Archive for the ‘ Royal Ascot ’ Category

17 Jun
2016

Log On For Commonwealth Glory & Football Double Delight

For the fourth day on the bounce it’s a top notch racing and football double header, spearheaded by six races on the penultimate day of Royal Ascot, plus key three Euro 2016 matches in Groups D and E.

It’s to Ascot we’ll head first to try and unravel some each way value on a tough card, one which could see the Soft ground improve a little, but only if the showery weather stays away.

The second race on the card is the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes, a mile and a half contest where a field of nine will do battle for an overall £200,000 pot.

Split between Ascot and Leopardstown trainer Aidan O’Brien enjoyed four winners yesterday, and it’s little surprise to see his Beacon Rock topping the bookies’ lists.

The comfortable Gallinule Stakes winner is the pick of Ryan Moore, but at bigger odds one who might have slipped through the net is Across The Stars, quietly fancied at big prices for the Epsom Derby, before failing to act on the track.

Today, Sir Michael Stoute has enlisted the help of Frankie Dettori for this talented sort, one who was almost certainly unlucky in-running when third to the reopposing Humphrey Bogart and Carntop at Lingfield in early May.

Effective on a range of ground, his turn might not be long in coming, with this just sixth racecourse start.

Across The Stars is 12/1 with any of bet365, Betfred, BetVictor, Betway or Paddy Power.

It’s hard not to be excited by the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup upcoming at 3.40pm, the three-year-old sprint over six furlongs.

A filly tops the market in the shape of Karl Burke’s prolific winner, Quiet Reflection, but at quadruple her price the one who was most visually impressive when I watched him win was one of the Richard Hannon runners, Log Out Island.

Admittedly it was only in listed company at Newbury in May, but lit up by a first time hood the pace he showed that day to go screeching clear of his field was incredible, and if he can reproduce that effort today he’ll have a fine chance.

It’s not as if James Doyle’s mount has come from nowhere, finishing second in the Mill Reef Stakes as well as winning the Redcar Two-Year-Old Trophy in 2015.

Today he’s an 8/1 chance with Paddy Power.

Swapping racing silks for a football shirt, there could be a solid double to take advantage of among today’s big games…

The Stade Municipal in Toulouse is the venue for pace-setting Italy against Zlatan Ibrahimovich’s Sweden in Group E at 2pm, a match where Sweden would dearly love to get three points, but look likely to be undone by the Italians high energy counter attacking game.

The Swede’s limitations were exposed against Ireland in match day one, with the supply line to a largely lethargic attack sealed off efficiently.

They’re up against a much better side here, one that don’t concede very often with a tight and experienced defence run like a metronome by ‘keeper Buffon.

Azzurri boss Conte may have something that appears similar to a school janitor’s mop attached to his head, but don’t let that put you off backing his side to make it two wins from two.

Next up, there could be a similar good news story for Croatia in Group D.

They play the Czech Republic in St Etienne (5.00pm), along with Marseille’s Velodrome by some way the best grounds in the tournament, and the eastern city can become a fond memory for the team martialled on the pitch by Messrs Modric and Rakitic.

They were far too good for Turkey on matchday one, and can effectively seal their progress with a win today.

In places (such as Ladbrokes) the double pays an attractive 3/1.

Good luck!

Today’s best racing and football bets:

3.05 Royal Ascot – King Edward VII Stakes – 1 Across The Stars (each way) @ 12/1 (bet365, Betfred, BetVictor, Betway or Paddy Power)

3.40 Royal Ascot – Commonwealth Cup – 6 Log Out Island (each way) @ 8/1 (Paddy Power)

Euro 2016 – Italy to beat Sweden, Croatia to beat Czech Rep – double pays 3/1

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Posted 1 year, 3 months ago

15 Jun
2016

On The Hunt For Royal Ascot Riches

Perhaps my favourite race of the entire meeting at Royal Ascot is today’s ridiculously difficult Royal Hunt Cup (5.00pm), a big field mile barging match which is as attritional a handicap as you can get, made all the more difficult by the continuing rain turning the ground Soft.

Far from easy, but with bookies going 10/1 the field and the conditions meaning plenty can be discounted, it’ll be all the more satisfying if it can be unravelled.

The suggestion is to back a couple at big prices, then hope from some luck in-running…

My shortlist features the names Spirit Raiser, Donncha, Mr Owen and Secret Brief, with the latter pair the ones who’ll be carrying the cash.

Charlie Appleby is as confident as you can be about Secret Brief, noting that the Betway Lincoln winner will love the going and is thriving after a 74-day break following his Doncaster heroics.

Drawn in stall three, he’s up only four pounds for his April win, has proven big field handicap experience, plus a top pilot in William Buick.

At 14/1 he could very well be the one, especially with Paddy Power paying SIX PLACES each way!!

