Royal Ascot Tuesday Preview

Welcome to our coverage of opening day of Royal Ascot – the most valuable race meeting in Britain, worth over £6million in prize money.

Host to 18 group races, eight of which are Group One – most of the world’s finest thoroughbred horses will be on show this week.

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 One here.

The opening day features three Group 1 with the opening race – the Queen Anne Stakes, worth in excess of half-a-million pounds.

2.30 Queen Anne Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) 1m £600,000

Field: Ribchester (10/11), Lightning Spear (6), Mutakayyef (15/2), Deauville (14), American Patriot (25), Miss Temple City (28), Dutch Connection (33), Ennaadd (33), Oh This Is Us (33), Cougar Mountain (40), Kool Kompany (50), Spectre (50), Jallota (66), Kaspersky (80), Toscanini (100), Dutch Uncle (250)
The Duke’s view:  The first race is one of the best of the five days, there’s no warm-up event. as we kick off with the Queen Anne Stakes. I think the horse to beat by far is Ribchester. He’s a phenomenal athlete, likes the track and trip and should be primed for this. Godolphin have been crying out for a superstar and I think they have one. The only question he has to answer is handling the very quick ground. As long as he does that, the boys in blue could be first in the winners’ enclosure.
BetVictor say: Ribchester is the odds-on favourite and is unopposable in the curtain-raiser for the boys in the blue. He looked impressive when landing the Jersey Stakes at last years meeting and has been trained brilliantly by Richard Fahey to get a mile thereafter. He had the beating of plenty of these in the Lockinge Stakes last month at Newbury and should get favourite backers off to a dream start.  BetVictor off ‘Lengthen the Odds’ markets on all 30 races at the royal meeting, and  I wouldn’t put people off backing Ribchester to win by a couple of lengths. The Godolphin colt it is 6/4 with BetVictor to win by a length or more and 9/4 to win by 2l+.

3.05 Coventry Stakes (Group 2) 6f £150,000 

Field: Brother Bear (9/2), De Bruyne Horse (15/2), Arawak (8), Denaar (8), Murillo (8), Nebo (14)
Rajasinghe (14), Romanised (16), Aqabah (20), Prince of The Dark (20), Zaman (22), Headway (33), Red Roman (33), Haddaf (40), US Navy Flag (40), Chookie Dunedin (100), Connery (100), Ivy Leaguer (200)
The Duke’s view: The horse to beat on form is Brother Bear. Jessie Harrington’s colt won the Marble Hill Stakes at the Curragh last time, which was won by Caravaggio in 2016 before he went on to land this race last year. He will need to be good to fend off some tough rivals. Arawak is one to keep on side. I’m sure Wesley Ward will want to get his Royal Ascot off to a good start and in the familiar colours of the Coolmore boys, 8/1 might be a bit generous. At similar odds, Aidan O’Brien’s Murillo showed a nice turn of foot at Tipperary and is worth a look in the paddock. The two that make most appeal for each-way players are Rajasinghe and Headway. The former is sired by top-class sprinter Choisir and I think if Rajasinghe was trained by O’Brien or Hannon, he would be half the price. Headway impressed me at Chester last time with the way he put the race to bed and although it was a maiden I’m surprised he’s 25/1.
BetVictor say: Aidan O’Brien’s runners always warrant respect and Murillo must be working well to get the nod from Ryan Moore in the Gp 2 contest. The pair teamed-up with Caravaggio 12 months ago and the son of War Front should go close on his preferred fast ground. Brother Bear heads the market for trainer Jessica Harrington after maintaining his unbeaten record upped in grade last month however, I’m keen to take on the market principles and will throw darts at the unbeaten trio of Nebo, Prince of the Dark and Zaman in what looks a wide open race.

3.40 King’s Stand Stakes (Group 1) 5f £400,000 (British Champions Series & Global Sprint Challenge)

Field: Lady Aurelia (10/3), Marsha (7/2), Signs Of Blessing (13/2), Priceless (14), Goldream (16), Profitable (16), Washington Dc (16), Muthmir (18), Alpha Delphini (25), Ardhoomey (25), Cotai Glory (33), Take Cover (33), Ornate (40), Gracious John (50), Medicean Man (50), Final Venture (66), Just Glamorous (66), Willytheconqueror (80)
The Duke’s view: There’s eighteen runners set to line up for this and it should be a belter to watch. I think 2015 winner Goldream has legitimate claims at 16/1. Make no doubt, Robert Cowell is the sprint king and Goldream has been running really well so far this term. The conditions will be perfect for him. Watch the market for a move on Washington DC, who is overpriced at 16/1. If the boys think he has a chance then the money will come and it might be time to get on. Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of the horse but he’s got ability and the ground conditions will be ideal. Lady Aurelia was the most impressive winner of Royal Ascot last year. If she can return to that level of form she may leave them trailing in her wake. I don’t think there will be any tactics on her other than ping out and make all.
BetVictor say: Lady Aurelia was incredible in last year’s Queen Mary but, like most of Wesley Ward’s juveniles, they are generally streets ahead of their rivals as a 2yo but are found out thereafter. Last year’s winner Priceless is over-priced, as is Muthmir, who should both appreciate the rattling quick ground. I can’t ignore Marsha however, who became the first filly to defy a penalty in the Palace House Stakes since Lochsong in the 70s and should be spot-on to claim a second Group 1 success.

