Royal Ascot Day 1 (In Full)
2.30 Queen Anne Stakes 1m (Group 1)
The first race of this outstanding five day Royal Meeting and straight in with one of the hot favourites of the week with Richard Fahey’s Ribchester. He’s arguably the best horse in the country over a mile at the minute and he did that reputation no harm when romping home in the Lockinge last time out at Newbury. His main challengers seem to be coming from the horse that was behind him in second in the Lockinge in Lightening Spear for David Simcock, who will relish the fast ground. Also Mutakayyef for William Haggas who put in some huge runs in big races last year, he’ll also relish the quick surface. AP O’Brien’s first string looks to be Deauville who claimed a Group 3 at Chester’s May Festival and will also enjoy the quick ground, as will outsider Dutch Connection for Charlie Hills. American Patriot is the American raider for Todd Pletcher, he put in a career best on firm ground when winning a Grade 1 at Keeneland. Ribchester should be taking this though but if you’re put off by the prices Mutakayyef might run him close on this ground.
Selections: Ribchester 10/11 – Mutakayyef 7/1 E/W
3.05 Coventry Strakes 6f (Group 2)
The Coventry Stakes over 6 furlongs now and this is a very competitive affair headed by Brother Bear for Jessica Harrington on the back of a comfortable win in a listed contest at the Curragh, he’s one that’s certainly open to improvement and that may well be evident here. AP O’Brien’s main hope here looks to be Murillo who is Ryan Moore’s choice, he’s a well regarded one that won well on his last outing and has to be respected for a trainer that has took this several times. Wesley Ward’s runs Arawak here who’s solo start in the States was a seven length romp, John Velazquez takes the ride. The couple I like here are the Richard Hannon pair of De Bruyne Horse and Denaar. De Bruyne Horse made all to win by seven lengths at Ripon then followed up to win well in the Woodcote at Epsom and looks to have more progression in him and could well make a bold bid to get in the frame here. Denaar is two from two and won on soft ground at Newbury last time and might well appreciate the quick surface a lot more, connections won this last year with Mehmas and he looks a likeable type. Frankie Dettori is on board.
Selections: De Bruyne Horse 13/2 EW – Denaar 9/1 E/W
3.40 King’s Stand Stakes 5f (Group 1)
The Kings Stand over five furlongs looks to be one of the most fascinating contests of the week, the two at the top of the market have been contesting favourtism all week. The first of these two is Marsha for Sir Mark Prescott and Luke Morris. She won the Abbaye last year well at the Arc Meeting and came back this term when defying a 7lb Group 1 penalty to take the Palace House which is immensely impressive. She should certainly be there or thereabouts if repeating that form. The other at the top of the market here is Lady Aurelia for Wesley Ward and Frankie Dettori, she absolutely destroyed the field in the Queen Mary here last year in what was one of the best performances i’ve seen. I often go with my heart as a big fan of this game and I would personally love to see her return to her best here over five furlongs and I will be siding with her to do so. One to take note of at a decent each way price is the French raider Signs Of Blessing. He was recently gelded and put in some performance when winning a Group 1 at Deauville under an 11lb penalty.
Selections – Lady Aurelia 7/2 – Signs Of Blessing 7/1 E/W
4.20 St James Palace Stakes 1m (Group 1)
Another Group 1 now in the St James Palace and it’s headed by a horse that’s seen as one of if not the banker of the meeting in Churchill for AP O’Brien and Ryan Moore. Churchill has won his last seven starts, the last four being Group 1’s. He did the Guineas double winning both 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Curragh, the latter he seemed to progress more when winning. The simple facts are if he progresses again here which he is likely too he is more than likely going to win. However i’m going to try and take him on with a horse that Churchill beat at Newmarket in the second favourite Barney Roy for Richard Hannon. He had a troubled passage that day in the 2,000 and didn’t seem to handle the dip yet still got to within a length of Churchill, he should handle this track a lot better and if he gets a better run he might well get a lot closer to this market principle. It’s going to take a very clever ride from James Doyle but he might just have it in his locker. The other Godolphin runner Thunder Snow looks to be the each way alternative following his second behind Churchill in the 2,000 at the Curragh and several victories in big races around the globe.
Selections: Barney Roy 9/4 – Thunder Snow 14/1 E/W
5.00 Ascot Stakes Handicap 2m 4f (Class 2)
The colossal handicap now over 2 miles 4 and it’s headed by Thomas Hobson for Irish Jumps Champion Trainer and all round racing behemoth Willie Mullins. He bounced back to form over this kind of distance over hurdles this year and and returns to the flat here off a very decent handicap mark. The yard has won two of the last four runnings of this and with Ryan Moore on board it makes him a very big player. One who I also like is Beyond Conceit for another jumps racing behemoth in Nicky Henderson. He missed a good few years through injury but put in some very good performances off this kind of mark for Andrew Balding. He made his return when an impressive second in a Grade 1 at Aintree over 3 miles back in April, he’s absolutely certain to stay this trip and expect a tactical ride from Jamie Spencer. If you follow this blog regularly you’ll know that Yorkidding is one of my favourite horses and she’s in decent form this year, second in the Chester Cup and following up with a narrow victory at Haydock on his last outing. I’ll certainly be on her side too. All three of these are worth a small dabble on each way as it’s a big handicap with several places on offer.
Selections: Thomas Hobson 9/2 E/W – Beyond Conceit 15/2 E/W – Yorkidding 16/1 E/W