My other big hope is Qatar Racing’s sole representative Mr Owen – how on earth this fella is 28/1 is a mystery?

Fully proven even on really testing ground, he actually is rarity in that he’s a genuine Group 1 performer, now trying his hand in a handicap, albeit perhaps the toughest one all summer.

Third to Make Believe in last year’s French Guineas, he even went to Canada to run in the Woodbine Mile back in September.

If he takes to this sort of race he’ll surely outrun his price, and we know it’s been a plan as trainer Francois Rohaut has had him stabled in Deauville to cut down on the travel.

Oisin Murphy has options left, right and centre from stall 14.

Good luck!

Today’s best bets in the Royal Hunt Cup:

5.00 Royal Ascot – 12 Secret Brief (each way) @ 14/1 (Paddy Power)
5.00 Royal Ascot – 4 Mr Owen (each way) @ 28/1 (bet365, BetVictor or Coral)

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Posted 1 year, 3 months ago

20 Jun
2015

Scope For Moore At Royal Ascot

What a week, and thankfully it isn’t over yet.

The fifth and final instalment of a memorable Royal Ascot is upon us, and following on from some wallet-friendly results we’ll try and go out with a bang.

Ryan Moore has been the name on the lips of pretty much everyone in the game this week, and he looks set for another healthy payday, with last year’s winner Telescope going for a repeat victory in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at 3.40pm.

A field of seven are due to line up for this, and they include two of Telescope’s Sir Michael Stoute-trained stablemates, Snow Sky and Hillstar.

However, Stoute’s main hope of landing this prize for a ninth time surely rests with Telescope, who like the stable’s Maraahel (2006 & 2007) can land back-to-back renewals.

Top rated on a mark of 120, Telescope arrives here off the back of an emphatic confidence booster, sauntering clear over today’s mile and a half trip in a listed contest at Newbury.

He won this by a whopping seven lengths (from Hillstar) 12 months ago, and has posted plenty of impressive form since then.

Prior to the Hardwicke, the listed 16-runner Wolferton Handicap (3.05pm) looks trickier to unravel, with the market headed by John Gosden’s unbeaten Mahsoob.

The four-year-old holds a trio of Group 1 entries later in the summer, and needs to be taking this to justify those lofty ambitions.

However, at York last month he was less than a length ahead of Godolphin’s First Flight, who was giving him a pound.

The tables could well be turned now that Mahsoob has to try and concede four pounds to his more experienced rival.

First Flight’s rider James Doyle conjured a 25/1 stunner from David O’Meara’s Amazing Maria on Wednesday, and further celebrations could await here.

First Flight looks decent each way value at 9/1 with Paddy Power.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets at Royal Ascot:

3.05 – Wolferton Handicap- 9 First Flight (each way) @ 9/1 (Paddy Power)

3.40 – Hardwicke Stakes – 7 Telescope (win) @ 5/4 (BetVictor or Paddy Power)

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Posted 2 years, 3 months ago

19 Jun
2015

Nice Hooters Can Make Moore Merrier On Day Four At Ascot

Surely the moment of the week so far at Royal Ascot came as the winner of the Gold Cup, Trip To Paris, was walking back in front of the packed grandstands after powering home in the feature event, and in traditional style it was left to my Channel 4 Racing colleague Rishi Persad to conduct a short horseback interview with the winning rider Graham Lee.

A solid opening question along the lines of ‘you must be delighted?’ was met with a brilliantly nonchalant and emotion-free “aah sure, I’m grand!” from the unflustered Galwayman, who must have been the coolest customer in the place on a near sellout Thursday.

Maybe you had to see it to believe it, but you could’ve mistaken him not for a man who’d just won one of the biggest and most sought after prizes in the summer racing calendar, but the ride and run class at his local gymkhana somewhere in the rural west of Ireland.

Bear in mind this is someone who’s also ridden a Grand National winner and you realise he really is something out of the ordinary.

Speaking of out of the ordinary, one man who rarely does anything remotely ordinary is Ryan Moore, who is threatening to ride more winners across the five days than the rest of his weighing room colleagues combined!

A 54/1 treble on day one, a 30/1 double on day two, surely he’d let the others have a look in on Gold Cup day?

Nope. An incredible 785/1 hat-trick duly left the audience stunned once again, as he took the opening Norfolk Stakes on 12/1 Waterloo Bridge, added the Ribblesdale on 9/2 Curvy, and then took dead aim with 10/1 War Envoy in the Britannia.

That success means he has now equalled the modern day record of eight wins at the meeting, and riding the way he is he could dwarf that total by the time he packs his bag on Saturday evening.

Doubtless bookmakers will be treading carefully where his mounts are concerned on day four, not least with his Commonwealth Cup ride (3.40pm), the American visitor Hootenanny.

