Tuesday 19th June – Day 1
2.30 Queen Anne Stakes ( Group 1 )
Four year- olds have a fabulous record in that race having won 20 of the last 26 renewals. We have to look for a horse that has won at Group 1 level since 13 of the last 15 winners have won at the top level before. The horses that have been beaten in the Lockinge have a better record than those winning it. They have won 13 of the last 23 runnings. Ribchester was a convincing winner of this race for us last year having won the Lockinge before. Look no further than the top 4 in the betting in this race.
Rhododendron heads the betting having won the Prix De LOpera at Chantilly last year and finishing 2nd to Wuheida in the Breeders Cup.She made her seasonal debut in the Prix Ganay(won by Cracksman) but that was only a warming up race in prep for the Lockinge. She was then dropped in trip at Newbury and showed a nice turn of foot at the end to repel the challenge of Lightning Spear and Lancaster Bomber. She is one of the leading contenders in the race based on form. Lightning Spear keeps getting beat in those Group 1 races and I really can’t see him winning this as a 7 year old.
Benbatl is our Meydan horse and has made us some money during the winter. He was 5th in Derby last year before going to win the Hampton Court at this meeting. He was then sent to Meydan where he won 3 of his last 4 races, the last being the Dubai Turf where he simply destroyed his rivals. He hasn’t been seen since March and that is a little concern. But he is a class horse and cannot be discounted.
Recoletos is the one I think is overpriced right now. I have been monitoring him quietly since he finished 3rd to the excellent Brametot in the Prix Du Jockey Club ( Waldgeist 2nd ). He then ran in the Champions Stakes but he was no match to the brilliant Cracksman. But he was involved in a bunch finish in behind with Poets Word and Highland Reel. He made his seasonal debut in the Group 2 race at Saint Cloud before winning the Group 1 Prix D’Ispahan for us on his latest start. He showed a brilliant turn of foot again that day and he is big at 11-2 right now. Only concern is he wouldn’t want too rattling ground which he will encounter here.
Limato represents the Henry Candy yard and he has been a frustrating horse to follow last 12 months. He is taking an engagement here instead of running in the Diamond Jubilee race. Since he won the Group 1 Prix De La Foret in 2016 he has only won once and that was when he was dropped in a Group 2 race at Newmarket. He was runner up in the July Cup behind Harry Angel and was 3rd in the Diamond Jubilee race here last year.He was very disappointing on his seasonal debut in the Lockinge and the excuses given was that he ran badly due to the extremely high number of pollen !! His record over the mile is 460 but his record at Ascot is 123. James Doyle is set to partner him and he has a great record when doing so. In fact James has never been out of the top 2 when riding him(1112). He will relish the fast ground and I will give him an each way squeak but I can’t see him winning it.
Lord Glitters will be racing in Group 1 company for the first time in his career. He did us a big favour when he won the Balmoral Handicap here last October showing a brilliant turn of foot. He made his seasonal debut in the Lincoln at Doncaster where he was beaten by Addeybb, a very well handicapped horse. The Lincoln form is working out really well but the fast ground remains an unknown for him since he has done all his running on good to soft so far.
Deauville doesn’t win too often but he ran a stormer in this race last year when 3rd to Ribchester. He then went on to fill in the same position in the Arlington Million. He was 5th in the Lockinge on his 2nd start this season and will probably set up the pace from the front again in this race.
Suedois has been a revelation since he was stepped up in trip last year at Leopardstown in the Bommerang Stakes. He won this race easily and followed up at Keeneland by winning the $1 million race. He ran a great race in the Breeders Cup Mile behind World Approval when finishing 4th. In the Lockinge this year he came 7th . He clearly needed the run that day and he could well surprise in this race at big odds. Of the rest I don’t think the likes of Century Dream or Beat the Bank are up to Group 1 level yet.
Selection – Benbatl 9-2
3.05 Coventry Stakes ( Group 2 )
This race has been one of my favorite ones in recent years with the likes of Canford Cliffs. Dawn Approach and the rocket Caravaggio getting in the winning enclosure. Normally it’s a punter friendly race with 7 favorites or joint favorites having won it in last 14 years.
Aidan O’Brien has won it 8 times and has the favorite Sergei Prokofiev at the top of the betting. He is one of the main flat horses that I have been investing money in steadily last few 2 months or so at big odds. Those who follow my tweets or blog would know why and most of you should be on at decent odds. He is one of the fastest horses at present in the yard, a bit like the champ Caravaggio. He was given an educational ride at Dundalk. The jockey didn’t even use the whip that day but he showed a good attitude and ran on well at the end. On his next start he made mince meat of his rivals at Navan and he won the Listed race at Naas too. On both occasions he showed that devastating turn of foot that most Scat Daddy kids possess. I still believe he is a 5f horse but he will get the 6 too.
Next in the betting is Legends of War another son of Scat Daddy. He was very impressive on his debut by destroying the field at Yarmouth. Leading Spirit who was 3rd in that race has been beaten in his next 2 starts. He was visually impressive and I was taken by how he won going away. Also horses that have won on their only start to then run in Coventry have a good strike rate as they have won 12 of the last 25 runnings. He will be the main danger to Sergei. Calyx was very impressive winning his maiden at Newmarket last Saturday but all the racing experts were raving about him. He showed a great turn of foot on the Rowley Mile and won in the manner of a good horse. By Kingman the beast he surely will be a huge player if he takes his chance. If i didn’t have big odds on Sergei Prokofiev he would have been my bet in the race and I wouldn’t put anyone off backing him at the current odds but he isn’t the second coming of Jesus that’s for sure 🙂
Of the rest I will give the sons of No Nay Never namely The Irish Rover and Cosmic Law good each way chances. Cosmic Law on official ratings is the best 2 year old horse. He showed a nice turn of foot at Epsom to win the Woodcote ( 2 of the last Woodcote winners have gone to win the Coventry but we don’t know how he will handle firm ground next week.He rates as the value bet in race at current odds of 12-1 and few bookies like skybet are paying 4 places for this race.Also I was given a big word for Fox Champion on his debut but he went down by a nostril to a 40-1 shot that day. I can say he is highly thought of at home and he is overpriced at 40-1. He could represent decent value for each way thieves.
