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Royal Ascot 2019 Betting Review

It was a long week. It was a fun week. It was a challenging week. It was an exciting week. Royal Ascot is meant to test the limits of endurance, spanning as it does five days of fiercely competitive sporting and social action, and the punting has long left its mark on far greater wagering warriors than yours truly.

For what it's worth, then, this post will look back on the week from a tipping and betting perspective...

Tuesday

Queen Anne

Verdict: It's a field with reasonable quality and quantity whilst lacking a superstar. Mustashry, the only horse with a 120+ rating, looks over-priced at 11/2, as does Romanised at 40's, albeit in a small Hail Mary context (is it too early to be thinking about the getting out stakes?!). Plenty of others are credible: about ten of these would not be a shock to me, though are considered either less likely or poorer value or both.

Outcome: Mustashry fairly well held, but Romanised endured a horror trip with a wall of horses in front of him. When he saw daylight, Billy Lee and Romanised scampered through it, but all too late. The Racing Post in running comment sums it up:

"Switched right start, held up, headway when not clear run 2f out and over 1f out when switched right, closing behind leaders when not clear run and switched right final 100yds, stayed on but unable to challenge"

Coventry

Verdict: Somewhat out of my depth here, I won't be straying too far from the head of the market. ARIZONA looked impressive on his second try with only a smart one besting him on debut. He's an unimaginative selection but, representing the eight-time-winning Ballydoyle team, he ought to go close at least at around 5/2.

Outcome: In a tight finish, Ryan Moore cajoled Arizona to the lead and was not for relinquishing it. The other fancied runners, Threat and Guildsman, filled out the frame giving the result a formful look.

King's Stand

Verdict: A competitive and deep King's Stand, and one in which we could easily see last year's 1-2-3 fill the podium again. Battaash is the class of the race but doesn't always bring his A game; likewise Blue Point who is not far behind the favourite on form and was flying when last seen in Dubai. The faster they go the better it will suit Mabs Cross and I think, at the prices, she's the bet each way at 9/1. The likes of Imprimis and Soldier's Call are interesting supporting actors in what is a compelling puzzle.

Outcome: Another race where the fancied runners were to the fore. The repeat bid of last year's 1-2-3 was thwarted on the line by a nose from the re-rallying Soldier's Call. That was another frustrating fourth place, Mabs Cross this time narrowly denied the place money.

St James's Palace

Verdict: This looks the moment when TOO DARN HOT shows his true colours. An outstanding juvenile last season, he's had legit excuses the first twice this term. Whilst going to the well a third time in a little over a month is a big ask, I feel he ought to be able to trade places with Phoenix Of Spain, making 5/2 reasonable. Of the bigger prices, Shaman could be well positioned to nick a place and 12/1 is faintly appealing in that context.

Outcome: Not a race I read well at all. Circus Maximus surprised me back in trip, but the one to take from the race was the previously recalcitrant but highly progressive King Of Comedy. He closed with a rattle to get by Too Darn Hot (running as if amiss, or not trained on) and just fail to peg the winner. A great race but one that I called pretty poorly. Shaman had no real excuses on the day though he wasn't optimally placed before staying on for moderate gains.

Ascot Stakes

Verdict: Impossible as it is supposed to be. Mengli Khan has an obvious chance and 6/1 is not ungenerous. And perhaps one of Time To Study (22/1) or Jukebox Jive (40/1) will offer some excitement for windmill tilters. Get as many extra places as you can!

Outcome: Mengli didn't show up, Jukebox did too much too soon and faded badly; but Time To Study ran a game third. His stablemate at the brilliant Ian Williams' barn, The Grand Visir, claimed the prize, with Ryan and Willie's Buildmeupbuttercup cutting through the field from last to second. Moore got there in time to go by if good enough, but the winner was tough, well handicapped and conditioned to perfection by Williams.

Wolferton

Verdict: There is a horse in here with back class galore, and we don't even have to look that far into the past to find it. Sure, last year's Irish Derby was a weak heat, but LATROBE supplemented that effort with silver in both the Irish Leger and an Australian Group 1 in the autumn. A little slow in coming to hand this spring after travelling around the world late last year, he showed signs of a return to form late in a Group 2 in early May. 9/1 is a very playable each way bet on a horse who should be in the van from stall two.

Outcome: Another fourth place, this time denied second by a nose and a short head, though there was no denying that winner Addeyb was in a different parish. He'd beaten Lord Glitters into second in the 2018 Lincoln Handicap, and here they claimed a Group 1 and a Listed pot between them. Happily, for me at least, some bookies were paying fourth place - and mine was one of them.

 

Wednesday

Queen Mary

Verdict: Very tricky as the volume of runners and limited form available to analyse suggests. I backed Good Vibes after her York win and I think she's still a tickle of value at 8/1. Kimari should be a fun watch but might be scrambling from the furlong pole; and both Flippa The Strippa (16/1) and Final Song look capable of going close. I'll take Flippa and the Vibes each way against the field.

Outcome: The weather continued to replicate my mood as wagers just didn't fall right. Good Vibes was declared a non-runner in the morning, a decent ante-post position sunk. Flippa never really got into it on the slower ground though finished a respectable four-length eighth. She'll win a nice pot on quicker turf later in the season I suspect. Raffle Prize was the first, but not the last, to advertise the claims of a Newmarket fillies' race run in mid-May and was a ready winner under Frankie Dettori.

Queen's Vase

Verdict: An intriguing heat that is bound to have a bearing on the St Leger market. WESTERN AUSTRALIA is worth backing from the same stake unit (say, 80/20) for both this and the Doncaster Classic, at 7/2 and 20/1 respectively.

Outcome: Dashing Willoughby claimed the prize in a race where the first three were in front almost throughout. Nothing closed notably from the back and form looks precarious to my eye. Western Australia is, I believe, still running...

Prince Of Wales's

Verdict: A good cast with two high class fillies bidding to be leading lady. MAGICAL's fitness edge gets her the nod, though Sea Of Class is feared, her turn of foot a powerful asset in a ten furlong Ascot race. It's no match race, however, and the likes of Crystal Ocean and Zabeel Prince - as well as, heaven forbid, Waldgeist - would only register as mild upsets. 2/1 about the selection is short enough, but I am struggling to see past her.

Outcome: Frankie rode a superlative race here, settling in optimal track position, picking his moment and kicking clear atop an archetypically smart and progressive older horse for trainer Sir Michael Stoute. Magical ran gallantly in second, my nemesis Waldgeist rounding out the trifecta. These are three of the best older horses in training and it will likely pay to follow all three.

Duke Of Cambridge

Verdict: A big field but plenty who either probably don't stay or are probably not good enough. The 'now' filly seems to be RED TEA, whose Curragh form looks decent and repeatable. She takes a little while to hit top stride but finds plenty thereafter so, with the likes of Pretty Baby and Shenanigans expected to take them along at a fair lick, she's a surprisingly warm fancy. 14/1 each way has been taken.

Outcome: I took a strong view in this race and wagered accordingly. Unfortunately, between backing Red Tea and watching the race, the ground changed from good all the way to soft, and that wasn't for her. She remains on my radar - and in my tracker - for a terra firmer day.

Royal Hunt Cup

Verdict: Obviously enormously competitive. No surprise - a little frustration but no surprise - to see any of New Graduate, Raising Sand, Robin Of Navan or Settle For Bay win. But I'm splitting my (smallish, this is bravado betting) stake between King's Field and Clon Coulis. Both seem favoured by conditions, both thrive off a solid pace, and both have quietly ascendant profiles. Importantly, both are around the 25/1 mark.

Outcome: As fiendish a handicap puzzle as you'll find all year, and so close to nailing it. I'd backed Clon Coulis and King's Field, more on the former and mostly win only. Spencer gave the filly a peach of a ride from the back but just failed to get by the tenacious Afaak. When you bet in races like these, finding a horse likely to hit the frame is the art, rather than trying to find the winner; and Spencer's incredible 50% place strike rate in straight mile Royal Ascot handicaps is a number with which to go to war. This would have been worth a tidy sum, but I foolishly understaked the place part.

Windsor Castle

No verdict - too difficult!

 

Thursday

Norfolk

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Verdict: It's a very difficult race and one in which I'll be trying to get through the multi-leg wagers only. I think SUNDAY SOVEREIGN looks a legitimate favourite, I can't peg the value of the American or French raiders, and I think A'Ali might be worthy of very small each way support.

Outcome: I had a big enough be on Sunday Sovereign at 3/1, but he was well enough beaten at an SP of 13/8. Value, eh? He ran too free early in the race and just ran out of gas on the testing ground. I'd imagine he'll win again pretty soon if this hasn't taken too much from him. A'Ali won, for Frankie, though of course I'd not backed him. Sigh.

Hampton Court

Verdict: I have backed Fox Chairman on the basis of public jockey hearsay. Not big or clever and the price has truncated somewhat, though he's clearly in good form. But the each way play might be 9/1 Headman. Roger Charlton has a blueprint from Time Test and he may be able to execute the same play in the same colours.

Outcome: Fox Chairman got no run until too late and had to settle for second. He might not have beaten the winner, Sangarius, anyway but regardless he's one to keep onside. Headman was a non-runner because of the ground, his owner, Prince Khalid Abdullah, celebrating victory even in that one's absence. Frankie at the double.

Ribblesdale

Verdict: The market seems to have this about right, making it a match between Fleeting, Queen Power and 'the field' as I write. Fleeting has the more established form - third in the Oaks - but QUEEN POWER might be progressing more quickly. And, in any case, she bring a pretty strong level of ability to the table, too.

Outcome: QP ran a nice enough race though probably unsuited by the ground, now drying out and tacky. Fleeting also backed up her Oaks run, but neither could stay with Star Catcher and her too-darn-hot rider, Lanfranco Dettori.

Gold Cup

Verdict: Most of these have to prove they can see out twenty furlongs, and most of them won't be able to. Guessing as to which will is for braver/smarter people than me, so I'm happy to cheer the champ and punt a rag. I hope STRADIVARIUS wins because he's a bit of a dude: keeps finding more, almost toying with top class agitators. For a wager, I'll take the proven stamina of Magic Circle at 20/1 each way.

Outcome: A race to watch and savour, if not simply for the sport of it and for the best stayer of the last couple of seasons, then for the emerging story of bookmaker liabilities on Frankie multiples. Dettori was on the favourite and, despite getting locked in a pocket, when the split came his horse was able to whizz through it. A four-timer and crushing liabilities mounting up on his next ride. Magic Circle plugged on but wasn't good enough.

Britannia

No verdict - too difficult.

Outcome: Dettori's mount, Turgenev, shortened from an early 12/1 into 7/2 favourite, though that probably didn't reflect the full horror implications of a Frankie five-up. When the artificially short jolly surged clear at the furlong it was looking like Armageddon for bookmakers. But Harry Bentley timed his run on Biometric better and gunned down Frankie in the last 100 yards. Trading rooms around Europe exhaled a mighty collective sigh of relief.

King George V

Verdict: Aidan O'Brien has a strong hand in this, his Constantinople the penalised class of the field. I'll chance the London Gold Cup form, however, in the shape of Sinjaari each way. From that same race, the Hail Mary play is Majestic Dawn at 33/1 or so.

Outcome: Constantinople looked to be landing some nice bets until his stablemate, South Pacific, outstayed him in the run to the line. It might be argued that Ryan Moore went too soon this time but, in truth, when you're racing uphill at the end of a well run handicap, you just have to keep rolling. Coolmore, specifically Derrick Smith, enjoyed the sight of their/his colours copping the trifecta.

Sinjaari ran respectably, having been kept isolated out wide for much of the race, a manoeuvre I'm not convinced was a positive. Majestic Dawn also ran well but folded in the final furlong.

 

Friday

Albany

Verdict: I'm using the small Wes sample of previous failures to overlook his pair, which might prove daft by 2.40pm. But that leaves a once-raced unbeaten filly whose closest rival that day won at Royal Ascot earlier in the week. And DAAHYEH is 6/1, an each way price. For the windmill tilters, Kemble's form has been franked and her pedigree says six could be better, making 25/1 (or anything north of 16/1) fair each way.

Outcome: Daahyeh was a welcome winner and portended a change of fortune. She had beaten Raffle Prize in that Newmarket novice, form that looks rock hard now. An SP of 4/1 was not as good as the early 6/1, a feature of my Friday wagers and testament to the merit of shopping around.

Third at Newmarket was a filly called Declaring Love, unraced since and possibly one for the tracker.

King Edward VII

Verdict: The Derby form is already working out well so, given that on another day JAPAN might have won, he looks the most likely winner. He stays well, has been looked after thus far, and I think he'll prove tough to beat. Of the each way prices, Humanitarian is a tempting price at 16/1 to maybe sneak a place.

Outcome: Japan was an impressive winner, and at an impressive SP of 6/4. I had a little bet on him at that price having expected to pass the race. He was over-priced for the Arc at 25/1 immediately afterwards, a price I availed of to win £900 should he a) get to Longchamp and b) prevail. At the time, I tweeted the below, the nation of Nippon still awaiting its maiden Paris October triumph.

Commonwealth Cup

Verdict: Another very good race for the Commonwealth Cup, though perhaps not as classy as we've come to expect. Ten Sovereigns is an obvious pick at a short price, but this looks a reasonable each way betting heat. In that context, I'll chance Advertise, whose price of 11/1 in places looks generous for a horse with his overall profile.

Outcome: Writing stuff in public is a difficult task, and a responsible one. So when you call it right, the vicarious thrill is generally better than any personal gain. This was one such occasion. It was a third winner on the day for the preview, and 11/1 early morphed into 8/1 on track. Still tidy value, but 37.5% less so. These are the margins by which a winning punter beats a losing punter at the end of the year. Get the best price you can. Always.

Advertise reverted to his juvenile sprinting distance and connections were rewarded with another Group 1 success. He'll stay sprinting now, obvs.

Coronation Stakes

Verdict: The only thing likely to beat HERMOSA is a third top class race in seven weeks. True she has to race around a turn here, but with her catch-me-if-you-can style that should enable her to control things all the better. It is tough to envisage beaten rivals from either the English or Irish Guineas trading places, so the main danger - and the best each way play - might be the unbeaten French Guineas winner, Castle Lady. Possessed of a turn of foot and requisite stamina, the general 15/2 (8/1 in a place) at time of writing looks worth taking.

Outcome: This is the one race all week that frustrated most. My 'working out' was bob on: Hermosa the cream of the crop but had had a busy campaign already; the French have a fine record in the race. But... I didn't do my bloody homework properly. I actually went to france-galop.com and watched the Pouliches - French 1000 Guineas - but I only had eyes for the Godolphin filly, Castle Lady. To be brutally honest, and for this I apologise, I'd not even noticed the other filly was in either race. She won. Merde, as they say.

Hermosa ran another great race. She'll presumably have a break prior to an autumn campaign. Castle Lady also ran all right, finishing a four-length fifth having been a little racy early and then too far back, though she couldn't pick up in the ground.

Sandringham

Verdict: A few with good form and who might be some way better than their current marks. I'm mostly drawn to the prospects of Nonchalance (7/1) and especially HOTSY TOTSY. Both could easily be Group performers by the end of the season, the former having that 'now' quality after a win less than two weeks ago. The latter has the 'could be anything' tag following two races where she's simply laughed at opposition that has subsequently come out and won races. She's 9/1 generally.

Outcome: Nonchalance was a big drifter in the morning before being backed to 8/1 on course but presumably didn't handle the ground or the track. She was nearly last. By contrast, under another patient Spencer ride, Hotsy Totsy came with an exciting charge through the field but just couldn't quite get to the first two. The winner, Thanks Be, was the first Royal Ascot winner ridden by a lady rider for 30 years and, it must be hoped, that it will not be 30 months before the next. The reality, however, is that in the last five years, 69 of the 150 races run (46%) have been won by just four riders; and one of those was out injured this year! It is very much a closed shop.

Duke Of Edinburgh

Verdict: Another big field race where history is a good way to whittle the possibles, but may also remove the winner. Baghdad has an obvious chance, as does Fujaira Prince, with slight preference for the former. At bigger prices, Lucius Tiberius has a similar profile to Charlie Appleby's previous winner of the race, Rare Rhythm, and might be worth a small each way coincidence swipe at 20/1.

Outcome: Another winner and another early price smashing up SP. As you can see from the images below - I hope they add colour rather than appear 'gloaty' (there's not a huge amount about which to gloat in any case!) - 7/1 was freely available which is approximately 100% better than the SP of 7/2. Lucius Tiberius ran OK finishing a staying on six-length tenth of 19.

 

My Betting

I've taken screen grabs of all the accounts I used last week so you can see, warts and all, how I played it. Coral are my bogey account, I almost never seem to back a winner with them, as you'll see!

A couple of other notes: I use Betfair's exchange mainly for 'action bets', general mucking around, or for hedging positions. So those three losers in the Irish race actually meant I copped for £500 on another bet as you'll read in the next para.

The final thing to mention is that I was placing syndicate bets with Colossus each day from Tuesday to Saturday. We got a return on all bar Tuesday's (down on the first leg, like most people), though it was a negative return on Saturday (i.e. didn't cover stakes). In the weekly profit of £1000 listed on the Colossus screen grab, about 40% of that came from a little Win 4 bet I placed at an Irish meeting so that can be deducted from the numbers if you're actually counting!

It was a super week, and one where punting patience paid. After a tough to take Tuesday and a woeful Wednesday, things improved Thursday through Saturday. I hope your week was as good as mine, on a sporting level if not a punting one!

Matt

p.s. if you followed Stat of the Day, five winners out of six bets, it may very well have been better!!! See Chris's latest weekly update.

 

 

Social Discourse, Monday 24th June – The Right Royal Round-Up

It was the most Royal of weeks, but anyone who was there knows that doesn’t come even close to covering the full glory of flat racing's finest five days. Everything from Danny Tudhope’s brilliantly timed push to the line on Lord Glitters, to King Power finally getting their oh so deserved winner at the end of the week was captivating, writes William Kedjanyi. Some of the memories might be as fresh as a tall glass of Pimm’s but that just means that they are worth reliving even more.

