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BillyHills

Royal Ascot 2015 ~ Tuesday 16th June

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Tuesday's Action:

2:30pm The Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1) 4+ £375000 One mile
3:05pm The Coventry Stakes (Group 2) 2 £120000 Six furlongs
3:45pm The King’s Stand Stakes (Group 1) 3+ £375000 Five furlongs
4:20pm The St James’s Palace Stakes (Group 1) 3 colts £375000 Old mile
5:00pm The Ascot Stakes (Handicap) 4+ £60000 Two and a half miles
5:35pm The Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed) 2 £60000 Five furlongs

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carrying over 20 pts from todays bet to kings stand muthmir 99.56 jack dexter 99.31 pearl secret 99.23 shamal wind 99.23 jack dexter looks a fantastic ew bet here around 20/1 and could run really well but for win purposes muthmirs recent race puts him in pole position to take this ....recorded a fast time in france and wont mind any rain or the stiff ascot course ....holds all the cards ..his to lose muthmir 10 pts ew 5/1 corals

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coventry stakes round two 98.77 air force blue 98 55 buratino 98.50 notorioysly difficult race ..so just going to squeeze a bit of profit out if can .....air force blue looks a typical o brien improver so warrants serious respect but round two clocked a very decent time lto with promise of more to come ...one to beat round two 5 pts win 9/4 pp airforce blue 2 pts win 8/1 bet365

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ascot stakes fun mac 99.12 clondaw warrior 99.04 ray ward 99.02 very diff race .....but fun mac ran an absolute cracker lto ...much stronger than the favs ray wards run so sets the standard .....clondaw warrior is a huge danger being a typical jump horse ...but aged 8 ??? ...only negative I can see......decent prices so ill take a tag team fun mac 4 pts win 15/2 corals clondaw warrior 4 pts win 8/1 betfred

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2.30 Queen Anne Stakes Solow for me the best horse in the world. Plenty of pace and with 9 wins from the last 10 I think this horse can afford the race to unravel in any manner. Able Friend is a huge wildcard but I would struggle to back it at 9/4 as it never seems to beat much in Hong Kong. Solow 6/4 win betfred. 3.05 Coventry Stakes Very strong race here with lots of depth. Air Force Blue ran a very good debut with the form working out very well (2nd and 3rd won very handily next time out) but I question whether AOB will have him far enough along to win this one. Round Two looks decent but the race is too strong to back it at so short. Buratino is the real star for me here. Winning a 6f 2yo listed race by 6 lengths is exceptional, and the field was well strung out even beyond the second place horse. Buratino 8/1 win betfred. 3.40 Kings Stand Stakes Sole Power is a fair enough price at 7/2 with perfect conditions. Bit of depth to this race with Spirit Quartz a potential improver if he can settle better. Wind fire was also unlucky last time but I'm a big fan of Mecca's Angel. Has only lost once since being a 2yo, though it's possibly a negative that the trainer has never before put him in a group one. Trainer doesn't think he wants fast ground but good ground should be perfect, given this horse has won registering some very fast times. His last performance under penalty at Longchamp was exceptional, with several top performers in behind. Mecca's Angel 8/1 win betfred. 4.20 St. James's Palace Stakes Looks like a match here between Gleneagles and Make Believe. All the hype is about Gleneagles but I don't think that's fair on Make Believe. To beat a subsequent French derby winner by an easy 3 lengths is a brilliant feat. If Make Believe's performance was in England or Ireland I think he'd be a lot shorter. Make Believe 7/2 win ladbrokes. 5.00 Ascot Stakes Really strong hand here for Willie Mullins. Digeanta is a bigger price and for me too big. Was backed into 3/1 for a quite hot handicap at Leopardstown recently and finished close enough to suggest still in top form. Went very close in the Cesarewitch last year and I think this horse can excel at the extreme distance. Asbury Boss is a very unexposed handicapper with only 6 runs yet. Seasonal reappearance was a very good third of 19 in a pretty good Curragh handicap and was also very close in the Irish Cesarewitch. Another one who I think should stay on at the extra distance. Buckland isn't necessarily one who I think should be favourite but is a very consistent performer and has good course form. The horse has won off 86 and 91 and tackles this off 88. The horse seemed to travel well here lto over 2 miles but couldn't find extra. Really sticks out as one to improve for the step up in trip. Digeanta e/w 16/1 racebets, Asbury Boss e/w 16/1 Skybet, Buckland 25/1 e/w Skybet. 5.35 Windsor Castle Stakes Really weak race for and very tough to make a case for a lot of them. With that in mind Washington DC looks by far the most likely winner. 2 lengths down to round two lto gives him the best form in the race, and with AOB the trainer the best prospects of improvement. Having raced 3 times already the horse has had ideal preparation, and I think he should be a fair bit shorter. Nelspruit is a good horse to also back at a big price. Richard Hannon's record in 2yo Stakes races is exceptional. This horse is second string, which is fair enough but I think he just ran into one in Buratino. As mentioned before the field was really well strung out behind Nelspruit and I think he has a realistic shot of winning. Washington DC win 11/2 Coral, Nelspruit 25/1 win betfred.

