The 2016 Royal Ascot Carnival gets underway tonight in sunny (haha) England! The first meet of the carnival can generally through up an upset or two, while there are a few races well known for the favourites having got the chocolates over the past few years. The rain has come and we will start on a soft track for the first time since I can remember! Thankfully, that suits quite a few runners here. As always, I hope you your form matches up with mine. Good luck and happy punting.
Skyracing (TAB) form guide – this is what we use for the basics – http://www.skyracing.com.au
Speedmaps and form from Punters – http://www.punters.com.au/form-guide/
I find all of the best early odds at www.bestodds.com.au
Our results are updated daily here – Betting Spreadsheet
Red means Top pick. Blue means second pick and Green refers to a saver pick. Orange means the pick looks value.
Ascot Race 1 – Queen Anne Stakes – 11.30pm AEST
2. A Shin Erwin: Not the highest rated horse in the world, that’s a different A Shin! Comes into this race with some fairly low rating runs and it’s hard to suggest a place.
3. Barchan: Lowest rated runner in the race. Hard to suggest how he even deserves a run on what he has shown to date. Pass.
4. Belardo: Group 1 winner. Last start hit his highest rating run on a Good surface. Handles softISH going on past performances but nothing really as soft as today with any great assurances. Has to improve for mine to figure here.
5. Cougar Mountain: Group 3 horse at best on previous runs i’d have to admit. He did get a 3rd last prep behind Solow to record a rating that would go close to placing here, but it still wouldn’t be good enough to beat every horse here today. First two runs this prep not good enough.
6. Endless Drama: Safely held 3rd last start behind Belardo. Has extra potential 2nd up here today as he progressed last prep going through his runs as well. Handles a soft track and did run 2nd as a 3YO to GlenEagles in Group 1 class.
7. Kodi Bear: Disappointing run first up this prep. His best is actually very good when you rate his Group 3 and Group 2 wins last prep before a forgive run behind Solow when well backed. His potential is there to record something close to winning this, but i’d have liked to see a solid run first up before considering him here.
8. Lightning Spear: A very inconsistent horse. On his day, he is a solid Group 2-3 horse, but as it’s been proven in the past, he isn’t up to this level. Take him on.
9. Mondialiste: Beaten 17.5L first up behind A Shin Hikari which is certainly a worry coming off a 9L defeat to Maurice and 2.3L defeat to Tepin before that. Group 3 winner over 1800m and 1600m on a soft track… his ratings are solid enough but suggest a place chance at very best.
10. Toormore: Strong Group 2 win first up on a softer track and measured a career peak run. Last start in a firmer track was very disappointing behind Belardo. Obviously a much better horse than last start and has to simply be forgiven. If he improves on the first up run, he has to be considered a contender at odds.
11. Amazing Maria: Horrible first up run heading into this today in comparison to how she progressed through the grades last prep. 1800m back to 1600m obviously suits but it took her a few runs last prep to get to the ratings needed to figure here. Her best is still slightly below what’s required to win this, but she is a Group 1 winner over Ervedya in her own right and has to be respected.
12. Ervedya: Never missed a place in 11 starts with 7 wins over that period, mainly all in Group company. Lost 2 of her last three races as the favourite. Won at this carnival last year in 3F-GP1 grade… this is obviously a much tougher test. Her first up run this prep was the worst performance of her past five runs which to be is a big concern. The wetter the better.
13. Esoterique: Started shorter than Tepin when they bet in the USA, but found herself beaten 6.5L. Went onto Hong Kong and ran a very respectable 2L 4th to Maurice to finish that prep. Previous runs saw Group 1 and FM-GP1 wins and a solid 2nd to Solow. her best run was on a Heavy Track over in France so the wetter it gets, the better her chances.