Here are my favourites, and yours...

  1. The Champagne Moments

Here are a number of your favourite moments over the past week, beginning with a right thriller:

https://twitter.com/ItisNotCricket/status/1142842403243601921

https://twitter.com/zaarito/status/1142811068982550528

 

Personal Highlights: The swagger with which James Doyle appeared alongside Kachy on Blue Point, before he set about winning the Diamond Jubilee.

 

  1. The On-Track Stars

And your best performances too, which was not an area we lacked in this week:

Your first 30 days for just £1

https://twitter.com/CherryAnalysts/status/1142869871593697280

 

  1. The Eyecatchers

Plenty managed to catch the eyes of racegoers who could see through a throng of hats:

https://twitter.com/itvracing/status/1141451587761496064

https://twitter.com/Ascot/status/1141393405345435649?s=20

  1. Blue’s Point

In amongst all the performances, it might seem unfair to some that only one horse - and yes that horse isn't Stradivarius - will get a special story all to themselves, but Blue Point’s brilliance in taking the week’s major sprints, and becoming the first to complete the King's Stand/Diamond Jubilee double since Chosir in 2003, was the premium achievement of the week and two of its outstanding moments.

 

 

In the second leg, Charlie Appleby’s five-year-old sat in the slip-stream of the rocket Kachy – and what a thrill Kachy's owner, David Lowe, must have had when he was bombing along – and looked as if he was going to rout the field when James Doyle cruised up alongside Richard Kingscote. He then kicked clear to the tune of two lengths before the progressive Dream of Dreams flew home, almost spoiling the party. He got to within a head, but not past the dual winner. Here's a snapshot of how we all felt:

https://twitter.com/TheRacingJosh/status/1142453068027650050

 

  1. Honours

Frankie Dettori’s four-timer will never be forgotten, especially by the brown-trousered bookmaker fraternity, though Ryan Moore's booting home five winners has somewhat passed under the radar.

But Danny Tudhope had just ten rides, from which he conjured four winners, a second and two thirds at the Royal Meeting in a stunning display. He showed not only timing but also strength to win three of his four prizes by a neck on Lord Glitters (Queen Anne), Move Swiftly (Duke of Cambridge) and Space Traveller (Jersey).

I saw more of the ITV team than I wanted to – not a slight on them, but rather I feel I went home from the track too soon – but all were excellent, even if I will never be as much of a fashionista as Charlotte Hawkins. The production values were world class and the same can be said for NBC’s coverage, which yours truly had the honour of seeing up close!

The bar and racecourse staff were wonderful this week, despite the course being as packed as ever. The personal pop up shops were also an excellent touch.

Frankie Dettori, Aidan O’Brien, and John Gosden, three legends of Royal Ascot:

Mary Ellet, for the Meme of the Week:

Ben Keith, for taking this finish in stride:

https://twitter.com/StarSports_Bet/status/1141362932036620290

Samantha Martin, for this fascinating stat:

It was a truly captivating Royal Ascot, as befits such a pivotal placeholder in the British sporting and social calendar. Luckily for us, there's plenty more action to come this summer!

Until next week, WK signing off...

- WK

Royal Ascot 2019: Day 4 Preview, Tips

Day 4, Friday, at Royal Ascot offers another six chances for redemption, wagering glory, or simply to watch the finest thoroughbreds in the land do what they do best. That last one is probably not for most readers of this 'ere betting bloggie, as I present the final one of four posts covering Royal Ascot race by race. (Ascot Heath day is a case of 'each to their own', though naturally you may have taken that tack long since!)

Before we start, you might want to check out Andy Newton's Royal Ascot Day 4 Trends.

Friday kicks off with the...

2.30 Albany Stakes (Group 3, 6f, 2yo fillies)

A very big field of unexposed juvenile fillies on ground which should be just the soft side of good. Wes wuns two, having never won this wace before. Wascal wabbit. Sorry, where was I? Yes, Wesley Ward and the Albany: 0 from 8 so far, including beaten fillies at 11/4, 11/2, 6/1, 7/1, and 8/1. Six of them finished ninth or worse.

The reason is probably more about this being a straight six furlongs and his preparation being four-and-a-half around a turn than the fillies' ability; but either way I'm prepared to let Nayibeth and Chili Petin beat me. Both are typically speedy types, both made all in their single runs to date, and both are likely to pull pretty hard without a turn to focus their attentions. Of course, one of them might be smart enough to overcome all of that, but as two of the top three in the market as I write, they're not for me.

The other atop the betting tree is Daahyeh, trained by Roger Varian. This daughter of Bated Breath beat Raffle Prize into second on her debut; that one won the Queen Mary on Wednesday giving the form a rock solid look. It was six furlongs that day so we can be confident she'll see out the trip, and I am surprised she's not outright favourite. In fact, she's 7/1.

Of the rest, who knows? Kemble might be worth a second look: she beat Illusionist five lengths last time and that one ran fifth in the Norfolk on Wednesday having won in between times. By Kodiac out of a Lope De Vega mare, Kemble has an interesting pedigree for this task and is 25/1 in a place.

Charlie Appleby's Silent Wave won well over six on debut, as did Simon Crisford's Last Surprise, and neither would be a shock victor.

Verdict: I'm using the small Wes sample of previous failures to overlook his pair, which might prove daft by 2.40pm. But that leaves a once-raced unbeaten filly whose closest rival that day won at Royal Ascot earlier in the week. And DAAHYEH is 7/1, an each way price. For the windmill tilters, Kemble's form has been franked and her pedigree says six could be better, making 25/1 (or anything north of 16/1) fair each way.

3.05 King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2, 1m4f, 3yo colts & geldings)

A mile and a half for three-year-old colts and geldings. The Ascot Derby, perhaps. And, as has been the case in the Derby itself, battle lines are drawn between Ballydoyle and Clarehaven, the respective yards of Aidan O'Brien and John Gosden.

Here, Derby third Japan is the main hope for the Irish firm while Private Secretary may offer most resistance from the Newmarket handler. Both have less likely second strings engaged.

Japan seems like a horse that Team Coolmore rate: he was given an easy enough race in the Dante, which left plenty of verve for the Blue Riband at Epsom. Just a half length and a nose separated him from becoming the most famous three-year-old colt of the year, which was all the more agonising given that a) his jockey dropped his whip and b) I had backed him (and tipped him in my Saturday email). Sigh.

Nevertheless that was a cracking effort which has been bolstered already this week by Circus Maximus. Japan looks another O'Brien favourite that will be very tough to beat granted normal luck in running.

His main rival could be the Cocked Hat Stakes winner, Private Secretary. Second over inadequate trips twice last term he is unbeaten in three this season, having beaten subsequent London Gold Cup winner, Sinjaari, prior to that Listed Goodwood score. Stamina seems his forte so he'll be hoping they go a good pace. With Pablo Escobarr and Jack Yeats in the field, both habitually prominent, that looks likely.

Four times the price of Private Secretary is his stablemate, Humanitarian, who was a place behind Circus Maximus in the Derby. By Noble Mission out of a Dynaformer mare he was never really going until too late at Epsom; a truly run race on this more conventional track could see him nearly hit the board and at 16/1.

Pondus was impressive at Sandown last time, scoring by five lengths from a pair of subsequent winners and, with just three tries to date, there should be more to come. It's a big elevation from a Class 5 novice to a Group 2 but this son of Sea The Moon has a most ascendant profile.

The Lingfield Derby Trial form got the ultimate franking, as its winner, Anthony Van Dyck, prevailed in the Derby. Second on trials day was Pablo Escobarr, William Haggas's colt making a bit of a habit of it: he filled the same position in a decent handicap at Bath on his 2019 bow. Although quietly progressive, he doesn't look quite good enough even on a literal interpretation of the Derby Trial form.

The thrice-raced Jack Yeats looked to have found his role in life when stepped up to ten furlongs last time at Naas. He saw off a big field that day and this further trip hike looks appropriate for a son of Galileo out of a Dansili mare. Although a 33/1 shot and a pacemaker first and foremost, I'd be surprised if he didn't beat at least a couple of these.

Andrew Balding's Sandown Classic Trial winner, Bangkok, looked a non-stayer in the Derby and, to my eye at least, he also looked to be running on empty at Sandown over a quarter mile shorter. I have my doubts about this twelve furlong range on that basis, and think he might be dropped in trip subsequently. He's not for me this time.

Verdict: The Derby form is already working out well so, given that on another day JAPAN might have won, he looks the most likely winner. He stays well, has been looked after thus far, and I think he'll prove tough to beat. Of the each way prices, Humanitarian is a tempting price at 16/1 to maybe sneak a place.

3.40 Commonwealth Cup (Group 1, 6f, 3yo)

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The fifth running of this excellent new addition, and the smallest field so far with just nine set to face the starter.

They are headed by last year's Middle Park winner, Ten Sovereigns. That half length verdict over Jash (re-opposes) completed an unbeaten juvenile hat-trick and it looked like stamina more than ability that saw him sunk in the 2000 Guineas. There he was four lengths fifth of 19, having led his group at the six furlong range. Back at sprint trips he looks an obvious player, something not lost on the market.

Jash's second in the Middle Park is the sole blemish on a five race record that includes a nine length win in novice company and a Listed triumph last time over seven furlongs. Ability to handle that extra furlong whilst being fully effective at this race distance of six is a good attribute.

Advertise was second in last year's Coventry Stakes before going on to win both the Group 2 July Stakes and the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes. This season started somewhat disappointingly as he was well beaten in the 2000 Guineas. It was one of those 'too bad to be true' runs which, in the Guineas, can also mean 'didn't stay', or 'wasn't fit', or 'hasn't trained on'. Your guess is as good as mine on which particular reason/excuse is applicable, though for what it's worth I'd have a foot in each of the didn't stay and wasn't fit camps. If that's right - or even half right - he should be better equipped to compete this time.

Kevin Ryan's Hello Youmzain won a French Group 2 (soft) last season and was an unequivocal winner of the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes last time, beating a heavily odds-on Calyx. A literal reading of that form makes the northern runner the pick of the field; however, if we assume that Calyx wasn't quite right there, as the post-race news of a pastern injury implies, then it may be folly to be too literal. Nevertheless, this chap - who didn't quite see out the Greenham seven - deserves respect.

Khaadem is unbeaten in three since his debut, graduating from a novice through an ungraded conditions event to a Listed win. The well bred son of Dark Angel has shown a liking for good ground and seems to finish his races strongly, hinting at more to come. There will need to be, naturally, given this step up to Group 1 opposition but he deserves to take his chance.

Forever In Dreams cost £430,000 at the Goffs London Sale on Monday, a sum that will take a heck of a lot of recouping. His form is about a stone and a half behind the pick of these and it seems an act of crassness that such a sum was so recklessly 'invested'. Cue facile shock victory...

The rest are probably not good enough.

Verdict: Another very good race for the Commonwealth Cup, though perhaps not as classy as we've come to expect. Ten Sovereigns is an obvious pick at a short price, but this looks a reasonable each way betting heat. In that context, I'll chance Advertise, whose price of 11/1 in places looks generous for a horse with his overall profile.

4.20 Coronation Stakes (Group 1, 1m, 3yo fillies)

A fascinating and high class renewal of the Coronation, for three-year-old fillies over a mile. As with the St James's Palace for the boys, this represents the first opportunity to converge the respective European 1000 Guineas races.

From the English and Irish races we have Hermosa, who so brilliantly doubled up. From France comes the unbeaten Castle Lady, and from Germany via Middleham is Main Edition. Four 1000 Guineas wins between them in this unification scrap.

The only place to start is with Hermosa, who beat the sadly ill-fated Lady Kaya a length at Newmarket and re-opposing Pretty Pollyanna by four lengths at the Curragh. None of her vanquished have a chance to turn the tables on form, though it might be argued that Pretty Pollyanna was caught out wide the whole way in the Irish 1000. The counter to that is that Hermosa did it the hard way, from the front, and still pulled clear at the finish. The winner was the best filly and also the strongest stayer.

Meanwhile, at Newmarket, Just Wonderful and Mot Juste were in the ruck, the former also finishing far back in the Irish equivalent. She does have bits of good form and might be suited by rain, but it's a stretch to see her reversing with an on-form Hermosa.

It is unlike Sir Michael Stoute to pitch his younger horses in at the deep end early in their careers, so that must be a pointer to the regard in which Jubiloso is held. She bucked the Sir Michael trend by winning first time out, and then followed that up with a resounding seven length verdict in a novice stakes (second has won since). It's a metaphorical million miles from there to here but trainer intent suggests she's a very capable filly.

The French have a good record in the Coronation Stakes, winning it three times since 2011, so Castle Lady has to be respected. Owned by Godolphin and trained by Henri-Alex Pantall, the Shamardal filly is unbeaten in three. The margin was a mere nose in the Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas), but she was arguably value for a little more, Barzalona doing a, well, a Barzalona and trying to win snugly.  It would have been an expensive mistake had he got beaten but she brings hitherto invincibility to Ascot in what promises to be a terrific tactical battle.

That battle will quite possibly see Hermosa bid to again make all, and Castle Lady plus others sit handy. Castle Lady stays a mile and can quicken, two tests that many of Hermosa's rivals this season have failed.

Of the rest, Twist'N'Shake is worth of a quick second glance. Ostensibly not good enough in a Listed race at York last time, she was previously seven lengths too good for a field of maidens from which winners have emerged. That was on soft so, if it rained, she might enter place calculations.

But this is probably best left to the top of the market.

Verdict: The only thing likely to beat HERMOSA is a third top class race in seven weeks. True she has to race around a turn here, but with her catch-me-if-you-can style that should enable her to control things all the better. It is tough to envisage beaten rivals from either the English or Irish Guineas trading places, so the main danger - and the best each way play - might be the unbeaten French Guineas winner, Castle Lady. Possessed of a turn of foot and requisite stamina, the general 15/2 (8/1 in a place) at time of writing looks worth taking.

5.00 Sandringham Handicap (Class 2, 1m, 3yo fillies)

In spite of the big field, this fillies' mile handicap normally goes to a fancied runner: just one of the last eleven winners was returned bigger than 11/1, and that was Con Te Partiro in 2017 (tipped in this preview two years ago - whoop!). Moreover, nine of the last fourteen winners were 13/2 or shorter.

Slight favourite is Nonchalance, a John Gosden entry running in the traditional maroon of Sheikh Mohamed but these days associated with his wife. Victorious in her last two of three starts, she has a super pedigree - by Dubawi out of a Street Cry mare with, among others, Nathaniel close up in the family tree - and she is an obvious contender on this handicap bow, 91 potentially significantly understating her ability.

Ed Walker's Hotsy Totsy has won her last two of three also, and some of that form - the Salisbury run notably - is working out really well. She was a facile winner in each of that brace, by five lengths and six lengths, and she'd be two-thirds of her current price if trained by John Gosden I suspect. She's yet to race beyond seven furlongs but is hardly stopping at the end of her races and may improve for the extra eighth.

Ralph 'Raif' Beckett's Desirous has had more tries and took a little while to get the hang of things. She's won her last two, but her overall profile doesn't offer quite the upside of Nonchalance and others.

Invitational, a daughter of Poet's Voice out of a Shamardal mare, has yet to race on the turf in three starts. The last pair were wins, with the second and third from her most recent score both winning twice since. Obviously this is a different type of test, but plenty of all-weather winners have scored on the straight mile at Royal Ascot in recent times.

Her Majesty The Queen has a runner: Magnetic Charm will carry top weight as a result of winning a Listed race at York last time, and we'll know more about that form after second placed Twist'N'Shake has run in the previous race. Three fillies have carried top weight to victory in the Sandringham since 2002 so it won't be that which beats her.

Plenty of other lovely fillies to conjure with, but I'm fancying it'll be the top of the market once more.

Verdict: A few with good form and who might be some way better than their current marks. I'm mostly drawn to the prospects of Nonchalance (7/1) and especially HOTSY TOTSY. Both could easily be Group performers by the end of the season, the former having that 'now' quality after a win less than two weeks ago. The latter has the 'could be anything' tag following two races where she's simply laughed at opposition that has subsequently come out and won races. She's 9/1 generally.

5.35 Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (Class 2 handicap, 1m4f, 3yo+)

This is another of those weird mile and a half races where high draws have it. Indeed, the last single figure-winning draw was in 2008 when Sugar Ray emerged from trap six. Stalls ten and eleven have won since then, but it does seem to pay to be middle to high with hard luck stories aplenty inside.

None of the 79 horses aged six or older has won, and they have a poor place rate too, so will be ignored. Also overlooking those off the track for more than two months (all bar one of the 21 domestic winners had raced within that time frame) and those bigger than 20/1 leaves a shortlist of just four: Baghdad, Fujaira Prince, Lucius Tiberius and Aquarium.

Baghdad won the three-year-old equivalent race, the King George V Stakes, last year and comes here in very similar form. Last year he ran third on the all weather before winning a mile and a half handicap; and this year he ran third on the all weather before winning a mile and a half handicap. Talk about repeating the dose! Ryan Moore gets the leg up and he has an obvious chance off just a four pound higher mark than his most recent win.

Fujaira Prince is favourite in many lists. Roger Varian's five-year-old had completed a hat-trick prior to bumping into First Eleven at York last time. He was in front soon enough there and got picked off in the final 100 yards. Ascot's shorter straight requires greater timing by jockeys but it also ensures horses are generally not in front too long. Andrea Atzeni's mount is four pounds lower than that narrow defeat and he was on Baghdad when that one won at the meeting last year.

Charlie Appleby won this two years ago with a 20/1 shot drawn 19 and this time saddles 20/1 chance Lucius Tiberius, drawn 20. The son of Camelot steps up to a mile and a half for the first time, which could eke out improvement. It will need to as his overall CV is less appealing than others, notwithstanding that he's a bigger price to sweeten the pill.

