The return to Ascot today lived up to its unpredictable reputation, with a tricky card producing its fair share of upsets. Big fields ensured open markets in most races, and left favourite punters battered and bruised, with only two public elects saluting from the nine race program.

Of the fancied victors, the inform Travinator ($2.50 fav) produced its third win from three starts this preparation, leading and crushing its rivals by 2 ½ lengths in the Myer Spring Fashion Trophy 1000m. The Justin Warwick trained Global Flirt ($3.30 fav) bounced back from a narrow defeat last week, to flash home from seventh on the turn to win the Bistro Guillaume HCP 1800m by a head.

Starlight Lady ($6.00) and jockey Paul Harvey teamed up for a collect in the Isika Perth HCP 2100m, cruising to the line from fourth on the turn for a 1 ¼ length victory in the opener. Moonlight Bay ($9.00) nabbed Fort Courage ($10.00) on the line to win the Crown Metropol HCP 1400m by a neck. Hey Blondie ($5.50) did much the same in the Crown Club HCP 1200m, accounting for Cool Corona ($6.50) in the shadows of the post – a head being the final margin.

Virtual Trader ($6.50) emerged as a major contender for this year’s WA Guineas, with a devastating charge from eighth at the 400m to swamp rivals in the Crown Perth 3yo HCP 1400m, and Iseethingsyoudon’t ($4.60) held on in the Merrywell HCP 1200m by a half-length, after charging to the lead at the 600m mark.

The feature races added to the woes of the punters, with two forgotten horses saluting at odds. Miss Solis ($11.00) came from the clouds to beat stablemate Darlington Abbey ($7.00) by a half head in the listed Belgravia Stakes 1200m, while last year’s WA Guineas and Belgravia Stakes winner King Saul ($14.00) nosed out Kerrific ($11.00) on the line to win the listed Northerly Stakes 1400m.

The hard luck stories for the day came from two brave runs that failed by narrow margins. Ambers Kingdom ($17.00) stormed home from 17th on the turn to finish a head second to Global Flirt in the fifth, while Maschino ($4.80) lost no admirers in defeat – taking off from 11th at the 400m mark to fall a neck short in the Northerly Stakes.

Both trainers and jockeys shared the spoils with no multiple winners, although “trainer of the moment” Simon Miller did manage to quinella the Belgravia Stakes with Miss Solis and Darlington Abbey finishing one/two.