Royal Ascot 2023: Day 2 Preview, Tips

Royal Ascot 2024: Day 2 (Wednesday) Preview, Tips

And so to the second finger of the Royal Ascot KitKat: no Saturday here, that's for you. As you'll hopefully know by now, this week we're featuring guest previews from some trusted friends - and fine judges - alongside yours truly, starting today with John 'Victor Value' Burke in the Wednesday curtain-raiser, the...

2.30 Queen Mary Stakes (5f, Group 2, 2yo fillies)

Presented by John Burke's "Victor Value" service

The Queen Mary Stakes is one of the most prestigious races for two-year-old fillies at Royal Ascot. First run in 1921, this race often features the most precocious and speedy fillies of the season, and many past winners have gone on to achieve significant success in their racing careers.

Your first 30 days for just £1

Key Trends (Last 5 Years):

Stall 17+: 4 winners from 37 runners +4.5, 9 places. (Stalls 1-16: 1 winner from 74 runners -68.5, 6 places).

Odds: 9/1 or shorter: 4 winners from 21 runners +7, 11 placed.

USA Trained: 2 winners from 11 runners +4.05, 4 placed.

The Listed Marygate Stakes at York’s Dante Meeting has been a good pointer to the Queen Mary producing three winners since 2008. This year’s race was won by Betty Clover who takes her place in the line-up.

Surprisingly, Aidan O’Brien has never won the Queen Mary.

Top Contenders:

Make Haste heads the ante post betting after creating a good impression when successful on racecourse debut at Naas last month. A speedy daughter of Blue Point she produced a good change of gear to win at Naas and is open to further improvement. Could have handy draw in stall 18.

Aidan O’Brien saddles Truly Enchanting who overcame greenness to win at Tipperary (soft) on debut 22 days ago. Strong at the finish last time the daughter of No Nay Never should be fine on quicker ground and looks a good prospect. Can she give her trainer a first Queen Mary success?

Leovanni, trained by Karl Burke, looked a smart prospect when winning a Nottingham maiden 14 days ago. Capable of better, it was good to firm that day so quick ground won’t faze her and she should go well.

Enchanting Empress made it 3 from 3 when winning the Listed National Stakes at Sandown (soft) last time. A reproduction of her Sandown form would probably be good enough to place in an average Queen Mary. Yet to race on ground better than good to soft but if she handles it she won’t be far away from stall 25.

Betty Clover was a winner at Bath on her racecourse debut  and returned to winning ways in the Listed Marygate Stakes last time. Came from off a strong pace to win at York and should benefit from Ascot’s stiffer 5f.

Ultima Grace, trained by Wesley Ward, looked speedy when winning on the dirt on debut at Keeneland (4 ½ f) in April. A daughter of American Pharoah, she’s likely got the scope for further improvement and shouldn’t be underestimated for a trainer who has won the race three times since 2015. Said by Ward to have worked well on grass and could be nicely berthed in stall 17.

Miss Rascal built on her racecourse debut promise when winning a course and distance maiden last month. Looked very professional when successful last time which will hold her in good stead here. Tom Marquand stays in the saddle. Likely to go well if stall five isn’t an inconvenience.

Queen Mary Stakes Verdict:

The Queen Mary Stakes promises to be an exciting sprint with a blend of precocious talent and potential future stars. Based on pace maps, the race is likely to be strongly contested from the start. Ascot’s five furlongs favours those who race prominently, so I’m focusing on horses who are likely to be close to the speed.

Ultima Grace has shown good early speed and should thrive on fast ground, and Miss Rascal impressed with her recent win over the course and distance. But Make Haste has garnered significant attention with connections turning down substantial offers, indicating their confidence in her potential.

Betting Advice:

My main selection is Make Haste but I’m having savers on Miss Rascal and Ultima Grace

• Make Haste: £16 win @ 6/1 with William Hill
• Miss Rascal: £2 win @ 10/1 with William Hill & Ladbrokes
• Ultima Grace: £2 win @ 11/1 with William Hill & bet365.