Aquarium is a horse I backed at Epsom last time. Trained, like Baghdad, by Mark Johnston he could never land a blow on Derby day as the combination of a speed-favouring track, fast ground and exaggerated waiting tactics did for him. Off quicker fractions, on a more testing strip and with a better timed ride, he could outrun odds of 20/1.

Loads more with chances, including hat-trick-seeking Arthurian Fame, drawn low, who will probably be the winning JPOB horse in the week - me having backed all the others - and would be a counter-punch for the single figure boxes.

Verdict: Another big field race where history is a good way to whittle the possibles, but may also remove the winner. Baghdad has an obvious chance, as does Fujaira Prince, with slight preference for the former. At bigger prices, Lucius Tiberius has a similar profile to Charlie Appleby's previous winner of the race, Rare Rhythm, and might be worth a small each way coincidence swipe at 20/1.

Good luck!

Matt

p.s. it is traditional for there to be no Saturday Ascot preview. You may very well be glad of that by 5.45 or so on Friday afternoon! Hopefully these posts have provided some insights and entertainment, if nothing else. Of course, with luck they've assisted in the nailing of a good winner or two as well, but you don't need me to tell you that this is a meeting where it is generally way better to be lucky than good. At least, that's how I've come to view it...

Royal Ascot Trends – DAY THREE (Thurs 20th June 2019)

As we move into day three at  ROYAL ASCOT there is plenty more to get excited about, but the Group One Ascot Gold Cup is the day's feature contest. As always we've got all the races covered with key trends and stats - use these to narrow down the field and find the best past profiles of recent winners.

 

2019 Royal Ascot Horse Racing Trends

2.30 - Norfolk Stakes (Group 2) (CLASS 1) (2yo) 5f

Norfolk Stakes Recent Winners

2018 – Shang Shang Shang (5/1)
2017 – Sioux Nation (14/1)
2016 – Prince Of Lir (8/1)
2015 – Waterloo Bridge (12/1)
2014 – Baitha Alga (8/1)
2013 – No Nay Never (4/1)
2012 – Reckless Abandon (4/1)
2011 – Bapak Chinta (6/1)
2010 – Approve (16/1)
2009 – Radiohead (10/1)
2008 – South Central (11/4 fav)
2007 – Winker Watson (2/1 fav)
2006 – Dutch Art (11/4)
2005 – Masta Plasta (7/2)
2004 – Blue Dakota (5/4 fav)
2003 – Russian Valour (4/1)

Norfolk Stakes Key Trends

16/16 – Previous winners over 5f
16/16 – Had at least 1 previous run
14/16 – Had a RPR of 106+
14/16 – Won their previous race
14/16 – Had never raced at Ascot before
12/16 – Foaled in March or April
10/16 – Favourites placed
9/16 – Returned 6/1 or shorter in the betting
5/16 – Returned a double-figure price
3/16 – Winning favourites
3/16 – Ran at Windsor last time out
Aidan O’Brien has trained 2 of the last 4 winners
9 of the last 13 winners came from stalls 7-12 (inc)

 

3.05 – Hampton Court Stakes (Group 3) (CLASS 1) (3yo) 1m2f

Hampton Court Stakes Recent Winners

2018 – Hunting Horn (5/1)
2017 – Benbatl (9/2)
2016 – Hawkbill (11/2)
2015 – Time Test (15/8 fav)
2014 – Cannock Chase (7/4 fav)
2013 – Remote (9/4 fav)
2012 – Energizer (15/2)
2011 – Pisco Sour (20/1)
2010 – Afsare (9/4 fav)
2009 – Glass Harmonium (8/1)
2008 – Collection (13/2)
2007 – Zaham (7/2 fav)
2006 – Snoqualmie Boy (33/1)
2005 – Indigo Cat (3/1 fav)
2004 – Moscow Ballet (8/1)
2003 – Persian Majesty (8/1)

Hampton Court Stakes Key Trends
15/16 – Had not raced at Ascot before
13/16 – Had at least 2 previous runs that season
13/16 – Returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting
10/16 – Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
10/16 – Had either 2 or 3 previous runs that season
10/16 – Had won over 1m2f before
8/16 – Unplaced favourites
6/16 – Winning favourites
4/16 - Ran at Epsom last time out
3/16 – Won by trainer Aidan O’Brien
3/16 – Ridden by Ryan Moore
2/16 – Won by trainer Sir Michael Stoute
No winner from stall 1 in the last 13 runnings
11 of the last 13 winners came from stalls 5 or higher
8 of the last 13 winners came from stall 5-9 (inc)

 

3.40 - Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies) (CLASS 1) (3yo) Winner £77,092 1m4f

Ribblesdale Stakes Recent Winners

2018 – Magic Wand (10/3)
2017 – Coronet (9/1)
2016 – Even Song (15/8 fav)
2015 – Curvy (9/2)
2014 – Bracelet (10/1)
2013 – Riposte (9/2)
2012 – Princess Highway (17/2)
2011 – Banimpire (3/1 fav)
2010 – Hibaayeb (4/1 jfav)
2009 – Flying Cloud (5/1)
2008 – Michita (10/3 fav)
2007 – Silkwood (4/1)
2006 – Mont Etoile (25/1)
2005 – Thakafaat (22/1)
2004 – Punctilious (9/2)
2003 – Spanish Sun (9/2)

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Ribblesdale Stakes Key Trends

14/16 – Had at least 2 previous races that season
12/16 – Placed in their previous race
13/16 – Had never raced at Ascot before
12/16 – Had won over 1m2f or further before
11/16 – Returned 5/1 or shorter in the betting
11/16 – Placed favourites
9/16 – Had exactly 2 previous runs that season
7/16 – Won their last race
6/16 – Irish-trained winners (5 of last 7)
4/16 – Winning favourites
3/16 – Trained by Saeed Bin Suroor
3/16 – Trained by Aidan O’Brien (3 of last 5)
3/16 – Won by a Godolphin-owned horse
3/16 – Ridden by Frankie Dettori
3/16 – Ridden by Ryan Moore
Just two winners from stall 1 in the last 13 runnings
6 of the last 13 winners came between stalls 3-6 (inc)

 

4.20 - Gold Cup (Group 1) (CLASS 1) (4yo+) 2m4f

Recent Ascot Gold Cup Winners

2018 – Stradivarius (7/4 jfav)
2017 – Big Orange (5/1)
2016 – Order Of St George (10/11 fav)
2015 – Trip To Paris (12/1)
2014 – Leading Light (10/11 fav)
2013 – Estimate (7/2 fav)
2012 – Colour Vision (6/1)
2011 – Fame And Glory (11/8 fav)
2010 – Rite of Passage (20/1)
2009 – Yeats (6/4 fav)
2008 – Yeats (11/8 fav)
2007 – Yeats (8/13 fav)
2006 – Yeats (7/1)
2005 – Westerner (7/4 fav)
2004 – Papineau (5/1)
2003 – Mr Dinos (3/1)
2002 – Royal Rebel (16/1)

Key Ascot Gold Cup Trends

15/17 – Had no more than 2 previous runs that season
14/17 – Had won over at least 2 miles on the flat before
14/17 – Had between 1-2 previous runs that season
13/17 – Favourites that were placed
12/17 – Won their last race
11/17 – Previous Group 1 winners
9/17 – Aged 5 or older
9/17 – Won by the favourite
7/17 – Won by trainer Aidan O’Brien
5/17 – Ran at Sandown last time out (Henry II Stakes)
11 of the last 13 winners returned 7/1 or shorter in the betting
8 of the last 13 winners returned 7/2 or shorter in the betting
6 of the last 13 winners came from stalls 1-5 (inc)
Godolphin won the race in 1996, 1998, 2004 & 2012
Aidan O’Brien has trained the winner in 2016, 2014, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006
Since 1949 there have been 13 multiple winners of the race

 

5.00 - Britannia Stakes (Heritage Handicap) (Colts & Geldings) (CLASS 2) (3yo 0-105) 1m

Britannia Stakes Recent Winners

2018 – Ostillo (10/1)
2017 – Bless Him (25/1)
2016 – Defrocked (13/2)
2015 – War Envoy (10/1)
2014 – Born In China (14/1)
2013 – Beauty Flame (20/1)
2012 – Fast Or Free (6/1 fav)
2011 – Sagramor (8/1)
2010 – Ransom Note (9/1)
2009 – Fareer (20/1)
2008 – Fifteen Love (28/1)
2007 – Eddie Jock (33/1)
2006 – Sir Gerard (9/2 fav)
2005 – Mostashaar (10/3 fav)
2004 – Mandobi (8/1)
2003 – New Seeker (16/1)

Britannia Stakes Key Trends

14/16 – Had no more than 3 previous runs that season
13/16 – Had won a race over 7f or 1m before
12/16 – Failed to win their previous race
12/16 – Placed last time out
12/16 – Carried 8-13 or less
11/16 – Had never run at Ascot before
10/16 – Unplaced favourites
10/16 – Returned a double-figure price
8/16 – Had exactly 2 previous runs that season
6/16 – Had only won over 7f previously
4/16 – Ridden by Jamie Spencer
3/16 – Ran at Haydock last time out
3/16 – Winning favourites
2/16 – Ridden by Ryan Moore
Just one top three finish horse from stall 1 in the last 13 runnings
9 of the last 13 winners came from a double-figure stall

5.35 - King George V Stakes (Handicap) (CLASS 2) (3yo 0-105) 1m4f

King George V Stakes Recent Winners

2018 – Baghdad (9/1)
2017 – Atty Persse (7/1)
2016 - Primitivo (13/2)
2015 – Space Age (9/1)
2014 – Elite Army (4/1 jfav)
2013 – Elidor (20/1)
2012 – Fennell Bay (12/1)
2011 – Brown Panther (4/1 jfav)
2010 – Dandino (7/1)
2009 – Cosmic Sun (66/1)
2008 – Colony (11/2 fav)
2007 – Heron Bay (20/1)
2006 – Linas Selection (9/2)
2005 – Munsef (14/1)
2004 – Admiral (9/1)
2003 – Fantastic Love (10/1)

King George V Stakes Key Trends

16/16 – Had at least 2 previous runs that same season
16/16 – Had between 2 and 4 previous runs that season
15/16 – Never raced at Ascot before
15/16 – Placed last time out
13/16 – Carried 8-13 or less
11/16 – Had won over at least 1m2f previously
9/16 – Returned 9/1 or bigger in the betting
8/16 – Favourites placed
8/16 – Won their previous race
6/16 – Won by trainers Sir Michael Stoute (2) or Mark Johnston (4)
4/16 – Ran at Haydock last time out
3/16 – Winning favourites (2 joint)
10 of the last 13 winners came between stalls 10-20 (inc)
8 of the last 13 winners came between stalls 10-16 (inc)

 

 

 

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Royal Ascot 2019: Day 3 Preview, Tips

Two down, three to go, and humpback day at Royal Ascot, better known as Ladies' Day, features the main event of the entire week, the Gold Cup. That stayers' Group 1 is ably supported by five other top tier clashes, each of which will have a winner worth finding. So let's try...

If you missed them, here are Andy's Royal Ascot Day 3 Trends.

We kick off in the...

2.30 Norfolk Stakes (Group 2, 5f, 2yo)

Another impossible juvenile race kicks things off on Thursday, the Norfolk being a five furlong charge. The quickest of the British and Irish seems to be Sunday Sovereign at this stage. Paddy Twomey's relatively experienced son of Equiano has won the most recent two of three starts, by three lengths from Coventry winner, Arizona, and then by seven lengths in a weaker affair. He's quick, is drawn in amongst horses and will give his new owners as good a chance of a Royal Ascot winner as they'll have all week. He's won in a big field and deserves to be favourite.

But there are plenty in the field capable of making big strides forward, potentially beyond what Sunday Sovereign has achieved. Matthieu Palussiere won the Albany in 2017 and watched two of his five juveniles run very well last year. He runs Real Appeal which looks his best chance of the week, the Listed winner having changed hands for £265,000 on Monday. All four of his races have been decided by a head or less, three of them in his favour.

Ventura Rebel was the shock winner of the Ascot 2yo Trial, seeing off the 4/11 favourite, Lady Pauline, a Wesley Ward aspirant who misses the gig through injury. Outpaced early, when he found stride he was far too strong and won going away. He may get similarly outpaced here so, with less likelihood of this calibre of field capitulating, it looks a tough ask for the Pastoral Pursuits colt.

The Wes wepwesentative is Maven, half length winner of a maiden special weight at Aqueduct. The standard of such contests at the New York track would be generally higher than at Keeneland where most of the Ward juvies prep, so the shorter winning margin should not be considered a negative necessarily. Still, as with all the transatlantic raiders, it is a) difficult to peg the form and b) difficult for a young horse to handle the travel and the preliminaries and the very different race setup.

There are some whispers about the chance of Air Force Jet, a narrow winner at Navan last time. Collateral form through Lorelei Rock gives him plenty to find with Sunday Sovereign, but word is he's moved forward a lot in the past fortnight.

The once raced maiden A'Ali could run a decent race. He just missed out in a good finish at Ripon on debut but had pulled nine lengths clear of the third. He looks sure to improve for that and might be a touch of value.

Verdict: It's a very difficult race and one in which I'll be trying to get through the multi-leg wagers only. I think SUNDAY SOVEREIGN looks a legitimate favourite, I can't peg the value of the American or French raiders, and I think A'Ali might be worthy of very small each way support.

3.05 Hampton Court Stakes (Group 3, 1m 2f, 3yo)

A ten furlong three-year-old Group 3. They bet 11/2 the field which sheds light on its competitiveness and, really, it's not a race in which I have a strong view. The market does tend to settle on the right horses with 13 of the last 16 (and all of the last seven) winners returning 8/1 or shorter.

I wouldn't generally be one for soundbites but I thought it was interesting that Oisin Murphy, who has a hundred rides this week, pegged Fox Chairman as his best bet on Racing TV, especially as he's not riding it! Unraced as a two-year-old, the Chairman won a Newbury maiden first time out (second and fourth won since) before running third to Circus Maximus in the Dee Stakes on deteriorating ground at Chester. He is supposedly training well and should be able to improve again on just his third lifetime start. That Circus won the St James's Palace Stakes on Tuesday is hardly a negative.

He is vying for favouritism with Cape Of Good Hope, one of two Aidan O'Brien entries. From a favoured cross - Galileo out of a Danehill mare - this lad won the Epsom Derby Trial in April but didn't make the line up for the main event. He did however run a decent fourth in the French Derby, and that level of form gives him a strong chance dropping to Group 3.

Roseman is another lightly raced entry and his form got a boost after his last day vanquisher, King Of Comedy, ran a neck second in the St James's Palace Stakes. He'd previously won a Nottingham novice by five lengths, but his run style - on or close to the lead - can leave him susceptible to a classy horse with a kick. Stall 13 probably doesn't assist his cause either.

The Chester Vase form is brought to the fore once more this week, this time in the shape of King Ottokar. A winner twice on soft ground he was no match for Sir Dragonet - who was? - at Chester; but that race is working out quite well and, if the rain came in any substantial amount, it would enhance his chance.

A place behind Roseman in the Heron Stakes last time was Sangarius, Sir Michael Stoute's Kingman colt not given a hard time when his chance was gone. He was a little awkward on the track there, too, though he'd run fine on quick ground previously. Sir Michael won this in 2009 and 2014 so the symmetrists will consider he's due another one!

Headman, another Kingman colt in the ownership of Prince Khalid Abdullah, took the competitive London Gold Cup handicap on his prior start. That race normally flags Pattern performers and it was there where Headman's trainer, Roger Charlton, saddled Time Test to win before doubling up in this in 2015. We have been duly warned.

Plenty of others with some sort of claim.

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Verdict: I have backed Fox Chairman on the basis of public jockey hearsay. Not big or clever and the price has truncated somewhat, though he's clearly in good form. But the each way play might be 9/1 Headman. Roger Charlton has a blueprint from Time Test and he may be able to execute the same play in the same colours.

3.40 Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2, 1m4f, 3yo fillies)

The Ascot Oaks, after a fashion, a mile and a half Group 2 for fillies.

Aidan O'Brien has won this three times in the last five years and saddles the fancied Fleeting. Winner of the Group 2 May Hill Stakes over a mile on her final start as a two-year-old, the daughter of Zoffany finished last in the 1000 Guineas on her 2019 bow. Stepped up to this trip in the Oaks, she showed that previous run to be all wrong when a fine third, a level to which the rest of this field must aspire at this stage.

Of course, the nature of Royal Ascot racing is the convergence of the established and the aspirational; so it is perfectly possible that a contender may prevail. Primus inter pares in that regard is Queen Power, a Shamardal filly who ought to be well suited to this trip. Winner of two of her three starts, she was probably beaten by the race distance rather than ability in the middle leg. That mile contest saw her narrowly fail to get by the winner but she made no mistake upped to ten furlongs in a Listed race last time. She could make it a very good day for her trainer, Sir Michael Stoute.

Frankellina is a bit of a conundrum: she looked unlucky when fluffing the start in the Musidora Stakes at York, and she looked to be given too much to do in the Oaks itself, eventually finishing a five length sixth. That gives her three-and-a-half lengths to find with Fleeting, who was also waited with at Epsom, and there is no obvious reason why she should turn the tables. She wears the second cap, with owner Anthony Oppenheimer also cheering Star Catcher. She was third in Queen Power's Listed race, having led most of the way. There's plenty of pace from the likes of Peach Tree and Shambolic so maybe Star Catcher will be ridden more patiently. On strict form, she has little to find with Queen Power, but the extra quarter mile is expected to suit the latter more than the former.

I'm not especially inclined to look too far down the betting list in a race which has been won by a filly priced 10/1 or shorter for the last dozen years.

Verdict: The market seems to have this about right, making it a match between Fleeting, Queen Power and 'the field' as I write. Fleeting has the more established form - third in the Oaks - but QUEEN POWER might be progressing more quickly. And, in any case, she bring a pretty strong level of ability to the table, too.

