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. My thoughts for the Day Four card below.
Albany Stakes (6f)
Another day to start off with a 2YO sprint, which have given me some decent success throughout this week. I thought that Project Dante was perhaps a shade unlucky today in the Norfolk. I am quite keen on one for the Albany this year, which is unlike me. Elliptic is a filly who’s form has been boosted already this week with Quick Suzy winning the Queen Mary. This filly trained by Donnacha O’Brien beat that rival on her racecourse debut before finishing second at the Curragh next time out. That defeat was to the very exciting, Dr Zempf, and that could prove to be red hot form come the end of the season. At a price of 11/1 with Bet365 with 4 places, that seems like a solid each way bet.
King Edward VII Stakes (1m4f)
These middle distance Group 2 and Group 3 races have been difficult all week to get a handle on and this race looks no different. It’s very hard to judge the form of Alenquer, who beat subsequent Derby winner, Adayer, in good fashion at Sandown at the start of the season. Adayar has quite clearly improved massively since then, which is something to bear in mind if siding with the 2/1 favourite. The Mediterrean looks like he might have a progressive profile coming into this race, but perhaps would want a little further than this trip. With all this taken into account, I’m going to swerve this race.
Commonwealth Cup (6f)
Another fascinating renewal of the Commonwealth Cup, which has a fascinating American challenger in this. Campanelle, who won the Queen Mary at this festival last year, would have to have a massive chance in this race despite her lack of a prep run. She won the Prix Morny over this trip on heavy ground so stamina is assured, while she clearly has the speed to lie up in a race such as this. I’m also a fan of A Case of You for the underrated team of Ado McGuinnes. He did it nicely over 6f at Naas, which has brought him to 3/3 over that trip. This stiff six furlongs should also suit him. It’s potentially too competitive to pin my colours to the mast, so I will leave this race.
Coronation Stakes (1m)
I love when different formlines meet together to prove which of these 3 year olds will reign supreme in the mile ranks for fillies. Personally, I see no reason to not side with the horse who brings the best form to the table. That filly is Mother Earth (NAP) who comes here after taking the English 1000 Guineas and a second in the French equivalent. That form quite clearly sets the standard here, yet the market would suggest that she might be up against it to land this race. Primo Bacio has come in for strong support, but the form of her Listed win at York doesn’t even compare to that of Mother Earth. At a price of 4/1 with Paddy Power, she is my best bet of the day.
Sandringham Stakes (1m)
Another puzzling handicap which I have been doing my best to duck and dive away from all week. I am usually quite keen in getting into handicaps over the obstacles during the height of winter, but with these straight course handicaps at Ascot, I am best served observing than acting. I quite the Juddmonte pair in this race, with Pomelo and Lucid Dreamer both looking like they may have scope for improvement off their marks – but it’s nothing solid from me.
Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (1m4f)
I suffered the crulest of blows today with Sir Lamorak just failing to get the job done in the handicap over this C&D. This race looks equally tricky but I am quite keen on course form and last year’s winner of this race is just too big a price to refuse. Scarlet Dragon looks like he has been laid out for this race yet again after collecting under a super ride from Hollie Doyle this time last year. She will have to be at her best again this year if he is to defy a post draw of 6, but at a price of 18/1 with Paddy Power with 5 places available, it’s worth a bet.
Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes (5f)
When Art Power destroyed the field in this race last year, it was hard not to have a massive smile on the face. There is nothing quite like seeing a group horse in a handicap and perform like it. However, this year’s renewal looks a lot tougher and there is no such horse just about to burst out into the group ranks, or so it looks. I’m going to risk one at a massive price in this race, with the smart 2YO, Caroline Dale. She showed up superbly last year when finishing a close third in the Queen Mary behind Campanelle. The form of that run, combined with her efforts in Group 3 and Listed events after, give her scope for improvement off an opening mark of 95. She hasn’t been seen for 10 months now – but there is optimism that sher could run a big race here. At a price of 33/1 with Bet365 with 5 places available, I’ll back her Each Way.