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Racing: NEWSBOY'S VIEW ON Royal Ascot 2004 - FINISH ON A HIGH; Tregoning should earn all the Accolades with final day win.

Byline: NEWSBOY

ROYAL ASCOT 3.05 BBC2

HARDWICKE STAKES

HIGH ACCOLADE, as talented as he is quirky, loves it round here and can win at the Royal fixture for the second year in a row.

Marcus Tregoning's four-year-old was rather hit-and-miss following a victory in the King Edward VII Stakes here, but at least rounded off 2003 with a fine three-length victory in the Cumberland Lodge Stakes.

He was sent off the 9-4 favourite following a good second to Brian Boru in the St Leger at Doncaster in September and made all to beat Compton Bolter by three lengths.

And he showed he is at least as good as ever when fourth to Warrsan in the Coronation Cup at Epsom on his return earlier in the month.

Chasing the leader under Martin Dwyer, he took up the running at the two-furlong pole, and kept on when headed.

"He's in fine form, and although he was fit enough for Epsom, I hope he can improve for that run," said Tregoning.

"He has his quirks, but a lot of good horses do, and I love him to bits. He does it on the track, and that's what counts.""

Godolphin's Doyen finished two short heads in front of High Accolade at Epsom, but while his inexperence on fast ground is a worry, the same cannot be said of the Tregoning runner.

"The ground is very, very quick, but he acts on it and won't have any problem handling it," added the trainer.

Doyen suffered trouble in running at Epsom and has to pose a threat if able to act under this afternoon's conditions.

But High Accolade, boasting two wins from two starts over a mile and a half here, is strongly fancied for a successful return.

ROYAL ASCOT 5.00 ATR

DUKE OF EDINBURGH STAK

SWIFT TANGO remains on the upgrade and should give a good account of himself in a wide-open contest.

Ed Dunlop's charge was a fine second to Adiemus at Nad Al Sheba at the end of February and, back in Britain the following month, Swift Tango took third behind the progressive Autumn Glory in Doncaster's Spring Mile.

Next time out he found the ground too soft at Pontefract at the start of April.

Stepped up to a mile and a half for the first time, the selection then showed improved form to score by a short head from the in-form Cold Turkey in a Newbury handicap last month.

The handicapper reacted by putting him up 6lb to a mark of 96 for a similar event, again over 12 furlongs, at Epsom on Derby day.

Swift Tango was possibly unlucky in finishing a head second to Starry Lodge, as he had plenty to do under Frankie Dettori as the field straightened for home.

Assessing his mount's prospects for today, Dettori said yesterday: "He's a horse who loves big fields, and he loves to come through horses.

"He needs everything to drop for him - a lot of luck - but he's good enough to win and everything is absolutely spot-on for him."

Ocean Avenue has the look of a horse who has been laid out for this and has to be respected while the top weight, Counsel's Opinion is said to have been burning up the gallops at Newmarket.

But, despite another 2lb rise for his Epsom defeat, Swift Tango, who should find conditions here ideal, is taken to regain the winning thread.

ROYAL ASCOT 4.25 THE WOKINGHAM STAKES BBC2

LAFI can provide the latest advert for Dandy Nicholls' training skills by giving the Thirsk trainer his first victory in this cavalry charge.

There aren't many major sprint handicaps that have eluded Nicholls, but the Wokingham is one and in Lafi, he has just the horse to put the record straight.

The five-year-old deserves a change of luck after not getting the run of the race behind stablemate Native Title, who reopposes with an 8lb penalty, at Epsom on Derby day.

"Epsom is that type of track, but he didn't get the best of passages - he certainly didn't get the passage that Native Title did," said Nicholls yesterday.

"He hasn't been without his problems - he's not the best mover in the world and you have to look after him - but he's a nice horse."

Nicholls excels with well-bred animals bought from powerful yards and Lafi fits that profile perfectly, having been progressive for Alec Stewart and owner Hamdan Al Maktoum last season.

