It’s been a great start to the new season for reigning Champions Liverpool, but it’s just got even better for Connolly, who is the winner…
The Ascot Stakes takes place on Tuesday 16th June and WhichBookie horse racing expert Will Smith has provided us with his tips of the big race.
If you’d like to take a look at Will’s other horse racing tips, be sure to head to the main betting tips page or read below for his top picks for the 2020 Ascot Stakes.
Note: Any odds featured on this page were correct at time of publishing (21:52pm 11/06/2020) and are subject to change.
Blue Laureate –14/1 EW (Paddy Power)
The Ascot Stakes has long been one of my favourite races in the flat calendar, and it has long been the favourite of Willie Mullins and various other dual-purpose trainers. Mullins, in particular, has farmed the race recently – but owing to the various travel restrictions in place and the fact he has probably given a lot of his horses a bit of a break, Mullins doesn’t send any over this year.
The initial entries are out, and declarations will be made on Saturday, but I feel now might be the time to wade in with a selection for various reasons. Not least, that the likely second favourite Roger Charlton’s True Destiny could well miss the cut, as there is a maximum field of 20 runners and he is number 27 on the list.
There is another dual-purpose trainer, who won’t be as near the forefront of people’s minds as Willie Mullins, but maybe he should be. Ian Williams trained the winner and the third home in the Ascot Stakes last year, and not only that, he now trains last year’s well backed favourite for the race, Mancini.
Mancini had a pipe opener in a staying handicap at Haydock on Monday, but he also saddled Blue Laureate in the same race, who was a very noteworthy second to Ralph Beckett’s Moon King. Notable because he was held up at the rear of a stop-start gallop, and made up good late ground under Cieren Fallon, all the while looking like he still had plenty left in the tank. That he was just touched off by Moon King is no bad thing, as it means he doesn’t pick up a penalty for winning that race. Blue Laureate looks a great bet at 14/1 each-way with Paddy Power, who offer five places for each-way purposes.
Blue Laureate has had a number of runs at Ascot, and every time he has been strong at the line over trips varying from 1m4f to 2m. This will be the first time that he tries the extreme trip of 2m4f, but every indication suggests he will relish it, and with the presence of a number of front runners in the race it is sure to be run at a decent enough clip.
There would be a slight worry about the 8-day turnaround, but I see it as a positive actually. He is the sort of horse that keeps a bit back for himself, hence the fact he has run some of his best races in cheekpieces, and also in a visor at Newmarket last season when chasing home Land Of Oz just eight days after a good win at Ffos Las, on ground that would have been plenty lively enough for him.
Cieren Fallon gets a lovely tune out of him, knows how to push the right button at the right time, and it is surely a matter of time before Fallon Junior notches up a Royal Ascot win.
Verdana Blue will be popular with many, but surely this will stretch her stamina to the limit, on ground that has ‘good to soft’ places in it today, and with rain forecast for tomorrow.
The Ascot Stakes often goes to a leading dual-purpose handler, and this could be the year that Ian Williams joins Willie Mullins, Martin Pipe and Tony Martin in winning it more than once, in the shape of Blue Laureate backing up The Grand Visir last year.