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Royal Ascot - Queen Anne Stakes: Royal Ascot is looming large - my favourite race meeting! It kicks off with the Queen Anne Stakes - my favourite race in the world! Races over one mile always fascinated me. It's no surprise - my all-time hero is a miler: the almighty Paco Boy. He himself won the Queen Anne back in 2009 in breathtaking style; Richard Hughes sitting off the pace, Paco hard held on the the bridle, produced a devastating turn of foot when finally unleashed. Good, old memories.... The 2015 renewal shapes as a race for the ages. It reminds me a bit of 2010, when wonder mare Goldikova got the better of Paco Boy in a dramatic finish. It wouldn't be a surprise to see a similarly tight result this time again. Five years later Goldikova's trainer Freddy Head has another chance to win the big one - this time with Solow, a five year old gelding. Solow, unbeaten in his last six starts, couldn't be in better form. He won the Dubai Turf and Prix D'ispahan this year, both times in sensational fashion. It took him a while to win his first Group 1, but he improved dramatically over the last number of month to develop rapidly into a global superstar. Currently trading 6/4, he is well fancied to land the odds in the Queen Anne. Is he a good thing? He probably is. Although if you want to to find some negative aspects you don't need to dig too deep. It's the very nature of the race which may or rather may not quite suit him. The mile trip on fast ground against top level opposition is a new test for Solow. His recent top performances came over slightly further and he has never raced on anything faster than good. That does not have to be a problem, but my suspicion is he'll need certainly a quick pace which ensures the emphasis is more on stamina than on raw speed in order to be seen to full effect here. Whether we get a good pace or not is hard to say. The race could well turn into a tactical affair. This would potentially count against Solow. Not because he hasn't a turn of foot or the class, but because he meets a rival who is very likely to possess even more speed, a rival who's likely to enjoy exactly those kind of conditions: Able Friend. The joint leader in the World's Best Racehorse Rankings (on turf), he has bagged four Group 1's in his unbeaten run of six. He's thought to be the best miler in the world at the moment -and it easy to see why: Regular jockey Joao Moreira, merely a passenger on most occasions, usually can start to salute the crowd at Sha Tin from half a furlong out, so authoritative is the manner of Able Friend's victories. Arguably his most impressive success came in the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup this January this year, when beating a classy field hard on the bridle, despite meeting some in-running trouble. Able Friend will encounter unusual conditions at Ascot. Not so much the ground, which will suit perfectly - but a straight, stiff mile is completely alien to him. How is he going to cope with it? That's the big question. He probably won't mind whatever pace they go. They often go a good clip in Hong Kong's top class races. He loves to come from the back in a strongly run race, but equally is able to unleash a deadly turn of foot if they crawl. If Joao Moreira is able to settle the big horse early on and conserve energy for when it really matters, I feel Able Friend could have too much speed for Solow. Though, this is not a match-race. On can't rule out recent Lockinge Stakes winner Night Of Thunder. The 2014 Guineas heroine, found it subsequently tough to win last season, but bounced back to his best when landing the Lockinge Stakes in dramatic fashion. This represents good form, but might not be good enough to beat the big guns. Stable mate Toormore also bounced back to form in the Lockinge. He stayed on to finish second just beaten by a neck that day. Andre Fabre's mare Esoterique is a Group 1 winner in France. Quick ground counts against her, so does the overall look of her form. The trio Here Comes When, Cougar Mountain and Glory Awaits would need to find some dramatic improvement to trouble the better fancied horses in this field. Verdict: This is a fantastic renewal - we'll going to see two true superstars going head to head. No doubt, the Queen Anne Stakes evolve around the French Solow and Hong Kong's Able Friend. It's a duel to savour! That says Night Of Thunder is a really good horse in his very own right and I could see him adopting positive tactics which might be an advantage in a potentially tactical affair - nonetheless, he lacks the class of the other two. To see anyone else involved would be a shock. I already hinted that I have a slight preference for Able Friend in the likely fast conditions over a mile - as long as he is able to cope with the Ascot straight mile. But certainly there isn't much between him and Solow. I have them both in and around 7/4 but the betting has Solow as the clear favourite. So it's rather easy for me to select Able Friend since his price looks a bit over the top. Able Friend @ 9/4 Paddy Power - 10pts Win

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Royal Ascot - King's Stand Stakes: Can Sole Power make it a hat-trick in the King's Stand? That's the all important question. History is against him and of course Eddie Lynam's charge isn't getting any younger. But Sole Power showed no signs of ageing when landing the big sprint on Dubai World Cup night earlier this year. Give him five furlongs and quick ground and he's still capable of producing his trademark turn of foot! The ground is going to be on the fast side on Tuesday - only a sudden monsoon could change that. A rattling pace is also ensured, with plenty of front-runners in the field - conveniently drawn in close proximity of Sole Power - which means, if the field splits into two groups, he is likely to be in the right one. Progressive Muthmir appears to be the biggest danger on paper. He won a good Group 2 sprint in France recently. Muthmir seems a sort likely to improve with time and age and for that reason is one to take very seriously here. The Australians send over experienced mare Shamal Wind. A a seasoned runner and undoubtly a good sprinter in her own country, but It took here a very long time to win on the highest level. It's probably fair to assume she is not quite Australia's sprint elite, though she won the Grade 1 Oakleigh Plate when last seen. Her nation has the reputation for developing the best sprinters in the world, and there is surely some merit to. That says not every Aussie sprinter coming over to Europe is automatically better than the domestic opposition. Last years Haydock Sprint Cup winner G Force can't be underestimated, although he seems better over six furlongs. The ground has gone against Mecca's Angel, otherwise she would be very well fancied for a big run. From the bigger prices I'd call out Goldream and last years runner-up Stepper Point. They could outrun their price tag. It'll be interesting to see whether recent Temple Stakes winner Pearl Secret can follow-up with another big performance or if it was only a fluke. Verdict: To be perfectly honest I find it very hard to oppose Sole Power. His record speaks for volumes, he finds the right conditions here and has the pace around him. He's still capable of winning the big races as he proved at Meydan and appears to be a better price than I would have expected. ? Sole Power @ 7/2 Paddy Power - 5pts Win