Selection –Sergei Prokofiev (33-1/16-1 Ante Post)
3.40 King’s Stand Stakes (Group 1 )
The first sprint race of the festival and we have an exciting race to look forward to this year. Last year’s winner Lady Aurelia , Battaash, Kachy and Blue Point are all in the race and fireworks are to be expected. Let’s start with the Queen of Ascot and reigning champion Lady Aurelia. The daughter of Scat Daddy won the Queen Mary and this race here last year in impressive fashion and showing that devastating turn of foot in both races. She normally at her best around that time of year and she enjoys the course too. She was beaten by a nose in the Nunthorpe by Marsha. She will get the fillies allowance and that could help her in her quest for a third consecutive win here. Wesley Ward has issued some upbeat reports about her and she will be tough to beat if in same form as last year.
Battaash represents the Charlie Hills stable and he is the best sprinter on official rating having won the Prix De L’Abbaye last year in France by blitzing his rivals which included Marsha. The latter did beat him in the Nunthorpe when he was playing up big time before the start. His antics before races can be a huge disadvantage but he is a classy horse . He won the Temple Stakes on his seasonal debut despite missing the kick by 4 lengths. He made up the ground to win by a nose and Temple Stakes winners have a good record in race as six of them since 1990 have followed up in this race. His only defeat from his last 6 races happened at York last year in the Nunthorpe.
Blue Point represents the Godolphin stable and is another consistent horse. He broke the track record here last year by beating Harry Angel. He then ran another cracker in the Commonwealth by finishing 3rd to Caravaggio. He made his seasonal debut in Meydan where he finished behind Ertijaal. That was a warming up race for him before the Al Quoz but he was withdrawn just before the off. He disappointed in his latest start in Sha Tin but he has an each way chance.
Washington Dc could be the dark horse in race and is a big price at 12-1. He ran a belter in the Al Quoz at Meydan by finishing 4th. He was then beaten at Navan on unsuitable ground. His latest start was in the Temple Stakes where he was 2nd beaten by Battaash. If the main contenders have an off day then I could see him taking advantage. Of the rest I don’t think Mabs Cross, Muthmir or Kachy are up to Group 1 level yet so I cant really see them challenging those at the top of the market.
Selection –Lady Aurelia( 7-2) Ante Post
4.20 St James Palace Stakes (Group 1 )
This is one of the highlight race on the day and there is really not a stand out horse in the line up. Aiden O’Brien has been the man to follow in this race since he has won seven of the last 18 renewals. Six of those winners have ran in the Irish 2000 Guineas.
Without Parole heads the betting and is one most of us have backed at 6-1 before he won the Heron Stakes at Sandown. He made his debut at Newcastle where he won easily and he followed up in impressive fashion at Yarmouth showing a fantastic turn of foot in the process. He had to work hard at Sandown on his latest start on ground that really didn’t suit him but his class got him through. He will need quick ground next week to show how good he is.
Tip Two Win was 2nd to Elarqam on his last start of the season last year but he reversed the form in the 2000 Guineas when he finished 2nd to the champ Saxon Warrior. He traveled really well during the race and ran on strongly at the end. His form looked solid now Masar has won the Derby and Roaring Lion finished 3rd , 2 horses he did beat at HQ. Next in the betting is U S Navy Flag, the Group 1 horse in the race. He won the Dewhurst last year beating Mendelssohn in the process. He finished last on his seasonal debut on unsuitable ground.He was then sent to the French Guineas where he slipped at a crucial stage. He then ran well in the Irish Guineas to finish 2nd behind Romanised. He will be a strong contender in the race that’s for sure.
Romanised was the surprise winner of the Irish 2000 Guineas few weeks ago. He was 2nd to Masar in the Solario Stakes last year at Sandown. This race has some serious formlines to it now. He made his seasonal debut at Naas where he finished 6th. He possibly needed the run that day and it was yielding ground too . Brother Bear has come out of this race and won well. He then won the Irish Guineas showing a nice turn of foot and stayed on strongly at the end. I was impressed with him that day and if he can reproduce the same form then he will be in with a great shout. I can see him getting backed closer time.
At bigger odds I will give an each way shout to Wootton , a horse we followed this season. He was disappointing in the French Guineas won by Olmedo but he was given a crook ride that day being kept at the back throughout the race. Gabr write up on Tuesday’s blog
Selection –Without Parole 6-1 (Ante Post),
5.00 Ascot Stakes ( Handicap )
This is one of the trickiest handicap races of the festival and the last nine winners were sent off at no bigger than 12-1. Ten of the last 11 winners of this race were trained by stables better known for jump racing. Willie Mullins has won it three times in recent years. The last four winners were all trained in Ireland and aged between seven and nine. But before the Irish winners , there were 15 out of 19 winners who were aged between 4-5. Clearly the more experienced horses have got the upperhand in race these days. Coeur De Lion and Dubawi Fifty will be on my shortlist if they run here but will wait closer time before deciding
Selection –Coeur De Lion 8-1 & Dubawi Fifty 14-1
5.35 Wolferton Stakes (Listed )
The draw is very important in this race and you need to look at horses with a low draw to have a chance of winning the race. Four year olds have a fantastic record in race having filled 14 of the 19 positions in the last five years. They also have 13 wins in the last 17 years. Look out for a lightly raced horse too since 18 of the last 23 winners had run no more than twice in season. John Gosden has won this race three times in the last seven years and worth looking at Mark Johnston or Ed Dunlop runners since they like to target this race. Michael Stoute has a terrible record in race and 6 of them were sent off favorites and all have been beaten.
