Fun Mac can defy weights rise in Ascot Stakes
The 5.00 at Royal Ascot on Tuesday is the Ascot Stakes, an all-aged handicap over two miles. In recent seasons, the race has been dominated by National Hunt trainers seizing the opportunity to win a valuable staying prize.
Nicky Henderson won the race with Veiled in 2011 and he has multiple entries this year. Top weight may be carried by Hurricane Higgins while winning hurdlers Royal Irish Hussar and Broxbourne also feature.
Hurricane Higgins will try to emulate Simenon who defied the welter burden of 9st 10lbs in 2012. He was third in the Doncaster Cup last season and comes here off the back of a hurdles victory at Aintree last month.
Tony Martin trained Leg Spinner to win here in 2005 and could be represented by Dark Crusader and Pyromaniac. The latter has been in good form over hurdles and on the level and won’t mind the quicker ground. Leading Irish jumps trainer Willie Mullins has booked Ryan Moore to partner Clondaw Warrior, a disappointment in the Ladbroke Hurdle here in December. He ran well when third at Punchestown last month but may prefer a little cut in the ground.
Sir Mark Prescott knows how to get the best out of a stayer and has entered Big Thunder, William Of Orange and Moscato. The former has shown very little form of late while Moscato’s winning streak of four came to an end when beaten by Lycidas at York. That was off a mark of 87 and he is now set to carry 6lbs more. William Of Orange was beaten eleven lengths by Fun Mac at Salisbury last time out and even a stone turnaround in the weights may not be sufficient to reverse the form.
Fun Mac beat his rivals with contempt that day for Hughie Morrison and looks a much improved performer. Richard Hughes takes the ride and he is certain to be popular with punters.
Lycidas is up 7lbs but appears to be improving and could go well for Charlie Fellowes and Steve Donohoe. Stable companion Buckland looked to be going best of all here behind Moscato last month but could not quicken in the closings stages. He is 4lbs better off for a length and three-quarters but is yet to win in eight visits to Ascot.
Shades Of Silver is on a hat-trick following victories at Nottingham and Kempton over this trip. He is up 6lbs but is yet to be beaten at two miles while Mawaqeet scraped home by a head at Newcastle last month. He had previously finished nearly six lengths behind Lycidas at York and enjoys a 5lbs pull.
Fun Mac – Ascot Stakes (Royal Ascot 5.00 Tuesday) @11.0 Bet365