Royal Ascot Day 1 Betting Tips:
13.15 (Buckingham Palace Handicap)
(SHELIR, 0.5pt each-way @25/1)
(GLEN SHIEL, 0.5pt each-way @20/1)
Betfair, PaddyPower and SkyBet - 6 places 1/5 odds for both selections.
Having been a regular race on the calendar until 2014, this ultra-competitive handicap returns as an additional one-off event to the 2020 Royal Ascot programme. This years race has attracted 24 participants, and I have two selections that represent decent value at respectable double digit odds for connections.
We’re all aware that David O’meara likes targeting these type of races on the biggest occasions, and I find it fascinating that regular pilot Danny Tudhope has decided to ride SHELIR over course specialist Firmament. He ran to a decent level when trained in Ireland over longer distances and on his only previous attempt at 7f, it resulted with a victory in listed company.
Shelir made his stable debut at Newmarket last time out just nine days ago, shaping as though he needed the run when finishing only eighth of ten runners. However, we can expect him to have improved a ton since that outing and this race promises to be run at a true gallop. This looks a good opportunity to see what he can do for the yard, and it would come as no surprise to see him well supported in the market before the off.
I am quite surprised to see Archie Watson’s GLEN SHIEL not shorter in the market based on his overall consistent profile. He’s a lovely horse who still looks to be on a dangerous mark of 100. It was only on his third start for his current stable when he finished an honourable 4th of 20 runners in the Balmoral Handicap at this track over 1m. That was an outstanding effort considering he was encountering heavy ground for the first time and raced a shade too keen in the early stages.
His latest return to action when second at Newcastle looks a good piece of form considering he now returns to the turf for the first time since going close here off this exact mark. A handy draw of stall 10 will give Hollie Doyle plenty of options to place her mount in the best possible position mid-race. The handicapper has given him a fair chance of being involved at the finish and on the balance of his overall profile, there is plenty to like about his current 20/1 price tag with a host of bookmakers offering extra places.
13.50 (Queen Anne Stakes)
(MOHAATHER, 0.5pt each-way @14/1)
(MUSTASHRY, 0.5pt each-way @12/1)
I have marked four of these horses down as winners of the Queen Anne Stakes, so this isn’t an easy puzzle to solve in all honesty. However, I am hopeful about a decent result with two horses who make plenty of appeal on paper at double digits.
The first of those is MOHAATHER trained by Marcus Tregoning. He looks a rock solid selection for this race having gone through this race in plenty of detail on a number of occasions. One of my favourite jockeys around Jim Crowley had the choice of riding the progressive Turjomaan and the 121 rated Mustashry who he has ridden on most of his career starts including a Group 1 success in last years Lockinge Stakes.
I think the choice of ride the former champion has made here speaks volumes meaning he must think Mohaather has a real good chance of making his presence felt. He ran a brilliant race to finish fifth of 16 in the QE II considering it was on ground he wouldn’t have liked and having to come from an unpromising position. The ground this time will be much more to his liking and if he can overcome stall 14, there is no doubt this potential top-class horse will run a massive race.
Speaking of Jim Crowley and although he has decided to overlook MUSTASHRY, I don’t think that gives this already proven Group 1 winner any less of a chance of being involved. He was only seventh in this race last year but he was sent off just 11/2 that day whereas this time around he is a general 12/1 chance on the back of a smooth win over Limato, so I can’t see why he isn't in single figure odds.
Mustashry is also the clear top rated at 121 and only exceptional racehorses achieve that sort of rating whilst last year's race looked much tougher. Dane O’Neill knows him well, and I am quietly confident his mount will improve on last year's finishing effort.
14.25 (Ribblesdale Stakes)
(TREFOIL, 1pt win @5/1)
(SO I TOLD YOU, 0.5pt each-way @40/1)
This doesn’t look like a strong renewal compared to last year and I would be confident one of my two selections can play a part in the finish.
I was visually impressed with TREFOIL last time out who finished third in a Listed event at Newmarket. Those who run at that track prior to running in this event tend to do well here and Trefoil has a nice unexposed profile coming into the race. The Ralph Beckett trained filly has also achieved one of the highest RPR’s in this field therefore, she looks worth chancing at around the 5/1 mark in what is clearly an open race.
On the basis of her overall form, SO I TOLD YOU should not be the outsider in the race by any means. She should have won on her debut albeit in a class 4 event where she was denied a clear run not once, but twice at a crucial stage, yet she still finished the race strongly to be beaten a neck. Nevertheless, she made up for that unlucky defeat when comfortably justifying favouritism next time out.