Selection -Sharja Bridge 7-1 & Mirage Dancer 7-1
Wednesday 20th June – Day 2
2.30 Queen Mary Stakes
This has been known lately as the Wesley Ward race since he has won it 3 times with Jealous Again , Acapulco and Lady Aurelia in the last few years. Happy Like A Fool found Heartache only too good last year. He has been very bullish about his Chelsea Cloisters in recent days and she has been well supported as a result. She won her only start on the dirt at Keenland in good style. Just Wonderful represent the O’Brien yard and she won her maiden easily. Shades of Blue at 8-1 at time of writing looks a huge price to me. She was very impressive when she won her maiden at the track, a race that has worked out really well( Queen of Bermuda 2nd that day won 2 races and Come on Leicester 3rd won on her next start).She could be the forgotten horse in race and I wouldn’t put anybody off from backing her as she will be thereabouts or could even emulate her stablemate Heartache. Don’t think Fairyland will run here since she has been aimed at the Albany.
Selection –Chelsea Cloisters 3-1 ( Ante Post)
3.05 Queen’s Vase (Group 2 )
Aidan O’Brien, Mark Johnston and Sir Michael Stoute like to target this race and they have won 15 of the last 18 renewals. It’s run over a shorter trip since last year and five of the first horses were drawn in single figures. It’s good to look at the first four of the betting since it has provided it has provided 20 of the last 23 winners. The favorite has prevailed 8 times in the last 18 years. The market will be good guide to find the winner of this race. It’s a wide open race right now and I will decide closer to race about my selection in race. Stradivarius won this race for us last year at 12-1 and we know how good he has been since.
Selection – Southern France 4-1
3.40 Duke of Cambridge Stakes (Group 2 )
This is a race for older fillies and mares over the straight mile and it’s been very punter friendly in recent years. The favorite or 2nd favorite have been winning nine times in last 15 years. Qemah and Usherette won this race for us in last two years. You need to find a filly that isn’t running with a Group 1 penalty though Usherette defied a penalty 2 years ago.
At the head of the betting we have Hydrangea from the O’Brien stable.She looked so good last year winning two Group 1’s namely the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown and the British Champion Fillies & Mares here. She made her seasonal debut in the Lanwades Stud Stakes at the Curragh. She drifted from 1-3 to evens favorite but lost to Opal Tiarra. She was clearly using this race as a preparation for Ascot and like most O’brien horses she will greatly improve from 1st to 2nd run.She is the form horse in the race that lack real depth in quality this year.
Aljazzi was 2nd in the race behind Qemah last year and she was a bit unlucky in running or she could have been closer to the winner.She made her seasonal debut at Sandownin the bet365 Mile where she was 3rd to Addeybb. It wasn’t a bad run as she stayed on strongly and battled gamely at the end with Stormy Atlantic. She has strong claims again this year and will be thereabouts.
Wilamina represents the Martin Meade stable and she finished 4 lengths behind the now retired and Breeder Cup heroine Wuheida in the Dahlia stakes at Newmarket. She then went on to win at Epsom showing a nice turn of foot. She could be a player in this race if in the same form as Epsom. Tomyris is a nice filly but I don’t think she is up to winning this or is a Group 1 horse right now. Of the rest I will give each way chances to Lincoln Rocks and Promising Run if they take up their engagements here.
4.20 Prince of Wales’s Stakes (Group 1)
This is the highlight race of the day and hopefully it lives to expectations. Highland Reel won this for us last year under an excellent ride from Ryan Moore. With regards to recent form , 14 of the last 21 winners won last time out. The Tattersalls Gold Cup has been the key race lately delivering 4 winners from their last 8. Lancaster Bomber won this season’s race. Also the Prix Ganay won by Cracksman did deliver 2 winners, a second and a third from the last five.
Cracksman is at the top of the betting and rightly so. He looks like a proper machine this season and has strengthened a lot during the winter. He was 3rd in the Epsom Derby and then finished 2nd in the Irish version losing by a neck after being given a bad ride by Pat Smullen. Since then he has won 2 Group 2′ and 3 Group 1’s which included the Champion Stakes here. He made his seasonal debut in the Prix Ganay where he made mince meat of his rivals. He then followed up in the Coronation Cup at Epsom where he was made to work hard by Salouen. He only got up in the dying strides but like I always say class is class. He wasn’t at his best on a track he doesn’t like but his class hot him through. I can’t see anything beating him here and he rates as one of my bankers of the meeting.
Poet’s Word has been a model of consistency since we started following him 3 years ago. You will remember how he was given a bad ride last year at Chester , a race won by Deauville. He has ran some solid races at the top level and is a solid Group 1 performer. He finished 2nd to Decorated Knight in the Irish Champion Stakes and then 2nd again to mighty Cracksman here. He made his seasonal debut in Meydan where he again finished 2nd to Hawkbill in the Dubai Sheema Classic. He recently won the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown for us and he looked good as ever.
