In today’s blog:
Today’s Selections from Royal Ascot
World Cup Specials
Review of yesterday’s blog
Today’s Racing Selections from Royal Ascot
The first day at Royal Ascot and what an opening race. All Europe’s premier older milers together. It is very hard to oppose Goldikova at the weights, and odds of 7/4 look mighty tempting. But trainer Freddie Head has not had a winner at Royal Ascot (and he’s run a few here over the years) and he’s not had a winner in France in the past 14-days either. Paco Boy will need to run the race of his life to win and 3/1 isn’t enticing enough. All O’Brien’s horses have needed a run, so I cannot have Rip Van Winkle. This race is ripe for an upset and for a relatively unexposed to take the race at long odds. There are a couple of possibilities; Zacinto and Dalghar. This is the first of a handful of Group 1 entries this summer for Zacinto, and at 16/1 he looks too long. Dalghar at 14/1 is a half-brother to ‘Arc’ winner Dalakhani and ‘Eclipse & King George’ winner Daylami and having missed almost his entire 3yo season, this could be his year. Overall, a race to watch and savour tho’ I would not put you off having a small ew wager on Zacinto and Dalghar.
The Group 1 King Stand Stakes looks a match between KINGSGATE NATIVE and Australian challenger Nicconi. Never beaten when running less than 6-furlongs, Nicconi will be finishing like a train, but will KINGSGATE NATIVE already have flown? This will be a mighty race, and at 7/2 I’m on KINGSGATE NATIVE who reappeared better than ever to win the Temple Stakes LTO, whereas Nicconi does not look quite as good as previous Australian challengers.
All eyes on another match in the St James Palace Stakes this time between CANFORD CLIFFS and his conqueror in the Guineas, Makfi. The explosive turn-of-foot CANFORD CLIFFS has should see him make a serious challenge off the strong gallop to be set by his stablemate Dick Turpin. And DT is no back-number either and can take a place at least. My thoughts after the Guineas were that CANFORD CLIFFS would win a re-match between the 1st-3 in the Guineas and I’ve seen nothing since to alter that view and Richard Hughes won’t give Makfi a 3-length start this time. However, the current odds of 9/4 are too short for me as Guineas winner Makfi should be the fav on the formbook, so it’s another “no bet” situation (unless you can get 3/1+).
The only other interest is in the Ascot Stakes over 2m 4f. This generally goes to an unexposed hurdler and one horse jumps out at me – SLEEPY HOLLOW. Racing fans will best know this horse for leading the Neptune Hurdle at the Festival before running-out at the 2nd last flight. However, I did say on this blog last week to look out for a Hughie Morrison runner and this could be the one. Half-brother Ronaldsay was rated OR100+ and SLEEPY HOLLOW is totally unexposed on the flat running off OR85, his last flat run being on unsuitably soft going. Today’s trip and going should bring about an improvement on that run and he should be good enough to be involved in the finish. He’s at 18/1 with Skybet and 16’s generally and looks a good eachway wager.
Royal Ascot 3:05 KINGSGATE NATIVE – 2pts win @ 7/2 (generally available)
Royal Ascot 5:00 SLEEPY HOLLOW – 1pts EW @ 18/1 (Skybet)
World Cup Specials
Day 4 of the World Cup brought us a great result with Netherlands winning (+£3.80) but Japan beating Cameroon was a wipe-out (-£10.00). Paraguay then took a 1st-half lead against Italy but it was joy short-lived and the game ended a 1:1 draw (+£0.08). Overall, the World Cup Bank ended down £6.13 at a balance of £80.18. Tomorrow could produce the turnaround we need.
Day 5 starts with New Zealand v Slovakia and, let’s be honest, New Zealand shouldn’t be here! Slovakia “should” win comfortably, with NZ having been beaten by Slovenia, Australia and Mexico recently. The wager is Slovakia to win with £9.00 @ 1/2, and £1.00 on the draw @ 3/1 with Chandlers or Betfred.
Ivory Coast v Portugal could be an upset as Portugal are not the side they once were, even with Ronaldo. They qualified by scoring 8 goals against Malta whereas Sweden only scored 5. Ivory Coast will be no pushover having beaten Japan 2:0 and Ghana 3:1 recently. The wager is Ivory Coast to win with £6.90 @ 13/5, and £3.10 on the draw @ 23/10 with Stan James.
Brazil v North Korea is the mis-match of the tournament. Brazil will win but hopefully the scoreline will not be embarrassing. This is not worth a bet on the actual match result, and a correct score bet is not an option as it could be any score between 1:0 and 7:0 to Brazil, or any in-between.
Review of yesterday’s blog
Very disappointing performance from the racing selections. Neither BESTY nor ROCK RELIEF ran to warrant the market support and THEREAFTER drifted in the market from 5’s to 15/2 and ran a disappointing race. The defeat of Cameroon by Japan, and Italy grabbing an equaliser, capped a bad day at the office.
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