3.05 Queen’s Vase (1m6f, Group 2, 3yo)

Presented by Josh Wright from "Racing To Profit"

I’m gunning for HIGHBURY in this race, at around 7/2…

As always, let me start with some stats and trends… a historical ‘race profile’ points to previous winners having finished top 2 at least once on their last three starts, top 3 last time out, 0-2 runs this season, and having run over 1m4.5f or shorter last time out… this would have found 13 of the previous 16 winners, and 11 of the last 12.

IF this profile holds again, we’d be looking at a shortlist of just four… Illinois, Highbury, Grosvenor Square and Mina Rashid

It may also be worth noting that 15 of the last 16 winners were sent off 15/2 or shorter ISP, those sent off bigger in the period a miserly 1/143, 20p.

To the trainers…

Those handlers to have won this race in the last 16 renewals, and represented today, include Andrew Balding (Mina Rashid), John & Thady Gosden (Pappano) and of course Aidan O’Brien, who leads the way with six winners from 28 runners, 13 places (inc. the winners), four of those sired by the late great Galileo, who is the daddy of all four of Aidan’s runners this year.

Staying with Aidan for the moment, his runners sent off 5/2 or shorter ISP are a perfect 3/3, which as I type is a positive for Illinois, but maybe he and Highbury will flip around, we shall see. Those sent off 10/3 or shorter ISP are 5/9, 5p +10 BFSP. Aidan was responsible for the only 8/1+ shot winning in the period.

Evidently there are no issues with the yard form. I’m writing this before the team’s Day 1 runners strut their stuff, but in the previous 14 days the Master of Ballydoyle is 11/23, 15p, 79% of rivals beaten. They’re firing on all cylinders and couldn’t be entering the week in much better nick, no excuses on that score.


He ticks a lot of boxes for me here and at 7/2 or so offers a shade of value, to my eyes at least. In truth I do not know if Ryan Moore had the choice here, he usually does however Wayne Lordan has been on for both his career runs, evidently knows him best and is 7/13, 8p when riding for his boss in the previous 14 days. He couldn’t be coming here in much better form, as now stable #2. Aidan’s ‘second’ and ‘third’ string jockeys have won this race a few times and it will be interesting to see what the market does as race time approaches.

Of all the O’Brien runners in the Queen's Vase this year, he has least to prove on the ground, supposedly Good to Firm when bolting up at Leopardstown 38 days ago over 1m4f. He travelled comfortably and won easily in a race that is working out very well: six horses have since run and all have either won or placed. He’s well drawn to race prominently, and the Geegeez Pace Map suggests team Ballydole may dominate from flag fall. I’d certainly expect Highbury to be in the top four after a furlong, in the perfect spot to pounce. There looks to be so much more to come from him, and he’ll no doubt relish this further step up in distance and bounce off the ground, which is a question for some. I’d make him favourite.



Ryan More rides Illinois, possibly why he’s favourite -I suspect were he on Highbury, they’d be the other way round. Or so I keep telling myself! That may be indicative of what the team expects but I’m not sure. In any case, Illinois looked uncomfortable around Lingfield on faster ground, his previous runs on a softer surface. He hung up the straight with an awkward head-carriage, and on that basis, at 2/1 or so, I wanted to oppose.

Maybe it was the undulating course, or an off day, but he looked far from happy and stayed on at the one pace, for all he beat the rest easily; and, of course, he bumped into The Derby runner-up. I wasn’t convinced he was crying out for further either, but I’m prepared to eat humble pie on that score. Aidan’s other two have questions on fast ground also, and I’d like to think that both the stable #1 and #2 can’t be wrong here, for all it’s happened before.

Having said that, Grosvenor Square has it in him to run into a place, entitled to improve on his effort at Chester which was his first start of the season. He shaped there as if he’d relish a stamina test, if handling Good to Firm, and I’d expect him to take a fair step forward. He may also be happier around this more galloping expanse.