Unfortunately I can see him finishing as the bridesmaid again but his time will surely come at some point. The Stoute stats in the race are a big negative in that he hasn’t won this race since 1991, a bit like Liverpool not winning the league 🙂 He could be a bet without the favorite or one to be placed market. I don’t think Benbatl or Rhododendron running here so expect the price of Cracksman to shorten even further after final declarations.
The one that will be instead supplemented here will be Lancaster Bomber. He is a bit like Poet’s Word here as he has been the eternal bridesmaid in a number of Group 1 races. He was 2nd in the St James Palace here last year and then 2nd again in the Woodbine Mile behind World Approval. He finished 3rd in the Lockinge and ran another stormer. Finally he won a well deserved Group 1 in the Tattersalls Gold Cup when he was given a fantastic ride by Seamie Heffernan. I will give him an excellent each way shout and you are sure he will give you a run for your money. Of the rest I can’t see anything troubling the ones I mentioned above.
Selection – Cracksman 11-10
5.00 Royal Hunt Cup
This is one of the most competitive races of the festival but it’s been punter friendly in recent years with 12 winners being sent off in the first four of the betting. Course form is vital in this race and you have to look at horses aged four or five year olds since they have won 28 of the last 32 runnings. The Victoria Cup run in May here has provided eight of the last 23 winners of this race. Take note of James Fanshawe runners as he likes to target this race having won it twice and being placed 5 times. The ones drawn closer to rail is an advantage these days so pay particular attention to these details. Since there are many horses entered at this stage I will wait nearer time to have a bet on 1-2 more horses. Pouvoir Magique is one I did back antepost but not sure if he will run now. Other horses on my radar are Lord Glitters, Bless Him and Zhui Feng.
Selection – Saltonstall 12-1 & Settle for Bay 16-1
5.35 Jersey Stakes
This used to be the opening race of the day but it’s been moved to being last on the 2nd day of the festival. Normally you tend to get horses arriving here on the back of running in the Guineas where they didn’t stay the distance. Five of the last 6 winners finished placed in the Guineas. Le Brivido won this race for us last year after he finished 2nd in the French Guineas. Four of the last 7 winners defied a penalty in recent years following 24 consecutive years of unpenalised winners of this race. Here we have to look out for in form horses who have ran creditably well on their last outing.Fillies have a poor record in race while the likes of Sir Michael Stoute and Aidan O’Brien have won this race 3 times in the past. Lots of horses entered in this race so far and I will wait till final declaration time before betting in it.
Selection -Could It Be Love 13-2 & Expert Eye 12-1
Thursday 21st June – Day 3
2.30 Norfolk Stakes
This is a race reserved for 2 year olds and it has been really punter friendly in recent years. Eight of the last 15 runnings have gone the way of the favorite or 2nd favorite. Here we have to look for a horse that is yet to taste defeat since 15 of the last 24 winners had perfect records entering the race. Horses that come in this race with one run and one defeat are to be noted as they have won 7 of the last 12. Richard Hannon, Mark Johnston and Aiden O’Brien are trainers that like to win this race.
Sergei Prokofiev heads the betting but I don’t think he will be running here. Wesley Ward runs Shang Shang Shang and horse has been working with his Queen Mary horse Chelsea Cloisters. If the latter wins on Wednesday then expect this one to shorten and go off favorite. The Irish Rover represents the O’Brien yard and is a very speedy horse by No Nay Never. He missed the kick by 6 lengths here but made amends at Newbury in the conditions stakes showing a great turn of foot. On his debut at Condalk I remembered he was heavily backed in the race but was 3rd. ( Sergei Prokofiev 2nd ). Of the rest Vintage Brut and Dom Carlos can be given each way chances. I will decide closer time which one to back once final declarations are out.
Selection – Land Force 9-1
3.05 Hampton Court Stakes ( Group 3 )
This was known as the Tercenary Stakes in previous years. It’s now a race full of progressive horses that have ran at the very top level in Group races. Last year’s winner was 5th in the Derby and then won this race. It’s another race that has been favourable to punters since 12 of the last 14 winners could be found in first four of the betting. Godolphin won the last 2 with Hawkbill and Benbatl and Sir Michael Stoute has won twice in the last nine years.
Selection -Wadilsafa 9-1 Hunting Horn 13-2
3.40 Ribblesdale Stakes ( Group 2 )
This is a race for fillies and the Irish have a formidable record in this race having won it seven times in the last 16 years. We have to look at a late improving horse since just six winners in the last 23 years have contested Group races as juveniles. We also need to check horses who have won either of their last two starts since they won 15 of the last 19 renewals which is a strong stat. Take note of horses that have winning form too and eight of the last ten winners have won at Group or Listed level.
Godolphin has a strong record in race and they have the market leader in Wild Illusion. She is one we have followed this season. She won the Group 1 Marcel Boussac on Arc Day at Chantilly at big odds. She made her seasonal debut in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket where she was 4th behind Billesdon Brook and Laurens. The latter won the Prix Alary in France on her next start when stepped up in trip. She then ran in the Epsom Oaks where again she bumped into a very good horse in Forever Together. She traveled really well throughout the race and took up the lead but she couldn’t cope with the turn of foot of the winner. She is the Group 1 filly in race and her stable knows how to win this race.
Sun Maiden is the Frankel filly representing the Sir Michael Stoute yard. She comes here on the back of a maiden win at Salisbury where she won by 12 lengths. It was a visually a very good performance that day especially the way she traveled in the race and how she quickened away in the manner of a very smart horse. Four winners in the last 15 years have won a maiden last time out. I don’t think Lah Ti Dar will run in this race as she is still suffering from a small niggle in her leg.