He then progressed in handicap company for Stewart last season, starting off with a length-and-a-half call over Flint River over seven furlongs at Sandown last June.

He defied a rise in the weights to land another handicap, again over Sandown's seven furlongs in August, beating Master Robbie by two and a half lengths.

Sent off favourite for the valuable Tote Trifecta Handicap here last September, Lafi then ran down the field behind the same rival on his final start for his former connections.

Transferred to Nicholls by new owners Alfi and Partners, the selection made his reappearance at Thirsk in May, and made a pleasing comeback.

But it was his Epsom run which really pointed to his chance today.

Alex Greaves found her path blocked when attempting a run against the far rail running to the two-furlong marker, before finally running on to be beaten a length and three-quarters.

"He's always shown enough boot. He couldn't have run like that at Epsom if he needed seven - and in fact he lost second near the line, so you could say he would have been better off at five there," added the trainer.

Lafi is drawn 30 and that pleases Nicholls.

"I'm happy enough with that. I wasn't when the far side was about three lengths down in the Hunt Cup, but then they caught up and there was a bunch finish."

As ever, the Wokingham is wide-open, with Coconut Penang, Tychy and Dazzling Bay - to name but three - all coming into the race with strong chances.

But Lafi, racing off a mark of 91 - as he did at Epsom - can swoop fast and late under the ice-cool Eddie Ahern (left) to break his trainer's duck in the race.

ROYAL ASCOT 2.30 BBC2 CHESHAM STAKES

WHERE WITH ALL made a promising debut earlier in the month and looks set to take the step up in class.

He was allowed to go off at 100-30 for his first start, in a six-furlong maiden at Haydock, but made those odds look generous with a fluent success.

Ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, Where With All disputed the lead until taking a definite advantage running to the final furlong.

Once in front, the selection began to run around as lack of previous experience began to take its toll, but he still had enough in hand to hold Wasalat by two and a half lengths.

"He is a very nice colt and he won well on his debut," bin Suroor said yesterday. "He has come out of the race very well. He needed the experience at Haydock, so there should be a bit of improvement to come from him.""

The Haydock victory came on good to soft ground, whereas today's terrain will be much quicker.

But bin Suroor added: "I don't think the ground will be a problem for him - he is a nice mover with a beautiful action.""

Where With All has bags of scope for further improvement and, with the step up to seven furlongs likely to suit, can cap a marvellous week for Godolphin.

ROYAL ASCOT 5.35 ATR

QUEEN ALEXANDRA

WINDERMERE looks to have continued his progress for Ted Walsh after leaving

John Gosden, and should prove suited by this stamina test.

Unraced as a two-year-old, he did nothing but improve for Gosden at three.

Having won a Bath maiden on the third start of his career, Windermere went on to score twice in handicaps over a mile and five furlongs at Newbury.

But better was to come, when he just got touched off by a neck by Andre Fabre's Morozov at Longchamp in October 2002.

Last year he managed one win in three outings for his former connections, in a Ripon conditions event, and he has continued his upward curve for Walsh.

A winner over hurdles at Naas on his Irish debut, Windermere tasted Listed success for the first time at Leopardstown at the end of last month.

Sent off a 14-1 shot in a six-runner field - in which triple Irish St Leger winner Vinnie Roe was a favourite - he made every yard under Johnny Murtagh.

In an unassailable lead soon after half way in the mile-and-three-quarter contest, Windermere sailed home by four and a half lengths from Dermot Weld's star.

Murtagh is optimistic his partner will stay today's trip and Windermere is up to the job.

CAPTION(S):

FINAL DAY FLIER: Lafi can send Ascot punters home happy after the Wokingham; TREGONING: Has High Accolade in fine form; BIN SUROOR: Marvellous week; WALSH: Improved the tip
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 19, 2004
Words:1496
Previous Article:Racing: WIN A SUPER DAY AT THE SUMMER NATIONAL.
Next Article:Racing: NEWSBOY'S ANALYSIS.


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