Royal Ascot Day 4 Preview and tips

Royal Ascot 2017: Day 4 Preview, Tips

Royal Ascot 2017: Day 4 Preview, Tips

Friday at Royal Ascot is where the party really starts. London weekenders will hit the new Village Enclosure, and hit it hard. Meanwhile, on the track, there's the small matter of the Commonwealth Cup and Coronation Stakes, a pair of tasty three-year-old only Group 1's to unravel. But first, the juniors, in the...

2.30 Albany Stakes (Group 3, 6f)

21 fleet fillies will face the starter, with Jessica Harrington's Alpha Centauri a deserving favourite. She is two from two, a debut maiden on good to firm and a Listed race last time, both over six furlongs. Her trainer had a really good run from Brother Bear on Tuesday and this filly will go close granted normal luck. But she's an unexciting price so I'd rather play one each way, my dart falling on William Haggas's Ertiyad.

Haggas rattled the crossbar on Tuesday, when Headway was, well, a head away from victory in the Coventry; and he tries again here over the same trip. This filly was beaten a nose by Mrs Gallagher over the track (five furlongs, good to firm) before stepping up in trip and placing in a Haydock maiden. That was soft ground but she showed on debut that she handles faster, a run that has been franked with the third, Out Of The Flames, running the same position in the Queen Mary on Wednesday. It's a big class rise, as it is for most of her rivals, and 20/1 is a very fair each way price.

Wes and Aidan have contenders, as you'd expect: WW runs both Fairyland and Princess Peggy; Aidan saddles Clemmie, Actress and Snowflakes. The mob handed approach generally puts me off, and this case is no different, especially when I don't know much about the American fillies. The maiden, Clemmie, Ryan Moore's pick, ran a taking race on debut when third, having been in rear in a big field early. She's bred for further and it might happen a bit quick for her, but she could just be a wildcard for the 1000 Guineas (for which she currently has a 25/1 quote, that might get bigger if she's outpaced here).

Bookie specials on this race

Bet365: 1/4 1-2-3-4 plus risk-free bet to same stake if you back 4/1+ winner (max £50)

Skybet: Money back as a free bet if 2nd or 3rd in this race (max £20)

Paddy: Money back as a free bet if 2nd, 3rd or 4th to SP favourite (max £25)

Betfair sports: Free bet to same stake as any 3/1+ winner you back (max £25)

**

3.05 King Edward VII Stakes Stakes (Group 2, 1m4f)

The Ascot Derby, so some say, and always a decent race for later maturing types, in spite of only being three weeks later than Epsom. Crystal Ocean was a plunge horse for the Derby even though his trainer said before and after a creditable defeat in the Dante that he wouldn't run there. Sure enough, he didn't, but he rocks up as jolly this time. Bred to love both the trip and the ground, he looks a real contender, and a typical Sir Michael improver.

The opposition looks untypically weak, with both Permian and Sir John Lavery with much to prove after last day flops, as have the more exposed Best Solution and Khalidi. One who had a horror trip at Epsom is Salouen, and his best juvenile form - second in the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere and third in the G1 Racing Post Trophy - gives him a squeak. He's 10/1 generally and that may be the best each way play in a shallow-looking heat, where most are bidding to repair damaged reputations and/or prove that they are contenders rather than pretenders for top honours during the rest of the season.

Bookie specials on this race

Bet365: 1/4 1-2-3 plus risk-free bet to same stake if you back 4/1+ winner (max £50)

Betfair sports: Free bet to same stake as any 3/1+ winner you back (max £25)

Skybet, Hills & Paddy 1/5 1-2-3-4

**

3.40 Commonwealth Cup (Group 1, 6f)

This. Is. A. Cracker. In its short history, the Commonwealth Cup has delivered spellbinding performances from first Muhaarar and then Quiet Reflection. This season the stage is set for a proper dukefest between Caravaggio and Harry Angel, and it's a tough one to call.

The market seems to think it's Caravaggio's to lose: he's even money favourite to add to his unbeaten quintet of races to date. That nap hand includes the Coventry and Phoenix Stakes last term, and the Group 3 Lacken Stakes earlier this season. Caravaggio has been winning by wide margins and seems unconcerned by the state of the ground, having won on soft, good to firm, and even the all weather at Dundalk.

But in Clive Cox's Harry Angel he has a worthy adversary. Cox, lest we forget, is a brilliant trainer of sprinters, and added to his CV in that sphere on Wednesday when Heartache took down Happy Like A Fool in the Queen Mary. Fast ground is spot on for Harry, who will be very hard to keep out of the frame and looks a banker each way multiple leg, if that's your thing.

Harry Angel was beaten on his seasonal reappearance however, by a re-opposing colt called Blue Point, also representing Godolphin. That was over this track and trip, and on this ground, so he has no questions to answer about conditions. It is simply whether he's good enough and, again, he looks solid place material in a race where the top of the market may well have the podium to themselves.

Wesley's Bound For Nowhere deserves a mention, but perhaps no more than that. He's two from two, most recently a five and a half furlong allowance race on firm turf. But that was around a turn and I just don't see him living with some very smart domestic sprinting colts.