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carrying over 20 pts from todays bet to kings stand muthmir 99.56 jack dexter 99.31 pearl secret 99.23 shamal wind 99.23 jack dexter looks a fantastic ew bet here around 20/1 and could run really well but for win purposes muthmirs recent race puts him in pole position to take this ....recorded a fast time in france and wont mind any rain or the stiff ascot course ....holds all the cards ..his to lose muthmir 10 pts ew 5/1 corals
just wanted to add .......meccas angel is in fifth position 99.21 ....ive missed out but thought its best to put her in as shes in receipt of the females 3 lb allowance which makes her competitive ....at 7/1 there are others better value ...but still of interest

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Ascot 3:40 - King's Stand Stakes Wind Fire produced a career best when finishing 3rd in the Temple Stakes last time out and that's enough for me to think he's trained on considerably over the winter. He was given a poor ride that day only getting a clear run well inside the final furlong but was only beaten 3 parts of a length at the finish. This is a big step up but he's shaping as a progressive 4 year old and interestingly Oisin Murphy picks him over Hot Streak who went off favourite in this race last year finishing in the top 3. Sky Bet are paying 4 places and I like his chances of hitting the frame at a big price. Wind Fire - 1pt each way @ 33/1 Skybet

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Royal Ascot - Ascot Stakes: Big field, long distance - it's the Ascot Stakes over the marathon trip of 2 miles and 4 furlongs! Despite 20 runners in the line-up we have one clear favourite. David Simcock's Ray Ward is well fancied to land the odds. It's easy to see why. He acts on fast ground, stays the trip and and is potentially on a good mark. His prep run over sharp 10f couldn't have gone any better either. Clearly, there's plenty to like about Ray Ward. Generally lightly raced Fun Mac may join Ray Ward at the head of the market come the start of the race. He was an ultra impressive winner on his seasonal reappearance. An 11 lengths winner in a class 3 Handicap - you don't see that too often. Fun Mac goes on any kind of ground and has clearly potential for further improvement. A 14lb hike in the mark makes life tougher though and he's untested over marathon trips. Veteran Clondaw Warrior has been in fine form over hurdles in recent weeks. He won the November Handicap at Leopardstown last year, so is a good stayer on the flat as well as he is good over the sticks. Lightly raced Lycidas won a good 2m Handicap when last seen. There is more to come from him. Irish raider Digeanta has the benefit of feather weight. He just made the cut as an 88 rated individual but has some good staying performances to his name. He wasn't disgraced on his seasonal reappearance and could go well. Godolphin's Statutory is an improving stayer and ground independent. Main concern is the lack of a recent run as well as his high handicap mark. Another lightly raced sort is Asbury Boss. He shaped with promise in 2m contests in his last two starts. On only his third Handicap start, he is one to like. Experienced stayer Broxbourne was in good form over jumps this season. He returns to the flat and is on a handy mark, only 1lb above his last win. Top weight Hurricane Higgins will have a tough task off 9st 10lb but has been in fine form this year and is a classy stayer on his day. He won a Novice Hurdle last month and a good staying race on the Lingfield All-Weather in February after a long break. He proved to stay this sort of marathon trip in the past and acts on fast ground. He's one who relishes these kind of tests with a big field where he can stay on from the back passing as many horses as he likes. Boite has been third in the Group 3 Queen's Vase two years ago, so has excellent Royal Ascot form. He couldn't quite follow on from there but seems to find something back of his old best this year - he hasn't been out of the money in four starts. Johnny Murtagh's Hardstone has been prolific on the All-Weather and coped well with the step up in trip at Leopardstown earlier this month. More is required here, though. Big Thunder would be well handicapped if he can stay the distance. Shwaiman is on an interesting mark if he can bring his recent Hurdle form now to the flat. Verdict: A wide open renewal of the Ascot Stakes. Many horses seem to come right for the big race and you could easily make a serious case for half the field. I'm in the hunt for for a bit of value, though and my initial feeling has only hardened: Hurricane Higgins is overpriced. Yes, he has quite a big task assigned as top weight, but horses with big weights usually do well here. HH finds ideal conditions at Ascot, is sure to stay, sure to be in good form, happy on the ground and usually likes these type of races. He is still as good as ever as he proved when winning first time out off a near three year long break at Lingfield earlier this year. Hurricance Higgins @ 16/1 Paddy Power - 5pts Win