14. Tepin: The USA champion, Tepin has won his past three Group 1 races over in the USA by 5.1 lengths, 2.3 lengths and 7 lengths over 1600-1700m distance. Her four runs this prep have been 3.5L, 1L, 5.1L and 3.6L wins, all in Group company starting as $1.40 favourite or less. Most importantly today, she has won in Group 1 class on a Soft track previously, by a lazy 7 lengths. She has won 3 from 5 on Soft tracks in the past also, backing up the wet track form. Ratings suggest she has gone to another level this prep.. all it comes back to here now is if she goes fine without the same drugs and nasal stripes they allow racing in the USA.
Comments: I’m really happy to take on Beleardo today. I don’t think the horse can progress past the last start run especially on this track today. I think Toormore is a good long odds chance if the horse handles the soft track better than previous showings. The two clear standouts on my ratings are Tepin and Esoterique. Both runners will appreciate the wet surfaces and both have the ratings to not only win this, but blow the field away if the produce their best. The smart way to start the day looks to be to back both our top picks.
Strategy: Tepin for 2 units @ $7.00. Esoterique for 1.5 units @ $8.20.
Ascot Race 3 – King’s Stand Stakes – 12.40am AEST
14. Profitable: A career best run last start when holding off Mecca’s Angel at Haydock when 2nd run into his prep. May have more up his sleeve, but it’s important to realise that his Heavy track run wasn’t a great rating.
20. Mecca’s Angel: Her best run last prep on a wetter surfaces have simply been good enough to blow this field away. She has proven that her best is world class on a soft surface. She was exposed first up by a top run by an improving Profitable, but you would have to expect today with the ground and the weight that she is very well in here.
Comments: The Ratings on this race suggest that there really are only two potential winners if either of them run up to or above their previous ratings without something improving significantly beyond what they currently have shown.
Strategy: Mecca’s Angel for 2 units @ $2.82 to win
Ascot Race 4 – St James’s Palace Stakes – 1.20am AEST
1. Awtaad: Undefeated this prep going through the grades with relative ease before getting the Group 1 last start by 2.6 lengths. Last start, back to a firmer track than today, saw his career peak, significantly ahead of what he had shown on the two previous occasions. First time at track, but certainly won’t be put off by it.
2. Cymric: 2nd in a 2YO-GP1 last prep over the 1600m when recording his best ratings to date. Looked to have ability on that start but three runs since then have see him fail to fire on each occasion. Has the ability to measure up here if he actually returns to form… $120 probably not the price he should really be here today… but it’s hard to suggest a win for him.
3. Ehtiraas: Still a maiden. Hasn’t been competing in anything close to this level in recent runs. Beaten as favourite last start and I struggle to suggest him here.
4. Emotionless: 2YO Group 2 winner by lengths before failing to fire in the Group 1 when 2nd favourite. How will he return today? If he has improved onwards since last prep then he is a legit blowout chance here at double figure odds… and I know he has.
5. First Selection: Well beaten by 5.6L in Group 1 company last start when 2nd to The Gurkha. Best runs last and this prep are well short of this.
6. Galileo Gold: Put a very strong rating win on the board first up at big odds beating a nice Group 1 field. Relatively unknown on the softer tracks. Repeat of two back ratings should be competitive here.
7. The Gurkha: Massive run last start first time on a dry track and he absolutely blitzed the field. It was a serious win over a serious field. Most importantly, he handles the wet has shown on previous runs… it’s just if he is as efficient on this surface today as last start… if he is, he will be very hard to beat.
8. Zonderland: Easy win as favourite last start in easier grade after running 6th behind Galileo Gold. Looks outclassed.
Comments: The Gurkha is the clear class runner on all my ratings here. I think he can go even better here today ratings wise and that would mean none of the others are getting close. Based on previous runs, I can understand Awtaad and Galileo Gold both being second and third favourites.. but both are under their correct odds for mine. Emotionless is the horse with potential improvement to run a race here up to 1600m and is the value outside of the favourite.
Strategy: The Gurkha for 2 units @ $2.30 to win