• Hands Heels

Royal Ascot Day One

Updated: Jun 15, 2021

Beautiful sunshine and excellent racing to kick off the week. Don’t forget to shop around for offers this week, and remember to claim your free £5 bet on the 2:30 with Paddy Power.

Selections are as follows-

2:30- What a start to the meeting, a classy group one field racing over a mile! Hard to go against Palace Pier here but no betting price for him so aiming towards an each way shot to follow him home. The O’Brien pair are both live chances but there’s one I like further down the betting. Sir Busker won at the meeting last year with a late rattling run in the Silver Hunt Cup. He was also a close second in both the Bunbury Cup and the Clipper Logistics. The bigger fields suit his style of running and he did well in the QE2 to finish half a length back from Palace Pier who was only third that day. I’m willing to forgive his two runs so far this season, beaten only a length in the Paradise Stakes; the winner, Oh This Is Us, has since won a group three and had fitness on his side having run on the all weather over the winter. His final prep for this was another listed race this time over in France where he was ran closer to the pace and didn’t suit at all, with Oisin Murphy back on board I expect him to be ridden as he likes to be; held up to finish strongly, hopefully staying oninto the places! Sir Busker 25/1 0.5pts EW

15:05- A six furlong group 2 for 2 year olds, one of the first big races of the 2 year old calendar. As a rule I never tend to go too crazy on the 2 year old races, however there’s two I like in this that I’ll have a small each way play on. Especially with Sky going 6 places and many others offering 5. Firstly we have Ebro River who I originally thought would be heading to the 5 furlong Norfolk on Thursday. He’s drifted a little in the market but he’s been getting better with each run and his last run was very taking, winning going away in the National Stakes. That makes me confident he’ll get the extra furlong here and in a bigger field he may be forced to stay straight and stop his wandering around. At 12/1 he‘s worth a play here and definitely has the ability. The other is way more speculative being 200/1 in places, that‘s Dashing Rat under Marco Ghiani. He’s perhaps unlucky not to have won a race so far, the last twice he’s been beaten by very good horses despite running extremely well. On his first crack at 6 furlongs He was a close second to Desert Dreamer who has won twice so far and is only 14/1 for the Queen Mary on Wednesday. The other horse he was second to is Oscula who has since won the Woodcote last weekend and is a single figure price for the Albany this week. At 200/1 with 6 places on offer I’ll again have a small each way and hope he can hit the frame.

Ebro River 12/1 0.5pts EW

Dashing Rat 200/1 0.25pts EW

3:40- One of my favourite races, the Kings Stand Stakes, is one of only a couple of Group One‘s over 5 furlongs. A lot of people are looking to take Battaash on due to him having a set back and being off for 10 months, however I’m more than happy to take 2/1 on him as if he is only even half of his usual self, he should be winning this! The other small play I’ll have is one of my HTF this season, Ornate, he’s 200/1 and hasn’t been at his best the last twice. But with 5 places and such a big price, I can’t not back him. It may be worth taking extra places as you can get up to 7 with reduced odds on some bookies.

Battaash 2/1 2pt win

Ornate 200/1 0.25pts each way

4:20- The St James Palace Stakes is up next, a group one for the three year olds over the Guineas trip of a mile. Unsurprisingly we have a lot of the fields from both the Irish and Uk Guineas running here. Uk winner and Irish 2nd Poetic Flare obviously rates highly here, and there’s a few who are stepping into this company for the first time that are unexposed. I‘ll be backing one who ran in the Irish version but only managed sixth that day, La Barrosa. I think the ground here is a big factor for him, his 3 runs on good or good to form reads 112. A group three win last year on good and an excellent second in the Craven where he was just caught by stablemate, Master of The Seas. His form on Soft/Heavy ground? A fifth of six in a french group one and his Irish Guineas sixth. Master of The Seas, who beat him in the Craven finished second to Poetic Flare in a photo finish for the Guineas showing they’re closely matched and at 16/1 on the forecast better ground with 5 places he’s one of my best bets this week. La Barrosa 16/1 1pt EW

5:00- The Ascot stakes, as difficult a race to pick through, as it must be to run. A handicap over a gruelling two and a half miles, lots of runners does mean lots of places so each way is definitely the way to play this one. Sky are going 7 and most are offering 6 places here. The Irish runners are always interesting and Rachel Blackmore rides Emmet Mullins’ Cape Gentlemen who I have back a few times over jumps in the last year. He’s a shrewd trainer and I expect the horse to go well here, at 6/1 in a big field like this I won’t be backing today. The one I’ll be backing is last years winner Couer De Lion who loves this race and trip, having won it last year and placing fifth the year before. He ran a great race in the Chester Cup last month to finish fourth and I hope at 12/1 he can fill the places for us again here, under a decent apprentice Thore Hammer Hansen who was on board for his victory last year.

Couer De Lion 12/1 0.5pts EW

5:35- The penultimate race on day one is the Wolferton, a listed contest over 1 mile and 2 furlongs. A good field contest this with a lot of chances, 5 places is available with 4 in most places. I like two here a lot, firstly is Felix who always gives his running, two excellent seconds in the Winter Derby and the trial for that race which is over this trip. He took his form to a whole other level last time out with a third in the group one Dubai turf over in Meydan, a few lengths behind Lord North who is a very short price for the Prince of Wales here. Thats some of the best form on show here and at 5/1 is a muggy each way play. The other is a much bigger price is Palavecino at 28/1, I think he could definitely outrun those odds based on his neck second to Bangkok in April. He followed that up with a 4 length third to Armory in the group two Huxley. Armory is also short enough for the Prince of Wales this week. He was only a length off of Sangarius who himself is a good yardstick and also runs in the much stronger Prince Of Wales. I think he would be much shorter if trained by a more flashy trainer. Felix 5/1 1pt EW

Palavecino 28/1 0.5pts EW

18:10- Lastly we have the Copper Horse a handicap over 1 mile and 6 furlongs. A tricky looking one where again the Irish have a strong chance in Saldier who won well on return to the flat recently. Another race I won’t be going mad on but I’m willing to forgive Amtiyaz’ last run as that’s the first time where he hasn’t ran well. He’s on a career high mark but I think Hollie Doyle can squeeze and extra bit out of the son of Frankel and hopefully hit the frame with 6 places on offer. Amtiyaz 18/1 0.5pts EW

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