Alongside my Which Bookie colleague, Will Smith, I will be looking through each race of each day of Royal Ascot this week – in search of some winners. There won’t be a bet for every race, but there will be opinions and some selections provided. Yesterday was unfortunately a right off, with the rain hampering the chances of many of my selections. My thoughts for the Day Five card are below.
Chesham Stakes (7f)
The forecast softer ground for the last two days is going to throw a lot of different spanners into already complicated works. With a lot of 2YO horses untested on a softer surface, it adds another layer to the puzzle of finding horses to run well and go close. I wouldn’t be a major advocate for backing anything at short enough prices given these unknowns. Point Lonsdale looks like the right answer to the Chesham this year, after a seriously impressive display when winning at the Curragh by five lengths. However, he’s only 5/4 and it’s soft ground – so I’ll be steering well clear.
Jersey Stakes (7f)
Another competitive race that has no easy solution, especially on worsening ground. Creative Force heads the betting, and probably rightly so – after a convincing win in a Listed contest last time out. Khartoum also brings a good profile for this race, as he seems like a rare O’Brien who would prefer a bit of cut in the ground rather than anything too quick. I would be dubious about having a place in this race because it’s such an open contest. I thought on the bare form that Ace Aussie could well be overpriced at 28/1, but I am more than willing to leave this contest alone.
Hardwicke Stakes (1m4f)
The Hardwicke looks like one of the races of the week this year as it sees a lot of proven Group 1 performers come back to Group 2 level. This field is headed by Wonderful Tonight, with the Group 1 winning mare coming for big support after this morning’s downpour. However, we saw similar support go unrewarded on the similar profile of Bellociom earlier today, so would be keen to let that money go by without sampling the gamble myself. I was quite keen on Sir Ron Priestley for this race, but I am concerned that this ground is against him and as a result, I am going to leave this race as well.
Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6f)
I think it will prove to be a good tactic to side with caution tomorrow afternoon at Ascot, with the ground massively impacting results and form. However, I will be having a bet on the feature sprint. Dream of Dreams would be a very worthy winner of this contest, after finishing a close second in two previous renewals. He went on to win a Group 1 on deep ground at Haydock last summer, so the ground is of no issue or the track. As much as I couldn’t be certain over anything with the ground the way it is, I would be astonished if Dream of Dreams wasn’t fighting out the finish of this race yet again. At a best price of 3/1 with Bet365 – I will be hoping for third time lucky.
Wokingham Stakes (6f)
When a horse is running in a handicap off a mark of 55 at Newcastle in December time, they rarely make up into Royal Ascot performers. However, that has not been the case for the remarkable Rohaan, who comes into the Wokingham Stakes off a welter burden of 112, but with a massive live chance to boot. That chance is based off his Group 2 win last time out at Haydock on heavy ground. He beat Dragon Symbol that day, with that form being franked today in the Commonwealth Cup. Rohaan does have a big weight to carry, but is the class act in this field. At a price of 6/1 with Bet365 with five places, I will be backing him Each Way.
Golden Gates Handicap (1m2f)
People often talk about not getting too attached to horses in a betting sense, as you won’t be able to let them go. However, I am a generous man and I often allow a horse one or two more rolls of the dice to get the job done. This fits the mould of King Frankel perfectly, who I have backed and been so sorely denied the last two times in competitive handicaps. He has risen up the handicap as a result, and runs in this competitive race off a mark of 91. I am playing it safe and I’m going to be backing him Each Way tomorrow, as the risk of backing him on the nose seems risky. He is the straight price of 5/1 with William Hill for 5 places, which seems more than fair. Hopefully he gets his head in front this time, he would deserve it.
Queen Alexandra Stakes (2m5f)
There is nothing that gives me more joy than Course and Distance form and returning to the same race again and again. Hence, the Queen Alexandra wasn’t a head scratcher for me whatsoever. The Grand Visir is a horse you would love to own. He brings you to the big days, he runs his heart out and is often close to landing a big pot. He won this race in 2019 before a close second in 2020. He handles the extreme test that this race provides, while also handeling Ascot and conditions very well also. At a price of 7/1 with Paddy Power for 5 places, he will be my final bet for the week.