the famous Godolphin blue as well as a runner for Her Majesty The Queen.
A field of seven go forward for the Group Two Summer Mile Stakes, live on Sky Sports Racing (3.35pm), in what promises to be an open contest.
Run on the round mile, the race represents a different test to the Queen Anne in which favourite Chindit (9/4) ran fourth to Baaeed in.
The Richard Hannon-trained colt heads the betting, with the main dangers appearing to come from Charlie Hills’ Mutasaabeq and Charlie Appleby’s Modern News…
1 – Best Lightning (Stall: 5)
Trainer Andreas Suborics; Jockey: Martin Seidl
Four-year-old German raider from the Andreas Suborics yard who often competes in France, as well as his native country. Beaten a short-head in the German 2000 Guineas last year and looks to have retained all his ability, coming here on the back of a Group Two success at Baden-Baden. That win unfortunately means he carries a Group Two penalty (3lb) which makes life tougher. Hard to weigh up, but likely best watched, as his odds of 22/1 suggest.
2 – Chindit (3)
Richard Hannon; Pat Dobbs
Won the Group Two Champagne Stakes as a juvenile, threatening to go on and be a top-class performer, but ultimately failing to progress. Has been highly-tried at Group One level by connections, consistently acquitting himself well, without threatening. This is much more his level, but again disappointed last time out when failing to build on an encouraging Lockinge run. He’s got the best form, marginally, but is worth taking on.
3 – Modern News (2)
Charlie Appleby; Hollie Doyle
Consistent, tough and hugely likable character who rarely fails to run a nice race. Should be suited by the stiff demands of this test having been a touch outpaced on Windsor’s flat track last time out, just being collared on the line by My Oberon. Carried a penalty there, however, so is now 3lb better off for a nose defeat. Can see him gelling well with Sky Sports Racing ambassador Hollie Doyle if his recent busy spell has not caught up with him.
4 – Mutasaabeq (1)
Charlie Hills; Jim Crowley
Sent off 6/1 for last year’s 2000 Guineas on the back of a super impressive Newmarket conditions stakes (seven furlongs) success. Ran well to be seventh in that Classic, but did not improve in his subsequent starts. This season, however, he has returned to his best form, and more importantly, has put back-to-back runs (three) together. Slightly unlucky in the Diomed Stakes at Epsom last time out, getting too far behind and unable to make up ground in the straight, failing to thrive on the camber not helping. A return to a more conventional mile will no doubt help.
5 – My Oberon (6)
William Haggas; Tom Marquand
The eldest in the line-up as a five-year-old gelding, but is a good, solid campaigner who should enjoy the demands of Ascot’s round mile compared to Windsor last time out. This day, he did well to run down Modern News in the shadows of the post, getting up to win by a nose. Is 3lb worse off with Modern News now, however, which is not ideal, but his career best did come at this track when fourth to Love in the 2021 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (10f). His trainers’ horses are in great form currently.
6 – Perotto (4)
Marcus Tregonging; Neil Callan
Showed how consistent and tough he was in a busy 2021 campaign, running 10 times, winning twice, including at Royal Ascot in the Britannia Stakes. Away from handicap company after, acquitted himself well, but maybe found life tougher up in grade in races of a more tactical nature. This horse thrives off a strong gallop, and if he gets it, he has a better chance than his odds of 10/1 imply. The question is though; will there be enough pace on?
7 – Tactical (7)
Andrew Balding; David Probert
A return to the form of his European Free Handicap (7f) success over Naval Crown last season puts him bang in the mix here, but since that April 2021 effort, his form levels have dipped; a combination of running over the wrong trips on the wrong ground have playing a part. Did shape better than the distance beaten in the Buckingham Palace Stakes (seven furlongs) last time out, getting too far back early, but he has yet to convince over a mile.
How this race is run will obviously have a huge bearing on the result, and in some ways, tactically, the race revolves around Chindit. He went forward in the Lockinge Stakes, but took a lead in the Queen Anne.
If Pat Dobbs does not choose to go forward, it could be a race lending itself to speed, and under those conditions, I want MUTASAABEQ (7/2) onside.
The top-class bred four-year-old has been holding his form well this season, and can hopefully have a gear too much for the hugely likable Modern News, who looks his biggest danger in what is an open contest.