2.30 Ascot – Norfolk Stakes
It’s an open Norfolk, more than the market suggests and I wouldn’t be rushing in to take the 2-1 about your current favourite, Coach House. Plenty have chances, but the ones I liked were Coulsty, Green Door and No Nay Never. The latter is an American trained challenger and a complete unknown and is the one I fear most, but the nod will go to COULSTY. Richard Hannon and Richard Hughes have yet to have a Royal Ascot winner, but hopefully the selection can get them on the score sheet. I was impressed with his debut run, his only run, where he showed plenty early speed before going on to score in impressive fashion. It wasn’t a great race, but the second looks a useful horse and has won since. He won with his ears pricked, maybe indicating he had plenty left in the tank. Hopefully that’s the case and he runs well again, but this American horse could blitz us all.
1pt each-way Coulsty @7-1 (general)
3.05 Ascot – Ribblesdale Stakes
Alive Alive Oh will go off a short priced favourite in this year’s Ribblesdale Stakes and given her form it looks warranted, but in a competitive fillies race I’m not sure I want to take 9-4/2-1 about her. She still has to prove her stamina over this trip on a testing track like Ascot and her pedigree has plenty of speed in it. This is also the quickest ground she’ll encounter and I felt her action suggested she likes a bit of cut. Her draw in 11 is not ideal either. Like the first race there are a number of runners I like, but at the prices Riposte and Waila are the ones I like. The two have meet before and it was the latter who came out on top, in what I felt was convincing fashion. That said, Riposte was making her racecourse debut and had a lovely introduction. The Lady Cecil filly since went on to score at Newmarket, in taking fashion and it’s because of that she is the shorter in the betting of the two. She’s shorter in the betting which makes Wailia a touch of value. Like I say I thought the Sir Michael Stoute filly won on merit and given I can’t split them both will be backed as both offer value against a short priced favourite.
1pt win Riposte @7-1 (Stan James)
1pt win Waila @8-1 (bet365)
3.45 Ascot – Gold Cup
The meeting’s flagship event is run over two and a half miles, the Ascot Gold Cup is the race most people want to be win at this meeting. Stamina will be at a premium and with that in mind the three I like are Altano, last year’s winner Colour Vision and Sadler’s Rock. I do think the German raider Altano will run a big race, but given Colour Vision and Sadler’s Rock are both proven in this event it makes sense to stick with them. The former won this race last year under Frankie Dettori, but yet is 16-1 to win this year’s event? I find that a bit strange given this would be his main aim for the entire season. The reason he is 16-1 is due to his last run. While I agree it was a below par effort on paper he looked like he was ‘out for the run’. He was never once put in the race and those to the fore held sway. It’s tough to come from too far back at Sandown and so I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. The application of a first time visor may bring out further improvement. I also can’t get away from Sadler’s Rock in today’s race. He’s been one of the most unlucky stayers around over the last year– it’s been excuse after excuse. Today however, he finally has his ground. For a stayer, he has a bit of pace, but stays really well and I think we’ll see him at his best today.
1pt each-way Sadler’s Rock @9-1 (bet365 only 1, 2, 3, 4)
1pt each-way Colour Vision @16-1 (bet365 only 1, 2, 3, 4)
5.00 Ascot – Tercentenary Stakes
This is a race I’m looking forward to as there looks to be plenty progressive middle distance horses in the line-up. Initially I had six on my shortlist, but have now whittled it down to three: Chopin, Remote and the French raider Shikarpour. Chopin looks to be the class horse in the race given his run in the Derby, but he must shoulder a four pound penalty and that may just find him out. This leaves me with two, Remote and Shikarpour. These two are poles apart in terms of their preparation. Remote has come through the handicap ranks, but looks to be progressing at a rate of knots. With every passing week, although handicap form, his runs are getting better and better. Shikarpour on the other hand has won a maiden and then run in a Group One, the French Derby and run well. Official ratings can be a little inaccurate at times, but given the fact SHIKARPOUR has 11 pounds in hand and is more than twice the price of Remote we’ll have to give him the nod. He’s the one with solid group form in the bag and considering it was only his second run of his life last time out, he ran a cracker. There is plenty of stamina in his pedigree so I’m hoping today’s stiff Ascot track will suit better than most French courses. Alain De Royer-Dupre has already had a runner here this week and seen the ground so he obviously feels his charge will handle the quicker conditions.
2pts each-way Shikarpour @7-1 (Bet Victor, bet365, Coral)
5.35 Ascot – King George V Stakes
We finish up with a competitive handicap in the King George V Stakes and hopefully we can go home with a winner in EXCELLENT RESULT. Saeed bin Suroor’s son of Shamardal fits plenty trends for this race being a late developing type from a top yard. He’s also lightly raced and looks to be progressing nicely. After a good opening run as a juvenile he failed to fire in two runs, but has since got his act together. I was impressed with his last win at Sandown where he travelled well into the race. Once hitting the front he got a slap from his jockey and just took off. He ran out a convincing winner in the end and did enough to suggest he can run well in this. He’s a decent price at 14-1 so he represents a touch of value given his current form and decent draw. He may be a little high in the handicap looking at the ratings of past winners, but at the price he warrants a bet.
1pt each-way Excellent Result @14-1 (bet365, Coral, Ladbrokes