RizzelTips joins us on the site again to preview Royal Ascot this week. His round-up for Tuesday features ALL six races on ITV on what looks a challenging start to the festival for punters.
1:15 Buckingham Palace Handicap
An ultra-competitive opener to the Royal Ascot meeting and the one which catches my eye is DAARIK. He is the current favourite for the race at odds of 9/2 – 4/1.
Unlike a lot of the horses in this line-up, he looks to be progressive and could be a potential group horse in the making. He won on seasonal reappearance at Newcastle where he showed a good turn of foot to put the race to bed. Before that he showed some good form when finishing second in a Class 1 Listed race, behind Fox Power. The form of that race has worked out very well with Marie’s Diamond in fourth. That horse has won 3x since, and most recently a Class 1 Listed race at Newmarket 11 days ago.
Pogo who finished 6th in the Fox Power race has improved from a 97 rated to a 105 rated horse. It seems like the gelding operation has worked so far, so I am hoping he can continue this upward curve tomorrow and get us off to a flying start.
1:50 Queen Anne Stakes
For a group 1 it looks quite open, with Circus Maximus bringing the best form to the table with his Group 1 wins in France & England. I would not put anyone off backing him at 9/4 as he was a quality horse over a mile last year, and had close form tied in with Too Darn Hot.
If Too Darn Hot was running in this race he would be EVS or possibly odds on, so 9/4 is a decent enough price. I would rather side with a horse who offers a bit of EW value and could have improved from 3 to 4.
SPACE TRAVELLER is my selection for the Queen Anne Stakes. He was mightily progressive last term, where he won the Jersey Stakes Group 3 at Royal Ascot and then winning the Clipper Logistics Boomerang Stakes Group 2 at Leopardstown. Both races have a decent level of form, especially the latter. Matterhorn finished second that day, and he has since won a Group 1 in Dubai in devastating fashion, Suedois finished 3rd in a Group 1 in America & Lancaster House returned on the weekend by winning a Group 3. On his Jersey Stakes form, he beat Space Blues who has finished runner-up to Too Darn Hot in France.
Danny Tudhope thinks he is massively overpriced and feels he will run a big race. He is a strong stayer over a mile, so the projected quick pace from front runners like Marie’s Diamond will definitely suit.
Another horse to mention at bigger prices is Accidental Agent who has won this race before. He can be a quirky horse and usually gets warm before the start. If he is song tomorrow, he could easily outrun his odds of 66/1 as the fast pace will suit him as well.
2:25 Ribblesdale Stakes
This is a fascinating race for punters who have one eye on the Epsom Oaks, as this will give a good indicator of any potential winners of the race. We have seen Aidan O’Brien take an early lead in the Fillies division, landing both the English and Irish 1000 Guineas, and I think he has a nice chance of winning the Ribblesdale as well.
This might be a surprise to some, but ENNISTYMON is the selection for this race. She travelled very strongly on her seasonal reappearance at Leopardstown and managed to cling on to the win, when some of the horses from the rear ran on. I thought that was a nice performance on the back of a layoff, and though the form might not be anything out of the ordinary, I think she’s beaten some nice horses in behind, with the 2nd,3rd and 4th all having Group 1 entries. The 6th in that race was rated 92 and she was 3.5 lengths behind, which is a good yardstick. Also, the same horse was 2 lengths behind Passion last year, if you were to compare the Ballydoyle duo.
On pedigree the step up in trip should be fine, but you never know until they try the distance. I could not be siding with Gosden/Frankie on their filly, Frankly Darling, as she is mightily short in the market, currently at 11/8. Based on what we have seen from her, winning a Class 5 at Newcastle, she is too short. From the English side, Trefoil and Miss Yoda have the best pieces of form, but Aidan seems to hold the keys to the filly 3yo division.
3:00 King Edward VII Stakes
A nice easy one for me in this race, and that is a NO BET. Mogul appears to be the main derby hope for Ballydoyle this year, according to the whispers on social media.
This seems a nice start for him to prepare for his future date at Epsom.
On ratings, the other horses in the race must improve 7/8 pounds (other than Aidan’s second runner) to get close, and that is based on last season's performances. You would have to think that Mogul has progressed from 2 to 3, being by Galileo, who’s progeny progress well from the juvenile season. His last run in the Vertem Futurity behind Kameko is good form, and now he is being stepped up in trip he is bred to be a better horse over this distance. It would be a disappointment if Mogul does get beat.
3:35 King’s Stand Stakes
Once again, this is all about one hose, and that is Battaash. It is no surprise to him at odds on again for another race, as on his day he is the best sprinter on the planet. He has run well in this race in the past two renewals, finishing behind Blue Point on both occasions. However, tomorrow he will not face his old foe, as he has now been retired, which leaves the path wide open for him to claim the King’s Stand Stakes for the first time.
At odds of 8/13 I think you must be mental to back him, as we never know which Battaash will turn up. The amount of times where he has boiled over or not shown his true ability is very common, so you can either find an EW alternative or not bet, I am siding with NO BET.
I do think we will see the best of Battaash tomorrow, and that is why I will not be betting. Glass Slippers is a Group 1 winner from last season, but that was a shock to many as she did not look top quality until winning the group races in France, and the rest of the field do not seem close to his Standards.
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4:10 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes
This is a tricky race to compare form between the main market rivals, but I have whittled it down and the one I fancy for this race tomorrow is NAZEEF. She seems to have the turn of foot which some of these horses are lacking. She showed that she had the class to compete at this level, when winning the Listed race at Kempton LTO. She was keen throughout that race, and did not get any cover, which made it even more impressive that she won comfortably in the end. On that day she had Billesdon Brook behind, who is a dual Group 1 winner, so there is definitely substance to the form.
I thought Miss O Connor would have had a great chance if the ground was on the soft side, but unfortunately for her the ground looks to be described as good, and that is enough to put me off her. It would not surprise me if William Haggas withdraws her tomorrow if there is no overnight rain.
Lavender's Blue holds some good form and will definitely go close tomorrow if she replicates some of her form from last year. But she did finish behind Billesdon Brook, so on collateral form she should finish behind Nazeef. I know form rarely works out how you want it to, but there is something about Lavender's Blue which puts me off.
Jubiloso is a massive NO for me. She has this reputation of being a monster at home, but she does not bring it to the track when needed and was put in her place by Lavender's Blue last year.
4:40 Ascot Stakes
This race is probably the hardest to pick a selection from on day one. There are too many unknowns about a lot of these horses, and the main doubt is whether they will get the 2m 4f distance. The horses who should get the distance are the ones who are coming from the jump’s stables, such as San Benedeto and Verdana Blue, but in my opinion, Verdana Blue is ridiculously short odds. She could win this easily tomorrow, but at odds of 4/1 I could not be touching her.
My selection is SMART CHAMPION. I really do like the chances of this one as he still looks to be an improver over the staying trips. His recent win at Newcastle in a Class 2 race beating a proven stayer in Carnwennan is a good piece of form. That was over 2m and he ran through the line like he wanted further, so this stamina test could bring out further improvement.
He has close form with Land Of Oz where he finished 1.5 lengths behind, but tomorrow he gets a 13lb weight shift in his favour, which should bridge the gap between them.
This race is extremely competitive so make use of the EW markets.