4.20 Gold Cup (Group 1, 2m4f, 4yo+)

The feature of the day, and indeed of the entire week, is the Gold Cup run over two and a half miles. Stradivarius is the reigning champ, the sort of guy who is probably even better than he looks given that he doesn't tend to win by far. In fact, his last six wins have been achieved by an aggregate of just eight lengths which, in the domain of stayers, is a series of fine margins. That makes his rivals think they have a chance - which of course they do - but when push comes to shove, the old fiddle keeps pulling out a little more.

Stradivarius seems to treat all ground conditions and race distances alike, only just getting going at the end of the mile and three quarters Yorkshire Cup last time. In this race last year, the son of Sea The Stars was three-quarters of a length too good for the classy French horse, Vazirabad; Torcedor was just a head further back in third.

This year, the Gold Cup seems on the face of it to have more depth. Cross Counter has been bashing all-comers around the globe, bagging the extremely valuable Melbourne Cup and then the Dubai Gold Cup in Meydan. Those races are up to two miles, however, and this is an extra half mile on top, stamina for which is not assured for the son of Teofilo.

Dee Ex Bee looks to have found his metier since being stepped up to staying trips: fourth in the St Leger last autumn has been followed by a brace of Group 3 wins at two miles. This is further - and better class - again, and like Cross Counter, he too is not guaranteed to see it out.

It's then double figures the rest. Flag Of Honour has seen the backside of the magical filly, erm, Magical thrice in a row this season. That is a high level at ten furlongs, and is all the more meritorious given he won the Irish St Leger over a mile and three-quarters last backend. I'd be concerned about his stamina at this trip, however; he was running out of gas over two miles in the Long Distance Cup on Champions Day and - at the risk of repeating myself - this is another half a mile of green road.

Magic Circle is interesting: he won the Chester Cup over an extended two and a quarter miles this time (ish) last year, then ran away by six lengths in the Henry II Stakes, and has been upped for the Cups this term. Given that this year's less impressive Henry II winner, Dee Ex Bee, is second favourite, this chap might be over-priced at around 20/1 as he's very likely to improve from his Chester prep.

Capri appeared not to stay when upped to nigh on two miles, and Called To The Bar is another with stamina questions.

Verdict: Most of these have to prove they can see out twenty furlongs, and most of them won't be able to. Guessing as to which will is for braver/smarter people than me, so I'm happy to cheer the champ and punt a rag. I hope STRADIVARIUS wins because he's a bit of a dude: keeps finding more, almost toying with top class agitators. For a wager, I'll take the proven stamina of Magic Circle at 20/1 each way.

5.00 Britannia Stakes (Class 2 handicap, 1m, 3yo)

No no no! 30-odd three-year-olds hurtling up the straight mile is sado-masochistic stuff from a wagering perspective.

Still, remarkably, 6 of the last 9 winners returned at 10/1 or shorter. So that might help. A bit.

Nope, I really don't have any idea. Pass.

5.35 King George V Stakes (Class 2 Handicap, 1m4f, 3yo)

This is a little bit easier; only a little bit, mind.

Although it seems counter-intuitive, higher drawn horses have had the best of this. Check out this graphic of the last five years: 1m4f handicaps at Ascot, good to good/soft, 14+ runners, sorted by actual draw (i.e. removing non-runners).

 

IV3 is the average winning Impact Value of a stall and its next door neighbours and, as you can see, high fares very well. Low and middle draws still win of course but it might be prudent to focus on the bigger numbered berths.

Top weight Constantinople, from that Galileo/Danehill cross, has stall 18. He won a Group 3 last time, proving that he's already a Group horse in a handicap. We have to go back to 2001 and Beekeeper to find the last winning top weight but he might just double the 21st century tally, for all that he's a short price so to do.

Sinjaari, drawn 22, was a fast-finishing second behind Headman in the London Gold Cup when last seen. That form may have been boosted earlier in the afternoon by his narrow conqueror, but either way the step up to a mile and a half looks perfect for this fellow.

Further back in that Newbury race was Majestic Dawn, trained by Paul Cole and ridden by David Probert. He had a rough beginning last time, stumbling out of the stalls and finding himself at the back of the field. But he ran on into a never nearer seventh, beaten six lengths. He'd previously won a Newbury maiden by six lengths so, given a smoother transit, he could outrun his current 33/1 quotes.

Questionare makes his handicap debut in very different conditions from the pair of conditions races in which he's been narrowly defeated. Frankie takes the mount and we'll see what he can do from stall five.

Another low drawn fancied horse is the Andrew Balding-trained Fox Premier. A winner of his last two, both in small fields, he'll need plenty of luck in running with his waited with style.

Aidan O'Brien has three others besides Constantinople, perhaps Eminence being the pick of them. Drawn 19, he was a winner of his only handicap, on soft ground. By Sea The Stars, there's a good chance he'll appreciate this longer trip, Wayne Lordan getting the ride.

Loads more chances, naturally enough.

Verdict: Aidan O'Brien has a strong hand in this, his Constantinople the penalised class of the field. I'll chance the London Gold Cup form, however, in the shape of Sinjaari each way. From that same race, the Hail Mary play is Majestic Dawn at 33/1 or so.

**

This feels like the toughest day of the week so far, and Tuesday/Wednesday weren't easy! The last two races are not for me, so here's hoping we get something on the board early doors. Win, lose or draw I'll be back for more tomorrow...

Matt

Royal Ascot 2019: Day 2 Preview, Tips

With 48 hour declarations now well established on the flat, it is possible to preview Day 2 - Wednesday - at Royal Ascot before Tuesday's races have been run. And so, as we look ahead to the Prince Of Wales's Stakes and five other top class clashes, we may have already cleared a sizeable chunk... or dug an equally large hole! More likely is somewhere in between with much still to play for.

Trends for Wednesday's races can be found in Andy Newton's Royal Ascot Day 2 Trends.

We start Royal Ascot Day Two with the juvenile fillies, and specifically the

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

The first fillies' juvenile event of the week and, incredibly, a race Aidan O'Brien has never won. It's far from a playable angle, however, as he didn't have a runner between 2003 and 2008, and then only had two runners in the decade between 2008 and last year. More to the point, his form of 633320000842 suggests it's only a matter of time before one falls in.

Tango, a daughter of No Nay Never, was beaten narrowly on her career bow before dancing home at 1/6 on her more recent start. While none has run from her winning race, the form of her debut has worked out well enough. 16/1 seems sure to truncate before post time.

28 - count 'em - go to post with Tango drawn low in 2. Meanwhile, on the other side, Final Song is berthed in stall 23. A five length winner in a small field on soft ground over this course and distance, the turf will be a tad more rapid now. The form has taken a boost, with Star Alexander winning by six lengths at Bath since.

Good Vibes is one of those unfashionable types with plenty of ability and, if trained by either Aidan or a Godolphin handler, would likely be favourite. Beaten into a five length second by a filly forced to miss the meeting, she has since won twice, most recently in the Listed Marygate Stakes at York.

Four fillies have gone from there to win here, including last year's 25/1 scorer, Signora Cabello. Three of them won at York and the other was second. That could make the Knavesmire runner-up, Mighty Spirit, of faint interest. Drawn down the middle she's run two solid seconds to date and 25/1 is rather fat.

Another with more experience is Flippa The Strippa, a scorer by daylight in the Listed National Stakes at Sandown, in spite of hanging across the track. That waywardness would be a concern but, if she hadn't run errantly she'd have won by more like three lengths and be half the price she is. The Strippa might just flash her brilliance and streak home (groan, sorry).

The first of the Wesley Ward wunners this week lines up here in the fleet form of Anna's Fast. She sure was when storming clear by five-and-a-half lengths in a Keeneland maiden special weight. As usual we're left to project from there to here, but it is worth pointing out that Wes won this with Lady Aurelia and Acapulco in 2015 and 2016.

Ward also saddles Kimari, jockey bookings suggesting this might be the preferred of the pair. John Velazquez rides the daughter of Munnings who won by, wait for it, FIFTEEN LENGTHS on her debut over four and a half furlongs! Johnny V has ridden three Royal Ascot winners, all for WW, and this young lady will likely blaze the trail.

Ickworth looks the pick of the Irish on form, winning a Listed race as the second of her unbeaten-in-two runs to date. She clocked a moderate time but it was a clear cut success.

Verdict: Very tricky as the volume of runners and limited form available to analyse suggests. I backed Good Vibes after her York win and I think she's still a tickle of value at 8/1. Kimari should be a fun watch but might be scrambling from the furlong pole; and both Flippa The Strippa (16/1) and Final Song look capable of going close. I'll take Flippa and the Vibes each way against the field.

3.05 Queen's Vase (Group 2, 1m 6f, 3yo)

Firmly established as a pre-eminent St Leger trial and also a favourite of Aidan O'Brien's, the Ballydoyle legend having won it six times since 2007. That sextet is actually one less than Mark Johnston's seven Queen's Vases and, with Sir Michael Stoute (four) and Saeed bin Suroor (two) chipping in with another six between them, there has been little joy for anyone else since 1998.

If SMS and SbS help us out by absenting, Johnston (two) and O'Brien (four) are predictably well-represented amongst the 13-strong field.

Western Australia heads Aidan's quartet, the son of - you're ahead of me here - Australia showing some of his best form when upped to 1m5f in the Listed Yeats Stakes last time. He'd been a close third in the Vertem Futurity (ex Racing Post Trophy) as a two-year-old and seems to be coming into his own over staying distances. Donnacha O'Brien rides and this lad would be just about jolly for the St Leger should he prevail here. Given that he's 20/1 for that gig currently, if you like him for the Vase it's worth lobbing 20% of your stake on the September Classic.

This has been a race for Galileo down the years, the super sire notching five winners since Mahler, his first Royal Ascot score, in 2007. He's fathered three of the last four Queen's Vase winners. First of his four sons to line up may be Norway, a quiet fancy of mine for the Derby frame but who was all over the shop on that peculiar piste. Ryan Moore takes the ride.

Heading a brace of Charlie Appleby runners is the very lightly raced Jalmoud. A winner on the second of two lifetime starts, in a Newmarket novice stakes that has worked out only all right (second beaten twice since, third won and then ran second in a Listed race), he has to find a few pounds with the pick of that. The extra range might help as too will the fact it's only his third lifetime start, so it is not inconceivable, though I feel his 103 rating may be a bit high.

Andrew Balding saddles an interesting outsider, Dashing Willoughby. Only just behind Norway when they were both whacked by Sir Dragonet at Chester, Willoughby has some decent form tie-ins prior to that, including in the aforementioned Vertem Futurity. He, like Nate The Great, is a son of Nathaniel, that one looking for his first Royal Ascot winner as a sire. He almost got it form this fellow last year when he finished second in Arthur Kitt's Chesham.

Verdict: An intriguing heat that is bound to have a bearing on the St Leger market. WESTERN AUSTRALIA is worth backing from the same stake unit (say, 80/20) for both this and the Doncaster Classic, at 7/2 and 20/1 respectively.

 

3.40 Prince Of Wales's Stakes (Group 1, 1m2f, 4yo+)

Arguably the race of the week, the Prince Of Wales's Stakes field is headed by a pair of fillies - Magical and Sea Of Class - that may end up locking horns again in the autumn if not before.

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Magical has the fitness edge on this occasion, having already run - and won - three times this campaign. In beating the same horse, Flag Of Honour, each time it can be argued that the form is hollow. I respect that line, but the thrice runner-up is a Group 1 winner in his own right, taking the Irish St Leger last season, and has a number of top class efforts with which to back that up. For her part, Magical put seven long-looking lengths between herself and the Flag last time.

On a line through Enable (does anyone put lines through other horses any more?), there is little between Magical and Sea Of Class, William Haggas's filly running an unlucky short neck second in the Arc. This is her first run since and she'd be entitled to need it; but the betting has spoken positively of her well-being. Her turn of foot is a noteworthy asset which sets up an interesting tactical script, with Magical (and indeed the as yet unmentioned Crystal Ocean) more likely to be prominent.

Sir Michael Stoute's ability to coax improvement over the course of three, four and even five seasons is rightly famous. In Crystal Ocean we have the second example this week - after Mustashry - of such a project. Second in the St Leger as a three-year-old, he won the Hardwicke at the Royal meeting last year as well as finishing second in both the King George and the Champion Stakes, both on this track. A brace of comfortable Group 3 victories have promised more in 2019, though there is a niggle that he may again have to settle for minor honours in the top grade.

Waldgeist is a high class animal which I've singularly failed to accurately peg across two seasons now. One of my biggest bets of last season was win and place on him in the 2018 Breeders' Cup Turf; having run a mighty fourth in the Arc he sulked, flunked and clunked his way to a never-sighted fifth in the Churchill Downs season finale. It's possible the ground went against him a little there, and it's also possible that he didn't travel (form of 131225111141 in France, 42455 outside France). I just have to let him beat me - and beat me he probably will!

Zabeel Prince has been quietly progressive, claiming the Group 1 Prix d'Ispahan on his most recent start. Now six, he'd competed largely at a mile until this season, the step up in distance seeing him unbeaten in two including that G1 score. A French ten furlong contest however has a very different pace to it than a typical British one. Still, he could compete for the frame under the excellent Andrea Atzeni.

Of the outsiders, the Japanese will probably pile into the new 'World Pool' (a commingled tote pool where money from Hong Kong, Japan and other jurisdictions will be bet alongside UK tote funds, and that is expected to swell the turnover significantly) making 'their' filly Deirdre a curiously lop-sided price. She's 50/1 with our bookies but might go off a single figure price on the tote.

Her fourth in the G1 Dubai Turf (1m1f) is not a mile from what's needed to get involved, but she's not looked quite the force of last year in three 2019 spins.

Verdict: A good cast with two high class fillies bidding to be leading lady. MAGICAL's fitness edge gets her the nod, though Sea Of Class is feared, her turn of foot a powerful asset in a ten furlong Ascot race. It's no match race, however, and the likes of Crystal Ocean and Zabeel Prince - as well as, heaven forbid, Waldgeist - would only register as mild upsets. 2/1 about the selection is short enough, but I am struggling to see past her.

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

Now this is tough. Seventeen older mares racing on the straight mile for a Group 2 contest.

There have been fifteen renewals of the race formerly known as the Windsor Forest Stakes, and all bar two went to a filly which made the frame last time out. All bar one of the victors had scored over a mile-plus previously, and the same number had at least a Group 3 score to their name.

Those three angles reduce the field to just five, though I want to retain the Group 2-placed pair of Rawdaa and Red Tea for now. The shortlist, then, includes that duo as well as I Can Fly, Anna Nerium, Nyaleti, Threading and Veracious.

Rawdaa, a strict chuck out on trends, is favourite as I write. Lightly raced with just seven starts, she was a close second to Lah Ti Dar in the Group 2 Middleton Stakes at York's Dante meeting last month. While she seems to be improving, this step back in trip, albeit on a taxing straight track, combined with a propensity to bridesmaid duties (four seconds in seven starts) means she'll not be for me, though she may again catch the bouquet.

Joseph O'Brien's Red Tea is an interesting Irish contender. A five length winner in a handicap field of 27 on the Curragh's (nearly) straight mile, she backed that up with a closing third in a much smaller field last time over the same course and distance. This stiff straight mile looks right up her street and she's improved plenty for the change of scenery, having formerly been with Peter Hiatt.

Aidan O'Brien runs I Can Fly, a filly who is very good on her day, as she showed when a neck second to Roaring Lion in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over course and distance last October. But she throws in plenty of duffers along the way. Second in the race in which Red Tea was third, the latter perhaps ought not to be nearly three times the price.

Sir Michael Stoute trains Veracious for Cheveley Park Stud. Another lightly raced filly, she won the Group 3 Atalanta Stakes at Sandown last term, and has been running over nine furlongs the last twice, slightly disappointing as favourite on both occasions. Clearly thought to have plenty of ability, hence the market confidence, she should be spot on for this third dance of the campaign. Her overall win profile is off-putting, however.

Veracious was sent off the well-backed 5/4 jolly last time but was only third to Anna Nerium in an Epsom Group 3. Richard Hannon's filly was comprehensively outclassed on both attempts at Group 1 prizes and, while this is a rung below, she may not have the requisite improvement.

Threading won the Group 2 Lowther Stakes as a two-year-old and the Listed Michael Seely Stakes at three. She was also an excellent second in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at last year's Royal Ascot meeting. Now four, she makes her 2019 bow 266 days after she last ran and looks likely to need it even if she was otherwise good enough, which I suspect she possibly is not.

Those without a win at a mile-plus or in Group class include Pretty Baby and Agrotera, both prominent in the market but both with a bit to prove. The former has won at Group 3 level but that was over seven furlongs; this mile feels more like nine furlongs so, while she hasn't yet failed to stay as far, she has to demonstrate stamina at a price which fully assumes she will see it out.

Agrotera is a course and distance winner, in the Class 2 Sandringham Handicap (downgraded last term to avoid, like the Wolferton, having Listed handicaps at the meeting) of 2018. Distance no issue then, but has she the class? Defeats in a pair of Listed contests this term suggest not, for all that she beat a fair field in an all weather Listed fillies' event last time.

Verdict: A big field but plenty who either probably don't stay or are probably not good enough. The 'now' filly seems to be RED TEA, whose Curragh form looks decent and repeatable. She takes a little while to hit top stride but finds plenty thereafter so, with the likes of Pretty Baby and Shenanigans expected to take them along at a fair lick, she's a surprisingly warm fancy. 14/1 each way has been taken.

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

Red Tea would have actually had a pretty strong chance in this race had she lined up here rather than the preceding Duke Of Cambridge. As it is, 30-odd capable 'cappers will career down the same straight mile. Abundant ability as well as luck with the draw and in running are prerequisites: it is not a race for the fainthearted!

