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 Two card are below.
Queen Mary Stakes (5f)
We start the Wednesday off with a fascinating 2YO sprint for fillies. With plenty of exciting and speedy types in this, it could all come down to who stays the best and who has the most tactical speed at the right stages during the race. I am a fan of Quick Suzy from the Gavin Cromwell stable. She won her second start in maiden company decisively at the Curragh before only being mowed down late in a Group 3 at Navan over 6 furlongs last time out. The decision to drop this speedy filly back down in trip looks a sensible move – as she has more than enough pace to lie up with the principles within this race. At a price of 9/1 with Bet365 with 5 places available – she looks a solid each way option.
Queens Vase (1m6f)
The Queen’s Vase is often a tricky race and is often a hard race to get to the bottom of. Very few of these have run over the extended distance of 1 mile and 6 furlongs so therefore you are taking it on trust as to who might stay and who won’t. Aidan O’Brien has a few chances in this, with Wordsworth looking his best option. That being said, he doesn’t look bombproof by any means and at a price of 5/2 – he looks opposable. If I was pinned to a selection, I would have an interest in Taipan for Jessie Harrington and Shane Foley, but I won’t be in any mad rush to have a bet in this race.
Duke of Cambridge Stakes (1m)
This fillies and mares race looks like one of the best of the entire meeting – with plenty of different formlines meeting each other in a brilliant Group 2 contest. Lady Bowthorpe is your deserving favourite, after a smashing second to Palace Pier in the Lockinge Stakes. She now returns to her own sex and to Group 2 oppostion – so is well entitled to have a massive chance. However, I am quite keen on the progessive Parent’s Prayer – who brings likeable Irish form to the table for Archie Watson. Having been closely matched with Epona Plays on reappearance (form franked), Parent’s Prayer blew a Group 3 field apart at Epsom on Derby weekend. That earned her a ticket here and is certainly not one to underestimate. At a price of 14/1 with William Hill with 4 places on offer, she is another each way bet.
Prince of Wales Stakes (1m2f)
I was awfully disappointed to see no Addeyyb in the final declarations for this race, as he was my only ante-post selection for this week. The ground just didn’t fall right for him, and it was a sensible move from connections to wait for another day with the likable seven year old. It leaves the race wide open with Lord North and Love contesting favouritism at the top of the market. I would be keen enough to take on Love in this, as she hasn’t been seen since York last year and has had a few hold up, although she is the best horse in this race – she may well need this run. Lord North looks a more likeable option and at 9/4 with Paddy Power – I will be willing to play him.
Royal Hunt Cup (1m)
As usual, the Royal Hunt Cup looks like one of the trickiest races of the week to find the winner of. It takes a lot of diligent research to even try to find a selection for this race. I quite like the look of Finest Sound, who is currently favourite for the race at 7/1. He brings in C&D form from last year’s Royal Ascot, where he finished a clear second to Khaloosy in the Britannia Handicap. He comes into this race after a gutsy win at Haydock and should be primed to run well. I also like Bowerman, who might be potentially working his way back to a competitive mark in this race. However, the race is just too hard to have any proper faith in, so I will be giving it a wide berth.
Windsor Castle Stakes (5f)
Another 2YO sprint which is very hard to navigate your way through. These 2YO races are sometimes the hardest at this meeting, as you’re bringing such unexposed and inexperienced horses together, with very little lateral form line to work with. Ruthin looked a potentially above average filly when winning on debut at Keeneland over 5 and a half furlongs, and I would be interested in her potentially backing that up in this contest with the fillies allowance. I will also be monitoring how well Admiral D runs for Mick O’Callaghan and Leigh Roche. He did it nicely at Listowel and will be a big price, but not enough to tempt me into a bet.
Kensington Palace Stakes (1m)
A very tricky Day Two card ends with an equally difficult handicap for fillies and mares. I like the look of two in this race for having a vested interest, but again – nothing strong enough to warrant a selection. First of all, Declared Interest looks to have a decent chance in this at around the 10/1 mark. She ran well in the Sandringham this time last year and has been steadily progressive since. I was impressed with how she won at Leicester and could well improve. Apricot Moon at a big price might also be worth a mention if she returned to her best form for her new trainer.
Alongside the main action from Royal Ascot, I will be having a small raid on the National Hunt card at Wexford. The man of the hour in Irish National Hunt Racing, Paul Nolan has some interesting contenders throughout the card – which I am keen to side with. I will be starting off with Valentina Lady in the opening maiden hurdle. Based on some of her bumper form, she should be well clear on the ratings in this and at a general price of 9/4 – should take all the beating.
In the 4.45, I fancy the long time absentee, Shawshank, who if returning in his best form, would have the beating of this field every day of the week. With Barry O’Neill an eye-catching booking for a smart horse for this grade, I will take the 12/1 available with SkyBet with 4 places as an each way selection.
Finally, in the bumper, I will also be hoping that Jeremy’s Jewel can return in the form that saw her finish a close up fifth in a very competitive mares bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival of 2020. I can report that she has had problems with her wind, which seem to have been ironed out. If returning to her full capability, the general 3/1 will seem like a good bet.