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5:35 Ascot - Windsor Castle Stakes You can ignore Areen's last run as he had no chance drifting badly to the left after breaking from a poor draw. He never settled in rear that day but he was very impressive on his debut when thrown straight into a competitive novice race at York. His trainer Kevin Ryan clearly thinks a lot of him and he must be quite forward physically. He's drawn near the rail with tons of pace around him so he should settle much better this time and if he does as he did on his first start, he's got to be in with a chance. Areen - 1pt each-way @ 20/1 Skybet

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Royal Ascot: Coventry Stakes Jim Bolger's Round Two (photo) was utterly impressive when beating a smart Ballyoyle prospect at the Curragh recently. The step up to 6f can only be in his favour here, so he's red hot favourite for all the right reasons. Which doesn't necessarily mean he's a price to invest in. Slight question marks over the fast ground have to be put to bed before I'd be prepared to dig into 9/4 in a race where so many others make plenty of appeal too. Wesley Ward has been successful with his printers at Royal Ascot in recent years - can he do it again? He brings over another speedball - Finnegan was only beaten on his debut run, though on Dirt, but didn't make a mistake second time out, when switched to turf. He's a really good looking individual with loads of speed. If he can stay the extra furlong he'll be a big runner. Aiden O'Brien enrolss only one runner in the Coventry: War Front son Air Force Blue. He got off the mark on debut at the Curragh, despite being green particularly at the start of the race. But he showed plenty of pace and travelled like a dream. He got a bit tired in the end but held on. Clearly a smart individual who should relish the fast ground, he's a major contender, given that this form works out extremely well. Buratino is unbeaten over six furlongs in two starts. He won a Listed contest on Derby day in tremendous style. He'll absolutely love the fast ground ad must be taken very serious. War Department was a fine debut winner at Leicester and can improve. William Haggas's charge ran to a Timeform rating of 100+ first time out, so is clearly a smart individual. There are many more interesting colts are in the line-up. First Selection is a bigger price to take into consideration. Richard Hannon's pair of Eltezam and Age Of Empire can't be underestimated either. Maccus for Brian Meehan looked good at Windsor on debut. Verdict: There isn't much form available and it is always difficult to accurately assess the potential each and every individual in this race has. That says as mentioned before, I'm inclined to take on the favourite, for price and ground reasons. While the US runner might be found out for stamina over the stiff Ascot finish. But I really like Aiden O'Brien's Air Force Blue and it looks significant that there is seemingly confidence behind this horse as that is signalled by the fact that Ballydoyle has only this one runner in the field, while theoretically they'd have a whole armada of two year old colts good enough to run. This son of War Front was impressive on debut and looks a tick overpriced here I feel. ? Air Force Blue @ 8/1 Coral - 5pts Win

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Royal Ascot ~ Day 1 2.30: Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1) (1m) The opening race at the Royal meeting usually goes to a fancied runner and with Able Friend and Solow at the head of the market I see no reason why things will be different this time round. Of the two you have to fancy the French runner Solow, only beaten once in his last ten starts and comes here on the back of two Group 1 victories. Able Friend is from Hong Kong and has been mopping up in the top races over there but might find this test a bit stiffer on this track. Richard Hannon can never be overlooked at Ascot and he saddles Night Of Thunder and Toormore who finished first and second in the Lockinge last time out. Selection : Solow 13/8 >Bet365 3.05: Coventry Stakes (Group 2) (6f) The first of two races for 2yo’s and a race that has been good to punters lately. 4 favourites and 2 joint favourites have obliged in the last ten years and the Godolphin runner Round Two looks sure to be the market leader here. Trained by Jim Bolger who won the Coventry with Dawn Approach not that long ago and is unbeaten in two starts so far including a Listed race at the Curragh last time out. The US trained-Coolmore owned Finnegan has to be respected; he won by 5 lengths at Pimlico last month and the Aidan O’Brien runner Air Force Blue also won his prep race, although he will need to step up markedly on his first run. 13 of the 18 runners won last time out so it looks like a very competitive renewal once again. Selection: Round Two 9/4 >Coral 3.40: King’s Stand Stakes (Group 1) (5f) An intriguing renewal with Sole Power bidding for his third win the race in as many years. He was well beaten last time out at the Curragh but we can ignore that where conditions didn’t suit him at all. He looks bound to go close and has a perfectly good draw in stall 6. Mecca’s Angel is my idea of the winner; she bolted up at Longchamp last time and is clearly improving with age. She would prefer more rain but as long as it’s not on the firm side she should be ok. Australian sprinter Shamal Wind is an interesting runner with Ryan Moore in the saddle but of the others I like G Force who didn’t get the run of the race last time at Haydock and the progressive Muthmir faces his biggest assignment to date. Selection: Mecca’s Angel 7/1 >Betfred 4.20: St James’s Palace Stakes (Group 1) (1m) Eight out of the last ten favourites have won the St James’s Palace Stakes and Gleneagles trained by Aidan O’Brien looks likely to improve those stats here. Only 5 rivals for the dual 2000 Guineas winner and was kept for this rather than the Epsom Derby where stamina was a question mark. The French raider Make Believe looks second best on figures and comes here after an impressive display at Longchamp last time, he may prefer softer ground. It could be a tactical race and the unbeaten Consort may get an easy lead, Frankie Dettori rides Ascot as well as anyone and could be the one for the forecast. Selection: Gleneagles to beat Consort F/C Tote 5.00: Ascot Stakes (Handicap) (2m4f) The only handicap on the first day of the meeting and a chance for the bookies to get a result. The favourite hasn’t won this since 2002 although to be fair one or two fancied runners have obliged recently. Jump trainers have a very good record in the Ascot Stakes and it may pay to concentrate on horses from the Henderson and Mullins yards this time round. Jamie Spencer has been booked to ride Broxbourne who actually won around here a couple of years ago when trained by Mark Johnston, he could go well but the vote goes to the Willie Mullins/Ryan Moore combination Clondaw Warrior. A decent performer on the level before going hurdling and won at Leopardstown when last seen on the flat off a mark just 3lbs lower. Selection: Clondaw Warrior 8/1 >Bet365 5.30: Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed) (5f) The get-out stakes has the biggest field of the day but despite the amount of runners a couple of favourites have obliged in the last four years. American trainer Wesley Ward has landed this prize twice and he saddles the filly Ruby Notion. She looked useful when winning at Churchill Downs on the dirt last month and is obviously respected. Best from the home contingent could be Soapy Aitken from the Clive Cox yard while of those drawn high I like the Mick Channon trained Opal Tiara. She ran well at Beverley and comes from a stable who have won this race three times and looks decent value at big odds. Selection: Opal Tiara EW 20/1 >Paddy Power (4 places) https://www.punterslounge.com/royal-ascot-betting-all-the-action-from-the-opening-day-of-royal-ascot

