At 10.30 this morning, England take the field against the mighty warriors of Afghanistan in a match that may well decide the destination of the ICC Cricket World Cup……..oh, sorry, apparently we’re covering a race meeting today instead.
Just after Her Maj and her cavalcade have chewed up the pristine Royal Ascot turf the action starts at 2.30 with the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes over the straight mile. Favourite for this race is the Sir Michael trained Mustashry at 5-1 and, after the demolition job in the Lockinge, we see no reason to desert this much-improved 6-y-o, which had seven of today’s rivals well behind at Newbury. With four places on offer, an each way bet is recommended.
One runner which might outrun its odds is the Godolphin owned Dream Castle, so at 33-1 we also suggest an each way ‘saver’.
2-y-os come to the fore at 3.05 in the Coventry Stakes and here it is hard to overlook the credentials of Arizona, trained at Ballydoyle by you-know-who. An 8 length winner of a hot event at The Curragh at the end of May couldn’t have been much more impressive and, at 11-4, this son of No Nay Never should be backed to win.
The King’s Stand Stakes at 3.40 witnesses Battaash and Blue Point cross swords yet again and, despite the former’s impressive comeback win, we keep faith with Charlie Appleby‘s 5-y-o and recommend a win bet at 11-4.
The St James’s Palace Stakes at 4.20 also features a rematch between Phoenix Of Spain and Too Darn Hot, who finished first and second in the Irish 2000 Guineas 3 weeks ago. Although the margin of victory was 3 lengths that day, John Gosden has been delightfully honest in saying that he has completely messed up TDH‘s preparation this season and it’s worth bearing in mind that his charge thrashed the Irish challenger last September when they met at Doncaster.
We are prepared to give last year’s champion 2-y-o another chance and recommend a win bet at 2-1.
The only handicap on the card is at 5.00, with the Ascot Stakes over 2 and a half miles with a field of 19.
Irish jumps trainers have dominated this race over the past decade, but maybe their challenge this year is not quite up to scratch, so, with generous place terms on offer, we’ll chuck three home darts at it.
Have modest each way bets on Fun Mac (14-1), Coeur De Lion (7-1) and The Grand Visir (16-1) and hope for the best.
Proceedings close with the Wolferton Stakes at 5.35 and this looks like a benefit for anyone with the surname O’Brien.
Magic Wand, trained by the Aiden version, has been plying her trade (honourably) in all the major Group 1 races around the world and now, unpenalised, drops into a Listed contest. The words ‘different’ and ‘class’ are springing to mind and we recommend an each way bash at 5-1.
Latrobe, trained by the Joseph version is also a class dropper and will be staying on when others have had enough, so at 7-1 this should be backed each way too, also, as well.
That’s it for today – back tomorrow to sort out the Seller at Uttoxeter.
Mustashry 2.30 Ascot 2pts e/w @ 5-1 (4 places)
Dream Castle 2.30 Ascot 0.5pts e/w @ 33-1 (4 places)
Arizona 3.05 Ascot 2pts win @ 11-4
Blue Point 3.40 Ascot 2pts win @ 11-4
Too Darn Hot 4.20 Ascot 4pts win @ 2-1
Fun Mac 5.00 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 14-1 (6 places)
Coeur De Lion 5.00 Ascot 1.50pts e/w @ 7-1 (6 places)
The Grand Visir 5.00 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 16-1 (6 places)
Magic Wand 5.35 Ascot 2pts e/w @ 5-1 (4 places)
Latrobe 5.35 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 7-1 (4 places)