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advising selections on which to wager, since March 2010.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Royal Ascot Day 1

There is no doubt about it, Royal Ascot is “the” meeting of the flat racing season. Super-competitive, with just about all the very best horses in training, both UK trained and from foreign fields.
I’ve been concentrating on the better quality races this year and there are a glut of top-class races at Royal Ascot with the opening 3 races of the meeting all being Group 1.
I’m not a sprint-race tipster so I’m leaving the King’s Stand Stakes to one side. With 19 runners, and just the minimum 5-furlong trip to cover, in my opinion it really is anyone’s race and one in which no horse can relax.

As such, the two races that I’m concentrating on are the opening Queen Anne Stakes over a straight mile run at 2:30, and the St James’s Palace Stakes also run over a mile at 3:45, but on the round course.

2:30 Queen Anne Stakes
The hot favourite is the American 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom. Clearly a very classy horse, he looked unlucky not to be a lot closer to the winner when 2nd in the Breeders’ Cup mile run at Santa Anita last November. Given a break, he possibly wasn’t 100% when 2nd at Gulfstream in February, but looked a tremendous horse when winning the Dubai World Cup of 10-furlongs at Meydan on 30th March. However, the form of that race hasn’t exactly made great reading since and he could have been flattered by the way the race panned-out. Bred from a mare by German stallion and top-class stayer Acatenango, my feeling is that this horse wants 10-furlong plus. His performance in the Breeders Cup (when 2nd) may not have been what it seemed either as he was beaten by the specialist “miler” Wise Dan, and tho’ he had triple Group 1 winning Excelebration back in 4th, that horse was over-the-top for the season. It is the proximity of Group 2 horse Obviously (in 3rd) that tempers the form of that race for me, and I think the rating awarded of 123 by RPR that day to Animal Kingdom was a bit inflated.
The 2nd-fav is Elusive Kate, and this filly was possibly the best of her sex over a mile last season but was unable to master the colts when up against them. I also think it is a huge task to come straight to Royal Ascot without a preparation run, so altho’ trainer John Gosden knows how to do a job he’ll have his work cut-out to win this.
There appears to be dearth of contenders for this race despite there being 13 runners. The OR116 rated Penitent was well beaten in the Lockinge (despite being race-fit) and his Epsom conqueror Gregorian seems best when faced with under 9 rivals. Trumpet Major is an interesting runner, but he’d probably prefer the going to be firmer than “good” to show his best form. He won’t be far away, whereas Trade Storm looks exposed and is Group 2 at best. The AP O’Brien horse Declaration Of War is on a recovery mission after flopping in the Lockinge, but I don’t think he’s up to this grade. Sovereign Debt – 2nd in the Lockinge – is also possibly no better than Group 2 at best, tho’ he does love Ascot and the ground will be perfect for him. It’s the horse that was 3rd that day, ALJAMAAHEER, who looks most likely to step-up to the plate. With only 8 starts to date, there is surely more improvement to from this colt who has looked like a mile would be his best trip since finishing 3rd in the 7-furlong Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot last year. While I think the race-fav should be Animal Kingdom, purely on his rating, in my opinion he’s more of a 9/4 chance than 4/5. Elusive Kate could go close if she’s fit enough and so I’d have her at about 6/1. There are 3 who can cause an upset: Sovereign Debt, Trumpet Major and ALJAMAAHEER and the latter looks a worthy eachway wager at 14/1 (Bet365 and BetVictor) as I think he should be more like 6/1. 

3:45 St James’s Palace Stakes
The Derby fav Dawn Approach attempts to redeem his season in this race having run a stinker at Epsom on 1st June. If he can repeat the form of his win in the Two-Thousand Guineas then he will be unstoppable, but I expect the preliminaries at Royal Ascot will “spook” him just as much as they this at Epsom. While Dawn Approach is coming back to a mile as a non-stayer, the 2nd-fav Magician is bred to win a Derby yet dropped back from winning the Dee Stakes over 10-furlongs at Chester (I do not know how many times I've stated that AP O’Brien sends his best – very best – 3yo’s to Chester’s May meeting and, despite the proof, people still scoff) to win the Irish Guineas. I don’t think the 3rd-fav Toronado truly stays a mile at Group 1 level, and so I think the best of the rest will be the improving DUNDONNELL. I was very impressed with the attitude of this horse when winning LTO, and the form of that race is working out very well with subsequent winners in Baltic Knight and Well Acquainted.  Unexposed at a mile (his LTO win was over 7-furlongs) I’m expecting more to come from this horse who is exceptionally well-bred. Current odds of 20/1 (Bet365 and BetVictor) look very generous and I reckon he should be trading at 8/1 for this. Has to be an eachway wager.

I'm having a small ¼ pt eachway wager on each of these, plus a ½ pt place-only wager on the exchanges (total 2pts staked). I'm also having a ¼ pt eachway double on the pair.

For a detailed preview of the Kings Stand Stakes over 5-furlongs, I strongly suggest you visit sprinter-specialist blogger the "Laird" at  Sprinterstogo

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Thanks from Wayward Lad

1 comment:

  1. I thought that I'd found the winner of the Queen Anne when ALJAMAAHEER burst thru' inside the final furlong. Unfortunately only 2nd, but the ½ pt place-only wager returned at least a 0.965pt profit as the place-only SP was 2.93 (over 3.50 was available when the blog was posted).