Teaplanter previews Day 1 at Ascot with brief comments on most of the races on what will be a very damp start to the meeting.
Tepin is the real unknown here and she could either win well or completely bomb out. If the option was there I think I would have a bet without her as long as she was not taking up too much of the market. However in the main betting market, the horse that appeals is the Ger Lyons trained Endless Drama.
This son of the real up and coming sire Lope De Vega looks like a very high class 4 year old in the making. After 3 very good runs as a 3 year old, including when second in the Irish 2000 Guineas, he was off the track until reappearing in the Lockinge Stakes last month at Newbury. In that contest he tracked the pace and was always travelling well, but when the pace quickened, he was a little swamped for speed by Belardo. However despite losing, he was staying on well again at the finish and it suggested that he would improve for a stiffer test and would come on a good deal for the run. While he is not proven on ground that could be very soft, he is related to horses that have proved effective on a soft surface, such as the Robert Collet trained Histoire. His sire does seem to get horses that generally prefer better ground, but he is worth taking a chance with here based on the fact that he will be suited by what will be a stamina test at the trip and looks the horse with the most upside potential, especially with Belardo having the advantage of two previous runs this season, when they met at Newbury.
1 point each way Endless Drama at 6/1 with Bet365 and Coral (1/4 odds first 3 places)
This race could turn out to be hugely different to what would have been the case if it was being run on decent ground. Horses like Thunder Snow would have made plenty of appeal on a sound surface and the Wesley Ward raider would have had a far better chance of repelling his rivals if the contest was run on less stamina sapping ground.
There seems to be a plethora of runners that like to be on the front in this race and with that in mind, we would hope that Colin Keane does not try and do too much with Psychedelic Funk in the early stages. I don;t think he has the natural speed to be right up there with this field in any case and Keane will hopefully sit off the pace and make his move in the final two furlongs. He has impressed on both his starts in Ireland thus far and really pointed his toe when striding out as an impressive winner at Naas last time. That proves that he will have no problem with the trip and while the ground will be softer in this contest, he has at least proved that he is effective on a rain softened surface. It is hard to see him out of the frame here and he appeals more than Caravaggio under these conditions and at the bigger price.
1 point each way Psychedelic Funk at 5/1 with Bet365 and Coral (1/4 odds first 3 places)
These look to be ideal conditions for Pearl Secret today and while Mecca's Angel will be very hard to beat, there seems to be value in the David Barron trained mare in the main market and the without market. She is a mare that loves soft ground but has rarely got an opportunity to contest a top class race under these conditions. Her last run on a soft surface was at Haydock two years ago, when she was an excellent second to Hot Streak and prior to that she had won impressively at Nottingham.
The key race for this contest seems to be last month's Temple Stakes when Profitable beat Mecca's Angel and Pearl Secret was 4th. Profitable had the advantage of a run on that occasion and he may well to confirm the form and while Mecca's Angel grabbed the headlines for being narrowly denied, Pearl Secret finished very well on her first start of the season to grab 4th. She should come on for that outing and the stiff 5 furlongs on soft ground looks ideal. She is worth an interest at 10/1 each way with Betbright and also appeals at 11/2 each way with Paddy Power and BetVictor without the favourite.
1 point each way Pearl Secret at 10/1 with Betbright (1/5 odds each way)
1 point each way Pearl Secret at 11/2 with BetVictor and Paddy Power (w/o Mecca's Angel ) (1/5 odds each way)