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 Three card are below. After a very successful day yesterday with winners at both Ascot and Wexford, I’ll be trying to repeat the dose tomorrow.
Norfolk Stakes (5f)
These 2YO races can be invariably tricky and this race will be no different. There are plenty of factors to try and overcome, including draw and ground. There is forecast rain due the morning of racing and overnight – so perhaps it might be prudent to side with some horses that could act on it. We had great success in the opener today with Quick Suzy, and we will be looking for that continue with Project Dante. Having won well at York on debut on good to soft ground, he makes the step up in class for Bryan Smart. He is drawn standside, which will help, and is clearly a useful colt. At a price of 7/1 with William Hill with four places available, I make him an Each Way shout to start the day.
Hampton Court Stakes (1m2f)
A hard renewal of a race that is usually ultra competitve. Mohaafeth leads the betting for this race, and quite rightly so after progressing through the ranks all year. However, he still has to prove he has the class to defeat these sorts of rivals and at a price of 15/8 – I think he is opposable. The harder thing is finding what to take him on with. I won’t be pushed for a selection in this race, but I wouldn’t put anyone off backing One Ruler in this, with this 10 furlongs trip likely to be right up his street.
Ribblesdale Stakes (1m4f)
A fascinating renewal of this race as it will be interesting to see how the Oaks form lies up against some of the fillies that bypassed that event. Noon Star has risen to the top of the betting for this heat after the success of Snowfall in the Oaks. I’m not as convinced and will be siding with something at a bigger price. I thought it might be worth chancing Dubai Fountain to come back to form, after an underwhelming display in the Oaks. Previous to that she had been very impressive when winning at Chester, and Mark Johnston trained runners are invariably tough to pass. At a big price of 11/1 with 4 places available with Paddy Power, I make her an Each Way selection.
Ascot Gold Cup (2m4f)
Some see this as a point and shout gig for Stradivarius. As much as the three time Gold Cup winner has everything set for equalling the record set by Yeats, I’m just a little reluctant. I would be dubious at backing any horse at this type of price all week, and with small doubts raised from some of last year’s back end performances, I’m not too keen to back him. However, my play is going to avoid the race – as I don’t have a solid enough option to take him on with. I’ll be very hopeful of a huge run from Subjectivist – but I’ll be doing that hoping without a bet on.
Britannia Stakes (1m)
These are races that you are told to avoid if you like the look of your bank balance. 30 runners over a straight mile, with 5/1 the favourite…It’s a recipe for disaster. There are plenty in this who would have to have a chance and plenty that you’ll hear many making cases for. I’m not going to get roped into possibly the trickiest handicap of the year so far for the good of my health. I’ll be keeping an eye on George Peabody and Akmaam in this race, with future handicap wins potentially instore, but will be holding my bullets for this time round.
King George V Stakes (1m4f)
This race provided my biggest heartbreak in my Royal Ascot betting history. This time two years ago, I was willing Constantionple over the line, having backed him numerous times at different prices. He failed by a neck, and I am hoping the same fate does not await one of my best bets for the week. Sir Lamorak (NAP) is a horse who should take all the beating in a contest such as this. Off a mark of 100, which should seem lenient if he is to try and achieve Group honours later in the season, he should be very competitive. I was going to back him for the Group 2 race on Friday over the same C&D, so the fact he turns up in a handicap, only goes to further heighten my interest. At a general price of 4/1, I’ll be looking for some Constantinople Justice.
Buckingham Palace Stakes (7f)
We finish the card with yet another very tricky handicap. This straight 7 furlong contest is a relatively new addition to the schedule, and is for horses rated from 0-105. I wouldn’t have a strong fancy in this race, and in truth, I would say it’s hard for anyone to have a concrete view on the race. It’s another that fits the bill of plenty of chances, plenty of words being spoken, and plenty of small gambles going astray. If you were to give me 2 pounds, I would back Danyah and Bielsa at bigger prices, but I have no massive confidence in either. I think it will prove prudent to give this race a wide berth come the end of the week.