Next in the betting we have the O’brien fillies like Magic Wand, Bye Bye Baby, Forever Together and Athena. Magic Wand won the Cheshire Oaks in May and she had Forever Together in behind. But she disappointed in the Epsom Oaks when she was well beaten into 4th. She didn’t pick up at all when Ryan Moore asked her the question. Don’t really know which ones will be running here from the O’brien yard so will leave this race till nearer time.
Selection – Sun Maiden 11-4
4.20 Gold Cup (Group 1 )
This could be one of the races of the festival if they all turn up. The Irish have a great record in the race having won eight of the last 12 Gold Cups with Aiden O’Brien having won 7 of them. Order of St George heads the betting and we all remember how he was narrowly beaten in this race last year by Big Orange. He then went on to finish 4th in the Arc behind Enable. He ended the season on a high and made amend for that mishap in the Gold Cup by winning the Long Distance Cup here on Champions Day here. He was given a fantastic ride that day and managed to reel in Torcedor close home. He looked as good as ever this season when he won the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan before following up in the Saval Beg at Leopardstown. He is one of the class horses in the race and he will be all out for revenge this year.
He faces stiff competition this year with the likes of Stradivarius, Vazirabad and Torcedor. The latter didn’t run his race at Meydan in the Gold Cup won by Vazirabad for the 3rd year running. He was then very impressive in the Sagaro Stakes here in May where he quickened away smartly and stayed on strongly to win by 5 lengths. Vazirabad heads the French challenge and arrives here on the back of a 3rd consecutive Dubai Gold Cup in Meydan. His last win was in the Prix Vicomtesse Vigier where he made mince meat of his rivals. The thing that he possess and could be lethal against the likes of Order of St George or Stradivarius is the way he can change gears. He has a potent turn of foot and he can quicken smartly too. He is the value bet in the race at current prices and I can’t see him out of the places.
Stradivarius represents the Gosden yard and is the new kid on the block. He won the Queen’s Vase for us here last year. He followed up by winning the Goodwood Cup by beating the reigning Gold Cup Champ Big Orange. He then finished 3rd in the St Leger behind Capri and filled similar position on Champions Day behind Order Of St George and Torcedor. He made his seasonal debut in May where he won the Yorkshire Cup. He left a striking impression that day and looked very good when going clear of Desert Skyline. Of the rest I will give a small squeak to Desert Skyline if he runs.
The Gold Cup will be decided by the front 4 in the market and I can’t see any other horse troubling them. I will need few more days to sleep on race before deciding to bet as the top 3 have been my 3 cash machine horses last few years.
Selection – Stradivarius 9-4
5.00 Britannia Stakes
This is one of the most competitive races of the festival and its a cavalry charge of 30 horses. It’s not been a bad race for favorites since they have won five of the last 19. An emerging pattern is that five of the last seven winners won a handicap on their previous start. Horses carrying over 9st since they have won 2 of the last three renewals but only 4 of the last 28.
Trainers to note in this race include John Gosden( do look out for his juvenile horses that haven’t won or those who failed to win their maiden races at the first time of asking) and also James Fanshawe with one winner and 3 placed horses from his last 4 runners. Last 2 years Jamie Spencer has won this race twice on 2 big outsiders namely Bless Him and Defrocked. He has won this race 4 times so its worth to take notice what he rides this year.
Selection – Sam Gold 12-1 & Ostilio 18-1
5.35 King George V Stakes
Another extremely competitive race and we should be looking at a lightly raced horse that hasn’t won as a 2 year old since they have won 16 of the last 25 renewals. Look out for horses that have won or finished placed on their last start. Do pay attention to runners from the Mark Johnston, John Gosden and Sir Michael Stoute yard since they have won 11 of the last 25 renewals. Roger Charlton also like to target this race and he won it last year with Atty Persse. Favorites have a poor record in race and there have been big price winners in the last few years.
Selection –Dubhe 12-1 & Downdraft 10-1
Friday 22nd June – Day 4
2.30 Albany Stakes ( Group 3 )
This is a race reserved for 2 year old fillies and it was won last year by the french challenger in Different League at 20-1. Two of the 16 winners contested a maiden last time out with ten winning and eight winners were only having their second career start. Take note of horses entered by Richard Hannon, Jeremy Noseda and Mick Channon as they like to target this race. The latter had two big price winners recently plus five of his other 11 runners have all run well to finish in the top 6.
Fairyland heads the betting for Aidan O’Brien and she has been very impressive. She won her maiden at Naas before following in the Marble Hill Stakes. She showed a lovely turn of foot that day and quickened away nicely in the manner of a good horse. I think there is more to come from her since she has that progressive profile.
Just Wonderful is her stablemate and she won her maiden by a neck at the Curragh. We haven’t seen her again since and she will relish the firm ground next week. Servalan represents the Jessica Harrington yard. She was 2nd on her debut at Dundalk going down by a head.She then won the listed race at Naas where she stayed on strongly at the end despite missing the break. Being by No Nay Never she has clearly great pace and the 9-1/8-1 right now is way too big. I wouldn’t put anyone off backing her as she looked very good last time. La Pelosa represents the Godolphin yard and won her maiden at Kempton. Despite hanging left in the inside 2 f she quickened away smartly at the end and won nicely. She could be the dark horse in race. Of the others I have no idea if they will be running in this race or in the Queen Mary.