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Royal Ascot - St James's Palace Stakes Would it be foolish to oppose Gleneagles in the St James's Palace Stakes? Well, you would think so, given how impressive the Aiden O'Brien trained inmate was when he completed the English & Irish 2000 Guineas double. Undoubtedly he is a world class miler; according to his trainer, the best they ever had. Yet I feel there is the possibility that there are horses capable of improving past him at some point this season - as pointed out on a couple of occasions in the past. He had already eight career starts, was mad busy as a juvenile and didn't slow down with two tough races this year. Gleneagles is as short as 1/2 to land the St James's Palace Stakes - a price so short - I'm happy enough to oppose him, given that this race may well turn into a tactical affair and that he takes on two lightly raced but extremely promising individuals with Consort and Make Believe. I was keen to see Consort making his seasonal reappearance. He missed the Guineas, but fullfilled the promise shown on his sole start last season when kicking off the new campaign in a good Listed event at Sandown. The manner of his success that day was impressive and no doubt, there is much more to come. Make Believe in contrast, won both his starts as a two year old, was only beaten by the tightest of margins on his comeback run this year and followed on from there to deliver a first classic success for his prominent daddy Makfi when winning the French 2000 Guineas in style. He clearly enjoyed the better ground that day when he went off from the front, setting a good pace. Turning for home jockey Olivier Peslier asked him to stretch his legs and he responded promptly. Make Believe produced a stunning change of gear and kicked clear in a matter of strides to win by 3 lengths eased down towards the line. These are the traits of a talented horse. Verdict: I find it relatively easy to oppose Gleneagles here and think - given the prices on offer - one can't do much wrong with French raider Make Believe. An improving sort, a Group 1 winner, who should relish the better ground. Consort may well up to this level as well, but has still to prove it. Make Believe @ 7/2 Ladbrokes - 5pts Win

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Royal Ascot - Windsor Castle Stakes: A massive 27 runners going to post in this race, but I'll concentrate on only one horse: Washington Dc. He was a very good runner-up behind Coventry Stakes favourite Round Two at the Curragh in the Listed Marble Hill Stakes last month. He was fair and square beaten that day but showed plenty of promise nonetheless. Due to the draw Washington Dc was forced to travel widest of all on the outside of the pack without cover for most parts of the race. He was keen and never really settled so Ryan Moore decided to let him lose probably a bit earlier then ideal. He produced an effortless acceleration and soon was in a fight for the lead. He played only second fiddle eventually but there is plenty to like about this performance. Washington Dc is sure to have learned an awful lot that day either. He followed on from his exceptional maiden win at Tipperary in April, where he showed tremendous speed. Travelling all over his opposition - albeit very much inferior one - he won hard held on the bridle. An improvement from his debut run at Dundalk, where he showed signs on inexperience and only managed to finish a close runner-up. This speedy Zoffany son has been green throughout his races but has excellent pace and a turn of foot. If he can get a clear run here I would like to think that he could easily be too good, given that this is only a Listed race and he looks more like Group class. ? Washington Dc @ 11/2 Betfred - 5pts Win

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3:05 Ascot - Coventry Stakes First Selection was an eye catching winner last time out when he never travelled an inch and hung down the straight in a Class 2 contest at Beverley. They set off at a blazing pace and he was never comfortable over the 5f but once he straightened up he quickened nicely to win the race comfortably in the last 50 yards. The step up to a stiff 6f at Ascot will suit him down to the ground on pedigree and based on his previous two runs. Others may have the scope for more improvement on pedigree but you just can't fault what this unbeaten colt has shown on the track and with Betfred offering 4 places I'm happy to take him at a big price. First Selection - 1pt each-way @ 33/1 Betfred

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Another one in the 5.00. Shocked to find Fun Mac pushed out to 10/1. Won a handicap easier than I've ever seen off 84 on 4 your old debut. Hit the line over 14 looking like he could go around again. Good to firm ground that day and a pretty valuable race I think he'll be fine tomorrow. Booking of Hughes a plus too. You can say his last race collapsed giving him the 11L margin but he too had to cope with the hot early pace. If that race was on channel 4 people would be begging him to go for the gold cup. Fun Mac 10/1 William Hill each way.

