We're all set for Day One of the Royal Ascot 2011 meeting, and Tuesday's racing may just be the pick of the whole week.
In the video below, I've gone through my fancies for the races, but if you don't have 45 minutes to listen to me rambling, then I've added my thoughts in text format summary underneath that.
'Note - to view this in full screen, click the little 'x' in the bottom right of the video box.'
2.30 Queen Anne Stakes
The opener is an absolutely Bobby Dazzler of a race, which has considerably more depth than 'just' Goldikova versus Canford Cliffs.
Flash Dance is a pacemaker, but the remaining sextet all have some sort of a chance. Rio De La Plata is a multi-Group One winner on the continent, but probably not up to this.
Cape Blanco likely wants further but has plenty of toe too. Ten furlongs is probably his best trip, however.
Cityscape is interesting at a bigger price. He was progressive last year, and will improve for his debut run. Ransom Note won the Britannia Stakes here at last year's Royal Ascot meeting from an unfavourable draw - and he could run better than 66/1 odds suggest.
Canford Cliffs wouldn't want ground softer than good, and he might be vulnerable if there's any give, whereas Goldi will act on any ground, stays nine furlongs, and has won 13 Group One races! She is a six year old now and at some point that age factor must become material. Possibly not yet though.
It's exactas for me here, with Goldikova or Canford Cliffs to win, and Cape Blanco, Cityscape and Ransom Note to be second. If the obvious happens and Goldi and CC are 1-2, I'll lose on this race.
3.05 King's Stand Stakes
A ferocious gallop is certain here over this Group One five furlong sprint. Plenty of these will want it faster, and I'm taking a punt on three at big prices in Arctic, Monsieur Chevalier, and Tangerine Trees each way.
Star Witness may trump them all but is too short, unless you bagged the recommended 8/1 last week.
3.45 St James Palace Stakes
The Frankel Show. I don't expect anything to beat him, and I'm lucky forward to the eulogizing with Sir Henry (note, no apostrophe's required any more! 🙂 )
To chase him home the nearest, I'm siding with Excelebration, an improved sort who won't mind the going whatever happens, and Wootton Bassett, who is better than he showed last time when things went against him.
Exactas are the play again, with Frankel over Excelebration and Wootton Bassett.
4.25 Coventry Stakes
A tough race where form in the book will improved upon by the vast majority of runners. 8/1 or shorter is the place to be here, and last time winners too. Rested horses (off the track for 21 days or more) are favoured, as are those having their second or third career start here.
All of which whittles things down to Power and Gatepost for me. I've been following Gatepost throughout his career - primarily by betting horses against him! - and he looks like he has a lot of improvement still to come.
Lots of dangers including the Wesley Ward runner, Italo, Commissar and Power.
5.00 Ascot Stakes
20 runners over two and a half miles in a handicap. Junior heads the market, and he won this last year in processional style, a feat he replicated at the Cheltenham Festival. What an absolute treat for the racing club members who own him. Lucky buggers.
He's got top weight here and I reckon he might find it tougher this time around. Lots of dangers of course, but the one with the bombproof profile is Nicky Henderson's improving mare, Veiled.
She has won three of her last four starts, including a 2m6f hurdle at Cheltenham, so won't be stopping and she was going away from her opposition over an inadequate 1m6f last time when winning readily. Kieren Fallon is hardly a negative in the saddle.
Smallish stakes, win only, Veiled.
5.35 Windsor Castle Stakes
Tough as they come, this one, and certainly not one to go mad on. Fillies have an awful record (0 from 25 in last fourteen years).
Some big priced winners in recent times, including 100/1 shot Flashman's Papers, mean I'm siding with a couple of outsiders against the field here.
Specifically, Bayleyf and Springinmystep each way, the former from Flashman's training yard, and the latter from the shrews Michael Dods stable.
Wesley's Gentleman's Code may also be of interest here.
Race 1: 7 (Goldikova)
Race 2: 5, 6, 7, 11, 12 (Kingsgate Native, Mar Adentro, Monsieur Chevalier, Star Witness, Tangerine Trees)
Race 3: 4 (Frankel)
Race 4: 10, 17, 22 (Gatepost, Power, St Barths)
Race 5: 1, 12, 15, 19 (Junior, Zigato, Veiled, Rattan)
Race 6: 3, 9, 10, 11 (Bayleyf, Frederick Engels, Gentlemans Code, Hamza)
1 x 5 x 1 x 3 x 4 x 4 = 240 bets
An alternative is to choose only Frederick Engels (#9) in the last, and lay him for a place on Betfair to guarantee a return if you're still going by then. That would make the bet only 60 lines, but of course it excludes the opportunity of an upset result in the last leg, which is possible!
[Hope that made sense!!!]
p.s. what's your day one banker or best each way fancy? As ever, share the love. 🙂