Ante-Post betting on the big flat meetings can be a difficult and strange undertaking. It probably doesn’t hold the same gravitas of those who pile into the jumps ante-post circuit. This comes through a lack of opportunity at times. However, Royal Ascot has always provided the opportunity for those that want to find it, and I have made it my mission to try and find a few selections for Royal Ascot in the next few days.
Ante-Post betting is all about trying to find value, and the value must be aligned with the risk of a horse not running and his/her respective price. This is a lot harder at times than the big jumps meetings such as Cheltenham and Aintree as it is not as clear cut of which horses might go for which races. This further adds to the puzzle and is one that is hard to solve.
I have been perusing the majority of the races and the best value bet I can find at the moment comes in the feature race on Wednesday – the Prince of Wales Stakes, over 1 mile and 2 furlongs. This race has an illustrious roll of honour, and it is perhaps poignant that my favourite winner of this race was Free Eagle for Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen back in 2015.
This year looks a typically competitive renewal of the race and it sees last year’s winner, Lord North, now under the traineeship of John & Thady Gosden, come back to defend his crown. He won this race comfortably last year by 3 lengths, which was a coming of age performance. However, he failed to build on that throughout the season on a slightly softer terrain. He was back to his best over in Meydan in March though, cruising through a good field to win the Dubai Turf very comfortably. This put further emphasis on not only his ability, but his need for a very sound surface. His chances will be down to what way the weather goes in the next eight days, but at 2/1, I am willing to let him go for that reason.
Then there is Love, the superstar 3YO filly for Aidan O’Brien last year. However, we have not seen her since winning the Yorkshire Oaks in August last year, and it would take a lot of courage to back her on reappearance after this long away from the track, especially with O’Brien’s string usually taking a run or two to get to full fitness. I fell into the trap of backing Japan in this race last year, and I won’t be making the same mistake this time around.
If you look down the market, you will come to my selection – the very tough and likeable, Addeybb, who looks to go one better in this race than last year. The William Haggas trained 7 year old is made of the toughest stuff, and he added another Group 1 to this list when capturing the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Randwick for the second year in a row last time out. He has a brilliant record around this course and distance at Ascot and his last run at this track yielded a win in the Champion Stakes.
Addeybb is more synonymous with a softer surface than what he will encounter here in the Prince of Wales Stakes next week, but at a price of 10/1, he seems too big a price to let go past me given his course record. The intention is for this tough horse to run in this race and I think there is still a scope for this race to cut up even more than it has done yet. I will be locking in the 3 places available with every other bookmaker at this stage, and at 10/1 with Bet365 – he should have a massive chance of delivering again on his brilliant Ascot record, even on quicker ground than would be ideal.