2.30 Royal Ascot – Queen Anne Stakes
On all known form, RIBCHESTER should be winning the opening race of the Royal meeting. A good third in last season’s 2000 Guineas before bolting up in the Jersey Stakes – at last year’s Royal meeting – all Richard Fahey’s charge has done since is improve and improve. There is no question, on what we’ve seen, the son of Iffraaj is the best horse in the race and probably the top miler in Europe.
The only potential negative is his draw in stall one, but he’s better drawn than his nearest market rival Lightening Spear and he should be able to get a nice lead off Deauville. If that transpires, he should win, if it doesn’t, he is good enough to still win.
3pts win Ribchester @1-1 (general)
3.05 Royal Ascot – Coventry Stakes
Eighteen juveniles go to post for the Coventry Stakes. I’m big on experience in these kind of races, so with DE BRUYNE HORSE also having some of the best form on offer, I’m sure he’ll run big for the Richard Hannon team.
He was far too green to do himself justice on debut, but since that start, he has done nothing but progress. After bolting up at Ripon, I thought he was a good winner of the Woodcote Stakes at Epsom despite being slightly slow away, and not looking totally in love with the track. He showed a good attitude to win, he’s a likeable horse.
At the prices, I also can’t resist a bet on AQABAH, who now looks the value. I loved his debut win, which came in an extremely solid novice event here at Ascot. Despite conceding experience and not being given too hard a time, he got up late to win. He has since flopped at the Curragh, but that was down to the ground.
Despite not enjoying the rain-affected terrain that day, for a large chunk of the race he still shaped well. Now he gets back on faster sod, he should show his true colours.
2pts each-way De Bruyne Horse @6/1 (general – 1,2,3,4)
1pt each-way Aqabah @25/1 (general – 1,2,3,4)
3.40 Royal Ascot – King’s Stand Stakes
The three to concentrate on here are those to the head of the market; Lady Aurelia, Marsha and Signs Of Blessing. On what we’ve seen this season, this trio look to have a few pounds in hands of the rest of the field.
I couldn’t put anyone off Lady Aurelia and Marsha, but the value bet looks to be SIGNS OF BLESSING. His form, albeit his best effort came on much softer ground, is right on a par with the two fillies and in fact, I think it’s stronger.
Last time out, in the Prix de Saint-Georges, he beat last season’s King’s Stand winner Profitable by 2 lengths, giving him 11lb in weight. Now, no doubt Profitable wasn’t at is his best, but still, that is a phenomenal performance.
The only worry is the quick ground, but if he goes on it, he’ll go very close. Francois Rohaut’s horse has been to Ascot twice and both times ran crackers.
1pt win Signs Of Blessings @13/2 (general)
4.20 Royal Ascot – St James’s Palace Stakes
This isn’t a betting race, for me anyway, but it’s one I’ll look forward to watching. Barney Roy and Churchill look to set to clash again having filled the first two places home in the opening Classic of the season, the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Churchill came out on top by a length that day when he had the ideal run through and the run of the race while Barney Roy got a little behind, running keen and didn’t handle the track. Ascot will suit him much better, especially if they go a proper gallop.
His fans should just hope that Godolphin’s error in not putting in a pacemaker to help set a gallop, doesn’t come back to haunt him. He’s a big, long-striding animal and a start-stop, or sedate gallop, will almost certainly see Churchill confirm the form.
5.00 Royal Ascot – Ascot Stakes
Nineteen runners go to post for this marathon trip, and my two against the field are SHREWD and YORKIDDING. The former returned to action 66 days ago at Musselburgh with a fine effort to finish a staying-on 8th on a track and trip that probably proved sharp enough for him.
With a run under his belt and him now stepping up in distance we could see an improved performance from a horse that was a good second in last year’s Ebor at York.
Yorkidding is a big price in comparison to the race-favourite Who Dares Wins when you consider she finished just under a length-and-a-half ahead of him in the Chester Cup. She is now 2lb worse off for that effort, which isn’t a positive, but the price discrepancy is too big.
1pt each-way Yorkidding @16/1 (Coral, Paddy Power, Sky Bet 1,2,3,4,5)
1pt each-way Shrewd @28/1 (Paddy Power, Sky Bet 1,2,3,4,5)
5.35 Royal Ascot – Windsor Castle Stakes
The vibes around Declarationofpeace winning appear to be strong, Aidan O’Brien’s horse has been strongly punted all day and is now heading towards the 9/4 mark. I don’t want to back him at the price having been as big as 11/2, so I’m happy to have a bet in the without Declarationofpeace market.
Wesley Ward’s NOOTKA SOUND impressed me when winning her sole start on dirt in Keeneland and with her trainer reporting she is better on turf, she could take a bit of catching on this ground today.
At the prices, the other one I like is SOUND AND SILENCE, a horse that has shown a lot of speed and class at home before he made a winning debut at Newmarket. I was disappointed with his finishing effort next time out at Sandown when fourth in the National Stakes, a race I like in terms of juvenile form.
The son of Exceed And Excel impressed with how he went through the first three-quarters of that contest, but didn’t get home. After the race, connections reported he scoped dirty and that explains the last furlong.
Based on the early speed he showed, I liked him. Hopefully he should finish his race out today.
1pt win Nootka Sound ‘betting without Declarationofpeace’ @4/1 (Bet Victor, Sky Bet, 7-2 William Hill)
1pt each-way Sound And Silence ‘betting without Declarationofpeace’ @14/1 (Bet Victor 1,2,3,4), @12/1 (Paddy Power 1,2,3), bet365 @11/1 (bet365 1,2,3)