Cardsharp: one to watch at Ascot

With all the doom and gloom surrounding Brexit, a tedious general election campaign and a result that does nobody any favours, thank goodness that Royal Ascot will soon be upon us to take our minds off politics and back onto the turf.

East Yorkshire may have remained mostly blue on June 8, save for Hull, but it is the green grass of the Berkshire venue that will take centre stage later in the month. Always the highlight of the Flat season, it is the meeting at which all trainers want to shine and Mark Johnston’s Cardsharp cemented his spot by winning the Brian Yeardley Continental Two-Year-Old Trophy at Beverley on Saturday.

The race has recently been a good guide as to how horses might fare at Ascot and Cardsharp will be one to watch during the five-day showpiece. Winners at Ascot are just as hard to pick as in a general election and a glance at My Racing's Nap of the Day might help in that respect.

The five-day meeting starts on Tuesday, June 20 and for those who like to bet on a horse’s name that is relevant to the moment might well be in luck on day one. With politics in the air, Churchill would seem the perfect fit for the Group One St James’s Palace Stakes and will certainly garner much attention due to his name and form.

The Galileo colt will head to the royal meeting looking to extend a seven-race winning sequence that began with victory in last year’s Chesham Stakes at Ascot and is already odds-on with most bookmakers. Last seen winning the Irish 2,000 Guineas back in May, it may be worth siding with an animal that shares his name with one of Britain’s finest ever prime ministers.

To keep up the patriotic theme for English racegoers, Order Of St George could be the one to back in the Ascot Gold Cup - the festival’s blue riband event. Another offspring of the great Galileo, Aiden O’Brien’s charge will line up as a short-price favourite for the two-and-a-half-mile showpiece and certainly looks to have a great chance of glory.

To keep up the political theme for the upcoming fixture, Washing DC is likely to race in the five-furlong King’s Stand Stakes – another Grade One contest run on the opening day of Royal Ascot.
The four-year-old was second in Newmarket’s Longholes Palace House Stakes on May 6 and, while the political establishment across the pond might not be winning many friends at present, the son of Zoffany could be your best buddy should he land the cavalry charge.

There will be hours of analysis in the build up to the meeting with pundits giving their views on who might prevail, but why not take the fun route and stick to the names. It has served many people well over the years and, with the Conservatives ‘winning’ the election, Blue Point in the Commonwealth Cup on Friday, June 23 looks an obvious choice. Charlie Appleby’s three-year-old colt was a Group Three winner at Ascot in early May and is already being heavily backed prior to race day.

Picking a name or theme to follow during a festival might not be the most scientific way of going about things and remember, as we heard at length from Mrs May prior to the election, a ‘strong stable’ is essential to be a winner.