Selection – Fairyland 3-1
3.05 King Edward Stakes VII Stakes
This race has been very kind to favorite or second favorite as they have won 16 of the last 24 renewals. The Irish have a very poor record in race having won once in last 43 years. You have to look for a horse that has won a Group race before or have been competing at the highest level. Trainers that like to target this race or have good records are Sir Michael Stoute ( 6 wins) , Mark Johnston ( 3 wins) and John Gosden (3 wins). The O’Brien horses that come here as short price favorites have been beaten 3 times in the last 5 years. Not many horses that have ran in the Derby are entered in this race this year. You need to look out for horses that have stamina in abundance and stay all day.
At the top of the betting we have Mildenberger who represent the same connections that won this race last year with the ill fated Permian. He is one we have been following since last year. He finished 3rd in the Royal Lodge at the back end of the season behind Roaring Lion and Nelson. He made a winning reappearance at Newmarket when he won the Fielden Stakes convincingly. He then ran in the Dante at York where he finished a creditable 2nd behind Roaring Lion. This form looked solid now since Roaring Lion finished 3rd in the Epsom Derby. He is a horse that can quicken off a slow pace and he normally stays on strongly at the end of his races. In one the previews Mark Johnston put him up as one of his best chances of a winner during Royal Ascot.
Aspetar represents the Roger Charlton stable and won his maiden in good style at Windsor. He then followed up in a Listed race at Goodwood defeating a good yardstick in Main Edition from the Gosden yard. He will need some cut in the ground though but isn;t one without a chance if we get some rain next week.
Rostropovich is the O’brien horse and he made his seasonal debut in France where he finished last in a race won by Wootton. He was then stepped up in trip in the Dee Stakes where he made mince meat of his rivals. He was disappointing on his last start in the French Derby and i don’t think he is a Group 1 horse yet. If he lines up here and the race was cut out then I will give him a nice each way chance. I am not sure if Dee Ex Bee will run in this race. If Delano Roosevelt runs here I will give him an each way squeak as long as he has recovered from his Derby exhaustions.
Selection –Old Persian 11-2
3.40 Commonwealth Cup (Group 1 )
No real stats or trends for this race as it’s been only run since 2015. It is reserved for three year olds and ran over 6f. You will always remember last year’s race till you end your punting career. It was because the mighty Caravaggio came out of the clouds to deliver that devastating turn of foot when it mattered the most and beat Harry Angel close home. It was the banker of the meeting and it lived up to expectations.
At the top of the betting we have Equilateral. He won his maiden last year at Bath but was soundly beaten at York. He made his seasonal debut at Doncaster in May and he won with any amount in hand. He showed an explosive turn of foot that day and the dogs have been barking about him since. The horse that was eight lengths 2nd to him namely Foxtrot Lady has won twice since and the form of that race has been working well. But he is up against Group winners here and that is another kettle of fish.
Sioux Nation represents the O’Brien yard and he is by Scat Daddy. He won the Norfolk Stakes here last year and then followed up in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh. He made his seasonal debut in a listed race at Navan where he was given a tender ride on unsuitable ground. He was then back to his very best on his next start when he won the Group 3 race on good to firm ground. If he gets this type of ground next week he will be tough to beat.
Sands of Mali represents the Fahey yard and he has been a model of consistency since last year. He won the Gimrack Stakes at York beating Invincible Army by 2 1/2 lengths.He was disappointing in the Middle Stakes where it seems he hated the ground. He made a winning reappearance in the Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock when he beat Invincible Army by a nostril, He showed great determination and guts this day to get back in front and that is the sign of a good horse. He is an each way bet to nothing in race.
Next up is Invincible Army trained by Jeremy Tate. He has never been out of the 1st two in his last 6 races. He was beaten by James Garfield by 3/4 length in the Mill Reef last year. He made an impressive winning reappearance at Ascot when he thrashed the opposition in the Pavillon Stakes. He showed a really nice turn of foot that day and quickened away smartly when asked. He was narrowly beaten in a photo on his latest start but I think he can reverse the form with Sands of Mali if they meet again.
I expect fireworks in this race if they all turn up and we get good to firm ground. Not sure if U S Navy Flag will turn up here . Of the rest I will give small each way chances to Heartache or Could it Be Love if they turn up here but the winner will be among those I mentioned above.
Selection – Invincible Army 8-1 (Ante Post) & Sioux Nation 5-1
4.20 Coronation Stakes (Group 1 )
This could be one of the races of the festival if the winners of the English, French and Irish 1000 Guineas all turned up. There were a few surprises in thi race over the years but 15 of the last 18 winners were no bigger than 6-1 with nine starting favorite or joint favorite. Sir Michael Stoute has won this race four times , Aidan O’Brien 3 times and John Gosden twice.
Billesdon Brook won the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket at 66- 1 and it was a surprising result to say the least. She looked really good that day and powered clear when asked. She traveled beautifully throughout the race and her sectionals were very good. She has a great turn of foot which can be lethal and we all remember how she won at Goodwood last year when she came from out of the clouds. She is a major player here that’s for sure. The 2nd that day Laurens went on to win the Group 1 Prix Alary in France and the Prix Diane on Sunday so the form has some substance about it.
Clemmie is the favorite and she was very good last year. She won the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes on her last start last season but then she got injured and was put away during winter. She ran in the Irish Guineas but clearly she was only using race to get race fit as jockey smoke a fat cigar on her. Still I don’t think she is fully fit and I am prepared to take her on.