A hugely impressive winner at this meeting when taking the Windsor Castle Stakes 12 months ago, he comes here on a roll having won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at the end of October, and reappeared with an easy win in a minor race at Keeneland in April.

Trainer Wesley Ward teamed up with Moore to win with Acapulco in the Queen Mary on day two, and the speedball Hootenanny appeals at a top price of 5/1 with Coral.

It’s a case of the faster the ground the better, not something that can be said about some of his key rivals.

Earlier in the day Frankie Dettori can get one on the board with Sir Michael Stoute’s Stravagante the pick in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes (3.05pm).

The fact that master trainer Stoute sees fit to step him up from handiap company to this level is a compliment in itself, and his recent form looks substantial as it features a staying on third at Sandown behind subsequent Derby second Jack Hobbs, as well as a ready win at Epsom on Derby day.

Up in trip and with fast ground ideal he could well handle the step up in class.

He’s got plenty to find on ratings with Ol’ Man River, but Ryan Moore’s mount has been a huge disappointment so far this year and Stravagante looks much the safer option.

Good luck!

Friday’s best bets at Royal Ascot:

3.05 – King Edward VII Stakes – 7 Stravagante (win) @ 5/2 (Paddy Power & William Hill)

3.40 – Commonwealth Cup – 7 Hootenanny (win) @ 5/1 (Coral)

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Posted 2 years, 3 months ago

18 Jun
2015

Pea-Shooter To Foil Tercentenary Rivals

The unruliness of Euro Charline denied this column any kind of involvement on day two at Royal Ascot, with stakes refunded at the off as the starter lost patience in the moments prior to the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes, culminating in Frankie Dettori’s mount being withdrawn.

So, with Wednesday’s untouched stake money burning a hole in the pocket it’s with renewed enthusiasm that we look towards day three, on which both the three-year-olds and the older stayers get their opportunity to shine.

The Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes over a mile and a quarter is race two on the card, restricted to three-year-olds who haven’t won either a Group 1 or Group 2 race to date.

There are several in there who look they might do in the not too distant future though, namely recent Newbury winner Time Test, who will bid to give Frankie Dettori a 51st career win at the meeting.

Another in-form rider is Ryan Moore, who followed up Tuesday’s 54/1 treble with a 30/1 double on Wednesday aboard 5/2f Acapulco and 8/1 GM Hopkins, making his mount Disegno of increased interest.

However, perhaps the one to concentrate on is Her Majesty The Queen’s runner Peacock.

The two Richards, Hannon and Hughes, need a winner after the high profile disappointments for Night Of Thunder and Ivawood, but Hannon will have been mightily relieved to see Osaila bounce back to win the Sandringham Fillies’ Handicap (under Frankie Dettori) last night, and he’ll be looking forward to classy Peacock.

This son of Paco Boy is improving at a serious rate of knots, winning two of his three races so far this season, and even in defeat he found only Derby winner Golden Horn a length and a half too hot to handle in the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket.

Fast ground holds no fears and this appears to be his ideal trip.

Peacock is available at 5/1 with any of Betfred, BetVictor, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power or William Hill.

The big one rolls around at 4.20pm, with the £375,000 Gold Cup attracting a field of 14.

After the victory of Free Eagle in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes the Dermot Weld camp go in search of a famous Royal double, as the weighty unbeaten record of Forgotten Rules is put on the line.

He knows his way around Ascot having won a Group 2 here in October, but that was on deep ground and there has to be a concern that the increasingly quick running surface could be his undoing.

Another well know Irish contender is Simenon, who not only won twice at this meeting in 2012, but also represents a Willie Mullins team who struck on day one with Clondaw Warrior.

He was fourth to Leading Light in this a year ago, while Luca Cumani’s recent Sagaro Stakes winner Mizzou threatens to be even better as he continues to step up in distance.

There could be a surprise package though, in the shape of Ed Dunlop’s Trip To Paris.

Still only four, this lad won three in four weeks in the spring, culminating in a Chester Cup win where he powered to the front over two and a quarter miles.

He then graduated beyond the handicap ranks, suffering an interrupted passage but still finding only the re-opposing Vent De Force too good in Sandown’s Group 3 Henry VII Stakes in late May.

All ground seems to come alike, and with a bit of luck in-running he could easily get involved.

Any of bet365, BetVictor, Boylesports or Paddy Power will accommodate you each way at 12/1.

Good luck!

Thursday’s best bets at Royal Ascot:

3.05 – Tercentenary Stakes – 11 Peacock (win) @ 5/1 (Betfred, BetVictor, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power or William Hill)

4.20 – Gold Cup – 12 Trip To Paris (each way) @ 12/1 (bet365, BetVictor or Paddy Power)

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Posted 2 years, 3 months ago

16 Jun
2015

The ‘Low’down On Day One At Royal Ascot

With every inch of the five days of the Royal Meeting live on Channel 4 Racing, you’ll barely miss a thing, and if like me the thought of donning a morning suit is about as attractive as sporting as shellsuit, then anchored firmly in more conventional threads in front of a television screen for the duration seems a pretty appealing option.