Birdman could be staying on into the places if handling the ground, an unknown, but historically this goes to horses stepping up further in trip from their last start, who haven’t yet shown their hand over 1m5f+, which he did when winning a Listed race last time. Those running over such a distance when last seen are 0/29, 5p in this race, but that's clearly a stat which is there to be broken. I just feel there’s a chance he’ll lack the tactical pace required.

Mina Rashid could also make the frame for all, as previously discussed, historically this hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for bigger priced horses. The form of Chester is yet to be tested and I don’t like the fact he wears a hood – that suggests he could get worked up pre-race in this carnival atmosphere and you do not want to be pulling on your first start over 1m6f, in a Royal Ascot Group 2. It looks a fair step up, but Andrew Balding knows what’s needed to win this race - he took it with Dashing Willoughby in 2019 - which is worth something and, if settling, he could run a nice race if you prefer an each-way stab at something. At least we know he’ll handle the ground and he shapes like a stayer in the making. I wasn’t too taken with any others.

The more I look at this race, the more bullish I become on 7/2 Highbury’s chances, what could possibly go wrong?! Maybe Grosvenor Square or Mina Rashid will chase him home, for those who like to play the forecasts, but I'm try to get the current favourite beaten!


'Ever fancied owning a share in a racehorse? Josh now has 11 horses in training and over 170 shareholders.

Keep informed by joining his Racing To Profit Syndicate email list for free, HERE>>>



3.45 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes (1m, Group 2, 4yo+ fillies and mares)

Preview by Matt Bisogno.

The Duke Of Cambridge, formerly Windsor Forest, Stakes is a mile Group 2 usually run on the straight track for older fillies and mares. This year, it moves to the round course. Since its inception in 2004, 17 of the 20 winners were four-year-olds and only Aljazzi in 2018 has won for five-year-olds and up since 2008. This is interesting because the current joint-favourites are both aged five.

They are last year's winner Rogue Millennium and the Gosdens-trained Laurel. Let's cover the Rogue first. Naturally, course and distance are no problem but she came into the race in much better form twelve months ago; then, she was dropping back a quarter mile in trip having run second at a big price in the G2 Middleton Stakes at York. That extra stamina proved to be the clincher as she ground down Random Harvest by a neck at the line. This season, she's run just once, a taking enough prep at the Curragh over a mile (G2, good) when never nearer than at the finish; the stiffer test here will suit better and she ought to come on for the run, but with so many less exposed fillies in opposition she's hardly a value price.

In her third season racing and with just five career starts under her belt, one couldn't describe Laurel as a hardy type (see what I did there?!) but she is commensurately unexposed. Those five starts comprise a Newmarket fillies' novice debut score, two Kempton all-weather wins (one at Listed level), a close second in the Group 1 Sun Chariot and a clunk when last seen in the 2023 Lockinge. So, we've not witnessed her on track for over a year and she has only a single piece of form to justify her price; granted, it's a strong piece of form, but it was recorded in October 2022.

Let's cast the net across the four-year-old cohort as they're 8/1 and bigger as I write. And, with this stiff mile taking some getting, I like the 'turn back' angle: horses shortening in trip from their last run. Historically that has most often brought into play the Princess Margaret Stakes at Epsom and the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket. A filly who stepped out in both is Running Lion, who was a fair second on her seasonal bow at HQ having over-raced in that small field, before enduring a hideously luckless passage down the inner at Epsom on Derby day.

Trained by John and Thady, and ridden by Oisin, Running Lion hasn't tried as short as a mile in her last six outings but she was previously unbeaten in three at the trip. With enough pace around to help her settle and with the slightly wider track at Ascot to mitigate for traffic problems, she's an interesting player.

It might be that the Epsom race is queenmaker in this year's Duke Of Cambridge, with three of the first four home - respectively the winner, 3rd and 4th, Breege, Royal Dress and Julia Augusta - as well as Running Lion re-opposing. It was an archetypically messy race on the Epsom cambers and bears reviewing. The first image below is just inside the final quarter mile with Running Lion (all green) locked up on the rail, the yellow of Julia Augusta and the light green with lilac cap of Breege in the clear; red striped cap is Royal Dress having a shoulder barge with Chic Colombine, also in the highlighted box...



