It seems like yesterday, but it was exactly a year ago that I landed in London and made my way over to enjoy my first ever Royal Ascot carnival. It was an amazing and eye-opening week of racing spent living and breathing racing. This year on paper looks to be as good, if not better and we are spoilt for quality on the opening day. There are three key races i’m keen to bet into and you will see this trend continue throughout the carnival with form races being targeted. As always, I hope my form matches up with yours. Good luck and happy punting!
Ascot Race 4 Night of Thunder
Ascot Race 3 Shea Shea
Ascot Race 1 Soft Falling Rain
Skyracing (TAB) form guide – this is what we use – http://www.skyracing.com.au
Free UK form from Timeform – http://www.timeform.com/free/
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
Red means Top pick. Blue means second pick and Green refers to a saver pick. Orange means the pick looks value.
Royal Ascot Race 1
The Queen Anne Stakes opens the card at Royal Ascot and we have a odds on favourite.
Toronado proved to be the genuine real deal last prep. The run 2nd to Dawn Approach at Ascot was solid and then he went one better at Goodwood running down Dawn Approach and also Declaration of War who won next start. The only real questionmark for mine is how he will handle a genuine Good track if it starts at that. He has shown his best on Good-to-Soft.
Verrazano goes around as the second favourite after a solid run behind Olympic Glory and Tullius first up. He will have improved for that run but i’m not so sure he will have improved enough to justify the quote today in this field, especially considering the odds on offer for Tullius.
Soft Falling Rain goes around at juicy odds today. Ignore the first up run in Meydan over 1200m, it was simply toos hort a distance and rate on the nice 2nd to Variety Club. Now go back and rate on previous prep with a strong enough win at Newmarket and even two back at Newbury for a 2nd. Performs well coming off a short time off like this prep.
Tullius is making his way through the grades this prep and just found one too good last start. Should be peaking today and a little rain would probably help his chances IMO.
The value of the race for mine comes in the form of Side Glance. He has been competing on the world stage in some of the best races in the world and hasn’t been falling too far short of the mark with a 5th and 4th and 5th in 3 of his last 4 races with prize money over 1.5mill each. He proved his worth in the Aussie Spring as well taking out the Mackinnon. Yes, he may be wanting a little further than this distance today, but the 1760 isn’t THAT far short of the normal 2000m and I expect him to roll into the race when required.
Comments: I can’t bring myself to back Toronado at the price on the prospect of Good going. The horse could very-well win by 3-4 lengths, but first up in this field I have to take this price on. The two value runners on my ratings are Soft Falling Rain and Side Glance. Both have the ability to win this at their best and both present great odds in this class of race.
Strategy: Medium sized E/W bet on Soft Falling Rain. Small E/W bet on Side Glance
Royal Ascot Race 2
You know how I got on about the maiden races with lack of form lines to match-up at Saturday meets? We learnt from last year that these similar types of races are a coin-toss and they generally through up something out of left field.
Kool Kompany on the replays I have seen and all my stats has improved every run he has had on the track. Today he is up in distance once again and up in a harder level of class. Represents the horse I would be backing in this open affair.
Strategy: Kool Kompany E/W
Royal Ascot Race 3
Another tough race with some runners who come to these sprints at Ascot year after year providing us some solid form lines while the 3YO Hot Streak will probably start as favourite!
Shea Shea never puts in a bad run. His last seven runs have seen one run just outside of a place (4th) with three wins. Unfortunately for him, all three of those wins have come at Meydan while he is still yet to get that elusive big win in the UK. Sole Power ran him down late last year. He is in with every chance once again.
Ahtoug really stepped up last prep showing this horses class. Recording a win two preps back at this course over 1005, last prep saw a good win at Meydan followed by an 8th then x3 2nds, beaten by 2 runners in this race over that period but also did beat them home a few times also. Has the ability but has shown best on tracks with a little more give.
Sole Power beat Shea Shea at course last year but didn’t record another victory until last month! He ran a brave 2nd to Lord Kanaloa even though he was smashed by a long way.. and he was rather disappointing over in Meydan. I could say last start he got a few easy kills, but Hot Streak comes up favourite here today and was beaten that day. Has the ability to win.
Guerre proved to be the real deal with an easy win firs tup at Naas before going for a spell. That was a fairly easy race compared to this, but that was a warm up aimed at this. Certainly has to find much more today, but has shown the ability to win well.
Hot Streak hasn’t sold me. If he wins today, I will be sold, but I have to take him on. I thought he had every chance first up when hit the lead but couldn’t hold on run down by Sole Power. Next start on a soft track he did win nicely, but that race wasn’t as classy as this one today. Has to make the next step to beat these.
Jack Dexter has a horse I have a lot of time for. I think his best is on a good to soft track and he has been racing on soft tracks the past five runs. He did record a victory over that time, but his best run was at Ayr back in September 2013 on a Good to soft track for a solid 3rd. Has the ability to peak today and test these at odds.
Medicean Man chased some easy money over in Meydan last prep and recorded two victories before running a nice 4th to finish the prep at good odds. The 1100m will suit today and goes well down the Ascot straight. Handles any type of ground and has to be respected.
Pearl Secret has to be respected if you fancy Hot Streak today. Ran very well last start and also first up, but was very disappointing two runs back. Needs a bit of give in the ground and may not get enough today?
Comments: I keep coming back to the consistent Shea Shea. I think he will be suited by the ground today and most importantly showed his class is still enough to win this on his day last prep.
Strategy: Shea Shea E/W
Royal Ascot Race 4
This looks a race of two with Kingman having gotten the better of Night of Thunder one of two meetings this prep. Kingman got the first win this prep at Newbury when these two met on a similar surface over 1400m. Next start at Newmarket, Night of Thunder got the better of Kingman on a Good-to-Firm track over the 1609m. Kingman then went onwards to win at Curragh and won easily. Night of Thunder went for a freshen-up aimed at this race today.
Kingman looks very short today at the $2.02 odds. I have these horses close to similar ratings on their previous runs and the extra distance today suits Night of Thunder. The track will continue to dry out throughout the day and Night of Thunder did a lot wrong last start to still beat Kingman.
Comments: Have to take the odds on offer for Night of Thunder today!
Strategy: Night of Thunder to win
Royal Ascot Race 5
This isn’t exactly my cup of tea distance or ratings wise when dealing with international runners, but I will give you my pick on form as with Race 2.
Ballinderry Boy had a nice run first up to step up to this distance today. He ran very well even though he finished 6th because in reality, the distance he was running over wasn’t suitable. Up 2000m today, Oisin Murphy keeps the ride and claims 3KG as well, he will jump well and give you a sight. Would be clear favourite in my opinion on a soft surface today.
Comments: Hard to have much confidence in this race today, but Ballinderry Boy gets the nod.
Strategy: Ballinderry Boy 2 units to place 1 unit to win.
Royal Ascot Race 6
1005m Listed grade race with lack of form and even first starters, not exactly how I would like to finish any day of racing! On a good note, the first starts have had little to no support which helps us a little.
Merdon Castle won ok first up and then ran nicely second up at Windsor and couldn’t beat home Kool Kompany. There isn’t exactly any stand outs here and if Kool Kompany takes out the race early in the day, form lines will look even better.
Comments: Not exactly excited to be betting here unless Kool Kompany wins Race 2.. even then, small stakes
Strategy: Merdon Castle E/W
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk.
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