The daughter of Gleneagles was then stepped up to Listed class next time over 1m3f and she did really well to finish as close as she did in fifth place considering she had to come wide around the field to be beaten only three lengths. I think this track will play to her strengths, and my gut suspicion is that we could be onto some real nice returns if Shane Kelly bides his time on this promising filly.
15.00 (King Edward VII Stakes)
(ARTHUR’S KINGDOM, 0.5pt each-way @5/1)
Quite an interesting statistic occurred to me recently for this race when watching a preview video involving a talented racing enthusiast is the fact that Aidan O’Brien has had many beaten favourites in this event and Mogul has yet to tackle this sort of trip. He could be a good thing but as the market speaks, I am keen to take him on and it is with his stable companion ARTHUR’S KINGDOM. His form is closely tied in with Mogul and he’s yet to finish outside the top two in four career races.
He’s currently 33/1 for the Epsom Derby, and his latest second is a strong piece of form having finished second in a highly competitive Group 1 contest over in France. Arthur’s Kingdom hasn’t done a lot wrong in his career and this extended trip could unlock much more improvement. He’s the clear second highest rated in the race at 107 with Frankie Dettori booked to ride so in reality, he should be around a 3/1 shot. Currently available at 5/1, I am happy to side with him here over the rest as he represents the best value in the contest.
15.35 (King’s Stand Stakes)
NO BET - (Battaash should win this)
Unfortunately, I was originally going to select BATTAASH as my nap of the whole day, but with his odds now below the requirement worthy of a selection, I just can’t advise him on that basis. Even so, the “batmobile” should have too many gears for this field being the best horse in the race and one of the worlds best sprinters.
16.10 (Duke Of Cambridgeshire Stakes)
(QUEEN POWER, 1pt each-way @7/1)
The 7/1 about QUEEN POWER looks more than attractive as far as I’m concerned. The daughter of Sharmadal boosts a fine strike-rate under Silvestre De Sousa and the pair teamed up on this card twelve months ago in the Ribblesdale Stakes (14.25) to finish a respectable fourth place despite pulling hard throughout the contest. She has continued to show progression since that fine run in defeat, most notably when making her seasonal debut in a recent Group 2 at Newmarket, finishing second, and splitting the two Godolphin trained runners, one of those being Magic Lily back in third.
Queen Power was returning from an absence of more than ten months, so she is entitled to have needed that run and we can expect Sir Michael Stoute to have straightened her up for this acid test. The trainer has won this race four times in the last sixteen years (more than any other trainer) with a host of placed runners to enhance his fine record in the race and evidently, Queen Power must hold strong each-way claims to say the least.
16.40 (Ascot Stakes - Handicap)
(SAN BENEDETO, 0.5pt each-way @16/1)
(FAIR MOUNTAIN, 0.5pt each-way @25/1)
BetVictor and BoyleSports - 6 places 1/5 odds for both selections.
The concluding race on the opening day of Royal Ascot is the gruelling Ascot Stakes over 2m+, and with plenty of value on offer, I’m eager to take advantage of that with two selections at generous odds.
Paul Nicholls has two runners in this race near the bottom of the handicap, one of those being SAN BENEDETO who receives weight all around and looks more than worthy of an each-way punt here. This 9-year-old is just short of top-class over fences but is actually a Grade 1 winner in his own right and Tom Eaves has been booked to ride. He’s never run on the flat for connections previously, but he looks extremely well treated off a mark 87 in comparison to his chase mark of 152.
Most runners from this yard do tend to need their first run but one can assume this lad will be ready for this challenge due to him knowing Ascot well (chase course) and the distance won’t be an issue. With this race proving to be a revelation for NH trainers in recent years, Sam Benedeto is on my radar with no hesitation.
Finally, it will take a leap of faith to back FAIR MOUNTAIN who hasn’t been seen for 696 days. Having said that, his overall consistency is there to be observed with two wins and two seconds on four starts for the Dan Skelton stable over hurdles. While this is good form, I am more attracted to his run in the German Derby (Group 1) for which he finished a creditable third as a three-year-old.
Now an eight-year-old who has been lightly-raced in recent years, Fair Mountain clearly retains plenty of his ability and this seems to be a plot by connections. James Doyle is an eye-catching jockey booking and I feel as though the bookmakers have underestimated him at 20/1.
I wish you all the best of luck and fingers crossed we can start the week with a few winners.