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Royal Ascot Races: Tips, racecards and betting preview for Day 5 of the Royal Meeting on Saturday live on ITV

WE’VE made it to the last day, but what an afternoon we have in store at Royal Ascot.

The rejigged line-up has boosted Saturday’s offering with a number of Group 1s, including the St James’s Palace and Diamond Jubilee. Callum Jamieson gets stuck in.

PA:Press Association

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Race 1 – 12.40 Silver Wokingham Handicap

Swindler has a right chance in this, he absolutely loves the track and had a good pipe opener at Newmarket when given an easy enough time.

But he has been well found here and if the rain falls he could be vulnerable. Getting to grips with the forecast is nigh on impossible, so if come the day it’s good ground or better, I would put no one off Ed Walker’s horse.

Blue Mist is also fancied but just doesn’t win as often as he should. The drop back to six is an interesting move. He ran out of puff at Newbury over seven last time, but has finished strongly on other occasions. I can leave him alone.

If the rain arrives I quite like the chances of LOUIE DE PALMA from the Clive Cox team. He goes well at Ascot and is a smart horse on his day, albeit it he is clearly fragile.

He’s still handicapped to go close in a race like this and is much better off at the weights with the jolly who was three lengths in front of him in a course and distance handicap last season.

Magical Wish is another on the shortlist. He produced a career best last time out and the booking of Ryan Moore suggests the Hannon team think that was no fluke.

If he can repeat his Lingfield success on the turf he won’t be far away and the handicapper didn’t go wild with a 3lbs rise.

They’d be my two to have a nibble at but it’s not a race I’m enthused about from a punters perspective.

EACH-WAY NODS: Louie De Palma & Magical Wish

 

Race 2 – 1.15 Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2)

I’m steering clear of the two-year-old races for obvious reasons this season.

But for those desperate to have a tickle here I have it between Aidan O’Brien’s MORE BEAUTIFUL and the Haggas runner SACRED.

Both won well on their debuts and looked professional throughout, with the O’Brien chance probably a bit more impressive on the eye.

But that is reflected in the betting and so is the the deadly duo of Moore and O’Brien.

Sacred was the yard’s first juvenile runner of the year and why she was steady enough to back she was always on top and should kick on here.

I’d be taking on the Wesley Ward runners but at bigger odds, Pelekai may be of interest to those of you that want something each-way.

TENTATIVE NODS: Sacred & More Beautiful

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Race 3 – 1.50 Coventry Stakes (Group 2)

And like London buses, the two-year-old races come thick and fast towards the end of the week.

I want to have a swing here and Roger Varian’s DARK LION makes appeal at a double-figure price.

He was well-punted before her debut at Newmarket, but things didn’t go his way on a day when the track bias was strongly against those in behind.

He could only manage fourth but was a big eye-catcher when green and clearly not in love with the track. He’ll enjoy this flatter surface and could improve by the bucket load.

The other one at a big price is Clive Cox’s Nando Parrado. He was another big eye-catcher on debut and should be plenty more street wise now.

He was stuck out wide where you could not afford to be and was very raw. He hated the dip and bumped badly late on. It was very encouraging he managed to finish fifth there and he looks wildly over-priced for a trainer that knows how to ready a two-year-old.

Of the more fancied types, Qaader looks exciting for Mark Johnston. Aidan O’Brien’s Admiral Nelson will be very, very popular, but it’s a tough ask backing up a run only a week previous.

BIG PRICE SHOUTS: Dark Lion & Nando Parrado

Race 4 – 2.25 Coronation Stakes (Group 1)

Only seven runners here but it’s a cracking and seriously competitive line-up. And that’s a credit to the trainers as plenty of these only ran in the respective early 1000 Guineas recently.

Quadrilateral will head the betting and is probably a deserved favourite, but I’d be against her here and especially at the prices.

You need to stay well at Ascot, but like in the Guineas, I just think she’ll be vulnerable to a quicker horse on this round course. She wants further but there is little out there for her currently.

Alpine Star is a bit of an unknown, but if she has kicked on from her win in the Group 2 Debutante Stakes then she could be very smart indeed.

Connections have gone and booked Frankie Dettori so are clearly confident, but that said I’m not sure the race she won on her third start was that strong. She has plenty to prove, and again, is short enough considered the depth to this field.

Run Wild’s win at Newmarket has been massively over-hyped on a weekend when the front-running bias was huge. She didn’t improve on her best efforts there and won’t get an easy time out front here.

I’d be strongly against her, but I’ve been wrong before…

I am drawn to the American raider SHARING who could be very smart for Graham Motion. Unlike a lot of Wesley Ward’s runner she left it late to come over and so long as she took the flight well I have that as an advantage.

She was very impressive when winning at the Breeders’ Cup and the form of that race ties in well to this race. She held Daahyeh in second there, and that filly beat Cloak Of Spirits fairly cosily.

And she proved she has kicked on with a smart performance on her return. Connections were quick to snap up Oisin Murphy and she looks a good betting proposition at the prices.

I do think Cloak Of Spirits is the danger, though. She has improved from two to three and might just step forwards again off the back of her Guineas second.

None of these can be ruled out though, and it’s a competitive race.