Let's first try to fathom the draw: New Graduate, the strong favourite, is boxed in one with a prominent run style. All around him are hold up types so he might get something of a solo on the far side. Meanwhile, in the middle, Zhui Feng should carry that group forward from stall 14. And Vale Of Kent is expected to play pied piper for high - stands' side - from trap 29. The likelihood of at least two groups is shorter than even money in my view, and it could be that the balance of the pace is middle to high. Topweight Cardsharp is drawn 33, from where three winners have emerged of the eight to be housed therein since the field was expanded to include reserves.

It's obviously a terribly difficult race in which to find the winner but a couple of trends might help us get to a workable short(er)list.

- All bar one of the last 17 winners had won at the trip previously. Eight of these have not.

- 14 of the last 17 winners were aged four or five. Eight of those remaining are older (and one might still win, of course).

We're still left with 17 potential winners. Last time out winners have only won twice since 2004 which seems a remarkable statistic, especially when you consider that that group includes nine beaten favourites or joint-favourites. I was tempted by the 8/1 New Graduate last week; having missed the boat I am not attracted by the 6/1 now. He was super-impressive at Ripon, form which is working out well, and he's probably a Group horse. But his draw and his price, and the fate of many of his last day victor/jolly peers, is enough to look for what might be a sliver of value elsewhere.

Last year's winner Settle For Bay, the classy Robin Of Navan and the potentially well-handicapped and well-suited Raising Sand are all around 12/1, and co-second-choices in the market; the latter pair are also both older horses. So, for all that I quite like the form chance of both, particularly Raising Sand, I'm resisting the urge to back them - for now at least.

It would be an incredibly unbelievably amazing training feat should David Marnane saddle Settle For Bay to back-to-back Royal Hunt Cup wins. Indeed, Wikipedia tells me the last such horse was Master Vote in 1948/49, seventy years ago. Marnane is a peerless target trainer who is riding through relatively hard times at the moment, but he continues to show what he can do when he gets a smart one, and I'd love to see him double up. But I won't be betting on it even though his mile form is very, very hard to crab.

If the bad news is that we've probably indiscriminately lobbed the winner, the good news is we'll have at least 16/1 about our value loser!

And who might that be?

Looking at those drawn middle to high, with form in big fields and ideally with a hold up run style, the quartet of King's Field, Clon Coulis, Petrus and Seniority dodge the pseudo-quasi-arbitrary draw, pace and trends bullets to comprise my shortlist.

Maybe Joseph O'Brien left Red Tea in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes because he had King's Field for this one. With just nine races to his name he's still improving, he has form in big fields and his pilot, Donnacha O'Brien, will have options regarding which side of the track to race. 25/1 is worth a stab.

Clon Coulis is a dual Listed winner, including on the round mile here, and was running to a high level on the all weather when last seen on Finals Day on Good Friday. I'm not totally convinced about the big field but Jamie Spencer will perfectly complement this mare's natural hold up style and they might cruise into contention down the middle of the pack. 28/1 is the top price currently available.

A dancer of many similar dances is Petrus, winner of Doncaster's Spring Mile on the opening day of the season. He followed up in a valuable race at Bath on Good Friday and has since run with credit once more in a decent Newbury handicap. There is a suspicion the handicapper has caught up with him now; moreover, he was only mid-div in last year's Britannia over the same track and trip, and off a three pounds lower mark.

Seniority would be a Royal winner - well that would be marvellous for most, I'd say. Five pounds higher than when a four length eighth last year doesn't suggest William Haggas's runner is thrown in, nor I'm afraid does his form on straight tracks (780). It'll be a hats off job, but it won't carry my cash.

Verdict: Obviously enormously competitive. No surprise - a little frustration but no surprise - to see any of New Graduate, Raising Sand, Robin Of Navan or Settle For Bay win. But I'm splitting my (smallish, this is bravado betting) stake between King's Field and Clon Coulis. Both seem favoured by conditions, both thrive off a solid pace, and both have quietly ascendant profiles. Importantly, both are around the 25/1 mark.

As usual, get as many extra places as you can. Six should be a minimum and you might find a generous soul paying eight places come the day.

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

A 24 runner five furlong juvenile event where they bet 8/1 the field. The Hunt Cup is easier!

I won't be betting in this race, and I'll be taking ten of them on the multi-race place bets.

The one I'll mostly be cheering, though, is geegeez.co.uk's sponsored jockey, David Probert, aboard Symbolize. He has plenty to find on the form of his debut win, but that victory took connections by surprise as they were expecting the horse to need more time. He's come on a good bit since then - I assume similar comments apply to pretty much the entire field - and he'd be a cherished moment for the 'geegeez lucky pants' shown in the image atop this post!

Trippy trappy stuff on day two - good luck!

Matt

Royal Ascot 2019: Day 1 Preview, Tips

It's Royal Ascot 2019, the finest week in the flat racing calendar. Thirty conventions of the highest equine order equally divided across five days are set to appeal on levels from pure theatre through social and royal spectacle to ultimate wagering puzzles. As you've come to expect if you've been eyeballing these digipages for a while, we'll be focusing on the last named, and we start on Tuesday with the icing on the cake, three Group 1's interrupted only by a minor dip into Group 2 status.

As well as this post, you may also be interested in Andy's Royal Ascot Day 1 Trends.

2.30 Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1, 1m, 4yo+)

The Royal meeting begins with a bang. Actually, given its G1-G2-G1-G1 opening quartet of races, it begins with a two hour firework display of equine superstars. The tone is set in the very first play, the Queen Anne Stakes, a test of speed, class and stamina up the straight mile course.

The outstanding key trial for this race is the Lockinge Stakes, a race in which eleven of the Queen Anne winners this century have appeared prior to their late June success. If that's the interesting part, the fact that no fewer than eighty Lockinge runners showed up in those 19 renewals means we have to pick between a number of possibles if we elect to go down this well trodden path.

Of the eleven Queen Anne winners to run in the Lockinge this century, only four completed the Newbury-Ascot double and just one more had made the first three in that prior race; those were from 15 and 39 runners respectively, and are unappetising figures overall.

More interesting to value seekers is the subsequent showing of Lockinge also rans: those placed fourth or worse and beaten less than ten lengths won as many Queen Anne's as the top three, but from just 23 runners and for an SP profit of 41.83 points. Clearly last year's 33/1 winner, Accidental Agent, was a large factor in that; but Refuse To Bend at 12/1, No Excuse Needed at 13/2 and Haradasun at 5/1 (as well as 10/3 Paco Boy) all fitted this pattern.

This year, that would point to the chance of Romanised or Le Brivido, fourth and fifth respectively at Newbury. Le Brivido is, somehow, favourite: he won the Jersey Stakes two years ago when trained by Andre Fabre before just one more sighting for the French maestro when down the field in the 2018 Abernant Stakes, a six furlong Group 3. That didn't obviously scream mile Group 1 winner, and nor did a debut third for Aidan O'Brien (whose record in the race is only so-so) in a seven furlong Naas G3. The Newbury effort was certainly eye-catching, but a price of 4/1 is terrible value win, lose or draw.

Romanised, who didn't have a completely smooth transit in the Lockinge, is 40/1, fully ten times the price of the horse he beat by a place in that previous spin. He'd shaped encouraginly in the same Naas race as Le Brivido the time before - the first five covered by just a length and a quarter - and he'd have place prospects again here.

The winner and second from the Lockinge are of obvious interest on form. Mustashry was a ready victor, seeing it out better than Laurens, who might be expected to come on a touch more for the run. The former represents the patience of Sir Michael Stoute and, now six, his record in straight track Group races on good ground or better - I expect it to be genuinely good on the opening day - is 71131. He's 11/2 which is very fair.

Laurens, too, has straight track mile form: she won the Fillies' Mile and Sun Chariot, both Newmarket Group 1's, and has a career string of 12112182 without a turn. She's a hugely talented and consistent filly, 7/1 surely understating her chance a touch even if she has been beaten on both starts against the boys.

Away from the Lockinge form, Barney Roy returns to racing having proved a dud at stud. He showed at least some of the old zeal for this game when romping away in a Listed contest at Longchamp. The merit of that form, and his only other run since the comeback here at Ascot in a trial for this, is middling at best and those getting stuck in - his price has truncated a good bit - are taking plenty on trust. Indeed it's questionable whether a peak Barney Roy has the form to win this; personally I suspect not, but he wouldn't have much to find even if I'm right to have reservations. The price is short and that's a pass from me.

Last year's winner, Accidental Agent, was third in the Lockinge so comes here in good heart. 3rd placed runners from that race are 0 from 11 here, which is a quirky happenstance stat; but this race feels deeper than last year's renewal. He ought to give each way backers at 12/1 a run for their money but I don't quite see him being good enough to repeat, something even the likes of peak Paco Boy and Goldikova failed to do.

Of the rest, Hazapour has to step forward plenty to challenge here, though his trainer Dermot Weld rarely comes over simply to peacock in his morning suit; Lord Glitters was bashed out of sight in the Lockinge and even allowing for that being a seasonal bow and him being second in the race last year, it's a leap too far for me to back him; and Olmedo was the winner of the French 2000 Guineas last term but has been beaten all four runs since.

Dream Castle, who has been doing all his running in Dubai since January last year, wouldn't be the biggest shock: he'd have likely needed it when beaten less than two lengths in the G1 Prix d'Ispahan last time; and he was a Group 1 winner as recently as March in the Jebel Hatta at the Carnival.

I don't really see  the others figuring.

Verdict: It's a field with reasonable quality and quantity whilst lacking a superstar. Mustashry, the only horse with a 120+ rating, looks over-priced at 11/2, as does Romanised at 40's, albeit in a small Hail Mary context (is it too early to be thinking about the getting out stakes?!). Plenty of others are credible: about ten of these would not be a shock to me, though are considered either less likely or poorer value or both.

3.05 Coventry Stakes (Group 2, 6f, 2yo)

The first of the week's juvenile races is one chock full of talking horses, many of whom will go on to walk the talk either here or later in the season. It's almost impossible for someone like me, who doesn't really 'do' ratings to have a handle on the respective merits of this gang, so I'll regurgitate some figures from elsewhere.

Racing Post Ratings have four horses within a pound of each other, headed by Monoski (112) and followed by a trio of 111's in Arizona, Fort Myers and Well Of Wisdom.

Topspeed has two of the talkiest of the talking horses, Guildsman and Threat, at the top of his figures pile; while our own Peter May has Threat and Well Of Wisdom clear of Guildsman and Monoski.

It is, however, a race where most will step forward on what they've achieved thus far and where it is often about trying to project which will improve the most.

Aidan O'Brien has won the Coventry a remarkable eight times since his first, Harbour Master in 1997. He saddles a quartet this time, jockey bookings suggesting that Arizona (Ryan Moore) and Fort Myers (Donnacha O'Brien) are the preferred pair. King Of Athens and Royal Lytham complete the team, only the last named of which is not by a US sire.

None of the above is helping me massively, so let's deploy a couple of statistics/trends:

- All of the last 17 winners also won last time out

- 15 of the last 17 winners returned 8/1 or shorter

That narrows it down to the first three in the market: Arizona, Threat and Guildsman.

Arizona was not given a hard time when runner up to Sunday Sovereign on debut before stepping up notably on that when storming eight lengths clear of the re-opposing King Of Athens. It's interesting that the King is in here too, presumably he's done very well since. Either that or he's a hare, if ever such a pacemaker was needed in a six furlong dash. Regardless, Arizona's performance at the Curragh last time makes him the one to beat for me.

Threat was highly impressive over the minimum at Newmarket on his sole start and is bred to get further than this six in time. His trainer has spoken of him in effusive terms though the substance of his win has yet to be truly franked.

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Guildsman was green enough despite winning by six lengths at Goodwood on his debut. That was on soft ground and, reported jockey Oisin Murphy, "he wasn't doing a tap in front". The perception is that there's more to come and, if he takes the expected quicker turf in his ample stride, he should go well again.

Monoski found only the sidelined Bomb Proof too good on debut at York before hurtling away with a Pontefract conditions event on his only other run. Ponte is around a turn, though, and this looks a challenge of an altogether different type.

One who is backing up quickly is Royal Lytham, of whom the market suggested not too much was expected first time out. That didn't stop him finishing much the best to see off his odds-on stablemate and he looks the type to run on nicely in a frenetic heat such as this.

Well Of Wisdom is better than a finishing position of third in his last run suggests: he got broadsided a furlong out and was beaten a short head and a nose under hands and heels. Second there, and the offender in the barging match, was Fort Myers, but he doesn't look quite up to this.

Verdict: Somewhat out of my depth here, I won't be straying too far from the head of the market. ARIZONA looked impressive on his second try with only a smart one besting him on debut. He's an unimaginative selection but, representing the eight-time-winning Ballydoyle team, he ought to go close at least at around 5/2.

3.40 King's Stand Stakes (Group 1, 5f, 3yo+)

After that brief and fascinating hiatus, we return to Group 1 action, and 'action' is indeed the operative word. A dozen of the most rapid turf racers on the planet lock horns over the five-eighths of a mile, headed by last year's winner, Blue Point.

A year ago, he travelled well through the race before surging past his rivals in the final furlong. In second and third were Battaash and Mabs Cross, both of whom franked the form in G1 or G2 company thereafter. Blue Point himself got a little lost in two further UK runs in 2018 before rediscovering the winning knack in Meydan. There, a hat-trick of odds-on scores culminated in a comfortable victory in the million quid Al Quoz Sprint (G1) on World Cup night.

He makes his 2019 domestic debut in the King's Stand and one must assume he has recovered both from the exertions of three runs in six weeks and from the travel around the world back to Newmarket. The market vibes are strong and it is not impossible he's an improved horse this year. Most of his ratings are around the same mark, however, suggesting he is likely to run to about 120.

The question then is whether any of his rivals can better that peg.

Battaash was impressive in the Temple Stakes, a Group 2 at Haydock which he won last year en route to running up to Blue Point in the King's Stand. His best form gives him the jump on that rival but, when it's come to Group 1 company, he's tended to find one or two too good. A quote of 2/1 leaves no margin for error.

Mabs Cross is an under-rated mare: she's trained and owned by slightly unfashionable connections, but she's mighty fast. As well as taking bronze behind the aforementioned duo in the 2018 King's Stand, she was agonisingly beaten in the Nunthorpe (Blue Point and Battaash behind) and then won the G1 Prix de l'Abbaye (Battaash again behind).

This season she won the Palace House Stakes before running a little flat in the Temple Stakes (3rd behind Battaash), but that overall level of form surely does not make her a 9/1 shot.

Sergei Prokofiev is a horse I've personally found hard to catch right. He was third in the Coventry (six furlongs) last year, but has beaten just one rival in two Group 1 contests in his career to date. A two-and-a-half length fourth to Mabs Cross last time does not obviously give him that one's beating, and yet he's 6/1. Not for me and I'll suck it up if he wins.

The US raider, Imprimis, should not be taken lightly. He's got more dimensions than the typical early speed type we're used to Wesley Ward saddling; this lad, trained by Joseph Orseno, is a late runner. Indeed, he rallied very late last time to prevail in the Grade 2 Shakertown at Keeneland, a performance all the more meritorious considering he bobbled very badly at the gates and nearly came down.

Imprimis is a winning machine, coming first in seven of his nine career starts. This will be the first time the Florida resident has travelled further than Woodbine, Canada (where he failed to give his running), and it will also be the first time he's encountered a straight track. The rising five might be to his advantage actually, as he stays a little further than the minimum, but whether he's quite good enough, I'm not at all sure.

At bigger prices, Soldier's Call is interesting. Notably weak in the betting ahead of his 2019 bow at York, he hung tough for a long way before giving best in a three-way go. If he was expected to come on for the run, he'll arrive here cherry ripe and with trainer Archie Watson in terrific form with his sprinters. He ran some mighty races as a two-year-old, including when a neck third in the Abbaye in receipt of a stone weight for age.

And what about Fairyland, whose pedigree hints at sprints and yet she's been campaigned at a mile? Six might have been better than this five, but she's not without a squeak and ought to find the distance more to her liking than the two 1000 Guineas she's contested hitherto this season.

The Australian sprinter, Houtzen, is a good few pounds behind their best speedsters and, on ratings at least, a few more pounds behind the likes of Blue Point, Battaash and Mabs Cross. Of more interest, from an emotional if not a form perspective, is New Zealand's Enzo's Boy. He was 73/1 when he popped up in the Grade 1 Telegraph in January 2018, and he was 32/1 when he repeated the feat this year!

More than that, though, his trainer Michael Pitman has a desperately sad story: his son, Johnny, took his own life five years ago, aged just 28. Since that hammer blow, Pitman has been diagnosed with and beaten bowel cancer; and he's now a vocal advocate for both of these very personal causes. His horse doesn't look to have much chance in the King's Stand, though connections also plan to run in the Diamond Jubilee over six on Saturday, and you couldn't not be delighted for them if he ran a big one.

Verdict: A competitive and deep King's Stand, and one in which we could easily see last year's 1-2-3 fill the podium again. Battaash is the class of the race but doesn't always bring his A game; likewise Blue Point who is not far behind the favourite on form and was flying when last seen in Dubai. The faster they go the better it will suit Mabs Cross and I think, at the prices, she's the bet each way at 9/1. The likes of Imprimis and Soldier's Call are interesting supporting actors in what is a compelling puzzle.

4.20 St James's Palace Stakes (Group 1, 1m, 3yo)

The highlight of day one, as if that opening trio were not highlights enough, is the one mile Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes. It is the traditional convergence of the 2000 Guineas form lines, this year represented by Phoenix Of Spain, Too Darn Hot and Skardu (Irish); Shaman (French); and Fox Champion (German). Newmarket also-ran Royal Marine looks a token player from that race.

Favoured after his unambiguous Irish success is Phoenix Of Spain, who was all of three lengths too darn good for Too Darn Hot at the Curragh. On that run it is very hard to see the latter reversing form. But... John Gosden, a man who gets little wrong when it comes to training and campaigning his blue bloods, has conceded that he's rather horlicksed TDH's Classic campaign thus far.