It’s an explosive start too, with the betting on the colour of the Queen’s choice of hat for day one dominated by pink (5/1 with Betfred) and blue (7/2 with Coral), though there has been some shrewd money from a notorious punter in the north west, with one client ghosting almost unnoticed into a shop in Garstang in Lancashire, to place a substantial cash wager on a Kangol beret, at odds of 250/1.

It’s a meeting with a true international flavour, from the Philippines lobster served up in the trackside restaurants, to the stunning field of eight drawn to the opening Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at 2.30pm.

The ‘home’ team is headed by the Richard Hannon-trained duo of Lockinge winner Night Of Thunder alongside classy stablemate Toormore, while joining them out on the track will be Hong Kong trainer John Moore’s Able Friend (chasing a seventh win on the bounce after posting six consecutive unbeaten efforts at Sha Tin), together with an eye-wateringly strong challenge from France, as Andre Fabre’s mare Esoterique is joined by the prolific Solow for Freddie Head.

At the time of writing the bookies have Solow pinned down as their 6/4 market leader, and based on his recent efforts it’s difficult to disagree with that assessment.

Like Able Friend, Solow is unbeaten in a sequence of six, but rather than dominating on the same track on largely the same ground, Solow has displayed his versatility by producing consistently better performances as the bar has been raised.

As a wider sample Solow has won nine of his last 10, and with his last six wins spread across Clarefontaine, Deauville, Longchamp, Chantilly, Meydan (Group 1) and Longhcamp (Group 1) it’s not hard to see this is a horse who can handle a bit of variety.

Outstanding in Dubai, he charged away with the Prix D’Ispahan back on home turf last time, and is very much the one to beat.

Just 35 minutes later the high class action continues, with 18 lightning fast two-year-olds declared for the six furlong Coventry Stakes (3.05pm).

Jim Bolger brings unbeaten Godolphin purchase Round Two all the way from County Carlow, and he tops the market after routing decent opposition at the Curragh on Guineas weekend, while American trainer Wesley Ward is back for more, with runaway Pimlico scorer Finnegan.

Ward produced one of the stories of the meeting two years ago, when his physically-imposing No Nay Never bulldozed his way through the Norfolk Stakes, and he’s clearly a fine trainer of a sprinter.

At bigger odds than either of that pair though is Buratino, one of three runners in the field for the red-hot Mark Johnston team, who have already chalked up an impressive 67 winners in 2015.

Unbeaten in two attempts at this six furlong trip, Buratino has the most experience of any horse in the line-up, and could not have been more dazzling than when running away with the listed Woodcote Stakes at Epsom on Derby day.

Under William Buick, he could very well be the value at a generally available 8/1.

Lastly, despite further Group 1 riches on offer on the opening day with the likes of the King’s Stand Stakes and the St James’s Palace Stakes, the other one I’m really looking forward to is the two and a half mile Ascot Stakes (5.00pm).

The closest thing you’ll get to a National Hunt race at the meeting, this has been taken by yards more commonly associated with jumps racing for the last five seasons on the spin, with names of Pipe, Henderson, Mullins, O’Neill and Byrnes all up in lights after supplying the winner.

A £60,000 staying handicap, there could be more pain for the flat fat cats if Nicky Henderson can add to the win of Veiled in 2011, with top weight Hurricane Higgins.

A winner of a similar contest at Glorious Goodwood in 2012 when with Mark Johnston, this lad has been a great story already, shepherded back to fitness after three years off the track, to win on the level and over hurdles for his new stable.

He’s bang in-form, classy, stays every inch, and is used to carrying a weight.

From a stable who know exactly how to win this prize, and with Joe Fanning back aboard, he looks of definite interest at a general 16/1 each way.

Good luck!

Tuesday’s best bets at Royal Ascot:

2.30 – Queen Anne Stakes – 6 Solow (win) @ 6/4 with bet365

3.05 – Coventry Stakes – 5 Buratino (each way) @ 8/1 with Bet Victor

5.00 – Ascot Stakes (Handicap) – 1 Hurricane Higgins (each way) @ 16/1 with Bet Victor

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Posted 2 years, 3 months ago

21 Jun
2014

Another Rocky Day For Royal Ascot Bookmakers?

A bumper crowd of 64,123 packed into Royal Ascot yesterday for a day four of the great royal meeting when the bookmakers hit back in style…

A 61% strike-rate for favourites (11 from 18) across the opening three days had left punters jubilant and bookmakers licking their collective wounds, but a catalogue of well backed failures repaired some of the damage.

