Royal Ascot Friday Preview

Welcome to our coverage of the fourth day of Royal Ascot – featuring two group one races and prize money of over £1million available.

Friday promises to be one of the best of the week, with the Commonwealth Cup and Coronation Stakes taking place – both of which are worth £400,000 to the winner.

We bring you an easy guide to every race with our own betting expert The Duke and from a bookmaker, this week we are joined in our coverage by BetVictor’s Jack Milner.

The Duke also has a full preview of every day of the meeting, with his selections – and you can read Day Four here.

2.30 Albany Stakes (Group 3) 6f £80,000 

Field: Alpha Centauri (9/4), Fairyland (7/2), Clemmie (9), Natural (10), Princess Peggy (10), Black Sails (14), Take Me With You (16), Ertiyad (20), Madeline (20), Snowflakes (20), Actress (25), Starlight Mystery (25), Mistress Of Venice (40), Summer Shamal (40), Whitefountainfairy (40), Armum (50), Different League (50), Electric Landlady (66), Miss Bar Beach (66), Time For Wine (200), Jos Girl (250)
The Duke’s view:   Not the easiest start to day four at Royal Ascot, with a load of unexposed two year old fillies in contending the Albany Stakes. Alpha Centauri is two from two including a nice Listed win at Naas last time. As such, she’s a warm order for this, but I’m not sure 9/4 is a very appealing price in such a hot race. Snowflakes is a full sister to dual Guineas heroine Winter, so on breeding alone I think she could leave her poor debut effort at the Curragh behind her. Don’t be surprised if she outruns 25/1 odds. However, Ryan Moore favours Clemmie, who was third in the same race as Snowflakes. That was a very promising debut. Both of Wesley Ward’s entries for this, Fairyland and Princess Peggy, are shortlisted after winning debuts. The market suggests Fairyland is the preferred choice and the trainer was quoted saying she is a very good filly after she won at Keeneland. It was a good effort and I will take her to put in a big effort here.
BetVictor say:  Churchill arrived at Royal Ascot a maiden 12 months ago after a promising debut, and many will back his sister to do likewise after a promising effort finishing third at the Curragh despite showing signs of greenness throughout. She should improve for that effort however, Jessica Harrington’s filly Alpha Centauri has looked monstrous on both career starts, winning twice at Naas under Colm Donoghue, and can compete the hat-trick upped in grade.

3.05 King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2) 1m 4f £225,000 

Field: Crystal Ocean (3), Sir John Lavery (13/2), Permian (7), Best Solution (10), Best of Days (10), Salouen (11), Khalidi (12), Call To Mind (20), Glencadam Glory (20), Wolf Country (20), Intern (25), Raheen House (28), Frankuus (33)
The Duke’s view:   Crystal Ocean is fancied to improve on his third to Permian in the Dante. It’s interesting that Permian is more than double the price though. That can be attributed to a disappointing effort in The Derby, but he could bounce back. Best Of Days won the Royal Lodge last year and 10/1 makes appeal if he’s ready for this. I’m taking a bit of a chance with him as fitness is a big question mark, but he has potential.
BetVictor say:  The King Edward VII Stakes is the Ascot Derby and I hope to see the lightly-raced Crystal Ocean improve past his Dante Stakes conqueror Permian stepped up to a mile-and-a-half for the first time. Trainer Sir Michael Stoute has won this corresponding race no fewer than seven times including 12 months ago with another son of Sea The Stars (Across The Stars) and the Newmarket handler saved the colt from the rigours of Epsom to concentrate on this Group 2 prize.
The recommendation is 11/4 with BetVictor and that looks about right with money for both Aidan O’Brien’s Sir John Lavery (5/1) and Godolphin’s Best Of Days, who makes his seasonal reappearance, in recent days.

3.40 Commonwealth Cup (British Champions Series) (Group 1) 6f £400,000

Field: Caravaggio (Evs), Harry Angel (7/2), Blue Point (11/2), Bound For Nowhere (12), Tis Marvellous (33), Visionary (33), Intelligence Cross (40), Straight Right (40), Yalta (50), Victory Angel (66), Legendary Lunch (80), Mr Scarlet (100)
The Duke’s view:   In the Commonwealth Cup there are three horses that I’m looking more closely at. Starting with the Godolphin pair of Blue Point and Harry Angel. They faced each other over course and distance in the Pavilion Stakes and Blue Point beat Harry Angel by a length and a half. However, Harry Angel has since improved to win the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock. I think both can be involved here and could make appeal on price terms against the favourite. However, Caravaggio is a bit special. He won the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot last year, before winning the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh. He made a successful reappearance at Naas last month and quite simply he is the one to beat. And I don’t think anything will beat him.
BetVictor say:  The Group 1 Commonwealth Cup looks like being one of the races of the week with three potential star British and Irish sprinters Caravaggio, Blue Point and Harry Angel taken on by the unbeaten American colt Bound For Nowhere where was cut from 12s to 8s at BetVictor following sustained support earlier in the week. Harry Angel was conceding 4lbs to Blue Point when the latter beat the selection over C&D back in May but the hope is that Clive Cox’s horse will reverse the form at the revised weights having clocked a very fast time when winning at Haydock last month. The selection is 7/2 at BetVictor and jockey Adam Kirby will race in the Blue of Godolphin for the first time given Sheikh Mohammed purchased the sprinter for an undisclosed sum after Haydock. The unbeaten Caravaggio was an impressive winner of the Coventry Stakes at the corresponding meeting last season and made a sensational return to the track when landing the odds at Naas on his reappearance. He is a worthy favourite but he is a shade of odds on (10/11) with BetVictor and I just favour Harry Angel each way at the odds.

