ROYAL ASCOT 2019 PREVIEW
A warm welcome to my Royal Ascot Preview for 2019 this year’s preview will be a collection of race verdicts for the majority of the action that will include who I will be betting on in that respective contest as well as some insights on the main contenders that hopefully you will find informative. I’ll be sharing the previews day by day so keep a look out over the next few days and as ever, sit back and enjoy!
Author: Jordan Yates
Image: Jordan Yates
Graphics: Logopit Plus
Day 1 (Tuesday 18th June 2019)
Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1)
The curtain raiser for Royal Ascot is of course the Queen Anne a Group 1 that’s contested over a mile and this year’s renewal is headed by Le Brivido for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore. Winner of the Jersey Stakes here back in 2017 for Andre Fabre, his form has been pretty moderate to date since joining Aidan however he caught the eye when staying on in the Lockinge at Newbury last month and his course form here makes him a main player. Barney Roy is the mount of James Doyle here and is a general 6/1 chance as he makes a very interesting return to the track following an unsuccessful spell at stud. He made a satisfactory return to the track when second here earlier in the season before quickening well to win a Listed race in France the last day. This requires a whole lot more however he quickened well that day to get up close home and gave the impression there’s still something left in the locker and could well come on again here. Laurens is one of the most popular horses in training and she’s a general 7/1 chance here for Karl Burke and PJ McDonald. She once again ran a big race when finishing second in the Lockinge the last day and it’s likely she’ll come on again for that effort and put on a bold showing. The Lockinge winner himself also takes his place in the line up in the form of Mustashry. He’s progressing like a typical Sir Michael Stoute horse and it remains to be seen how far he could actually go, he’s generally around the 6/1 mark and will have the services of retained rider Jim Crowley. Last year’s winner Accidental Agent will be set to defend his crown and is a 12/1 chance to do so, Eve Johnson Houghton’s five year old by Delegator has a bit to find on current form but you wouldn’t want to be ruling him out completely, he’s versatile ground wise also. Franke Dettori rides Hazapour for Dermot Weld, he’s certainly worth his place in the line up and is also versatile ground wise. You can find him trading at a general 9/1.
MUSTASHRY is my selection here for Sir Michael Stoute. He only seems to be getting better with age and showed that with a fine win in the Lockinge the last day, going away in impressive style at the end. The likely rain softened ground could well prove to be issue but he’s a course and distance winner who’s got to be regarded as a main player here. I think the market will probably prove to be correct with Le Brivido and Barney Roy also going close. Hazapour could well run a big race also and is one to keep an eye on.
EACH WAY: MUSTASHRY – (5/1)
Coventry Stakes (Group 2)
It’s likely that the market principals in Aidan O’Brien’s Arizona and Richard Hannon’s Threat will be tough to beat here. I’ve had a go on one at a slightly bigger price though and that comes in the form of Archie Watson’s GUILDSMAN. He made a mighty impression when dominating a Goodwood maiden, it was soft going as well that day and there’s every chance there’s a lot more to come from this two year old by Wootton Bassett.
I’ve also chanced one at a big price here who I think could outrun his odds and that’s MAXI BOY for Michael Bell and Jamie Spencer. He was a 380,000 yearling and I was impressed with the way he won on debut at Yarmouth last time, a strongly run affair over this distance should be well within his comfort zone and despite this demanding a lot more he could well run a big race at a big price under Jamie Spencer.
EACH WAY: GUILDSMAN (7/1)
EACH WAY: MAXI BOY (33/1)
King’s Stand Stakes (Group 1)
One of the clashes of the week comes in the King’s Stand where we see Battaash and Blue Point lock horns again a year on from when the latter came out on top in this race. Battaash looked back to his brilliant best when winning the Temple Stakes the last day at Haydock and is the right market leader on the back of that you’d say at a general 15/8. Blue Point will however have something to say about that, winner of this race last year he had a fantastic season in Meydan earlier in the year culminating in another Group 1 success. The Meydan form from many horses hasn’t translated however on home soil, but if he does turn up in the same form as of late he’s got to be bang there. James Doyle is on board and he’s a general 3/1.