Joint favourites Patience Alexander (3rd) and the heavily backed maiden Sexy Legs (9th) started the rot in the opening Albany Stakes (for which winner Cursory Glance is biggest at 25/1 for next year’s 1,000 Guineas), quickly followed by a half length defeat for Her Majesty’s Bold Sniper in the Wolferton.

On-course bets of £10,000 and £8,000 stayed in the satchels as Adelaide was easily seen off by Eagle Top in the King Edward VII Stakes, with the winner chopped to 16/1 for the Arc, before Clive Brittain’s Rizeena bounced back to win the feature Group 1 Coronation Stakes in style, much to the disappointment of anyone who got involved in a weighty punt on dual Guineas second Lightning Thunder (backed down to 5/2 from 4/1 in the ring).

The eventual 11/8 market leader Marzocco couldn’t confirm his Epsom form with winner Hartnell in the Queen’s Vase, with Mark Johnston’s horse now biggest at 25/1 for the St Leger, before the final nail in the coffin for favourite backers as Russian Realm (5/1) could manage only a tame 9th in the concluding Buckingham Palace Stakes.

On balance that leaves the score at 3-1 to the punters as we head into what promises to be a gripping fifth and final day, a card that features the added attraction of my associate and one time column regular Lord Culcheth dusting the cobwebs off his battered silk topper, as he prepares himself to ham it up in the Royal Enclosure.

Whether or not his somewhat aged Panther de Ville is still roadworthy or capable of making it all the way to Ascot is debatable, but he assures me he’ll be there and ready to wage war with the bookmakers.

One contest where he could well be playing is race two on the card, the £75,000 Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (Handicap) over 1m 4f at 3.05pm.

It’s also leg one of what looks like being a combined £400,000 Scoop6, and can go the way of Lady Ceci’s runner Hamelin.

He’s up against a host of talented horses, especially the Sir Michael Stoute-trained favourite Arab Spring, who has shot up 19lbs for wins at Doncaster and York, and is Group 1 entered later in the season.

However, it’ll be some performance to concede weight to all comers in this big field, and in Hamelin he’s up against an equally promising improver who also holds a Group 1 entry.

A Kempton maiden winner in the autumn, he went in easily on his handicap debut at Leicester in October, and only narrowly failed at Ascot last time out.

The handicapper was impressed, putting him up five pounds for that defeat, a weight rise which carries him neatly into the handicap for this contest.

Lady Cecil’s runners have been showing improved form after having the benefit of an outing, and with James Doyle taking over in the saddle it’s not hard to foresee a massive run this afternoon.

Coral are biggest at 11/2.

Away from the razzmatazz of the Ascot festivities I’ll also be keeping a close eye on Ayr five furlong handicap at 4.15pm, which forms leg three of the Scoop6.

Newmarket trainer Stuart Williams sends veteran sprinter Doctor Parkes on a 720 mile round trip to take his chance, one of just two runners for him on the card.

The stable have been among the winners with three decorating the past fortnight, and it’s worth remembering that twice in his career Doctor Parkes has managed to post back to back victories.

Up four pounds for his win at Goodwood a fortnight ago, his rise is immediately negated by his trainer employing the services of talented apprentice Joey Haynes and his five pound claim.

Irrespective of that, it’s also worth recalling that his previous winning marks of 89 and 92 strongly suggest today’s mark of 85 is definitely not beyond him.

Finally, though Pricewise may have ruined our chances of getting any 12/1 there’s plenty to like about Roger Varian’s Rocky Ground in the Wokingham at 5.00pm.

The stable hit the bullseye yesterday with Cursory Glance in the Albany, and could hold the trump card here with a horse who’s very much on the up and also five pounds well in under a penalty after cruising home at Windsor last time out.

A winner of two of his last three, he easily accounted for last season’s Stewards Cup winner Rex Imperator at Windsor, and could have more to give.

BetVictor or Sportingbet will still lay you a slice of the 11/1.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets:

3.05 Royal Ascot – Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (Handicap) – 13 Hamelin (each way) @ 11/2 (Coral)

4.15 Ayr – Scottish Sun Miss Scotland Handicap – 7 Doctor Parkes (each way) @ 13/2 (BetVictor)

5.00 Royal Ascot – Wokingham Stakes (Handicap) – 4 Rocky Ground (each way) @ 11/1 (BetVictor)

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Posted 3 years, 3 months ago

20 Jun
2014

Lamp The Leading Light On Day Four At Royal Ascot?

A crowd of 65,419 packed into Royal Ascot yesterday to see Aidan O’Brien’s hard as nails stayer Leading Light defy the Queen’s Estimate in a thriller in the Gold Cup, and fingers crossed it’ll be more of the same on day four at the Royal meeting this afternoon…

A further 4mm of water was applied to the track overnight to maintain ground officially termed as Good to Firm (Good in places), and there can be few complaints in that regard.