Having missed the 2000 Guineas due to an unsatisfactory preparation, last year's champion two-year-old was rushed to the Dante where, ostensibly, he didn't quite stay the ten and a half furlong trip. Whether that's correct or not, he probably had a hard enough race, so travelling to Ireland just nine days later for the Curragh Guineas was somewhere on the brave-foolhardy continuum.

Three and a half weeks have passed and here we are again: no travel involved this time and a little more space since those two draining spins. Too Darn Hot had two verdicts over Phoenix Of Spain as a juvenile and, while it's possible the Irish 2000 Guineas winner has improved while the second there has stood still - regressed, actually, according to official figures - that last bit seems unlikely.

That's a rather verbose way of saying I think there are sound reasons to believe that the tables will be turned here and that Too Darn Hot will come out on top.

Gosden also saddles King Of Comedy, a later bloomer than his stablemate. The son of Kingman has looked impressive and progressive, albeit in less capable company, in a pair of wins this season most recently when strolling away with the Listed Heron Stakes at Sandown. He has that 'could be anything' tag, and Sandown's right-hand oval with an uphill finish wouldn't be a million miles away from the course and distance traversed here. But this lad is a bit of a moody so and so, and could conceivably boil over a touch in the preliminaries. He has an ascendant form profile but I've reservations about his temperament; and that, allied to needing to find maybe ten pounds improvement, is a no.

French raider, Shaman, may be a little over-priced from an each-way perspective at around 12/1. His second in their 2000 Guineas behind Persian King was achieved on heavy, but this Shamardal colt had previously prevailed on the anticipated good ground. He is expected to race prominently and can get first run on better-fancied contenders. Whether he's good enough to fend them off is another question entirely but, given the run of the race, he could make the frame.

Both Circus Maximus and Skardu arrive here after disappointing in Classics - the Derby and Irish 2000 Guineas respectively - and both look a little short of the standard in what is a deep renewal. Like the Queen Anne, what the St. James's Palace maybe lacks in terms of a superstar it makes up for in breadth of quality. And, of course, the real Too Darn Hot may step forward.

Verdict: This looks the moment when TOO DARN HOT shows his true colours. An outstanding juvenile last season, he's had legit excuses the first twice this term. Whilst going to the well a third time in a little over a month is a big ask, I feel he ought to be able to trade places with Phoenix Of Spain, making 5/2 reasonable. Of the bigger prices, Shaman could be well positioned to nick a place and 12/1 is faintly appealing in that context.

5.00 Ascot Stakes (Class 2 handicap, 2m 4f, 4yo+)

Twenty older horses, many of them used to a tweedy parade ring rather than one full of toppers and tails, and the first of the week's near impossible handicap puzzles. A trend may be our friend in the circumstances, so here are three:

14 of the last 17 were won by a predominantly National Hunt stable, including the last nine

The last five winners were all Irish-trained (three by Willie Mullins)

The best win and place strike rates were achieved by horses returning from an absence of 14-60 days

That leaves six, and I'm happy to lob the old boys, Snow Falcon and Arctic Fire. Four on the shortlist then, as follows:

Mengli Khan, Kerosin, Batts Rock and Buildmeupbuttercup.

Let's start with the last named, trained by that man Willie and his only runner in the race this year. Three flat runs for Mick Channon yielded little in the way of joy, a Listed race fourth followed by two last place finishes in Group 3 and Listed company. Those followed a more promising career in bumpers, where the mare won two and was fifth in the Grade 2 mares' bumper at the Grand National meeting last year.

After the third of her flat runs she was transferred to Mullins where she promptly won a maiden hurdle from a huge field before running poorly in four attempts at Graded company. Whilst it is impossible to ignore her trainer's record in the race, and the fact she gets Ryan Moore's encouragement from the saddle, she is a horrible price at around 4/1 given her recent form and the balance of her flat history. Clearly she'd not be a shock winner but I'm still looking for my wager.

Gordon Elliott has come to play, and he saddles both Batts Rock and Mengli Khan. Batts Rock's flat form has been mostly at a mile and a half but his most recent hurdle start was around this trip and he improved for it, albeit in a Downpatrick maiden hurdle! Frankie Dettori is an interesting jockey booking for an experienced horse who won two on the level last summer, including a Curragh handicap.

Mengli Khan was a good flat horse for Hugo Palmer before being sold to Gigginstown and becoming a very good hurdler. The son of Lope De Vega, out of a Danehill mare, is beautifully bred for the flat game and yet has managed to make the frame in Grade 1 company at the last two Cheltenham Festivals. Drawn in two, Rory Cleary will have to be careful not to get boxed up on the rail, but Mengli's prominent run style can help him out of trouble. He should probably be favourite, in my view, so 6/1 is all right.

Kerosin represents the shrewd Denis Hogan yard, who has infamously been asked by the BHA about running style plans for three of his recent UK entries. There should be no such questions here, with Oisin Murphy's mount set to track the pace from a single figure draw. Winner of a Navan two mile handicap last time out, he comes over in form and with a couple of pounds in hand of his peak flat rating. Again, he'd not be a shock winner.

Of the UK contingent, Coeur De Lion was less than five lengths behind the winner last year but is two pounds higher now; Time To Study has dropped a long way in the handicap and this might have been the plan; and Jukebox Jive, formerly trained by Anthony Honeyball, makes his debut for Jamie Osborne, a man who does extremely well with debutants after a yard switch.

Verdict: Impossible as it is supposed to be. Mengli Khan has an obvious chance and 6/1 is not ungenerous. And perhaps one of Time To Study (22/1) or Jukebox Jive (40/1) will offer some excitement for windmill tilters. Get as many extra places as you can!

5.35 Wolferton Stakes (Listed, 1m2f, 4yo+)

The Wolferton is no longer a handicap as of last year, but it remains a challenging puzzle.

The most interesting runner in the field is arguably last year's Irish Derby winner, Latrobe, who was second in both the Irish St Leger and the McKinnon Stakes - Group/Grade 1's the pair - last backend. Rated 113, he is the class of the field and it is a surprise to me that he's not nearly favourite.

Elarqam is favourite after an impressive win in Listed company at Goodwood last month. He's capable of better but needs to be to concede three pounds to Joseph O'Brien's runner.

Magic Wand is a little more playable on her run behind Bricks And Mortar in the Pegasus Turf Invitational. Ten furlongs looks like her trip and I can see her being sent off market leader.

Willie Mullins runs Riven Light, another of the globetrotters in the field. He all but won a class and distance contest at the Curragh last time and has some decent form from his travels. Overall he's a little inconsistent, however, which tempers enthusiasm.

John Gosden won this three times when it was a handicap, most recently in 2015, so his Star Of Bengal, stepping up from handicaps on the all weather, cannot be completely discounted.

A number of others with some sort of a case to be made.

Verdict: There is a horse in here with back class galore, and we don't even have to look that far into the past to find it. Sure, last year's Irish Derby was a weak heat, but LATROBE supplemented that effort with silver in both the Irish Leger and an Australian Group 1 in the autumn. A little slow in coming to hand this spring after travelling around the world late last year, he showed signs of a return to form late in a Group 2 in early May. 9/1 is a very playable each way bet on a horse who should be in the van from stall two.

Good luck!

Matt

Social Discourse – The Royal Ascot One

It’s nearly here. The top hats and tails have been measured. The Pimms has been prepared, the tickets sent out, the badges inscribed.

The Royal Family have had their dresses fitted, the carriages are ready, and an army of racegoers have their best outfits – in their own minds at least – prepared. Yes, Royal Ascot is on its way, and in this edition of Social Discourse we are all about the right Royal Affair, and what you think about it.

So without further ado, let’s begin.

 

  1. Do’s and don’t’s

What rules should you follow and what pitfalls should you avoid?

https://twitter.com/Gem1304/status/1140337030947323906

It is worth saying that some of you were not as enthused about the coming week:

From yours truly:

Do:

  • If you’re headed there for the first time, take comfortable shoes. You’d be surprised at how big Ascot is from end to end
  • If you are trying to get good prices and decent each/way terms, bet the night before or in the morning. Raceday markets shorten massively
  • Think about course form. Ascot rewards repeat performers and other courses can correlate well, especially ones with stiff finishes
  • If you are going and haven’t already yet, buy and take a mobile phone charger. In fact, two if you can carry them
  • Think about where the pace is. It can be crucial in races on the straight mile but every race will be affected by it

Don’t

  • Chase: There are five days of racing here and nearly 30 races. Your week is not over after a bad day, and unless you call it quits when ahead, it’s not over after one winner
  • Go too hard too early. There’s nothing wrong with an early pint, but Royal Ascot days are long ones on course
  • Count out a horse completely because of price or draw. Plenty of big fields, especially over 1m4f, have seen high drawn horses win, and we’ve had big priced winners to boot for a ton of races as readers here know
  • Leave it late, especially if you are heading from London Waterloo – there’s a dispute between South West Railway (SWR) and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) over train guards. Some are saying that driving by road might be the best way to do it

 

  1. Memory Lane

Now for a trip down memory lane. Let’s just say that one of you has some rather unique memories of Royal Ascot..

And onto the track based ones.....

 

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And one from the Gentleman's bookmaker......

 

  1. Crown Jewels

With so many top class races – there are eight Group 1’s alone – it’s sometimes impossible to know where to look. But never fear, Twitter’s here for a crowdsourced guide.

 

The Social Discourse Choice: It was surprising not to see more shouts for the Gold Cup, but the sheer amount of talented two-year-olds we’ve seen means The Coventry has to be my pick.

 

  1. Nap Hands

Here are the naps from the great and good of Twitter:

https://twitter.com/chatman_phil/status/1140309799206305793

And last but never least....

Mine? You’ll have to wait won’t you.

 

  1. Things to look out for….
  • As ever, a bumper international crop, including horses from at least nine countries. This includes sprinters Enzo's Lad (from New Zealand) and Lim's Cruiser (Singapore), along with the Japanese mare Deirdre, who has managed to get the race moved for better viewing times at home
  • Included in this is the team of Wesley Ward, eight strong this year and boasts Diamond Jubilee contender Bound for Nowhere amongst a host of juvenile contenders
  • The final crop of the sadly departed Scat Daddy, which includes Sergei Prokofiev (King’s Stand), Qabala (Coronation Stakes), So Perfect (Commonwealth Cup, Jersey Stakes), and Beatboxer (Britannia)
  • The return of last year’s Derby winner Masar, who reappears in the Hardwicke on the final day

 

  1. Horses you can’t wait to see

And if you need any more reason to make today just fly...

 

Good luck, and let the Festivities begin!

- William Kedjanyi

Monday Musings: Royal Ascot Friends Reunited

It’s here, less than a week away from the longest day of the year, Royal Ascot begins tomorrow with a trio of Friends Reunited races, writes Tony Stafford. I can’t wait to see Battaash, Blue Point and Mabs Cross going at it again in the King’s Stand Stakes, and Phoenix Of Spain and Too Darn Hot dusting off their Irish 2,000 Guineas rivalry in the St James’s Palace Stakes.

But the most intriguing of all for me is the opener, the Queen Anne Stakes, featuring not just the one-two-three from the recent Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, that’s Mustashry, Laurens and Accidental Agent, but also five of the also-rans, in finishing order, Romanised (fourth), Le Brivido (fifth), Sharja Bridge, Beat The Bank, Mythical Magic and Lord Glitters.

It’s as if none of the seven beaten trainers could accept that the Sir Michael Stoute-trained and Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned Mustashry had been a feasible winner. Yet here was a gelded six-year-old who has won eight of his 18 career starts and, since last summer when he beat Spark Plug half a length in a Sandown ten-furlong Listed race, has improved markedly winning twice at Group 2 level before Newbury.

Laurens, runner-up on that Newbury comeback, was the glamour element to that race having won four Group 1 races last year to add to her Fillies’ Mile win at the same level the previous autumn.

Then there’s Accidental Agent, 33-1 winner of this race a year ago, with all the attendant history of trainer Eve Johnson Houghton’s family. The horse was bred by Eve’s mother and named in honour of her maternal grandfather, John Goldsmith, a trainer either side of World War 2 in France and then after the War in England. He filled in nicely between the two parts of his equine career doing a little spying for MI5 behind enemy lines in Europe as Jamie Reid’s “Blown” so graphically describes.

I trust Jamie will not forget to send me a copy of his impending portrayal of Victor Chandler, whose intervention a decade and a half ago, asking me to go to Moscow and saying “this could change your life” had no idea just how right he was. As Eric Morecambe might have said, “not necessarily for the right reason!”

The Lockinge fifth, Le Brivido, earlier an eye-catcher on his debut for Ballydoyle after Michael Tabor bought a half-share from original owner Prince Faisal bin Khaled, is another interesting participant, given his 2017 Jersey Stakes win for the Andre Fabre stable. It’s a race of countless possibilities, but it’s equally likely that the Newbury form will be upheld as Mustashry did win it emphatically.

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When you have as much success and as many good horses in your stable as John Gosden, you could probably afford to describe your 2019 handling of Too Darn Hot as appalling, or whatever term he actually used.

So far the colt has been second, after a spring setback, in the Dante, trying out for a possible tilt at the Derby, and when that plan was aborted, switched to The Curragh and the Irish 2,000 Guineas. Another second place, creditable enough but maybe a shade embarrassing for the master trainer after the unblemished two-year-old campaign, resulted there, and the second of the big three re-matches, against that surprise winner Phoenix of Spain, comes in the St James’s Palace Stakes.

In fact the pair had some previous ‘previous’. They were one and two, in reverse Curragh order in the Champagne Stakes, with Too Darn Hot a length and threequarters to the good, in the third of his four juvenile wins, rounded out in the Dewhurst.

Between those two runs Phoenix of Spain was runner-up to subsequent Newmarket 2,000 Guineas winner Magna Grecia in the Vertem Futurity at Doncaster and the Irish 2,000 was his comeback run. Magna Grecia, only fifth when attempting the 2,000 Guineas double misses the race and Derby sixth Circus Maximus drops back to a mile as the principal sub for the O’Brien team.

The third re-match which brings at least as much anticipation as the other two is the King’s Stand. Last year Blue Point comfortably beat Battaash and a strong-finishing Mabs Cross. He went on to dominate the major sprints over the winter in Dubai and returns freshened up for his repeat attempt.

Charlie Hills, who did such a good job to win the Irish 2,000 with Phoenix of Spain without a prep run, can be equally proud of the way in which Battaash, often uneasy before his races in the past, seems to have been calmed down as a five-year-old. He took advantage of favourable weight conditions to beat Mabs Cross in the Temple Stakes, but I have a feeling in the recesses of my mind, that the filly will come good, appreciating the slightly deeper test with the ground possibly riding on the soft side after last week’s rain. I think 9-1 about Michael Dods and the Armstrong family’s star is value, but then I thought Justin Rose at 7-4 was a gift last night!

Ryan Moore must have breathed a sigh of relief when the 48-hour acceptors for the Coventry Stakes did not include Visinari, the Mark Johnston colt who made such a superb debut under the former champion on the opening day on the Newmarket July Course.

I joked here last week that he was probably advising Mark (via son Charlie on course) Johnston to give him more time after that exceptional performance – which apparently did not over-excite the Racing Post’s experts – judged on his RPR’s at the entry stage compared with the rest of the Coventry field. Do they still sell Fudge?

Now with Visinari’s non-acceptance, and indeed if he is to appear at all at the Royal meeting it would have to be in Saturday’s Chesham which closes later today, Ryan’s Coventry mount Arizona, a son of No Nay Never who won by eight lengths second time out at The Curragh, heads the market. My advice, if you want to back him, is not to take the 9-4. With a full field, surely those odds will lengthen as the boys on the boards react to the Betfair-led market.

A couple of weeks ago coming back on the coach after the Derby I was talking about the day-to-day betting market with Alan Newman and he was aghast at the way apparent manipulation is an everyday occurrence.

In the old days, in a match race, if one horse was 4-6, by definition the other would be automatically 6-4 but understandably bookmakers need a margin, so maybe 4-6 and 11-10 would be more like a fair return in such instances.

If Alan had been at Doncaster yesterday I guarantee he would have been on the phone to a long-ago partner at the defuct Wembley greyhounds. In the days several decades before Michael Tabor became a vital cog in Coolmore, he was a bookmaker, but I can imagine what he and Alan would have thought of the betting on the third race of the afternoon up there.

Three of the five runners were no-hopers and priced up accordingly. Also there was a guaranteed favourite, Sea of Faith, trained by William Haggas and a 10-1 on shot, who duly beat the second favourite Bullion Boss by nine lengths. No 10-1 against though or anything near it for Bullion Boss. Just before the off, that gelding trained by Michael Dods and ridden by Paul Mulrennan, was shortened up from 4-1 to 7-2! Who says the betting world hasn’t gone mad?

- TS

Royal Ascot Trends – DAY FOUR (Fri 21st June 2019)

As we move into day four at  ROYAL ASCOT there is plenty more to get excited about, but the two Group One's - The Coronation Stakes and the Commonwealth Cup - are the day's feature contest. As always we've got all the races covered with key trends and stats - use these to narrow down the field and find the best past profiles of recent winners.