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5.00 Ascot The only handicap on the card, a Class 2 marathon over 2m4f with 20 runners. Whilst I fancy one of the market leaders, I'm still against the front 5, namely Ray Ward, Clondaw Warrior, Fun Mac, Lycidas and Digeanta, Ray Ward has never won a handicap, Clondaw Warrior may need softer ground and there are question marks over it getting the trip whilst Fun Mac could be anything after a facile win lto & is raised a stone. Lycidas won well lto but again there are question marks over trip & ground and Digeanta has a chance off bottom weight but doesn't look that well handicapped although likely to run its race. Broxbourne (12/1 Paddy Power) - The jockey booking is the make or break here. Total marmite, brilliant or awful. If he keeps it out of trouble, doesn't get going too late, I really see this horse going very close indeed. A couple of things you need here is a horse that's a thorough and proven stayer which has won over this trip or further, irrespective of code, and those trained by traditional jumps trainers have held sway over the last 10 years. Our horse fits both comments. Add to that the ability to act on the track which is a huge positive given the stiff finish at the end of a very long flat race, everything bodes well. Hasn't run on the flat for nigh on 2 years but form over the sticks has been good including a staying on 2nd lto over 2m5f on a stiff track when, if getting going sooner, would have been much closer. The better ground here will also be a factor and with that, a likely strong pace and a severe test of stamina, there aren't many negatives, especially granted a clear run and good timing by the jockey. Won 4 of its last 7 starts on the flat, back in 2013, including a 2m5f big handicap and 2 over 2m, including one here. Last win was off 1lb lower than today. Did put in a couple of poor runs at Newmarket but I think this one likes a turning track and had had a hard season. Ultimately, it has a good mark, will love the ground an the track, has solid recent form, is trained by a top jumps handler and has proven stamina so 12/1 is a great price.

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2:30 Ascot - Queen Anne Stakes Solow has beaten what's been put in front of him with ease but the form doesn't look too strong with the The Grey Gatsby not living up to the high standards he set as a 3 year old while Cirrus had excuses last time too. Not sure how well the Hong Kong form will translate over here as Able Friend has been beating the same horses and it's a completely different environment but visually he looks exceptional. For those reasons I find them a little short in the betting and although Esoterique isn't the most consistent she's top class on her game and looks a big price. She disappointed in the Duke of Cambridge last year but her trainer Andre Fabre said she wasn't right that day and she went out and won a Group 1 pretty much on the bridle next time at Deauville. The ground was soft that day but Fabre says she wants quick ground and she showed that when finishing a slightly unlucky 4th in the Prix du Moulin. She settled in rear from a poor draw and like Night of Thunder (who is 5lbs worse off with her tomorrow) had no chance of catching the top 2 off a slow pace. Her trainer felt the same as he believes "she is in the same league" as those who finished ahead and "could have won" with more luck. Interestingly she goes for this stronger race rather than the much easier Duke of Cambridge Stakes and she should be able to get into a good position with plenty of cover from stall 1 so there can be no excuses. She also has the turn of foot if this turns into a sprint and she could be one to look out for at a big price. Esoterique - 1pt Win @ 22/1 Paddy Power


4:20 Ascot - St. Jame's Palace Stakes I pretty much echo the thoughts of the others on here regarding this race. Gleneagles is top class and has his quick ground but this looks like it will be a tactical race which won't be run to suit. If Make Believe goes to the front Consort will sit in behind and vice versa. It's interesting that Sir Michael Stoute pitches Consort in Group 1 company on just his third start considering he was quite green on his reappearance but he's obviously been showing a lot at home and is surely a Group 1 colt in the making. Make Believe however is already a Poulains winner who beat the subsequent Prix du Jockey Club winner and second with ease. He really strides out well and the stiff mile at Ascot is going to suit down to the ground as well as the quick surface which promises to bring out more improvement. Tomorrow could be a big day for Andre Fabre. Make Believe - 1pt Win @ 7/2 Bet365