While the racing surface looks pristine it may be bookmakers that are flagging as favourite after favourite has done the business to the delight of punters – 11 of the 18 races run up until now have gone to either the clear or joint market leader!

Today’s action looks tougher, but The Queen’s colours are back in action in the listed Wolferton Handicap at 3.05pm, with the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Bold Sniper a relatively short price to give her another winner to add to Estimate 12 months ago.

No bigger than 9/4 at the time of writing in a contest where favourites have delivered twice in the last four years, he’s at the right end of the weights and was third in handicap company at this meeting last year.

However, in an open race the one I’d fear at big odds is Aidan O’Brien’s Hall Of Mirrors.

After a quiet start O’Brien’s Ascot week burst into life yesterday with two winners, plus one at Leopardstown last night, and this horse appears to have been ignored as an 18/1 shot with either Coral or Paddy Power.

After missing all of 2013 he returned with a really good third, two and a half lengths adrift of stablemate Magician in the Mooresbridge at the Curragh in May.

Group 1 company was too much to handle last time out, but this is a drop in grade to a listed race, and it’s far too soon to write him off.

Next up is the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at 3.45pm, in which the one I like is the Godolphin runner Miner’s Lamp.

An Irish St Leger entry and winner of three of his five starts to date, he was highly impressive when winning a Newmarket handicap off 98 last time out, and very much deserves a shot at this big prize.

Ryan Moore takes the ride, and is 5/4 with Betfred to be top rider at the meeting after earlier wins aboard Integral and Cannock Chase.

The big race of the day arrives at 4.25pm in the form of the Coronation Stakes, in which Ryan Moore can hopefully initiate a double aboard Rizeena.

Trained by much loved veteran handler Clive Brittain (who won this race back in 2000 with Crimplene) Rizeena won at this meeting 12 months ago when taking the Queen Mary.

She went on to win the Curragh’s Moyglare Stud Stakes in September, and is now re-united with Moore for the first time since he guided her home third in the Prix Morny at Deauville back in August.

Only seventh in the 1,000 Guineas, she missed the Irish equivalent after a dirty scope, but it’s way too soon to write her off, and she could well bounce back here.

Good luck!

Friday’s best bets at Royal Ascot:

3.05 – Wolferton Handicap – 4 Hall Of Mirrors (each way) @ 18/1 (Coral or Paddy Power)

3.45 – King Edward VII Stakes – 5 Miner’s Lamp (each way) @ 10/1 (BetVictor or Paddy Power)

4.25 – Coronation Stakes – 9 Rizeena (each way) @ 15/2 (BetVictor or William Hill)

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Posted 3 years, 3 months ago

19 Jun
2014

Bookmakers Fortunes To Be Determined At Royal Ascot!

Good to Firm (Good in places) is the up to date going description as we head into Gold Cup day at Royal Ascot, after Clerk of the Course Chris Stickels applied 4mm of water to the track last night.

You need a decent-sized watering can to cover a track as big as the one he’s dealing with, a venue which yesterday attracted a huge crowd; with 40,459 finding their way through the turnstiles and into the various enclosures.

Defeat for Arc winner Treve at the hands of The Fugue and Magician in the feature Prince Of Wales’s Stakes saved the bookmakers from a genuine house of horrors after wins for big guns Kingman and Toronado on day one, but even then the punters had much the best of it overall, with wins for Mustajeeb 9/2jf, Anthem Alexander 9/4f, Intergral 9/4f and Muteela 9/2f.

Can the punter-friendly results continue on day three?

The key horse is Gold Cup favourite Leading Light.

Rated 118, with six wins from eight career starts, the hero here a year ago in the Queen’s Vase when winning his only start to date at Ascot, last seasons’s St Leger winner looked outstanding at Doncaster in September, and surged clear of the re-opposing trio Royal Diamond, Pale Mimosa and Saddler’s Rock on his reappearance at Navan in May in the Vintage Crop Stakes.

The big question and the big unknown is whether or not he can handle the extra half mile?

Everything we’ve seen suggests he’ll do so with aplomb, but that’s the risk involved with backing him at no bigger than 6/4 at the time of writing.

Credible opposition comes from last year’s fifth Altano, who hails from the crack German stable of trainer Andreas Wohler.

Altano improved afterwards, heading to Longchamp to bag the Group 1 Prix Du Cadran over this 2m 4f on much softer ground.

The horse he beat there Tac De Boistron also turns up here, and it should be remembered Tac De Boistron took his revenge on Altano in the Prix Royal-Oak back at Longchamp (2m) a few weeks later.

Trained by Marco Botti, Tac De Boistron has also won emphatically at Ascot earlier this season, taking the Sagaro Stakes by a thumping five lengths.

Tom Dascombe’s Brown Panther has looked a stayer on the up when scoring at Chester and Sandown already this campaign, while on of the great Royal Ascot moments in recent memory came in this race 12 months ago, when Her Majesty The Queen’s Estimate drew clear in the hands of Ryan Moore.

