HARPER LODGE FARM has four entries at Royal Ascot this week and all four could do with some much needed rain.
Day two of the Royal meeting sees two runners from Radlett, Flaming Spear in the Royal Hunt Cup and Eirene in the Jersey Stakes. The former is making his debut for the stable, having previously been trained by Kevin Ryan when a four-time winner. The lightly raced six-year-old son of Lope De Vega is rated 105 and this talented miler last won in York last August on Good To Soft. Two of his previous wins were on the all-weather at Newcastle.
Being drawn five shouldn’t be a problem as he’s on the same side as last year’s trail-blazing winner, Zhui Feng. The problem is likely to be the Good To Firm ground. Robert Winston rides the 33/1 shot.
Robert is also aboard Eirene in the ultra-competitive Jersey Stakes over 7f. She ran a very pleasing race in the Group 3 Nell Gwyn when third, beaten just two lengths. Both her wins as a juvenile were on soft ground so today’s quick conditions at Royal Ascot are not going to play to her strengths. Add to that, she has plenty to find on ratings compared with the likes of Emaraaty, Could It Be Love, Expert Eye and Headway. It’s perhaps not surprising then that she’s a big outsider at 66/1.
On Saturday, the yard sends out Librisa Breeze in the Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes and Lancelot Du Lac in the Wokingham, both over 6f.
Librisa Breeze loves Ascot and although he won the International there on Good To Firm, he really would prefer cut in the ground.
Lance is now 107, three pounds higher than for his win in last year’s Stewards’ Cup. A winner of 13 races, his four turf successes have come on Good, Good To Soft and Soft, so he could do with plenty of rain falling on Royal Ascot before Saturday.
Significant rainfall looks unlikely this week but hopefully the horses will acquit themselves well regardless.