Teppal represents the Simcock yard and she is still unbeaten in 3 starts. She won her 2 races at Lingfield and Kempton last year. She made her seasonal debut in the French 1000 Guineas where she won really nicely at the end quickening clear of her rivals. Alpha Centauri won the Irish version and she was 2nd here in the Albany last year beaten by Different League. She made her seasonal debut in the Ballylinch Stud Trial over at Leopardstown where the ground wasn’t to her liking. She needs good to firm ground to be seen at good effect. She is a major player in this race and cannot be discounted.
Soliloquy represent the Godolphin yard. She won the Nell Gwyn for us at Newmarket beating Altyn Orda and Billesdon Brook in the process. She then finished 6th and 4th in the English and Irish guineas. I can’t see her reversing form with the above mentioned horses but like I have always said any filly can win any race on any given day. Capla Temptress is another one that could be given a small each way squeak if she runs here .
Selection- Alpha Centauri 4-1
5.00 Sandringham Stakes
This is a race reserved for 3 year old fillies which is being run as a handicap race this year. We need to look for horse that takes time to develop. 17 of the last 22 winners had won at some stage in the season. It’s been punter friendly too in recent years since only 3 of the last 23 winners were not in the top 6 in the betting. Look out for a Nell Gwyn runner as they tend to run well in this race. The likes of Mark Johnston and John Gosden like to target this race so it’s worth to pay attention to what they run. Gosden’s 8 runners from 21 have all made the frame in this race. Michael Bell and Ed Dunlop are other trainers worth mentioning as they know how to win this race with fillies having each won it twice.
Selection –Agrotera 7-1 & Perfection 16-1
5.35 Duke of Edinburgh Stakes
This is another tough little race where the draw played an important role in the last few years. You have to look out for horses drawn wider in double figure stalls since it’s run over the 1m4f trip. Horses drawn in 19 won the last 2 renewals and even those who were placed got a high draw. Also pay attention to last time out winners since they have won 11 of the last 23 runnings.
Sir Michael Stoute has a great record in race having won it 6 times and also had 3 runners up from his last 18 runners. Mark Johnston is another one who has won this race 3 times. It’s not been a good race for punters lately as we had some big price winners in the last five years all sent off at 12-1+. It’s worth noting that the 2nd.3rd and 4th favorite have won 13 of the last 24 renewals which isn’t a bad stat.
Selection – Dash of Spice 8-1 & Thundering Blue 8-1
Saturday 23rd June – Day 5
2.30 Chesham Stakes
Fillies have a good record in race having won it 4 times in the last 16 years. Favorites have a good record in race since 25 of the last 29 winners could be found in top 4 of the betting. Twelve of those started as favorites too. Here you have to look for horses who are lightly raced,have plenty of stamina and had only had one start. Twelve of the last 20 winners had won on their sole start while 3 of the last five winners were beaten on their only start. Aiden O’Brien won the lat 2 renewals and he has won this race four times.Mark Johnston and John Gosden are others to consider in this race and worth taking note of what they run. September won this race last year and I remembered backing Masar who was 3rd in the race but won the Derby few weeks ago. Who would have thought eh ?
Selection –Natalie’s Joy 15-8
3.05 Hardwicke Stakes
Here you have to look for horses aged 4 since they have won the last ten runnings. It’s more often known as The Sir Michael Stoute Stakes since he has won this race for a record 10 times. He won it 3 times in the last 4 years with the likes of Snow Sky, Dartmouth and Telescope.Other trainers to note are Mark Johnston and Aiden O’Brien with four and three winners. Favorites have a great record in race too since they won four times in the last 8 years. Normally winners of this race just fall short of Group 1 level but they have won Group 2/3 races. Look out for horses who are proven at 1m4f.
At the top of the betting we have Crystal Ocean who represents Sir Michael Stoute yard. He was 3rd here in the King Edward Stakes here last year behind the ill fated Permian but then won the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood. He then ran in the St Leger where he was 2nd behind Capri with Stradivarius in 3rd. This represents solid form right now.He made his seasonal debut in the Gordon Richard Stakes at Sandown where he showed fantastic attitude and battling qualities to repel the challenge of a fitter Fabricate. He then went to Newbury and won the Group 3 with ease. He is one of the bankers of the festival and I really can’t see him getting beat if he runs to form. Ryan Moore will ride and I expect him to do the business. He travels well in his races and stays all day long. He can get into a battle too and fights all the way till the line. That is one of the qualities I like to see in horses I back.
His main challenger will be Barsanti for the Roger Varian yard. He was narrowly beaten here last year by Idaho in this race and will try to go one better. He made his seasonal debut in the Listed Buckhound stakes at Ascot back in May where he was successful. He did beat Mirage Dancer by a neck with Salouen back in 3rd. The latter gave Cracksman a real scare in the Coronation Stakes at Epsom recently and Mirage Dancer won on his next start. Clearly the form of that race has worked out well and I wouldn’t put anyone off backing Barsanti each way at 9/10-1 or to get placed .
I don’t think Defoe will run in this race. Same applies to Poets Word, Capri, Cliffs of Moher and Hawkbill. So the race will cut out and the 2 at the top of the market will go off much shorter. For the winner I will stick with Crystal Ocean and during one of the Highclere previews Sir Michael Stoute nominated him as his best chance of the meeting.
Selection – Crystal Ocean 2-1/15-8 ( Ante Post)
3.40 Windsor Castle Stakes
This is one of the trickiest races of the meeting and it’s turning out to be a real bookies race too in terms of finding the winner. 7 of the last 12 winners have won at big odds and even 100-1. The bigger stables have started to win this race so it’s worth paying attention to what they are running. Since 2000 the colts have won this race every year and fillies have a poor record too. We don’t know yet who will make the final cut in this cavalry charge so I will wait till day before before trying to narrow the field in this lottery race.