That jubilant victory came off the back of an excellent prep run win in the Sagaro Stakes, whereas this time around a few injury niggles have kept her off the track.

Furthermore, she was well beaten by Royal Diamond the last time we saw her here in October, and though the heart says Estimate the head says any one of the host of credible opposition.

On balance I think the Gold Cup is one to enjoy today – Estimate would bring the house down, while Leading Light is the obvious pick but is too short compared to some of the other betting opportunities on the card, so instead have a good look at these contenders earlier in the day:

They kick off at 2.30pm with the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes over the flying five furlongs, a contest in which we get another look at Aidan O’Brien’s million dollar War Front colt The Great War.

Very impressive when doing the job at Tipperary and the Curragh in two starts to date, his trainer has him dual Group 1 entered in both the Phoenix Stakes and the National Stakes.

Less attractive is the price – bookmakers nationwide have him a shade of odds on this morning, and in opposition American trainer Wesley Ward’s Elusive Quality filly To Be Determined could play a big part.

Getting the three pounds sex allowance, she’ll love the drying ground and can only build on her debut third on Fast dirt at Churchill Downs in May.

Ward recorded his fourth Royal Ascot winner when Hootenanny did the business on Tuesday, while for jockey Victor Espinoza it was a first winner at the meeting from his first ever ride.

He also partnered Spanish Pipedream into the frame yesterday, and is well known for his winning association with Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner California Chrome.

The pair shouldn’t be underestimated, and To Be Determined could cause an upset at 9/1 each with any of Boylesports, Paddy Power or Sportingbet (all offer a quarter the odds).

Just 35 minutes later it’s fascinating to see Sir Michael Stoute pitching Cannock Chase into Group company in the 1m 2f Tercentenary Stakes.

On a hat-trick after doing the business at Windsor in maiden company, and then at Newbury in the traditionally informative London Gold Cup handicap, he is a fascinating contender for a stable who got on the scoresheet yesterday with Integral.

Once again though – plausible alternatives at far more attractive odds aren’t exactly thin on the ground…

Ger Lyons thinks the world of Obliterator and returns him to shallower waters after finishing last in the Irish Guineas, while in-form William Haggas still has Sandown winner Mutakayyef engaged in the Irish Derby!

That has to be a hint, but if you like Mutakayyef then surely you have to give even greater respect to the horse that beat him over this trip at Newmarket in May – Richard Hannon’s Barley Mow.

His jockey Richard Hughes got within a quarter of a length on Tiggy Wiggy in the Queen Mary yesterday of recording a third win of the meeting, but compensation may await here.

Barley Mow was well beaten (behind Obliterator) in the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket in April, but consigned that history when getting the better of Mutakayyef in a protracted scrap at the same track on Guineas weekend.

That was a performance full of guts, and I would read too much into his fourth in the Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood last time.

Stepped up to 1m 3f on Soft ground he was bang there a furlong out only to fade, and this drop back to a mile and a quarter on a faster surface looks tailor made.

Barley Mow can play a big part at 7/1 each way with any of Betvictor, Sportingbet or Paddy Power.

Finally, a winning favourite looks likely in the Group 2 Ribblesdale  Stakes at 3.45pm, as Alain De Royer-Dupre’s Vazira brings Group 1 form to the table after her second in the Prix Saint-Alary at Longchamp last time out.

A winner at Chantilly and Longchamp prior to that, this is just her fourth start as she climbs in trip to a mile and a half.

Back her at 3/1 with any of bet365, Betfred, Betvictor or Paddy Power.

Good luck!

Thursday’s best bets at Royal Ascot:

2.30 – Norfolk Stakes – 9 To Be Determined (each way) @ 9/1 (Paddy Power)

3.05 – Tercentenary Stakes – 1 Barley Mow (each way) @ 7/1 (Betvictor or Paddy Power)

3.45 – Ribblesdale Stakes – 11 Vazira (win) @ 3/1 (bet365, Betfred, Betvictor or Paddy Power)

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Posted 3 years, 3 months ago

18 Jun
2014

From Another Parish – Bookies Look To Hit Back On Day Two At Royal Ascot

A crowd of 46,047 revelled in a result-friendly day for the punters on day one at a sunny Royal Ascot , as headline acts Toronado in the opening Queen Anne and Kingman in the St James’s Palace both delivered with a bit to spare.

The pair could now clash in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood at the tail end of July, with one major firm pricing up the clash as follows: 1/2 Kingman, 6/4 Toronado.

Another King’s Stand Stakes success for hard as nails hold up horse Sole Power was also popular as he became the first horse to win the race in consecutive years since Gold Bridge way back in 1933/34, and he could reappear on Saturday in the Diamond Jubilee, for which he was cut across the board with BetVictor and Skybet biggest at 12/1.