And this is at the furlong pole: Running Lion eased off, Julia Augusta no more to give, Breege - unimpeded - falls in for the win from the fast-finishing Chic Colombine and Royal Dress.



The question is, how would things have panned out granted smooth transit for all runners? It's a puzzle and obviously somewhat subjective; my feeling is that Royal Dress would have won. Placing Running Lion, beaten less than four lengths, is nigh on impossible. What is easier to posit is that Julia Augusta and Breege were least inconvenienced, the winner not being far enough clear of the third (and the eighth?) to expect to confirm placings. Claro?!

In any case, Breege's best form has come with some give and, as you can probably tell, I'm looking elsewhere for my play. Royal Dress, by Night Of Thunder out of a Dynaformer mare, is unexposed at a mile and her pedigree says she ought to keep rolling all the way to the Ascot lollipop. A slow maturing type she doesn't have an admirable win record but may have been waiting for a stiffer test of this nature. Having won a mile soft ground Listed race at Goodwood on her four-year-old debut she would have arrived here unbeaten in 2024 in more fortuitous circumstances.

The other 'turn back' filly is Sea The Lady, trained in France by Christopher Head (formerly of Big Rock and Blue Rose Cen fame). In what seems to be something of a carousel of comings and goings at Head's yard, this filly arrived from Yann Barberot's over the winter and ran an encouraging stable debut when third in a Longchamp Group 3 at ten furlongs. She travelled well and exhibited a nice gear change before flattening out there: perhaps that was lack of race fitness, perhaps stamina running out, perhaps the very soft ground, and most likely a combination of those factors.

Back in trip, with a race under her belt and for a trainer who has shown he can target big pots at Ascot, she's at least an interesting runner. There is the niggle, however, that having been bought by UK breeders for €300,000 as a broodmare prospect she could be a(n expensive) ticket for the very good owners' luncheon. In short, she's hard to weigh up, the balance of her form likely not good enough.

One to have plied much of her recent trade over further is Novus, beaten a whisker by Royal Dress last time in that Goodwood Listed contest. She has form to put herself on the podium but probably would have preferred softer turf. While, of the recent pure milers, Ocean Jewel won a Group 2 at the Curragh last time and was unlucky in the run on her first try at this trip in the G1 Matron Stakes last September. Unlucky she may have been but she was nearly ten lengths behind the winner, with Rogue Millennium some way ahead that day. Still, she's quite lightly raced and unexposed at a mile and, consequently, a player.

Orchid Bloom wasn't too far behind Ocean Jewel last time but I don't see why placings should be reversed, all other things being equal.

In the end, I'm going back to the beginning, and the Princess Margaret form: I think 12/1 Royal Dress and 14/1 Running Lion are both backable at those prices.




If you're betting placepots or jackpots (or quadpots or Scoop6) at Royal Ascot, you're much better off using Tix - it's free so check it out today!



4.25 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (1m2f, Group 1, 4yo+)

Preview by Rory Delargy

With warmer temperatures and a receding rain threat ensuring quick ground at Ascot, it’s hard to see a shock in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes. The front pair in the market stand out on official ratings and both have shown their very best form on fast turf; so, while it’s tempting to find an each-way angle into races at the Royal meeting, sometimes you have to simply play the cards you’ve been dealt. In short, this looks a shootout between Auguste Rodin and Inspiral, and the former edges the verdict at the current prices.

White Birch seemed to beat Auguste Rodin on merit in the Tattersalls Gold Cup but while Joseph Murphy’s star is best with some cut in the ground, Auguste Rodin’s best form last year came when the turf was very quick. All three of his blowouts came on good or softer, including on watered turf at Meydan, whereas four runs on good to firm or firm resulted in wins in the Derby, Irish Derby, Irish Champion Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Turf. That’s quite a haul for a “twicer”.

It's hard to be certain that the ground is the reason for Auguste Rodin’s inconsistency and he obviously won the Group 1 Futurity on heavy as a juvenile; but it’s also tough to deny that his firm ground efforts have been those of a superstar, his form on softer of late not in the same class. He can have no excuses, it seems.

