A FIELD of 28 horses will face the starter at Royal Ascot today for the £175,000 Wokingham Handicap, which presents Malton apprentice George Chaloner with the opportunity of gaining a gilt-edged career highlight.
One of the most promising junior riders in the country, Chaloner, who rode two winners at Thirsk on Tuesday, finished second on Baccarat at York last month when the five-year-old chased home the well-supported Aetna in a competitive handicap.
Baccarat, owned by Sir Robert Ogden and trained by Chaloner's boss Richard Fahey, proved last season under Tony Hamilton at Ripon in the Great St Wilfrid that he is capable of landing a tightly-knit handicap.
Chaloner will be hoping the gelding can win more of the same this afternoon in a race where Fahey also saddles Alben Star, while Kevin Ryan will be represented by Hamza and last year's winner York Glory. It will be some cavalry charge over six furlongs and it could enable George Chaloner to write his name into Royal Ascot's roll of riding honours.
The £525,000 Diamond Jubilee Stakes is the feature race on the final day and Eddie Lynam, who won the King's Stand Stakes on Tuesday with Sole Power, can complete an outstanding double with Slade Power, the mount of Wayne Lordan, pictured.
Irishman Lynam has a dab hand with speedsters and Slade Power, who finished seventh in this race last year, has looked an improved horse since. He won a Group 2 race here last October and scored at Group 3 level at the Curragh on his reappearance four weeks ago. He should go well, as should Kevin Ryan's classy Astaire, runner-up in the Duke of York Stakes on Knavesmire last month.
In the 200,000 Hardwicke Stakes, Sir Micheal Stoute and Ryan Moore may provide the solution with Telescope, who should now be approaching his peak after two runner-up efforts this season. Stoute and Moore can also win with the deeply progressive Arab Spring in the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap.
The promising Richard Pankhurst, equipped with a hood after being a beaten favourite on his debut, is fancied for the opening Chesham Stakes, while Whiplash Willie may have the measure of Tiger Cliff in the concluding Queen Alexandra Stakes.
At Redcar, where it's Ladies' Day, Home Cummins is napped to win the British Stallion Studs Market Cross Jewellers Maiden Stakes.
The Fahey-trained juvenile ran a race full of promise when second at York three weeks ago, clear of the remainder of the field. She tackles an extra furlong today and will be hard to beat. Tony Hamilton rides.
Out Do should be a tough nut to crack under David Nolan in the H Jarvis 136th Anniversary Handicap.
David O'Meara's sprinter was beaten only half a length into second at Doncaster last week and left the impression that she was a winner waiting to happen. Opportunity can come knocking for her this afternoon.
Also worth noting at Redcar are David Barron's speedy Money Team (3.55), winner of his only race this season, and Tim Easterby's Storyline (5.40), successful over course and distance last month.
Royal Ascot today
2.30 Richard Pankhurst, 3.05 Arab Spring, 3.45 Telescope, 4.25 Slade Power, 5.00 Baccarat, 5.35 Whiplash Willie.
2.05 Home Cummins (NAP), 2.40 Madrasa, 3.15 Out Do, 3.55 Money Team, 4.30 Illustrious Prince, 5.05 Sleeping Apache, 5.40 Storyline.
Today's other meetings
Ayr, Haydock, Newmarket, and Lingfield.
Hexham, Pontefract and Worcester.