SELECTION: Sharing

 

Race 5 – 3.00 St James’s Palace Stakes (Group 1)

This could well be the race of the entire meeting. On paper it is set up to be a barn-stormer.

You have everything, Guineas runners and unexposed, exciting runners from the likes of John Gosden. In my mind, it is a case of sit back, and enjoy.

If I was pushed for a bet, or perhaps a selection, I think I’d just side with PINATUBO. But you would have to put a gun to my head.

The race didn’t go to plan in the 2000 Guineas and if he improves for that – which I think he will – you can expect him to be back to his stirring two-year-old form.

The Guineas run wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t him. A return to his National Stakes rout and he would have gone closer at Newmarket. The round course at Ascot will probably suit him better, too.

I think a pair of cheekpieces would do a job on him down the line but connections have played a straight bat here.

That said, Wichita could kick on again, too. I think he’s more likely to plateau from that run though as it was such a jump forward on his juvenile form.

Rain may be against him more so in the case of Pinatubo as well.

So what do we make of Palace Pier? Well, the line ‘he could be anything’ gets trotted about for fun in this game, but it genuinely applies here.

The Kingman colt has been foot perfect thus far and is in the right hands to kick on once again now upped out of novice company.

But therein lies the problem, he is going from a pair of novices to Group 1. And a top Group 1 at that.

If he wins this, then we could have something special on our hands.

Richard Hannon and Clive Cox must have thought this would have been a bit of a lighter touch for their respective chances, Threat and Positive.

They both skipped the Guineas to come here and possibly try and avoid the likes of Pinatubo. But they haven’t…

But they are still players here and I think Positive especially could be better at three, than two.

They are up against it here, but do not rule them out and you can expect at least one of the big guns to blow out so soon after Newmarket.

NO-BET SELECTION: Pinatubo

 

Race 6 – 3.35 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Group 1)

If you were a realist you might just say that this renewal could be a tad below par.

A fairytale result may be in the offing with Sceptical, but from a form point of view we’re probably below what you might call an up to scratch renewal.

But a winner is a winner and a 5-1 first-place pays the same no matter the race. And I’m keen to take on the fairytale that is Sceptical.

He has a lot to prove still. He comes across the Irish sea off the back of a string of handicap wins, book-ended with a Listed win where he got the run of the race, as impressive as he was.

This is a different proposition all together. That’s not me saying he doesn’t deserve a crack at this, he does, but I’m not sure he should be anywhere near the price he is – and that’s without the forecast rain around.

KHAADEM would be my pick on a good surface, but that looks far from expected. Come Saturday, if it is decent ground he could well still be a bet.

Charlie Hills’ team have flown all week and this sprinter looked one to break into the big time after his Stewards’ Cup win. A line through his end of season no shows and he would be favourite for this.

If he can bounce back to this, with a winter on his back and now physically stronger and mentally grown up, he could well be the improver that can see off the elder statesmen.

Hello Youmzain’s connections will be hoping the wet weather does materialise. But he’s not consistent enough for me to get involved with.

One Master is a big player, she will relish the stiff six but this is likely a starting point for her. Trainer William Haggas has hinted at as much.

Dream Of Dreams was an ‘unlucky’ second in this race last season but lost his way afterwards. A return to that is not ruled out given his trainer and a long-break. He may be a horse to catch early in his campaign and has been gelded.

And let us not forget The Tin Man. What a servant he has been and he will relish a soft surface more than most. He’s an each-way player, even at the ripe old age of eight.

WEATHER WATCH SELECTION: Khaadem

Race 7 – 4.10 Wokingham Stakes

The penultimate race of the Royal week is another devilish handicap – you’ll be well-rewarded if you find yourself the winner.

The lightly-tried, Sir Michael-Stoute-trained Mubakker will be all the rage and he’s easily argued for. His Newcastle win was impressive.

He’s gone up 9lbs which is more than fair, but does have to prove he can go as well on the grass and that’s not guaranteed. Also, drawn in two – a big disadvantage all week – I’m not willing to find out.

I’d chance SUMMERGHAND each-way who was a taking second to Tinto at Newmarket on Guineas weekend. The latter is back here, but unlikely to get as much room up top this time around.

My fancy was far too far back to threaten the leader but made smooth headway late, and did that easily. He got popped up a pound but is only now a single pound higher than his last winning mark and looks in tip-top form.

Double figure odds are tempting.

Highland Dress has done nothing but improve and he deserves more than a mention. A 6lbs rise may not be enough to stop him rattling in a hat-trick.

I’d give Silent Echo more of a chance with a better draw. But the bias may be less obvious towards the end of the week so keep an eye on that.

EACH-WAY SELECTION: Summerghand


Race 8 – 4.40 Queen Alexandra Stakes

These marathon races are tedious for punters. They often go a crawl as the majority of jockeys take a nap in the rear. Low and behold it becomes a sprint and only those close to the what you call pace, hold any chance.

So if you must, have a pop on FUN MAC who can turn Hughie Morrison’s week on its head. He plods all day and goes fine in the mud.

But don’t go chasing, this race really is not a tool for that.

NO-BET SELECTION: Fun Mac

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