Mab’s Cross is an extremely popular filly as well as a very smart one. She finished third in this last year behind the market principals and will likely give a very solid account of herself once again. She’s a general 8/1 chance and is once again under the guidance of Paul Mulrennan. Wesley Ward has Imprimis in the line up who’s a prolific winner and won his two starts to of this season. He’s the mount of Franke Dettori and is a general 11/1 chance. Other runners to note are Aidan O’Brien’s Sergei Prokofiev who needs to step up on what he’s shown so far this season and one of my personal favourite horses looks to take his place and that’s Archie Watson’s Soldiers Call. He went from strength to strength last season, winning the Windsor Castle and going close in the Abbaye and made an encouraging return to the track when third at York last time.
The race looks a battle between the top two in the betting and I think BATTAASH will come out on top on this occasion. You are taking a risk when backing him as you just don’t know which Battaash will turn up but his win the last day in the Temple Stakes at Haydock makes him desperately hard to oppose.
I’ve also sided with SOLDIER’S CALL as an each way alternative, mainly for sentimental reasons however you can’t be completely dismissing his chances. He gave the impression there’s still a lot more to come with his reappearance effort last time at York and his form last season as stated in the preview, went from strength to strength. He’s every chance of running into a place here.
WIN: BATTAASH (15/8)
EACH WAY: SOLDIERS CALL (11/1)
St James Palace Stakes (Group 1)
Another Group 1 and another seemingly battle of the two at the top of affairs of who I’m actually siding with TOO DARN HOT to reverse the placings with the favourite and his Irish 2000 Guineas conqueror Phoenix Of Spain. There’s no denying that Charlie Hills’ three year old by Lope De Vega was by far the best the last day at Curragh and put Too Darn Hot in his place comfortably however John Gosden is on record of saying it was very poor planning and to be honest it was. He didn’t run a bad race at all in the Dante and I thought he stayed well myself, and then another good race just a week later in the Irish Guineas. I think with a proper break in between his races as he has now had he can show us what he’s properly about back over a mile. King Of Comedy and Skardu are likely to be involved in the places and a mention has to go to French raider Shaman, who could be a lively outsider under Maxime Guyon.
WIN: TOO DARN HOT (9/4)
Ascot Stakes Handicap (Class 2)
The penultimate race on the first day is the Ascot Stakes Handicap, a contest that takes place over just shy of two miles and four furlongs and I’ve had two bets in the race. The first of which is the Willie Mullins trained BUILDMEUPBUTTERCUP, she’s a maiden winner over hurdles and then struggled slightly when tried in mostly graded hurdle events. The yard have a fantastic record in this contest though winning it four times since 2012 and Ryan Moore has been on board for three of those occasions. I also think COEUR DE LION can go well here as the market suggests, I was at Chester for his win the last day when the ground was desperate and he did it very well. That looked a perfect prep for this and I don’t think it would be any surprise should he he be involved at the business end once again as he so often is in these kind of races.
EACH WAY: BUILDMEUPBUTTERCUP (13/2)
EACH WAY: COEUR DE LION (8/1)
Wolferton Stakes (Class 1) (Listed)
The Wolferton Stakes concludes the racing on the first day of this star studded meeting and it’s another fiercely competitive affair. The two who are currently at the top of the market make obvious appeal in the likes of Mark Johnston’s Elarqam and Aidan O’Brien’s Magic Wand. The former winning a Group 3 the last day and the latter winning the Ribblesdale here last year. Addeyybb is on a recovery mission to find his Group 2 winning form, he ran a strange race at Chester last time when finishing fourth but could well build on that here under James Doyle. Riven Light represents Willie Mullins, a smart gelding who has won some valuable pots on the level and was unlucky not to take the spoils when going down a head in a Listed event on reappearance the last day. He’s the mount of Colin Keane and a general 11/1.
I’ve once again had two each way selections at decent prices in another sizeable field. The first of these comes in the form of last year’s Irish Derby winner LATROBE for Joseph O’Brien. He’s not been at his best so far this term but on his best form of last season he’s surely got a massive chance in what is an ease in grade here, his best form is over further than today’s trip however I still think he’s got to be in the thick of it in this company. Donnacha O’Brien takes the ride. The other I’ve taken a chance on is the expensive Dansili/Izzi Top colt that is WILLIE JOHN. I was at Doncaster when he was beaten at short odds on reappearance however he ran a very solid race on his latest outing when second behind Elarqam in a Goodwood Group 3. If building on that here he’s every chance of going close for his top connections who have always held him in high regard.
EACH WAY: LATROBE (8/1)
EACH WAY: WILLIE JOHN (10/1)