John Quinn’s Coventry winner The Wow Signal announced himself on the scene with a strike in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes, though it seems doubtful whether too many punters will be diving in for the 25/1 with Betfred or Ladbrokes for the 2015 2,000 Guineas given the speed he showed – it might be sprint trips only for this son of Golden Jubilee and July Cup winner Starspangledbanner.

Various tails of woe and destitution were offfered by familiar faces in the betting village, and for once it wasn’t hard to believe that the punters had enjoyed the thick end of the wedge, with Wesley Ward’s well fancied Hootenanny adding salt to the wounds as a fourth winning favourite on the day in the concluding Windsor Castle.

That all means the layers have got a bit of catching up to day as we head into the second day, and they’ll surely fancy their chances on a day which features the 23-runner Jersey Stakes, the 22-runner Queen Mary, plus a 29 horse Royal Hunt Cup.

The headline act is super filly Treve, the 2013 Arc winner making her first ever start in this country.

It comes in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at 3.45pm (live on Ch4), where in the hands of Frankie Dettori she is firmly expected to bounce back from a stunning defeat to Cirrus Des Aigles in the Prix Ganay back in April.

That way on testing ground after a lay-off, plus she lost to a great horse a whisker in a sustained battle, but even so there remains the tiniest hint of a question mark where formerly there was none.

She should win and hopefully turn on the style to justify her odds on tag – biggest at 8/11 with Paddy Power at the time of writing – but bear in mind the calibre of the opposition:

Aidan O’Brien’s Magician comes off the back of a disappointment himself after being comprehensively stuffed by Noble Mission at the Curragh, but is an Irish 2,000 Guineas and Breeders’ Cup Turf winner in recent times.

Mukhadram found only African Story too hot too handle when picking up over £1.2m when second in Dubai World Cup last time out!

Sir Michael didn’t have a runner yesterday, but fields one of his stable stars in this as the mare Dank looks to add to the profitable time she enjoyed in America in 2013, securing Grade 1’s in Arlington’s Beverly D.Stakes, as well as the Breeders’ Cup Filly And Mare Turf.

Another mare who ran seriously well at Santa Anita and lines up here is John Gosden’s The Fugue – she was second to Magician in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, adding huge prize money to a profitable season which had already yielded Group 1’s in the Yorkshire Oaks and Irish Champion Stakes.

It’s a deep and varied field as you’d expect for a prize of this nature, but a dream result for the bookmakers would clearly be one of the big priced outsiders, and one capable of out-running huge odds is the Jim Bolger-trained former Group 1 winner Parish Hall.

Available at an eye-watering 80/1 with a couple of firms, this is the master trainer Bolger’s only runner at the meeting, and he is said to be in his best form since his top level juvenile campaign.

Bolger continues to fire in the winners – four in the past 11 days, and lest we forget this horse won the Dewhurst as a 20/1 shot back in 2011.

Track, trip and drying ground will all suit, and it’s worth remembering that Magician who beat him just a quarter of a length at the Curragh in May is 6/1 here.

Parish Hall is too big at 80’s, and with bet365 and Skybet offering a quarter of the odds each way he could well find his way in to the frame.

Elsewhere on the card, at more conventional odds, I think there’s a big chance the French ‘tricolor’ could be finding its way in to the winner’s enclosure…

Racing in the colours of Al Shaqab Racing the Raven’s Pass colt Redbrook looks a lively contender in the opening Jersey Stakes at 2.30pm.

Jockey Frankie Dettori hit the target yesterday with The Wow Signal, and could do so again on a horse who won well in listed company at Longchamp in May, and prior to that had gone in on Good ground at Saint-Cloud.

The draw has been kind (18), seven furlongs here on the straight course will suit him, and Alain De Royer-Dupre doesn’t tend to send them over just to make up the numbers.

Redbrook is a 12/1 each way with bet365, with the Stoke firm offering us four places on the race.

The second part of a potential French kiss for the punters comes in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes at 4.25pm.

Sir Michael Stoute’s Integral tops the market, but French Guineas runner up Esoterique beat her fair and square at Newmarket in May, and Andre Fabre’s Danehill Dancer filly can confirm superiority here.

She’s available at a very fair 9/2 with any of bet365, Betfred, BetVictor, Paddy Power or William Hill.

Good luck!

Wednesday’s best bets at Royal Ascot:

2.30 – Jersey Stakes – 18 Redbrook (each way) @ 12/1 (bet365)

3.45 – Prince Of Wales’s Stakes – 4 Parish Hall (each way) @ 80/1 (bet365, BetVictor or Skybet)

4.25 – Duke Of Cambridge Stakes – 6 Esoterique (win) @ 9/2 (bet365, Betfred, BetVictor, Paddy Power or William Hill)

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Posted 3 years, 3 months ago