Inspiral has been rerouted here from the Queen Anne, and while I think that’s the right call given she seems best around a turn, there has to be some debate about her stamina for a stiff ten furlongs. She won the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf over this trip at Santa Anita, again showing her liking for fast turf and a turning track, but the sharp circuit in California would place less emphasis on stamina than Ascot’s more demanding track.

Her best form gives her every chance and her draw is a positive as long as Kieran Shoemark has the confidence to keep her wide, but I wonder whether the tactics will be to tuck in at the back of the field in order to attempt to conserve her stamina. I suspect that will indeed be the case and I’m not a fan of dropping in from a wide draw at this track, as it makes you a hostage to fortune.

Talking of the jockey’s confidence, I wonder whether Shoemark has had his dented by defeats on Inspiral in the Lockinge and Emily Upjohn in the Coronation Cup. He was outmanoeuvred tactically in both races but was riding mares who – by their trainer’s admission – were not fit to do themselves justice. Shoemark is filling big shoes at Royal Ascot this week, and I’d have preferred to see him ride a big winner to get the proverbial monkey off his back. I’d be genuinely pleased to see him do that here but the percentage call in a situation like this is to side with Ryan Moore, who certainly won’t be second guessing what defeat might mean.

Recommended: 1pt win Auguste Rodin @ 7/4 (William Hill)


5.05 Royal Hunt Cup (1m, Class 2, 3yo+ Handicap)

Presented by Sam Darby's "Winning Post Profits" service

My biggest headache for every Ascot meeting is the straight track draw - and, in truth, I’m no closer to figuring it out. I will go through the data shortly but there is only so much it can tell you. Last year, and in 2021, the places were dominated by very high drawn horses, yet the winners in those years came from stalls 7 and 4.

Gone are the days where anything can be confidently ruled out because of the draw, but is there any advantage at all?



Concentrate on the blue line on the first graph above, taken from the geegeez racecard DRAW tab, which shows the PRB3 (average percentage of rivals beaten of a stall and its immediate neighbours) in big field mile handicaps on good or better ground. There are some peaks and troughs but the overall feel I get is that you can run well from pretty much any draw.

What we see in the draw and pace combination graph is far more interesting and useful. This shows that there is a significant pace bias towards those that are held up but it also tells us that if you are held up, or race in mid division, the draw seems to have almost no impact on your chance overall. That’s not to say that in every race the low draws have the same chance as the high draws, it’s more a case of the high draws are favoured just as often as the low draws. That’s an important distinction and it’s an acknowledgement that there can be biases from race to race, but they are difficult to predict.

The other takeaway from the above graph is that prominent racers and front runners tend to perform worse when drawn higher. My guess at an explanation for that would be you tend to see slightly more runners come near side and that perhaps creates more pace pressure and competition for the lead amongst those drawn higher. That may or may not be a factor.

There may be some draw bias clues from Tuesday’s races (the second and third races in particular) but without having seen those races at the time of writing, the best clue we may get about the draw bias is to see where the pace is positioned on the track. Here is the geegeez racecard PACE map for the Royal Hunt Cup.



It is interesting that there are only two real pace angles in here and the fate of the low drawn horses may well rest with what Neil Callan decides to do aboard The Gatekeeper from stall 14. Hollie Doyle is expected to simply pop Regheeb out from stall 31 and go straight forward, near to the near side rail, but Neil Callan will either stay in the middle or go nearside (he surely won’t switch to the far side?). If he traverses to the near side then the low draws are in very big trouble as they could end up in a small group headed by Thunder Ball and all the real pace will then be near side.

So, looking at the pace map, I wouldn’t be surprised if the middle and stands’ side groups merge into one in the final few furlongs (similar to 2022) and in that year the middle-ish draws seemed to do well with draws on the flank slightly underperforming.

If The Gatekeeper comes near side then I can see lower draws struggling so I’d say the safest area of the draw might be around the 19 mark, as that covers middle and high, but I may be wrong!

