Racing Gossip: Trackman is back with the latest paddock talk as he lines up some bets at Ascot on Saturday


I WONDER if Prince Andrew likes a flutter.

The`Duke of Hazard’ has got more problems than Johnny Depp’s public relations officer.

But he could have nicked a nice few bob by following his mum’s top two-year-old Tactical.

Her Majesty’s colt landed a monster gamble at Royal Ascot and looked the real deal when he blitzed a star-studded field in Newmarket’s July Stakes on Thursday.

That paid for a new set of leads for the corgis and the horse is ready to flatten the French according to trainer Andrew Balding.

He said: “The Prix Morny is the plan and he’s shown he’s versatile on any ground. It’s really fantastic for us to have a horse as good as this for Her Majesty.”

Paddy Power’s number crunchers were impressed and make Tactical 3-1 to burgle the euros in France.

William Buick reckons he’s a `proper horse’ and it will take a flying machine to stop him.

Talking about speed, blink and you might miss the 6f July Cup at Newmarket today.

Cunning Clive Cox’s Royal Ascot hero Golden Horde is booked to start jolly for this Group 1 burn-up.

But Lambourn trainer Roger Teal has a hunch he could gate-crash the party with stable star Oxted.

And our old mate Tealy is cooking on gas after landing a king-sized punt with Whelan’s Way (6-1 to 2s) at Newbury on Wednesday.

Anyway, the word is Oxted left Rodge beaming after he scorched up the gallops earlier this week.

Boy wonder Cieren Fallon has been booked to do the steering and I’m told connections will be investing a few shekels each-way.

Mind you, best bet horse of the week was William Haggas’s Montatham (100-30 to 6-5) who got home in a squeaky bum finish under Jim Crowley at Sandown.

Jolly Jim rode an absolute peach there, but I hear he’s still got the hump about getting beat on Marcus Tregoning’s Mohaather at Royal Ascot.

That horse goes back to Ascot for the Summer Mile (3.15) today and punters close to the yard will be significantly poorer if he is trumped.

On the subject of money, there were some relieved faces after Darain lagged-up on his debut at Newbury.

This blue-blood has got a better pedigree than the head boy at Eton and cost Sheikh Fahad an eye-watering 3.5million guineas.

Now that’s serious dough, but he looks the business and got a thumbs up from John Gosden, who said: “He’s a scopier type than his brother Too Darn Hot and was always going to stay better than him.”

Mind you, rumour has it Darain wasn’t the only horse to put a pep in big John’s step this week.

Apparently Gozza’s highly rated Sunray Major looked a bit special when he skipped clear in a workout at Newmarket the other morning.

Connections have called Columbo to work out how this one got beaten last time and are convinced he’s a class act.

That’s certainly true of Hollie Doyle who ticked another one off the bucket list when landing her first Group race on Dame Maillot.

The `mighty atom’ could win on a three-legged tomcat and should be odds-on jolly to nick the sportswoman of the year award.

Finally, jump racing was back on ITV yesterday and a little birdie tells me top trainer Ben Pauling has high hopes for his chaser Ravens Tower.

Big Ben reckons this fella has been given a right chance by the handicapper and expects him to nick a race sooner rather than later.