Bookie specials on this race

Bet365: 1/4 1-2-3 plus risk-free bet to same stake if you back 4/1+ winner (max £50)

Betfair sports: Free bet to same stake as any 3/1+ winner you back (max £25)

**

4.20 Coronation Stakes (Group 1, 1m)

The smallest field of the week in all likelihood as just six fillies line up to take a swing at Winter, the impressive double 1000 Guineas winner. It was good to firm when she won at Newmarket so we know she'll handle the ground, and there's very little chance of any beaten horse from either Guineas reversing form; but perhaps one of the raiders can make things interesting.

Precieuse is well named having won the French 1000 Guineas, but she probably wants the ground slower. She is classier than most of these, at least.

And, as a sucker for Stateside action, I can't fail to mention La Coronel, who is my each way play. She loves rattling turf, is used to racing around a turn - albeit the other way as they uniformly do in America, and she too has class. Mark Casse is probably the best turf trainer in the States: he brought the filly Tepin over to win the Queen Anne Stakes last year, has won three Breeders' Cup grass races in the last two editions, and it is doubtful he has popped over for the air miles. She's 20/1 generally, which makes her attractive in the 'without' and exacta markets when those appear.

Bookie specials on this race

Your first 30 days for just £1

Bet365: Risk-free bet to same stake if you back 4/1+ winner (max £50)

Betfair sports: Free bet to same stake as any 3/1+ winner you back (max £25)

**

5.00 Queen's Vase (Group 2, 1m 6f)

Reduced from two miles to a mile and three quarters this year, it will be a slightly different test, and perhaps in time develop into a key St Leger trial. The distance change should make no difference to Time To Study, as Mark Johnston bids to improve his tremendous record in the race. He bids for a remarkable eighth success in 2017, and his Edinburgh Cup scorer is considered one of the Middleham trainer's best prospects of the week. The booking of Silvestre de Sousa is hardly a negative for this most progressive son of Motivator.

Not too far behind 'Always Trying', and catching up fast with three wins in the last four years, is Aidan O'Brien. Like Johnston, he saddles two, the pick of Ryan Moore being Belgravia. His form looks nothing special, but one has to respect connections: he'll not be a shock winner but nor will he carry my two pound fifty.

This is one of the few races where Ryan Moore has sat on the wrong one, Colm O'Donoghue winning last year aboard Sword Fighter. Seamie Heffernan takes the understudy role this time, on Wisconsin, a twice raced son of Japanese super star, Deep Impact. It's probably a mug play, but he looks to have more scope to improve, should love the ground, and could be a bit of each way value at 10/1.

The highest rated in the field is Count Octave, on 103. He's 8/1 after just three runs, the most recent of which was five lengths behind Venice Beach in the Chester Vase. He stayed on similarly to another in the race, Wings Of Eagles, and wouldn't have to have his ability to land the spoils here. 8/1 is also playable each way.

There are many who can improve for a longer trip and natural progression and I quite like Time To Study.

Bookie specials on this race

Bet365: 1/4 1-2-3 plus risk-free bet to same stake if you back 4/1+ winner (max £50)

Paddy: Money back as a free bet if 2nd, 3rd or 4th to SP favourite (max £25)

Betfair sports: Free bet to same stake as any 3/1+ winner you back (max £25)

**

5.35 Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (Class 2 Handicap, 1m 4f)

Borderline impossible closing placepot leg, where Wadigor - unbeaten in three - could be some way better than his current mark of 104. He's been unextended to win his three starts to date and is only eight pounds higher than when thumping an ordinary bunch (in the context of this race) on the Kempton poly. His trainer, Roger Varian, is in fine form and it often pays not to delve too deeply into the betting markets in this (last five winners 8/1 or shorter).

Around the same price, 7/1, is Sixties Groove, who Tony Stafford assures me is the bet of the week. Racing Post comment for its most recent run was, "going on finish but never threatening leaders". Hmm... Who am I to argue with the three-times newspaper naps champion tipster?

Too many more to mention in a race where I'll have the scattergun set to 'liberal smattering' on the placepot!

Bookie specials on this race

Bet365: 1/4 1-2-3-4 plus risk-free bet to same stake if you back 4/1+ winner (max £50)

Paddy: Money back as a free bet if 2nd, 3rd or 4th to SP favourite (max £25)

Betfair sports: 1/5 1-2-3-4-5 plus free bet to same stake as any 3/1+ winner you back (max £25)

Skybet 1/5 1-2-3-4-5-6

**

There will be no Saturday Royal Ascot preview, so I hope you've enjoyed these daily thoughts, and I wish you the very best of luck with both Friday's and Saturday's Ascot puzzles.

Matt

p.s. we've also got placepot pointers and big race trends for today's and tomorrow's action. Here are the Friday posts:

Placepot Pointers for Friday

Friday Royal Ascot Big Race Trends

Click here for our free Royal Ascot stat pack

Click here to join Geegeez Gold

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2 replies
    • Matt Bisogno says:

      Thanks Kemal. It’s nice to have landed on a couple at prices (and, though I say so myself, to have made compelling cases not sighted elsewhere in the press). With a little luck, we may land on one more before the day is out.

      Hope you’re keeping well,
      Matt

      Reply

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