Oscula, one of three George Boughey declarations, is my strong each-way fancy for a fifteen-runner group three Albany Fillies’ Stakes over six furlongs of ‘good to firm’ Royal Ascot today, a fortnight after romping home in the listed ‘Woodcote’ at Epsom, where apprentice Mark Crehan enjoyed the thrill of visiting the hallowed ‘Derby’ enclosure aboard this Galileo Gold filly. The ease of victory was most impressive and memorable.
Subsequent computation of the race-times confirmed my impression and I’m confident Oscula justifies our first foray into the 2021 Royal meeting; significantly, and to his eternal credit, young Boughey has again engaged rapidly-aspiring Crehan even though in group races apprentice claims aren’t allowed. That’s a boost in confidence for any young lad.
Many point to Epsom being an easier track than the famous Berkshire course but it’s a fallacious argument with switchback circuits because races are invariably ‘full on’ throughout and there is no hiding place; Oscula won beforehand, at Brighton!
A clutch of previous winners from high-profile yards oppose Oscula but, judged on that latest time-handicap mark, it will take a very useful juvenile to lower her colours.
Rest of the card is terrific but far too difficult for serious betting whereas Manaccan wont be a surprise if causing one in the five-runner Novice Stakes over six furlongs of ‘good to firm’ Newmarket tonight; local trainer John Ryan journeyed this Exceed And Excel colt to Ayr sixteen days ago and a close fourth, beaten just over a length, represented an encouraging debut effort.
Two-year-olds gain colossal experience from being travelled a long way from ‘home’ and you can bet Manaccan will be a deal sharper and savvy for the ordeal; worth punting, and following, Ryan often pulls one out of the hat!
So does Dr Richard Newland with ‘thirty-something’ Sam Twiston Davies; they have been successfully plundering the ‘Summer jumping’ campaign recently.
‘The good doctor’ has found an excellent opportunity for consistent, hitherto luckless Wigglesworth in a moderate Maiden Hurdle over three miles at Market Rasen, an absolute ‘favourite’ for serious bettors.
Wigglesworth has undergone ‘wind surgery’ since pulling up last time and so defeat would be a travesty!
Looking forward to Saturday, you will understand why when reading this column.
Selections, Market Rasen, 1.40 Wigglesworth (e.w); Royal Ascot, 2.30 Oscula (e.w); Newmarket, 6.25 Manaccan (e.w).
Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019