I’m never keen on unproven stamina in this race and that means I’m immediately putting a line through Wild Tiger, even if stall 20 might end up the almost ideal position. I also think Real Gain might be a little too slow for this and ideally suited by further so I’m against him too.

Things finally fell right for Sonny Liston last time out for him to get an overdue success but he’s 11lbs higher than when runner up in this last year so I’ve got question marks over how well handicapped he is now. He’s in stall 19 so could be well placed.

The ground might have been a bit too testing for Coeur d’Or in the Balmoral here last season but I’d still have expected him to perform better given he wasn’t far from the pace in a race where there was a massive bias in favour of those up there early on, so I’m not convinced he’s got what it takes to win this either.

Metal Merchant surely wants softer and Streets Of Gold looks a proper 7f horse to my eye whilst Aerion Power is 5lbs higher than when 4th last year and possibly badly drawn in stall 1. That’s quite a few of the fancied horses with some sort of negative against them (in my opinion).

I do like Beshtani, given he was beaten just a short head by a subsequent winner at Epsom and gets to race here off the same mark. He looks a winner waiting to happen but I think there is a bit of risk attached backing anything drawn in single figures here, although stall 9 is obviously the highest of the single figures. This will be the fastest ground he’s faced and he was ridden fairly prominently at Epsom, which could be a negative here, but I like his general profile. If I was having a a third bet in the race, he would be it, but he’s short enough so I’m going to recommend two ‘punts’ at bigger prices.

PEROTTO was sent off favourite for this last year off a 5lb lower mark and it’s not difficult to see why. He won the 2021 Britannia Stakes off 99 and, having lost his way under Marcus Tregoning, he’d made a promising debut for Roger Varian in the Victoria Cup off a mark of just 97 and been dropped a pound since then.

He was ridden too close to the pace in last year’s race and didn’t really fire, although finishing 10th wasn’t a terrible effort. He ran better in a first time hood on his next start at Sandown when winning a good handicap off a 7lb lower mark than today. The next three home all won shortly after so that was a very good effort.

He got bogged down in soft ground in the Golden Mile at Goodwood next time (also drawn badly in that race) but still ran okay, and then he showed his true form on better ground on the round course here on Shergar Cup day, doing well to chase down the leader in a very steadily run race.

He’s gone up 3lbs for that and hasn’t been seen since as he reportedly had a setback in the Spring, but Roger Varian has stated he’s happy with him and his runners don’t normally need a racecourse outing before they show their form so he should be fit enough. Stall 17 is probably a good draw but I’d definitely be going win only as he obviously comes with risks attached.

Hopefully Tom Marquand switches him off early and allows him to come through horses and if that happens the top price of 20/1 could look very good, with the more generally available 14s and 16s just about acceptable. If going win only though, you’ll likely get a much bigger price on the Exchanges (available at 25 at the time of writing).

One at a very big price I wouldn’t mind having a small each way bet on is SILENT FILM. He’s run some decent races here in the past, finishing runner up off a 2lb higher mark in a 7f cavalry charge just under 2 years ago and finding himself too poorly placed when 4th to Perotto at the Shergar Cup over the round mile last season.

He was 2nd to Ouzo in Meydan in January, who won again next time out, and I’m particularly interested in his 10f 3rd at Epsom in April in a race where the 1st and 5th have both won since and the runner up has filled that same spot again in a big handicap on Derby day.

Try Tix for Better Tote Returns

It does concern me that his worst efforts have all come on good to firm but all his winning has been on good so I’m not sure if that’s just a bit of a weird coincidence. Something always tends to run into the frame (at least) at 33/1+ so I wouldn’t put anyone off a small bet at that price (50/1 top price).

In summary, all draws being equal, I’d say 12/1 Beshtani is the most likely winner of this year’s renewal but in search for a little bit of ‘value’ I’m going for a small win only wager on 20/1 Perotto (will be bigger on the exchanges) and a small each way bet on 50/1 Silent Film.

Sam Darby - Winning Post Profits. You can join my private service for just £1 if you click here.