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2.30 Ascot – Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1) The first of thirty races at perhaps the most famous racing festival in the world is the Queen Anne Stakes and we have a truly global feel to the race with raiders from Ireland, France and Hong Kong all taking part. The last named are represented by Able Friend, who comes here on the back of six consecutive wins including four at Group 1 level. All of those successes have come at his local Sha Tin and it is great to see him sent over here to take on the best of our milers in Europe. The form is difficult to translate to over here but on official figures, he looks one of the best horses in training anywhere at the moment. Having said that, the test he faces here will be quite different to what he has faced in the past and the travelling he has done is clearly a slight concern. In terms of the market, the favourite looks likely to be Freddie Head’s SOLOW who was mightily impressive when winning at Meydan in March and soon followed that up with a second Group 1 success at Longchamp last time. Both over those victories came over at least nine furlongs which means that the drop back in trip is a slight concern but he travels strongly in his races, so I wouldn’t be overly concerned. His trainer is already on record as saying he is one of the better horses he has trained and based on his form of late, he looks the one they all have to beat. However, if 6/4 is on the short side for you, one at a bigger price who could be worth siding with is Richard Hannon’s Toormore. Having been Champion 2yo in Europe, he rather lost his way in the early part of last year but looked right back to his best when third over course and distance in the QEII on Champions Day in October. He was beaten only a neck by his stablemate Night Of Thunder in the Lockinge on his return to action and is reported to have improved a lot physically for that run. He is currently available at around the 10/1 mark and could offer some each-way value in the race. 3.05 Ascot – Coventry Stakes (Group 2) The Coventry Stakes has consistently thrown up top class performers over the years and with so many unexposed horses in this year’s line-up there is every chance that we will see a potential star unearthed once again. Aidan O’Brien has won this race a record seven times and is represented this year by Air Force Blue who got off the mark at the first attempt at the Curragh in May. The $490,000 yearling was very professional on debut and having led early on, held on in the closing stages to deny a subsequent winner. It is significant that his trainer is just sending this colt over and whilst it is hard to compare the form of his rivals, his connections are respected and he looks likely to be in the shake-up. The current market leader is Jim Bolger’s Round Two who made it two from two when winning the Listed Marble Hill Stakes at the Curragh last time. He was dropped back to five furlongs that day which didn’t seem to bother him although having won over six on debut, this should be fine. His trainer won this with the high-class Dawn Approach in 2012 and he has spoken glowingly about this colt already, in particular about his uncomplicated nature and excellent temperament. He deserves massive respect given his connections and on his form to date but I think 9/4 is short enough in a race of this nature. At a bigger price, Richard Hannon’s Age Of Empire could be interesting having stepped forward significantly from his debut run when winning impressively at York a couple of weeks ago. He travelled smoothly throughout and stretched clear under hands and heels to win by two and three-quarter lengths at the line. The runner-up has since come out and won impressively at Salisbury so the form is starting to look good. The Hannon operation has long been associated with two-year-old winners and it has won this race with some smart performers in the past. The way in which he travels suggests he should be fine stepping up in company and 16/1 looks on the big side. There are a host of other runners who deserve their place in the line-up including Woodcote Stakes winner Buratino, Simon Crisford’s First Selection who is two from two and the American raider Finnegan. However, the one I am going to side with is William Haggas’ WAR DEPARTMENT who really caught my eye when overcoming greenness to win on debut at Leicester. He was slowly away from the stalls but was soon travelling strongly and he stretched clear in the final part of the race to win by four and a half lengths at the line. The colt was a 160,000 guineas purchase at the breeze-up sales and his trainer thinks plenty of him. It looks a wide-open race but his trainer isn’t usually one to tilt at windmills and he looks likely to be in the shake-up at the business end of the race. 3.40 Ascot – King´s Stand Stakes (Group 1) History tells us that this race has proved popular with raiders from overseas in the past with six of the last ten winners having been trained outside of Britain and Ireland. This year there are a couple of horses travelling over from far afield with Robert Smerdon’s Shamal Wind perhaps the most interesting. The five-year-old mare has really stepped up her form this season, winning on her return to action in January before landing a first Group 1 success in the Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield the following month. Her trainer was keen to get a local jockey to ride her in this engagement and he has been able to secure the services of Ryan Moore for the race. Obviously it is difficult to weigh her form against her European rivals but on the whole, the Australian sprinters of the past tend to be better than our sprinters. She is reported to have travelled over well and she looks to have strong each-way claims at around the 8/1 mark. We couldn’t go through this race without mentioning the winner of the last two renewals Sole Power who has consistently proved one of our best sprinters over the last five or six years. There were concerns that he was maybe past his best earlier in the year but he soon dismissed that idea with success in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint in Meydan. I don’t think there is much to take from his last run in Ireland although time has told us that five furlongs on fast ground are his optimum conditions and he didn’t get them there. This race tends to set up nicely for him as they are likely to go a strong early pace and it would take a brave man to rule him out of contention. However, there seems to be something of a changing of the guard taking place in the Sprint division and one of the less exposed members of the field who could be take centre stage is Michael Dods’ MECCA’S ANGEL. She improved no end last year winning four of her five starts including in Group 3 company. She made her return to action at Longchamp in May and beat several of today’s rivals including Hot Streak and Pearl Secret in the process. The slight concern I would have is the ground as her trainer has stated previously that fast ground would not be in her favour. However, she is certainly a filly on the up and as long as the ground is safe she will be able to go close for connections. She tends to sit prominently in her races before quickening off the front and it looks as though it will take a good one to peg her back. 4.20 Ascot – St James´s Palace Stakes (Group 1) The