Talking Horses: Adayar and rain could derail Love’s bid for Ascot supremacy

The strong chance of heavy rain ahead of the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Saturday adds an extra dash of uncertainty to what was already a fascinating renewal of Ascot’s midsummer showpiece.

Some forecasts suggest as much as 10mm by mid-afternoon, which would not be ideal for Love, the overnight favourite, in her attempt to complete a Group One five-timer. Wonderful Tonight, on the other hand, would be a serious contender were the going to end up on the soft side of good.

But Adayar (3.35), the Derby winner, promises to be the sternest opponent of all regardless of how much rain arrives. The visual impression of his four-and-a-half length win at Epsom was backed up by the clock and Hurricane Lane, who was back in third, has gone on to win two Group Ones. With just five runs behind him and more progress likely, a price of around 9-4 looks very fair.

Ascot 1.50: System was impressive at Newmarket last time but faces plenty of lightly-raced opponents who could take a big step forward. At the early odds, Zain Claudette could be overpriced at around 14-1, having quickened well up the hill in a maiden on the July course last time.

York 2.05: A five-furlong sprint handicap for jump jockeys is an interesting novelty but perhaps not an ideal betting medium. Soul Seeker, with Tom Scudamore up, is at least in decent form and versatile in terms of the going.

Ascot 2.25: Guru was just a neck behind Isla Kai last time despite conceding first run and is 1lb better off with that rival here. He is still improving and Oisin Murphy takes the reins for the first time.

York 2.40: If you put a line through Gulliver’s latest run in Ireland, when he raced well away from the main action, there is much to recommend him at around 10-1. He was beaten less than two lengths in the Wokingham and three of his eight career wins were over this track and trip, including a convincing success last October off a 4lb higher mark.

Ascot 3.00: Matthew Flinders makes plenty of appeal at around 6-1. He got to within two-and-a-half lengths of the winner on his first start at seven furlongs at Chester earlier this month, despite finding trouble in running, and showed a liking for a big field and a straight course when third in the Spring Cup at Newbury. His Chester run earned him a new mark of 108 but he can race off 98 here.

York 3.15: Mohaafeth put up another career-best at Royal Ascot last time and may not need to make any further improvement to get a first Group Two success on his record.