4.20 St James’s Palace Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) 1m £400,000 

Field: Churchill (4/6), Barney Roy (5/2), Thunder Snow (10), Rivet (25), Lancaster Bomber (28), Peace Envoy (50), Forest Ranger (66), Mr Scaramanga (150)
The Duke’s view: Nothing particularly original from me here as I think the race lies between Churchill and Barney Roy. They are the class acts in the field and Barney Roy could have pushed Churchill a lot closer in the Guineas if he had not stumbled in the dip at Newmarket. I think they will be the first two home and for the sake of being different, I’ll take on the favourite. Go on Barney!
BetVictor say: Similar comments apply to Churchill, who was brilliant in both Guineas successes at Newmarket and the Curragh. He looks an absolute giant of a horse but seems very straightforward and very professional. Aidan O’Brien’s son of Galileo has now won his last seven on the spin, four at the highest level, and should extend that record on the opening day of Royal Ascot. The double should put punters in front on Day One!

5.00 Ascot Handicap (0-100) 2m 4f £80,000

Field: Thomas Hobson (4), Who Dares Wins (13/2), Beyond Conceit (8), Magic Circle (12), Oceane (14), Rainbow Dreamer (14), Endless Acres (16), Yorkidding (18), Cartwright (22), High Secret (22), Cleonte (25), Shrewd (25), Suegioo (25), Galizzi (33), Moorside (33), Star Rider (33), Wolfcatcher (33), Iniciar (40), Gavlar (50), Cosmelli (125)
The Duke’s view: Ireland have won the last five renewals of the Ascot Stakes, race five on the card. Willie Mullins has won two of those and he is represented by Thomas Hobson. He won four times on the Flat for John Gosden before switching to the master Irish jumps trainer. While he’s not been seen in this sphere for quite a while, with the booking of Ryan Moore, he’s sure to go off favourite. If you’re looking at ones at big odds, I’ll be having a small wager on Moorside. She has a very intriguing pedigree and profile. She’s 33/1 so no complaints if she doesn’t impress, but here’s why I think she’s value. Her sire Champs Elysees has already sired an Ascot Gold Cup winner, Charlie Hills has been careful to protect her mark and I have a sneaking suspicion the step-up in trip will be right up her street.
BetVictor say: The Irish have a likewise strong hand in the Ascot Stakes with Willie Mullins responsible for the favourite Thomas Hobson, bidding to land back-to-back renewals after Clondaw Warrior’s success under Ryan Moore 12 months ago. He looks short enough at around the 7/2 mark, and I’d much prefer to back Sir Mark Prescott’s Cartwright (5.00) at 20/1 with BetVictor. The selection was progressive last season, and made a winning reappearance when scoring under regular partner Luke Morris. Despite disappointing last time out at Newmarket, he is likely to appreciate the return to a sounder surface and should hopefully warm to first-time head-gear.

5.35 Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed Race) 5f £80,000 

Field: Declarationofpeace (4), Elizabeth Darcy (6), Nootka Sound (6), Roussel (12), Another Batt (16), Corinthia Knight (16), Simmys Copshop (16), Sound And Silence (16), Dragons Tail (20), Mokaatil (22), Marchingontogether (25), T For Tango (25), Dahik (33), Black Orange (40), June Dog (40), Declarationoflove (50)
Chatburn (66), Excellently Poised (66), James Garfield (66), Magnus (66), Areen Faisal (125), City Guest (125), Autumn Lodge (150), Last Page (150)
The Duke’s view: To the lucky last, the Windsor Castle stakes and Wesley Ward has won this race twice before. He’s got two, Elizabeth Darcy and Nootka Sound. They both trained at Ascot last week and on that basis Nootka Sound is the number one choice as Elizabeth Darcy could not keep up. Maybe Nootka Sound is something special. If neither are up to scratch, then Declarationofpeace for Aidan O’Brien may take full advantage.
BetVictor say: I can pass on a good word for Dragons Tail for the Tom Dascombe yard, who bolted-up at Chester under Richard Kingscote. But, as mentioned previously, Wesley Ward’s 2yos are plenty forward when coming to Royal Ascot and Nootka Sound looks plenty quick enough to go close under Frankie Dettori. The well-bred colt make a winning debut across the pond earlier in the campaign and has been well-backed ante-post in the build-up.

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