Sam Darby's Winning Post Profits


5.40 Kensington Palace Stakes (1m, Class 2 Handicap, 4yo+)

Preview by our own David Massey

Two things you really should take note of when looking at this year’s renewal of the Kensington Palace Stakes are - one, it will take place on the straight course, which isn’t usually the case; and because of that, two, you’ll have had a pretty good clue as to whether there’s any draw biases as the Hunt Cup is the race on the card before this.

I suppose there’s a third thing as well, and that’s that there’s not a lot of pace on here, not on paper at least. Timeform suggest a very strong pace, but I don’t think it will be any more than evenly run. The geegeez pace map is below with, essentially, no horse in the 'led' column (which is to say, no horse has on average led in its last three starts - Moonspirit and Doha are the closest to that profile).



Top of my list is Ed Bethell’s Elim, who was progressive on the all-weather throughout the winter of 22/23 and came back from a year’s absence to be sent off favourite for what looked, at the time, an ordinary Redcar handicap a month ago. She did nothing wrong in finishing a close fourth, travelling well but just getting a bit tired late in the piece, looking very much like the run would bring her on.

As it turns out, that handicap has worked out better than expected, with winner Ron O following up in a warm race at York last week, and second, Arctic Mountain, after winning at Lingfield on next start, being sent off a very short price from a 5lb higher mark to also win at York last week. Sadly, tack issues meant we couldn’t see whether Arctic Mountain was well handicapped or not as he didn’t complete, but what we do know is that Elim races off the same mark as Redcar and looks potentially well treated here.

The nicely-bred Summer Of Love will probably want a bit further in time, but this stiff mile will suit, and don’t be put off by the fact she’s only seen the all-weather so far. I wrote an article last week about where last-time-out winners at Ascot come from, and the all-weather - particularly Newcastle and Kempton - comes out as a positive. All the same, 8-1 looks the rock-bottom price given her form is by no means the strongest in the race, and she does need to improve again.

Instead, let’s finish off with a couple of flyers at huge prices.

Farhh To Shy is going to be a 40-1 chance, give or take, and that’s the sort of price that, for a horse that will travel as well as anything, is going to give you a bit of excitement deep into the race. Watch her finish third to Cell Sa Beela here last October - sent off 14 on Betfair, she trades 6-4 at the furlong pole and you’d think it was a matter of how far she wins by. Sadly, she finds little off the bridle, not for the first time (or the last) and she does no more than hang on for third.

It was a similar story back at Ascot here in May, where again she travelled up like a good ‘un, but found three-fifths of naff all off the snaffle, and ended up sixth after looking like a place was far more likely. In truth, she’s a back-to-lay here for those so inclined, but one of these days she’s going to win a race without coming off the bridle and if there is more pace on here than I think there is, that can only be a help.

At 66-1, Canoodled is getting a fiver each-way lobbed in her direction too. There are too many moderate efforts on her report card to be confident about her chances, but there’s no way she can be the price she is based on her fourth in the aforementioned Ascot 7f handicap that Cell Sa Beela won last season (Farhh To Shy third), beaten just half a length and if it had been a mile and not 7f, I rather suspect she might have won. You can argue it was a muddling contest but she shapes like this stiff mile on quick ground is what she wants to showcase her talents. She ran on from the back at Epsom last time to finish midfield, but that track didn’t play to her strengths at all, whereas this will.


6.15 Windsor Castle Stakes (5f, Listed, 2yo)

Presented by Gavin Priestley's "Festival Trends" service

Since being upgraded to Listed status in 2004 all 20 winners have been male (just 2 fillies placed from 56 runners) who had run 1-3 times (44 losers had run 4 or more times) and had run in the last 43 days (23 losers had not). They had all finished top six last time out with all 20 horses that finished 7th or worse last time out also finishing unplaced here.

Only one winner had their last run on the all-weather (from the 34 to have tried) when the maiden Flashmans Papers caused a massive shock at 100/1 in 2008. He had though made his debut on turf at Windsor.