renewals of the 2000 Guineas in England, Ireland and France all look the most likely to throw up the winner of this race, in which GLENEAGLES will no doubt be sent off a short-priced favourite. Whilst his win in Ireland lacked the quality of the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, he had to overcome some trouble in running and despite only getting up in the closing stages of the race, it was still a very good performance. He is clearly a top-class performer having been first past the post on all of his eight runs apart from his debut. His trainer Aidan O’Brien has won this race six times in the past and he looks likely to find himself back in the Winner’s Enclosure tomorrow afternoon. However, 8/13 doesn’t look very appealing and it may be best to sit out this particular contest. In terms of what might chase him home, the French Guineas winner Make Believe is clearly improving having had only four starts to date and he could be the one to dictate the early fractions in this six runner contest. A false pace would definitely play into his hands although he has a bit to find with Gleneagles. Of the British challenge, Sir Michael Stoute’s Consort looks the one open to most improvement having overcome inexperience to win at Sandown last time. He takes another big step up in grade here and whilst he should improve, this assignment may have come a little too early in his development. 5.00 Ascot – Ascot Stakes (Handicap) Ryan Moore and Willie Mullins teamed up to win this race in 2012 with Simenon and they join alliances once again with Clondaw Warrior this year. He has won three of his last five starts on the flat including the Irish November Handicap last October. Over the winter he has run well in several of the top handicap hurdles including placed efforts in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham and in handicaps at both the Fairyhouse and Punchestown Festivals. He races here off just 3lb higher than when winning at Leopardstown in October and he looks likely to go close for his all-conquering connections. Hughie Morrison is a man who tends to do well with stayers and he saddles the lighty-raced Fun Mac here who made a mockery of his handicap mark when winning the City Bowl at Salisbury by eleven lengths in May. The handicapper has taken no chances and put him up 15lb for that effort but he is still lightly-raced and that may not be enough to stop him. However, I think this race could centre around the runners of Nicky Henderson who saddles no less than three runners with particular preference for two of them. Hurricane Higgins looks up against it on the face of it shouldering top weight but it is worth noting that two of the last three winners carried 9st 10lb to victory. He won on the all-weather in February following a lay-off of over two years and whilst he couldn’t follow up on finals day, he did get off the mark over hurdles at the first attempt last time. His stamina shouldn’t be an issue having won over 2m5f at Goodwood in the past and he looks a solid benchmark. I slightly prefer the claims of his stablemate BROXBOURNE who was mightily progressive when trained by Mark Johnston in 2013, winning valuable handicaps at Ascot, Goodwood and York. She has since been sent hurdling for her new connections for which she has won twice and she was also hit the frame on two occasions in Listed company over obstacles. She races off 1lb higher than when winning at York in August 2013 and there is reason to believe she has improved since then. The yard won this with another mare Veiled in 2011 and the 16/1 on offer about Broxbourne looks a price worth taking advantage of. 5.35 – Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed Race) American trainer Wesley Ward is always keen to bring runners to Royal Ascot and having won this race twice in the past with Strike The Tiger and Hootenanny, he saddles Ruby Notion in this year’s contest. The filly quickened clear impressively when winning over four and a half furlongs at Churchill Downs and this race will be quite different to what she has encountered previously. With twenty-seven runners, the draw could play a part and when the ground is quick high numbers (stands side) have tended to do well and whilst stall 10 is fairly central, history tells us that runners from this yard need respecting. The draw may not have been kind to Clive Cox’s Soapy Aitken who has been allotted stall 4 but on the basis of his first two runs, he deserves a second look. Even when winning at Windsor on his second start last time he was very green but despite that quickened clear to win decisively in the end. His jockey Adam Kirby described him as special after that and his trainer was equally complimentary about his credentials. He looks a colt of huge potential and as long as the draw isn’t too much of an inconvenience he could be the one they all have to beat. Saeed Bin Suroor’s STEADY PACE could be the answer to this puzzle however having impressively over course and distance at the beginning of May. The form of that race has since worked out well with the second and third having come out and won subsequently. He was sent off the 7/4F for the National Stakes at Sandown last time but was drawn wide and couldn’t get any cover early on and as a result ran keen. To his credit, he ran on well to finish third and with the winner now favourite for the Norfolk and the runner-up having won the Woodcote at Epsom that form looks pretty good. This race should be much more suitable for this lightly-raced colt and having been drawn in stall 14, he looks likely to be able to choose which side he goes. I feel he has strong each-way claims and looks overpriced at around the 10/1 mark. Of those at even bigger prices, two who could outrun their odds are Areen, who ran behind Steady Pace at Sandown but was bumped leaving the stalls and ran no sort of race. Prior to that he had beaten rivals with experience on debut at York and 20/1 looks generous. At a massive price (66/1) Archimedes could be worth a second look as he has always been highly thought of by connections. He has taken a couple of runs for the penny to drop but he looked to be learning when winning at Bath last time. He is drawn well in stall 25 and under the astute Jim Crowley, he could outrun his sizeable odds.

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carrying over 20 pts from todays bet to kings stand muthmir 99.56 jack dexter 99.31 pearl secret 99.23 shamal wind 99.23 jack dexter looks a fantastic ew bet here around 20/1 and could run really well but for win purposes muthmirs recent race puts him in pole position to take this ....recorded a fast time in france and wont mind any rain or the stiff ascot course ....holds all the cards ..his to lose muthmir 10 pts ew 5/1 corals

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ascot stakes fun mac 99.12 clondaw warrior 99.04 ray ward 99.02 very diff race .....but fun mac ran an absolute cracker lto ...much stronger than the favs ray wards run so sets the standard .....clondaw warrior is a huge danger being a typical jump horse ...but aged 8 ??? ...only negative I can see......decent prices so ill take a tag team fun mac 4 pts win 15/2 corals clondaw warrior 4 pts win 8/1 betfred
1st and 2nd ......muthmir a little disappointing but still some ew money .....56 points returned on the day .....its ascot ...anythings good ...lol

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