Selection –Queen Of Bermuda 13-2 & Mutawaffer 9-1
4.20 Diamond Jubilee Stakes
This could turn out to be one of the races of the meeting with Harry Angel, Merchant Navy, Redkirk Warrior, The Tin Man, Librisa Breeze and Bound for Nowhere. In this race you have to look for horses who have run well at Ascot before since ten of the last 22 winners had been placed at worst at this meeting before. Half of the last 18 winners started at a double figure price which is surprising considering Listed and Group winners with a victory early in the season have won 13 of the last 23 renewals.
Redkirk Warrior represents Australia and has won 2 Group 1’s over there on his last 2 starts. He won the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes in February when he just got the better of Redzel ,the winner of The Everest last year and then won the Lexus Handicap on his latest start. He was giving weight away that day( 8lb) to Merchant Navy who was 3rd on the day.
Merchant Navy was then transferred to Aiden O’Brien. He started his season in the Greenland Stakes at the Curragh. He was giving weight away to the likes of Tasleet ,Brando etc and he was very good on the day. He tracked the leaders and made good headway to chase the leaders 1f out. He showed a good turn of foot and stayed on strongly at the end. I was very impressed with him and we know how the O’Brien horses can improve from 1st to 2nd run. He will surely be thereabouts and isn’t easily dismissed.
Harry Angel has ran 9 times in his life and has 5 wins to his name. He has never been out of the top 2 but his defeats have all come at Ascot for some reason. We still remember how he got reeled in by the mighty Caravaggio in the Commonwealth here last year and he finished 4th on British Champion’s Day when Librisa Breeze won. He made his seasonal debut in the Duke of York Stakes( a normally good guide for Diamond Jubilee race) where he gave weight and a beating to the likes of Brando and Sir Dancealot. He was keen early in the race but showed a good turn of foot to destroy Brando in the process. Not even the weight difference between them on that day could stop him. He is a more mature horse this year but if this race was ran anywhere else bar Ascot he would have been one of my bankers. He faces some serious rivals here and will have to be at his very best.
Librisa Breeze represents the Dean Ivory yard and he was unlucky here last year in this race when he found trouble in running but still finished 4th .He is a horse that needs to be produced at the right time and he can quicken away smartly off a slow pace too. He won the Champion Sprint Stakes on his last start here last year. He got squeezed at one point and hung right but he found the gap and started to eat the ground. He was not fully tuned up at Meydan in the Al Quoz but if the market principals have an off day expect this one to take full advantage.
James Fanshawe runs The Tin Man, the reigning champion who won this race for us last year. He just simply loves Ascot for some reason.He has won at the track 3 times already. He finished 5th behind Librisa Breeze on Champions Day. He then made his reappearance at Windsor 4 weeks ago and despite drifting in the market he won nicely at the end. It was a very good performance considering the 2nd that day D’bai has gone to win the Group 3 John Of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock. I think he has a nice each way chance and his trainer will get him spot on for the big day next week.
Bound for Nowhere represents the Wesley Ward yard. The trainer has been very bullish about his chances recently. He finished 4th here last year in the Commonwealth Cup. He then went to France to run in the Group 1 Maurice De Gheest that was won by Brando but he didn’t run his race there. He made his seasonal debut at Keeneland in April where he gave a good beating to Bucchero (also running at Ascot next week). He is a young progressive horse that has a good turn of foot. He has each way claims in a wide open race. Of the rest I don’t think they have any chances of winning so lets not waste our time here.
Selection- Merchant Navy 4-1 & Redkirk Warrior 9-2 ( split stakes)
5.00 Wokingham Stakes
The penultimate race of the meeting and I hope that by this time next week we are all counting our winnings and not relying on those races which are more like lottery races. It’s one of the most competitive races of the festival. We have to look out for horses aged 4 or 5 since they have won 16 of the last 19 runnings. Out Do won this race last year at 25-1 and he was an 8 year old too.Look out for in form horses who have winning form or got placed. Pay attention to lightly raced horses too since 11 of the last 16 winners have only once or twice earlier in season. Roger Charlton is one trainer to note in this race having supplied a winner. second and five other top six finished in recent seasons.
Dreamfield could be the Group horse in the handicap and I have been following him for a while now. The Oasis colt representing Godolphin is still unbeaten in 3 starts but he suffered an injury in 2016 and was sidelined for 2 years. He made his reappearance in the Monfort Handicap where he showed his class. He was always travelling well and quickened away smartly at the end. The form of that race has worked out well since the 2nd that day Silent Echo won on his next start. Aces(7th) won at Epsom while Raucous (4th) won another handicap at Goodwood. So clearly that Ascot handicap that Dreamfield won has turned out to be a very hot handicap. He has been oneof my ante post bets and I am happy to stick with him.
Selection – Dreamfield 8-1/6-1 (Ante Post) & Tupi 16-1
5.35 Queen Alexandra Stakes
This is the last race of the festival and by now we should all have been shattered after a week of fantastic racing without forgetting 3 games of football daily. Don’t let the wife or gf know about your winnings when it comes reaches 5.40 pm next Saturday 🙂 This race isn’t a classy one by all means but winners have been regularly competing at higher level in Group races recently. In fact 14 of the last 23 winners had been contesting Group or listed races on the flat at some point in their career. Do take note of horses with course form too. Also 14 of the last 25 winners had finished in the top 6 in any of the 3 big staying races at the festival before namely Gold Cup, Ascot Stakes and Queen Alexandra Stakes. I will decide nearer time for this race once final declarations are up.
Selection –Thomas Hobson 6-4