Maiden winners aren't that uncommon however with, as well as that 2008 winner, the 1997, 1999, 2002, 2019, 2020 and last year's winner Big Evs all scoring for the first time in the Windsor Castle. It's worth noting that they had all finished either second or third last time out. The last horse to win on debut was the Sir Michael Stoute filly Dazzle who scored as the 7/2 favourite back in 1996 when the race was run as a Class 2 contest.

15 of the last 18 winners had suffered a defeat at least once in their career with all 3 exceptions coming into the race having won their only start. The last 18 runners to have won both their last two starts have been beaten with just two making the frame.

Wesley Ward has won the race twice but all of his other 15 runners have finished unplaced including his last 12 runners (he last won the race in 2014), all of his 10 fillies and 13 of his 14 runners that were 10/1 or shorter in the betting.

Shocks are common in the Windsor Castle with the aforementioned Flashmans Papers at 100/1 and Wesley Ward's Strike The Tiger at 33/1 being the biggest priced winners this century. We've also had two 16/1 winners, three 20/1 winners and a 22/1 winner since 2006.

Horses drawn 12+ have won 10 of the last 14 renewals with three of the four exceptions coming from either stall 1 or 2.

Runners from Sandown's National Stakes have a good record since 2015 (32121400) with both 2017 winner Sound And Silence at 16/1 and 2021 winner Chipotle at 22/1 having competed in that contest. In fact in 2021 the Sandown race provided the 22/1 winner and 4th at 66/1 from just two qualifiers.

Inexplicably the 2nd and 3rd from the 2023 National Stakes disappointed badly in this race last year but I'm going to keep the faith with that trial race and go with a horse that will hopefully be going the other way round i.e. run well here having disappointed badly in this year's National Stakes.

Richard Hannon's HAWAIIAN was a ready winner of a maiden first time up at Newbury despite stumbling at the start. That race couldn't have worked out much better with the runner up winning by four lengths next time, the 3rd finishing second to Epsom Woodcote scorer Teej A on his next start, the 4th winning next time out before running third in a Listed race at York and the 5th came out to run The Actor to a neck in what has turned out to be a very hot Newmarket maiden. No wonder he was sent off a short priced favourite for the National where he was no bigger than 6/5 but ran no race at all and was beaten by the furlong pole. The trainer was happy to blame the soft ground that night and if we can strike a line through that run he could be a very big price given the form of his previous effort.

I'm also going to suggest a small bet on the Kevin Ryan runner END OF STORY who was another to win a maiden that has worked out very well but flopped next time when well supported in the betting. That run came in the Woodcote at Epsom where he led for a long way but didn't seem to see out the 6f and was beaten by the time they entered the final furlong. Back to a more conventional track and over 5f I think he could be worth another chance at a massive price.

SELECTIONS: HAWAIIIAN 1/2pt EW 18/1 / END OF STORY 1/4pt EW 50/1 (4 places)


And that's half time in our quartet of daily previews. Hopefully we've - and you've - hit the target in the first half but, if not, there are 14 more conundrums to work through on Thursday and Friday. Join us for those!

Good luck.


Other Recent Posts by This Author:

Try Tix for Better Tote Returns

Your first 30 days for just £1
3 replies
  1. innercirclebet
    innercirclebet says:

    Dismissing Wild Tiger due to stamina concerns is bizarre. On just his second career start he finished 2nd of 16 in a mile handicap, beat half a length, and pulled more than 5 lengths clear of the rest.
    Ge’s by Frankel who has an average winning distance of offspring of 10.4
    And his dam won a Group race at 10 furlongs

    To completely dismiss a horse who has only had 5 career starts because he hasn’t yet proved his stamina seems flimsy to me. Especially when he has already run really well over a mile.

    If you follow dosages I’ll give you a comparison

    Ambiente Friendly the Derby runner up 22 0.76 -0.09
    Wild Tiger 20 0.67 -0.15

    Based on dosages I’d say Wild Tiger has at least as much stamina as AF

    It may turn out to be correct in the end but as a punting strategy dismissing horses on such superficial evidence looks flawed

    Be fascinating to see this race, one of the highlights of the week.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.