2019 Royal Ascot Horse Racing Trends

2.30 - Albany Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies) (CLASS 1) (2yo) 6f

Albany Stakes Past Winners

2018 – Main Edition (7/1)
2017 – Different League (20/1)
2016 – Brave Anna (16/1)
2015 – Illuminate (4/1 fav)
2014 – Cursory Glance (14/1)
2013 – Kiyoshi (8/1)
2012 – Newfangled (7/4 fav)
2011 – Samitar (16/1)
2010 – Memory (15/2)
2009 – Habaayib (16/1)
2008 – Cuis Ghaire (8/11 fav)
2007 – Nijoom Dubai (50/1)
2006 - Sander Camillo (4/1 fav)
2005 – La Chunga (10/1)
2004 – Jewel In The Sand (10/1)
2003 – Silca’s Gift (5/1)


Albany Stakes Key Trends

16/16 – Had between 1 and 2 previous runs
16/16 – Never raced at Ascot before
15/16 – Finished in the top 3 last time out
14/16 – Won by either a Feb or Mar foal
12/16 – Won their previous race
11/16 – Placed favourites
9/16 – Returned a double-figure price
7/16 – Won by trainers Channon (2), Hannon (3) or Noseda (2)
5/16 – Previous winner over 6f
4/16 – Winning favourites
3/16 – Ran at Sandown last time
The last 13 winners came from double-figure stalls
10 of the last 13 winners came from stalls 11-15 (inc)

 

3.05 - King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2) (Colts & Geldings) (CLASS 1) (3yo) 1m4f

King Edward VII Stakes Recent Winners

2018 – Old Persian (9/2)
2017 – Permian (6/1)
2016 – Across The Stars (7/1)
2015 – Balios (3/1)
2014 – Eagle Top (12/1)
2013 – Hillstar (15/2)
2012 – Thomas Chippendale (9/2)
2011 – Nathaniel (11/4 fav)
2010 – Monterosso (7/2)
2009 – Father Time (9/1)
2008 – Campanologist (9/1)
2007 – Boscobel (7/1)
2006 – Papal Bull (5/4 fav)
2005 – Plea Bargain (9/2)
2004 – Five Dynasties (11/4 fav)
2003 – High Accolade (5/2 fav)

King Edward VII Stakes Key Trends

16/16 – Had at least 2 previous runs that season
15/16 – Returned 9/1 or shorter in the
12/16 – Had never raced at Ascot before
11/16 – Placed favourites
11/16 – Finished in the top three last time out
10/16 – Had won over at least 1m2f before
9/16 - Had won at least 2 previous races during their career
6/16 – Had already won a Listed or better class race
4/16 – Winning favourites
3/16 – Trained by John Gosden
3/16 – Ridden by Frankie Dettori
3/16 – Trained by Sir Michael Stoute
3/16 – Trained by Mark Johnston
No winner from stall 1 in the last 13 runnings
11 of the last 13 winners came from stalls 4-9 (inc)
12 of the last 13 winners returned 9/1 or shorter

3.40 – The Commonwealth Cup (Group 1) (Class 1) (3yo) 6f

Commonwealth Cup Recent Winners

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2018 - Eqtidaar (12/1)
2017 - Caravaggio (5/6 fav)
2016 - Quiet Reflection (7/4 fav)
2015 - Muhaarar (10/1)

Commonwealth Cup Trends

4/4 – Won over 6f before
4/4 – Drawn 8 or lower
4/4 – Ran in the last month
3/4 – Won 3+ times before
3/4 – Had run at Ascot before
3/4 – Rated 117 or higher
2/4 – Winning favourite
2/4 – Came from stall 8
2/4 – Won last time out

4.20 - Coronation Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) (Fillies) (CLASS 1) (3yo) 1m

Coronation Stakes Past Winners

2018 – Alpha Centauri (11/4 fav)
2017 – Winter (4/9 fav)
2016 – Qemah (6/1)
2015 – Ervedya (3/1)
2014 – Rizeena (11/2)
2013 – Sky Lantern (9/2 jfav)
2012 – Fallen For You (12/1)
2011 – Immortal Verse (8/1)
2010 – Lillie Langtry (7/2 fav)
2009 – Ghanaati (2/1 fav)
2008 – Lush Lashes (5/1)
2007 – Indian Ink (8/1)
2006 – Nannina (6/1 jfav)
2005 – Maids Causeway (9/2)
2004 – Attraction (6/4 fav)
2003 – Russian Rhythm (4/7 fav)
2002 – Sophisticat (11/2)

Coronation Stakes Recent Trends

17/17 – Had won over at least 7f before
16/17 – Returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting
14/17 – Had between 1 and 2 previous runs that season
13/17 – Had won a Group 1 or 2 previously
12/17 – Had won over at least a 1 mile before
9/17 – Had run at Ascot before (3 winners)
8/17 – Ran in that season’s English 1,000 Guineas
8/17 – Winning favourites (1 joint)
7/17 – Unplaced last time out
5/17 – Ran in that season’s Irish 1,000 Guineas
3/17 – Trained by Aidan O’Brien
12 of the last 13 winners returned 8/1 or shorter
No winners from stall 1 in the last 13 runnings
11 of the last 13 winners came from stalls 5 or higher
Just two horses placed from stall 2 (2nd ) in the last 13 runnings
7 of the last 13 winners were non UK-trained – French (3), Irish (4)

 

5.00 - Sandringham Handicap (Listed Race) 1m


Sandringham Handicap Recent Winners

2018 – Agrotera (11/2 fav)
2017 – Con Te Partiro (20/1)
2016 – Persuasive (11/4 fav)
2015 – Osaila (13/2)
2014 – Muteela (9/2 fav)
2013 – Annecdote (11/1)
2012 – Duntle (4/1 fav)
2011 – Rhythm Of Light (8/1)
2010 – Timepiece (5/1)
2009 – Moneycantbuymelove (9/2 fav)
2008 – Festivale (10/1)
2007 – Barshiba (16/1)
2006 – Red Evie (5/1 co-fav)
2005 – Beautyandthebeast (9/2)
2004 – Celtic Heroine (11/1)
2003 – Hold To Ransom (11/1)
2002 – Tashawak (12/1)

 

Sandringham Handicap Trends

15/17 – Returned 12/1 or shorter in the betting
15/17 – Had between 2 and 4 previous runs that season
13/17 – Had never run at Ascot before
13/17 – Had won over at least 7f before
12/17 – Favourites that finished in the top 4
11/17 – Carried 8-11 or more
11/17 – Placed in their previous race
7/17 – Had exactly 3 runs already that season
8/17 – Won their last race
7/17 – Returned a double-figure price
6/17 – Winning favourites (1 co)
4/17 – Ridden by Jamie Spencer
3/17 – Ridden by Frankie Dettori (7 winners in all)

 

5.35 - Duke of Edinburgh Handicap (CLASS 2) (3yo+ 0-105) 1m4f

Duke of Edinburgh Past Winners

2018 – Dash Of Spice (7/2 fav)
2017 – Rare Rhythm (20/1)
2016 – Kinema (8/1)
2015 – Arab Dawn (6/1 jfav)
2014 – Arab Spring (11/4 fav)
2013 – Opinion (8/1)
2012 – Camborne (11/2 fav)
2011 – Fox Hunt (12/1)
2010 – Cill Rialaig (16/1)
2009 – Drill Sergeant (14/1)
2008 – Sugar Ray (8/1)
2007 – Pevensey (8/1)
2006 – Young Mick (28/1)
2005 – Notable Guest (4/1)
2004 – Wunderwood (15/2)
2003 – Waverley (14/1)

Duke of Edinburgh Key Trends

16/16 – Aged 4 or 5 years-old
15/16 – Had won over at least 1m2f before
15/16 – Had at least 2 previous career wins to their name
13/16 – Carried 9-0 or more
12/16 – Placed last time out
11/16 – Had at least 2 previous runs that season
9/16 – Trained by Hughie Morrison (3), Mark Johnston (2) or Sir Michael Stoute (4)
9/16 – Had won over 1m4f before
7/16 – Had run at Ascot before
7/16 – Returned a double-figure price in the betting
7/16 – Ran at either York or Epsom last time (inc 7 of last 8 runnings)
5/16 – Unplaced favourites
5/16 – Ran at Newmarket last time
4/16 – Trained by Sir Michael Stoute
3/16 – Winning favourites
12 of the last 13 winners came from a double-figure stall

 

 

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Royal Ascot Trends – DAY FIVE (Sat 22nd June 2019)

As we move into the final day at ROYAL ASCOT there is plenty more to get excited about, but the Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes is the day's feature contest. As always we've got all the races covered with key trends and stats - use these to narrow down the field and find the best past profiles of recent winners.

 

2019 Royal Ascot Horse Racing Trends

2.30 - Chesham Stakes (Listed Race) (CLASS 1) (2yo) 7f

Chesham Stakes Recent Winners

2018 – Arthur Kitt (13/2)
2017 – September (11/8 fav)
2016 – Churchill (8/11 fav)
2015 – Suits You (14/1)
2014 – Richard Pankhurst (10/1)
2013 – Berkshire (16/1)
2012 – Tha’ir (9/2)
2011 – Maybe (5/2 fav)
2010 – Zaidan (7/1)
2009 – Big Audio (22/1)
2008 – Free Agent (7/2 jfav)
2007 – Maze (11/2)
2006 – Champlain (7/2)
2005 – Championship Point (4/1)
2004 – Whazzat (7/1)
2003 – Pearl Of Love (11/10 fav)

Chesham Stakes Key Trends

16/16 – Had no more than 2 previous career runs
15/16 – Finished in the top 3 last time out
14/16 – Ran over 6f last time out (9 won)
14/16 – Had just 1 previous career run
13/16 – Were foaled in March or earlier
11/16 – Won their previous race
11/16 – Returned 7/1 or shorter in the betting
5/16 – Winning favourites (1 joint)
3/16 – Irish trained-winners (Aiden O’Brien)
2/16 – Trained by Mark Johnston
2/16 – Trained by Richard Hannon
Ryan Moore has ridden the winners in 2011, 2016 and 2017
12 of the last 13 winners came between stalls 1-8
6 of the last 13 winners came from stalls 1 (3) or 7 (3)
10 of the last 13 winners returned 10/1 or shorter
Trainer Paul Cole has won the race 4 times before

 

3.05 - Jersey Stakes (Group 3) (CLASS 1) (3yo) 7f

Recent Jersey Stakes Winners

2018 – Expert Eye (8/1)
2017 – Le Brivido (2/1 fav)
2016 – Ribchester (7/1)
2015 – Dutch Connection (14/1)
2014 – Mustajeeb (9/2 jfav)
2013 – Gale Force Ten (9/2 fav)
2012 – Ishvana (20/1)
2011 – Strong Suit (11/1)
2010 – Rainfall (8/1)
2009 – Ouqba (12/1)
2008 – Aqlaam (13/2)
2007 – Tariq (15/2)
2006 – Jeremy (9/2)
2005 – Proclamation (7/1)
2004 – Kheleyf (6/1)
2003 – Membership (20/1)
2002 - Just James (20/1)

 

Jersey Stakes Trends

16/17 – Had at least 1 run already that season
13/17 – Had 4 or more career runs
11/17 – Had won over 7f before
10/17 – Had won a Listed or better class race before
9/17 – Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
8/17 – Unplaced favourites
8/17 – Ran at Newmarket last time out
7/17 – Had run at Ascot before
7/17 – Horses from stall 8 placed
6/17 – Returned a double-figure price in the betting
4/17 – Won their previous race
3/17 – Winning favourites
2/17 – Trained by Aidan O’Brien (3 wins in total)
2/17 – Trained by Sir Michael Stoute (5 wins in total)
The Irish have won 3 of the last 7 runnings
The horse from stall 11 has finished 2nd in 5 of the last 11 runnings

3.40 - Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2) (CLASS 1) (4yo+) 1m4f

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Hardwicke Stakes Recent Winners

2018 – Crystal Ocean (4/7 fav)
2017 – Idaho (9/2)
2016 – Dartmouth (10/1)
2015 – Snow Sky (12/1)
2014 – Telescope (7/4 fav)
2013 – Thomas Chippendale (8/1)
2012 – Sea Moon (3/1 fav)
2011 – Await the Dawn (4/6 fav)
2010 – Harbinger (8/11 fav)
2009 – Bronze Cannon (8/1)
2008 – Macarthur (11/8 fav)
2007 – Maraahel (10/3)
2006 – Maraahel (9/2)
2005 – Bandari (10/1)
2004 – Doyen (6/5 fav)
2003 – Indian Creek (14/1)

Hardwicke Stakes Key Trends

16/16 – Had won over at least 1m2f before
16/16 – Had won a Group 2 or 3 previously
14/16 – Placed last time out
14/16 – Had won over 1m4f before
12/16 – Had at least 2 previous runs that season
12/16 – Trained by Aidan O’Brien (3), Mark Johnston (2) or Sir Michael Stoute (7)
11/16 – Had run at Ascot before
11/16 – Aged 4 years-old (inc last 9 winners)
10/16 – Placed favourites
10/16 – Returned 9/2 or shorter in the betting
6/16 – Ran at Epsom last time out (Coronation Cup)
7/16 – Won their previous race
6/16 – Winning favourites
4/16 – Ridden by Ryan Moore
11 of the last 13 winners returned 8/1 or shorter
9 of the last 13 winners returned 9/2 or shorter
No winner from stall 1 in the last 13 runnings
7 of the last 13 winners came from stalls 2-5 (inc)

 

4.20 - Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Group 1) (CLASS 1) (3yo+) 6f

Diamond Jubilee Stakes Recent Winners

2018 – Merchant Navy (4/1)
2017 – The Tin Man (9/2)
2016 – Twilight Son (7/2)
2015 – Undrafted (14/1)
2014 – Slade Power (7/2 fav)
2013 – Lethal Force (11/1)
2012 – Black Caviar (1/6 fav)
2011 – Society Rock (25/1)
2010 – Starspanglebanner (13/2 jfav)
2009 – Art Connoisseur (20/1)
2008 – Kingsgate Native (33/1)
2007 – Soldier’s Tale (9/1)
2006 – Les Arcs (33/1)
2005 – Cape Of Good Hope (8/1)
2004 - Fayr Jag (12/1)
2003 – Choisir (13/2)

Diamond Jubilee Stakes Key Trends

15/16 – Previous distance (6f) winners
12/16 – Failed to win their last race
13/16 – Aged 5 or younger
13/16 – Previous Group Race winners
11/16 – Had run at Ascot before
9/16 – Won by a UK-based yard
8/16 – Returned a double-figure price
8/16 – Unplaced favourites
5/16 – Ran in the King’s Stand Stakes earlier at the meeting
3/16 – Winning favourite (joint)
2/16 – Trained by James Fanshawe
5 of the last 14 winners were Irish-bred
8 of the last 14 winners came from a double-figure draw
No winner from stall 1 in the last 14 runnings
6 of the last 14 winners returned a double-figure price.

 

5.00 - Wokingham Stakes (Heritage Handicap) (CLASS 2) (3yo+ 0-110) 6f

Wokingham Stakes Recent Winners

2018 - Bacchus (33/1)
2017 – Out Do (25/1)
2016 – Outback Traveller (10/1)
2015 – Interception (10/1)
2014 – Baccarat (9/1)
2013 – York Glory (14/1)
2012 – Dandy Boy (33/1)
2011 – Deacon Blues (15/2)
2010 – Laddies Poker Two (9/2 fav)
2009 – High Standing (8/1)
2008 – Big Timer I (20/1)
2007 – Dark Missile (22/1)
2006 – Baltic King (10/1)
2005 – Iffraaj (9/4 fav)
2004 – Lafi (6/1 fav)
2003 – Ratio (14/1) / Fayr Jag (10/1)  (dead-heat)

Wokingham Stakes Key Trends

19/19 – Had won before over 6f or 7f
19/19 – Had no more than 4 runs that season­­
18/19 – Finished sixth or better last time out
17/19 – Ran within the last 6 weeks
17/19 – Had won a race over 6f before
16/19 – Aged 4 or 5 years-old
12/19 – Had at least 2 runs already that season
12/19 – Returned a double-figure price in the betting
10/19 – Had run at Ascot before (6 had won here)
9/19 – Ran at either Ascot, Goodwood or Newmarket last time
5/19 – Won their previous race
4/19 – Won by the favourite
10 of the last 13 winners carried 9-3 or less in weight
8 of the last 13 winners returned 14/1 or shorter
9 of the last 13 winners came from a double-figure draw
8 of the last 9 winners came from a double-figure stall
6 of the last 8 runnings - the top 2 finishers all came from double-figure stalls
Horse from stall 15 has been placed in 3 of the last 8 runnings
Since 1980 there have been only 7 winning favourites
Since 1980 there have been 31 winners returning a double-figure price

 

5.35 - Queen Alexandra Stakes (Conditions Race) (CLASS 2) (4yo+) 2m5f159y

Queen Alexandra Stakes Recent Winners

2018 - Pallasator (11/2)
2017 – Oriental Fox (10/1)
2016 – Commissioned (12/1)
2015 – Oriental Fox (4/1)
2014 – Pique Sous (11/4)
2013 – Chiberta King (8/1)
2012 – Simenon (11/4 fav)
2011 – Swingkeel (11/2)
2010 – Bergo (10/1)
2009 – Caracciola (6/1)
2008 – Honolulu (7/4 fav)
2007 – Enjoy The Moment (6/1)
2006 – Baddam (11/2)
2005 – Cruzspiel (10/1)
2004 – Corrib Eclipse (25/1)
2003 – Cover Up (4/5 fav)

Queen Alexandra Stakes Key Trends

14/16 – Finished unplaced last time out
10/16 – Had won over at least 2m on the flat before
9/16 – Had run at Ascot before
9/16 – Aged 4, 5 or 6 years old
5/16 – Won by a NH yard
5/16 – Irish-trained winners
3/16 – Winning favourites
3/16 – Ridden by Ryan Moore
2/16 – Trained by Sir Michael Stoute
2/16 – Trained by Willie Mullins
2/16 – Trained by Mark Johnston
2/16 – Trained by Gordon Elliott
9 of the last 13 winners returned 6/1 or shorter
11 of the last 13 winners came from stalls 9-16 (inc)
10 of the last 13 winners came from a double-figure stall

 

 

 

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Royal Ascot Trends – DAY ONE (Tues 18th June 2019)

We kick-start another ROYAL ASCOT with the normal bang and three Group One's on the day with the Queen Anne Stakes, King's Stand Stakes and the St James's Palace Stakes the feature contests. But we've got all the opening day's races covered with key trends and stats - use these to narrow down the field and find the best past profiles of recent winners.

