Day 4 of the (Royal) Ascot meeting sees five of the seven races restricted to 2 or 3 year olds, which, given the truncated start to this season, doesn’t make it any easier. (“Excuses in early, I notice”)
The card starts with the Palace of Holyrood House Handicap at 1.15.
This is a five furlong sprint for 2-y-os, with 21 runners on dodgy ground, which are four good reasons for applying the Spanish Archer and moving swiftly on.
The Albany Stakes at 1.50, also for 2-y-os, has a field of 14, with Aiden O’Brien‘s Mother Earth installed as 7-2 favourite. Given the plethora of talent available to AO’B, the chosen one should be taken seriously and, after the filly’s strong finishing second at Navan, we suggest a win bet.
We also recommend an each way punt on Karl Burke‘s pride and joy Dandalla after her impressive debut victory at Newcastle. 10-1 are the odds of reward for this one.
The Norfolk Stakes at 2.25 is yet another juvenile event (good race planning, eh?) and Braveheart‘s runner Eye Of Heaven is a worthy favourite after an easy victory over Wednesday’s Windsor Castle winner Tactical.
Shortish at a best priced 7-4, trust the Mad Italian to bring home the Danish.
We also have time for Richard Hughes‘s runner Nelson Gay, who could be a whole lot better than his debut third would suggest, as little went right in that contest, so a small e/w tickle at 20-1 is recommended.
The senior brigade take over at 3.00 with the Hardwicke Stakes over 12 furlongs with the head of the market dominated by Elarqam and Anthony Van Dyck. However, with stamina doubts about the former and ground concerns for the latter, we think the value bet in this race is Morando at 6-1.
First time out is probably the best time to catch this 7-y-o, which was last seen hosing up in a Group 3 over this CD last October. Similar conditions this afternoon should ensure SDS at least get’s us in the frame.
The Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at 3.35 has an open look about it with co-favourites of three at 9-2 and we suggest win bets on two of these, namely Golden Horde and Pierre Lapin.
We also want you to have a tad each way on Andrew Balding‘s Shadn at 25-1 – don’t ask why, we just do.
3-y-o stayers take centre stage in the Queen’s Vase at 4.10 and the one we like here is Charlie Appleby‘s charge Al Dabaran, who looked all about stamina as a 2-y-o and will relish the going conditions. Take the 11-2 each way.
Card closes with the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes over 12 furlongs, which has a field of 16. An interesting statistic about this race is that no horse with a single figure draw has managed to win it since 2008 and, if that trend continues, several well fancied runners have big problems.
Our two darts are safely couched in double figures and we suggest each way investments on Good Birthday at 8-1 and Getchagetchagetcha at 33-1.
Hope springs eternal.
Mother Earth 1.50 Ascot 2pts win @ 7-2
Dandalla 1.50 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 10-1 (4 places)
Eye Of Heaven 2.25 Ascot 4pts win @ 7-4
Nelson Gay 2.25 Ascot 0.5pts e/w @ 20-1 (4 places)
Morando 3.00 Ascot 1.5pts e/w @ 6-1
Golden Horde 3.35 Ascot 2pts win @ 9-2
Pierre Lapin 3.35 Ascot 2pts win @ 9-2
Shadn 3.35 Ascot 0.5pts e/w @ 25-1 (5 places SkyBet & Paddy Power)
Al Dabaran 4.10 Ascot 1.5pts e/w @ 11-2
Good Birthday 4.40 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (5 places)
Getchagetchagetcha 4.40 Ascot 0.5pts e/w @ 33-1 (5 places)