4.20 Coronation Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) 1m rnd £400,000 

Field: Winter (4/7), Dabyah (11/2), Precieuse (12), Tomyris (16), Hydrangea (20), La Coronel (20), Roly Poly (20)
The Duke’s view:   The outstanding Winter is odds-on. I could stop there and just say she probably wins. Tomyris and Dabyah remain with potential, but will need a lot of improvement to nab Winter. Precieuse is an insulting price of 12/1. She won the French 1,000 Guineas and should be shorter. If there were eight runners, then each-way punters may be drawn to her but with just seven in the field reducing the each-way terms to just two places, it makes less appeal. I think Winter should win, but from a betting angle, Precieuse in the ‘Without the favourite’ market.
BetVictor say:  Winter has been so impressive in winning both the Newmarket and Irish Guineas’ that she is impossible to oppose in the Coronation Stakes despite the fact that she has been kept very busy so far this term. This will be her fourth start since finishing runner up on her reappearance at Leopardstown back in April but she has improved with each run and is hard to oppose. Hydrangea and Dabyah will ensure there is a true gallop and the only negative, apart from the draw in stall seven, is her prohibitive price at 4/9 with BetVictor.

5.00 Queen’s Vase (Group 2) 1m 6f £150,000 

Field: Time To Study (9/2), Belgravia (11/2), Desert Skyline (8), Haripour (8), Count Octave (9), Wisconsin (10), Stradivarius (12), Mister Manduro (14), Secret Advisor (14), Fierce Impact (16), Face The Facts (20), Alqamar (33), Night of Glory (33)
The Duke’s view:   Belgravia put in a decent display at Navan last time and given that he is a likely improver, he makes plenty of appeal. They switch up the headgear with him and Ryan Moore has sided with him ahead of Wisconsin. He’s not without a chance too after an easy maiden victory at Tipperary. Haripour really appreciated the application of blinkers when they tried them at Navan, so they stay on here. He’s got three lengths to find with Belgravia from earlier in the season though, so I’ll side with Ryan Moore and Aidan O’Brien to confirm the form.
BetVictor say:  The first thing to say about the Queen’s Vase is that the race will be run at a trip just shy of 1m 6f for the first time – down two furlongs on previous years. The race has been upgraded from Group 3 to Group 2 and has been reduced in trip to become a “true, quality race for developing stayers.” Time To Study is the 4/1 market leader at BetVictor for Mark Johnston who has trained the winner of the race on seven previous occasions and goes into the race just one shy of the record currently held by the late, great Sir Henry Cecil. Time To Study must go close with Silvestre de Sousa in the plate from a good draw.

5.35 Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap (0-105) 1m 4f £80,000

Field: Appeared (11/2), Mainstream (6), Wadigor (7), Sixties Groove (8), Top Tug (12), Knights Table (16), Rare Rhythm (16), Blakeney Point (20), Cape Cova (20), Manjaam (20), Star Storm (20), Baydar (25), Eddystone Rock (25), Master Carpenter (25), Oasis Fantasy (25), Red Galileo (25), Shabeeb (25), Soldier In Action (25), Desert God (33), Lustrous Light (33), Mistiroc (33), Petite Jack (33)
The Duke’s view:  Soldier In Action is quite big in price. He won well at Epsom, forging on strongly in the closing stages to put the race to bed and although he’s up 6lbs for that victory it’s not completely ruled out that he could follow up. Wadigor has a decent chance if translating all-weather form to turf. He’s a lightly raced four year old who has won all three starts so far and he could be a class above his rivals here. Mainstream will be popular with the crowd at Royal Ascot, in the silks of Her Majesty The Queen. A promising return at Newmarket suggests this could be one of her better chances this week. However, I’ll side with Wadigor.
BetVictor say:  In the finale, I hope Star Storm can reward each way support at 16/1 with BetVictor for James Fanshawe who takes off 3lbs with talented apprentice George Wood. The selection invariably runs well at Ascot and he ran a cracker when runner up on his reappearance in a listed contest here last month. There are any number of potential dangers including Cape Cova, visored for the first time, and Sixties Groove but Star Storm gets the vote in another competitive handicap.

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