2019 Royal Ascot Horse Racing Trends

2.30 - Queen Anne Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) (CLASS 1) (4yo+) 1m

Recent Queen Anne Stakes Winners

2018Accidental Agent (33/1)
2017 – Ribchester (11/10 fav)
2016 – Tepin (11/2)
2015 – Solow (11/8 fav)
2014 – Toronado (4/5 fav)
2013 – Declaration Of War (15/2)
2012 – Frankel (1/10 fav)
2011 – Canford Cliffs (11/8)
2010 – Goldikova (11/8 fav)
2009 – Paco Boy (10/3)
2008 – Haradasun (5/1)
2007 – Ramonti (5/1)
2006 – Ad Valorem (13/2)
2005 – Valixir (4/1)
2004 – Refuse To Bend (12/1)
2003 – Dubai Destination (9/2)
2002 – No Excuse Needed (13/2)

Queen Anne Stakes Trends

17/17 – Aged 4 or 5 years-old
14/17 – Returned 13/2 or shorter in the betting
14/17 – Previous winners over 1 mile
13/17 – Had already won a Group 1 race
14/17 – Had between 1 and 2 previous runs that season
12/17 - Returned 11/2 or shorter in the betting
12/17 – Won by a 4 year-old
10/17 – Had never run at Ascot before
10/17 – Trained by either R Hannon (3), A P O’Brien (3) or Godolphin (4)
8/17 – Won their previous race
8/17 – Favourites that were unplaced
8/17 – Ran in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury last time out
5/17 – Winning favourites
3/17 - Ridden by Frankie Dettori
Only 1 winner from Stall 1 in the last 11 runnings
9 of the last 11 winners came from stalls 4 or higher

3.05 - Coventry Stakes (Group 2) (CLASS 1) (2yo) 6f

Recent Coventry Stakes Winners

2018 – Calyx (2/1 fav)
2017 – Rajasinghe (11/1)
2016 – Caravaggio (13/8 fav)
2015 – Buratino (6/1)
2014 – The Wow Signal (5/1 jfav)
2013 – War Command (20/1)
2012 – Dawn Approach (7/2)
2011 – Power (4/1 fav)
2010 – Strong Suit (15/8 fav)
2009 – Canford Cliffs (7/4 fav)
2008 – Art Connoisseur (8/1)
2007 – Henrythenavigator (11/4 fav)
2006 – Hellvelyn (4/1 jfav)
2005 – Red Clubs (11/2)
2004 – Iceman (5/1 jfav)
2003 – Three Valleys (7/1)
2002 – Statue Of Liberty (16/1)

Coventry Stakes Trends

17/17 – Won their previous race
16/17 – Had never raced at Ascot before
15/17 – Returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting
14/17 - Came from the top three in the betting
14/17 – Had between 1 and 2 previous career runs
12/17 - Foaled in either Feb or March
11/17 – Won over 6f before
9/17 – Winning favourites (3 joint)
6/17 – Ran at either Newbury or Newmarket last time out
5/17 – Trained by Aidan O’Brien
2/17 – Trained by Richard Hannon
1/17 - Won by a Jan foal
10 of the last 11 winners came from stalls 6 or higher
7 of the last 11 winners came from stalls 9-19 (inc)

3.40 - King´s Stand Stakes (Group 1) (CLASS 1) (3yo+) 5f

Recent King’s Stand Stakes Winners

2018 - Blue Point (6/1)
2017 – Lady Aurelia (7/2)
2016 – Profitable (4/1)
2015 – Goldream (20/1)
2014 – Sole Power (5/1)
2013 – Sole Power (8/1)
2012 - Little Bridge (12/1)
2011 - Prohibit (7/1)
2010 - Equiano (9/2)
2009 - Scenic Blast (11/4 fav)
2008 - Equiano (22/1)
2007 - Miss Andretti (3/1 fav)
2006 - Takeover Target (7/1)
2005 - Chineur (7/1)
2004 - The Tatling (8/1)
2003 – Choisir (25/1)

King’s Stand Stakes Trends

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17/17 – Aged 7 or younger
15/17 – Had won a Group race before
14/17 – Aged 4 or older
14/17 – Had won over 5f before
12/17 – Finished first or second last time out
12/17 – Returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting
10/17 – Won by a non-UK based trained horse
10/17 – Had run at Ascot before (7 had won at the track)
9/17 – Favourites placed
6/17 – Ran at either Flemington (3) or Chantilly (3) last time out
6/17 – Favourites that finished third
3/17 – Won by an Australian-trained horse
3/17 – 3 Year-old winners
2/17 – Winning favourites
A horse from stalls 9, 11 & 14 has been placed in 10 of the last 11 runnings

4.20 - St James´s Palace Stakes (Group 1) (Entire Colts) (CLASS 1) (3yo) 1m

Recent St James’s Palace Stakes Winners

2018 - Without Parole (9/4 fav)
2017 – Barney Roy (5/2)
2016 – Galileo Gold (6/1)
2015 – Gleneagles (8/15 fav)
2014 – Kingman (8/11 fav)
2013 – Dawn Approach (5/4 fav)
2012 – Most Improved (9/1)
2011 – Frankel (3/10 fav)
2010 – Canford Cliffs (11/4 jfav)
2009 – Mastercraftsman (5/6 fav)
2008 – Henrythenavigator (4/7 fav)
2007 – Excellent Art (8/1)
2006 – Araafa (2/1 fav)
2005 – Shamardal (7/4 fav)
2004 – Azamour (9/2)
2003 - Zafeen (8/1)
2002 – Rock Of Gibraltar (4/5 fav)

St James’s Palace Stakes Trends

17/17 - Returned 9/1 or shorter in the betting
14/17– Previous Group 1 or 2 winners
15/17 – Had either 2 or 3 previous runs that season
14/17 – Favourites that were placed
14/17 – Had won over a mile before
12/17 – Previous Group 1 winners
12/17 – Returned 11/4 or shorter in the betting
11/17 – Winning favourites (1 joint)
10/17 – Won their previous race
9/17 – Ran in the Irish 2000 Guineas (Curragh) last time out (7 won it)
5/17 – Had run at Ascot before
5/17 – Won by trainer Aidan O’Brien
Just 1 winner from stall 1 or 2 in the last 11 runnings
6 of the last 11 winners came from stalls 4 or 5

5.00 - Ascot Stakes (Handicap) (CLASS 2) (4yo+ 0-95) 2m4f

Ascot Stakes Recent Winners

2018 - Lagostovegas (10/1)
2017 – Thomas Hobson (4/1 fav)
2016 – Jennies Jewel (6/1)
2015 – Clondaw Warrior (5/1 fav)
2014 – Domination (12/1)
2013 – Well Sharp (9/1)
2012 – Simenon (8/1)
2011 – Veiled (11/2)
2010 – Junior (17/2)
2009 – Judgethemoment (13/2)
2008 – Missoula (20/1)
2007 – Full House (20/1)
2006 – Baddam (33/1)
2005 – Leg Spinner (9/1)
2004 – Double Obsession (25/1)
2003 – Sindapour (12/1)
2002 – Riyadh (7/1 fav)

Ascot Stakes Trends

15/17 – Carried 9-0 or more
14/17 – Won by a stable better known for their NH runners
13/17 – Had at least 1 previous run on the flat that season
11/17 – Had won over at least 2m on the flat before
10/17 – Aged either 4 or 5 years-old
8/17 – Won their previous race
8/17 – Returned a double-figure price in the betting
3/17 – Trained by the Pipe stable
4/17 – Trained by Willie Mullins
3/17 – Winning favourites
6 of the last 11 winners came from a double-figure stall
Just one winner (or placed) horse from stall 1 placed in the last 11 runnings

 

5.35 - Wolferton Rated Stakes (Listed Race) (CLASS 1) (4yo+ 0-110) 1m2f

Wolferton Rated Stakes Recent Winners

2018 - Monarchs Glen (8/1)
2017 – Snoano (25/1)
2016 – Sir Isaac Newton (7/1)
2015 – Mahsoob (7/4 fav)
2014 – Contributer (9/1)
2013 – Forgotten Voice (12/1)
2012 – Gatewood (3/1 fav)
2011 – Beachfire (12/1)
2010 – Rainbow Peak (13/8 fav)
2009 – Perfect Stride (8/1)
2008 – Supaseus (12/1)
2007 – Championship Point (25/1)
2006 – I’m So Lucky (16/1)
2005 – Imperial Stride (25/1)
2004 – Red Fort (6/1)
2003 – In Time’s Eye (5/1)

Wolferton Rated Stakes Key Trends

13/16 – Had between 1 and 3 runs already that season
12/16 – Aged 4 years-old
12/16 – Had won 3 or more races during their career
11/16 – Had won over 1m2f or further before
11/16 – Unplaced favourites
11/16 – Finished unplaced last time out
8/16 – Had run at Ascot before
8/16 – Returned a double-figure price
7/16 – Ran at either York (4) or Goodwood (3) last time out
4/16 – Trained by John Gosden
2/16 – Trained at Kremlin House Stables (Roger Varian/M Jarvis)
2/16 – Trained by Sir Michael Stoute
2/16 – Winning favourites
10 of the last 13 winners returned 7/1 or bigger

 

 

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Royal Ascot Trends – DAY TWO (Weds 19th June 2019)

As we move into day two at  ROYAL ASCOT there is plenty more to get excited about, but the Group One Prince Of Wales's Stakes is the day's feature contest. As always we've got all the races covered with key trends and stats - use these to narrow down the field and find the best past profiles of recent winners.

2019 Royal Ascot Horse Racing Trends

2.30 - Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies) 5f

Queen Mary Recent Winners

2018 – Signora Cabello (25/1)
2017 – Heartache (5/1)
2016 – Lady Aurelia (2/1 fav)
2015 – Acapulco (5/2 fav)
2014 – Anthem Alexander (9/4 fav)
2013 – Rizeena (6/1)
2012 – Ceiling Kitty (20/1)
2011 – Best Terms (12/1)
2010 – Maqaasid (9/4 fav)
2009 – Jealous Again (13/2)
2008 – Langs Lash (25/1)
2007 – Elletelle (20/1)
2006 – Gilded (11/2)
2005 – Flashy Wings (4/1 jfav)
2004 – Damson (11/2 jfav)
2003 – Attraction (13/8 fav)
2002 – Romantic Liason (16/1)

Queen Mary Stakes Trends

16/17 – Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
16/17 – Had between 1 and 3 previous runs that season
15/17 – Had won over 5f (or shorter) before
15/17 – Won by a horse foaled between Jan-Mar
14/17 – Won their previous race
11/17 – Placed favourites
7/17 – Winning favourites (2 joint)
6/17 – Returned a double-figure price
3/17 – Trained by Wesley Ward (including 2 of last 4 runnings)
2/17 – Won by trainer Richard Hannon

 

3.05 - Queen´s Vase (Listed) (CLASS 1) (3yo) 2m

Queen´s Vase Recent Winners

2018 – Kew Gardens (10/3)
2017 – Stradivarius (11/2)
2016 – Sword Fighter (33/1)
2015 – Aloft (5/2 fav)
2014 – Hartnell (7/2)
2013 – Leading Light (5/4 fav)
2012 – Estimate (3/1 fav)
2011 – Namibian (7/2 fav)
2010 – Mikhail Glinka (2/1 fav)
2009 – Holberg (7/1)
2008 – Patkai (6/4 fav)
2007 – Mahler (7/1)
2006 – Soapy Danger (4/1)
2005 – Melrose Avenue (4/1)
2004 – Duke Of Venice (9/2)
2003 – Shanty Star (7/2 fav)

Queen´s Vase Key Trends

14/16 – Had never raced at Ascot before
12/16 – Had at least 2 previous career wins
11/16 – Placed last time out
9/16 – Placed favourites
11/16 – Had run over at least 1m4f before
6/16 – Ran at either Lingfield or Haydock last time out
6/16 – Winning favourites
5/16 - Trained by Mark Johnston
6/16 – Trained by Aidan O’Brien
4/16 - Ridden by Ryan Moore
2/16 - Trained by Sir Michael Stoute (won it 4 times in all)
2/16 – Ridden by Frankie Dettori
No winner from stall 1 in the last 13 years
The horse from stall 7 has been placed in 6 of the last 12 runnings (4 wins)
12 of the last 13 winners came from a single-figure stall
6 of the last 13 winners came from stalls 7 or 8

 

3.40 - The Prince of Wales´s Stakes (Group 1) 1m2f

Prince of Wales´s Stakes Recent Winners

2018 – Poet’s Word (11/2)
2017 – Highland Reel (9/4)
2016 – My Dream Boat (16/1)
2015 – Free Eagle (5/2 fav)
2014 – The Fugue (11/2)
2013 – Al Kazeem (11/4)
2012 – So You Think (4/5 fav)
2011 – Rewilding (17/2)
2010 – Byword (5/2 fav)
2009 – Vision D’etat (4/1)
2008 – Duke of Marmalade (Evs fav)
2007 – Manduro (15/8 fav)
2006 – Ouija Board (8/1)
2005 – Azamour (11/8 fav)
2004 – Rakti (3/1)
2003 – Nayef (5/1)
2002 -  Grandera (4/1)

Prince of Wales´s Stakes Trends

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17/17 – Had won over at least 1m2f before
16/17 – Returned 17/2 or shorter in the betting
16/17 – Won by a 4 or 5 year-old
14/17 – Had at least 1 previous run that season
14/17 – Finished in the top three last time out
13/17 – Were previous Group 1 winners
11/17 – Placed favourites
9/17 – Won their last race
9/17 – Won by a non-UK based trainer
9/17 – Had run at Ascot before
6/17 – Winning favourites
3/17 – Trained by Aidan O’Brien
2/17 – Won by a Godolphin-owned horse
2/17 – Ridden by Frankie Dettori
3 of the last 11 runnings have gone to a French-trained horse

4.20 – The Duke of Cambridge Stakes (Windsor Forest) (Group 2) 1m

Duke of Cambridge Recent Winners

2018 – Aljazzi (9/2)
2017 – Qemah (5/2 fav)
2016 – Usherette (9/4 fav)
2015 – Amazing Maria (25/1)
2014 – Integral (9/4 fav)
2013 – Duntle (10/3)
2012 – Joviality (11/1)
2011 – Lolly For Dolly (11/1)
2010 – Strawberrydaiquiri (9/2)
2009 – Spacious (10/1)
2008 – Sabana Perdida (4/1)
2007 – Nannina (3/1 co-fav)
2006 – Soviet Song (11/8 fav)
2005 – Peeress (14/1)
2004 – Favourable Terms (13/2)

Duke of Cambridge Trends

14/15 – Had won over a mile (or further) before
14/15 – Had won a Group 3 or better race before
14/15 – Had at least 1 previous run that season
13/15 – Finished in the top 3 last time out
12/15 – Won by a 4 year-old
11/15 – Had run at Ascot before
8/15 – Favourites that were placed
7/15 – Had won at Ascot before
5/15 – Returned a double-figure price
5/15 – Winning favourites (1 co)
4/15 – Ran at Epsom last time out
4/15 – Owned by Cheveley Park Stud
2/15 – Won by trainer James Fanshawe
2/15 – Winners from stall 1
Only four placed horses (2 winners) from stall 1 in the last 15 runnings

 

5.00 - Royal Hunt Cup (Heritage Handicap) 1m

Royal Hunt Cup Recent Winners

2018 – Settle For Bay (16/1)
2017 – Zhui Feng (25/1)
2016 – Portage (10/1)
2015 – GM Hopkins (8/1)
2014 – Field of Dream (20/1)
2013 – Belgian Bill (33/1)
2012 – Prince Of Johanne (16/1)
2011 – Julienas (12/1)
2010 – Invisible Man (28/1)
2009 – Forgotten Voice (4/1 fav)
2008 – Mr Aviator (25/1)
2007 – Royal Oath (9/1)
2006 – Cesare (14/1)
2005 – New Seeker (11/1)
2004 – Mine (16/1)
2003 – Macadamia (8/1)
2002 – Norton (25/1)

Royal Hunt Cup Trends

16/17 – Had won over at least a mile before
14/17 – Aged 4 or 5 years-old
13/17 – Unplaced favourites
13/17 – Returned a double-figure price
13/17 – Carried 9-1 or less
10/17 – Had 2 or 3 previous runs that season
10/17 – Had run at Ascot before
10/17 – Won by a 4 year-old (inc 8 of the last 10 runnings)
5/17 – Won their last race
2/17 – Won by trainer James Fanshawe
2/17 – Won by trainer John Gosden
1/17 – Winning favourites
Overall, high number stalls have dominated in recent years
11 of the last 13 winners came from a double-figure stall
We’ve seen 3 winners from stall 33 in the last 10 runnings

 

5.35 - Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed Race) (CLASS 1) (2yo) 5f

Windsor Castle Recent Winners

2018 – Soldier’s Call (12/1)
2017 – Sound And Silence (16/1)
2016 – Ardad (20/1)
2015 – Washington DC (5/1)
2014 – Hootenanny (7/2 fav)
2013 –
Extortionist (16/1)
2012 – Hototo (14/1)
2011 – Frederick Engels (9/4 fav)
2010 – Marine Commando (9/2)
2009 – Strike The Tiger (33/1)
2008 – Flashmans Papers (100/1)
2007 – Drawnfromthepast (9/1)
2006 – Elhamri (20/1)
2005 – Titus Alone (11/4)
2004 – Chateau Istana (12/1)
2003 – Holborn (5/2 fav)
2002 – Revenue (14/1)

Windsor Castle Trends

17/17 – Had at least 1 previous outing
16/17 – Won by a foal born April or earlier
16/17 – Had 2 or 3 previous runs
14/17 – Had won over 5f before
12/17 – Placed last time out
12/17 – Had never run at Ascot before
10/17 – Returned a double-figure price (inc a 100/1 winner)
9/17 – Won their previous race
9/17 – Unplaced favourites
7/17 – Won by a Feb foal
3/17 – Winning favourites
2/17 – Trained by Wesley Ward
Just one horse placed from stall 1 in the last 11 runnings
8 of the last 11 winners came from a double-figure stall

 

 

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