THE weather is set fair for Royal Ascot. There isn’t a drop of rain forecast for the next week at the Berkshire track, which is great news for fashionistas and even better news for thoroughbreds wanting fast ground. Tuesday’s racing is immense with three Group One races kicking off the royal meeting. There are very warm favourites in two of them, while the other is wide open. So let’s look for some value…
The Queen Anne Stakes: This race has more lustre attached to it since becoming a Group One contest in 2003. In the early 80s it was a Sir Henry Cecil benefit, with the great man winning it four times on the trot. Saeed bin Suroor monopolised it for much of the 90s and, more recently, Aidan O’Brien has won it three times. The latter is represented this year by the ex-USA horse Verrazano (7/2), who will bid to follow up Declaration Of War’s win last year. He was third in the Lockinge to Olympic Glory and is expected to improve. Toronado is the ante-post favourite at 11/10 with BetVictor after a flurry of bets overnight but that looks too short. Of more interest could be stablemate Sky Lantern, if she runs. She is 14/1 and could be each-way value. Soft Falling Rain is interesting and has been backed into 8/1 from 14s with BetVictor.
St James’s Palace Stakes: On paper, this looks a match between Kingman and Night Of Thunder and could be the highlight of the meeting. Kingman was nailed late on in the 2,000 Guineas by Night Of Thunder but John Gosden’s horse gained compensation on soft ground to win the Irish 2,000 Guineas. Conditions will be totally different next Tuesday with likely fast ground and there may even be a doubt about Kingman running if the ground is firm. Their respective prices of 10/11 and 2/1 are unappealing and this might be a race for the purists to sit back and enjoy. Looking beyond the first two, Toormore strikes me as good each-way value at 9/1 while War Command, returning to the scene of his greatest triumph in last year’s Coventry Stakes, cannot be discounted.
King’s Stand Stakes: Hot Streak was mighty impressive at Haydock in the Temple Stakes and Kevin Ryan’s post-race comment that he is the best he’s ever trained cemented the impression that he is going to be a tough sprinting nut to crack this season. He is 5/1 joint favourite with BetVictor but it is a big ask for a three year old to take on older horses, notably Shea Shea and last year’s winner Sole Power. Elsewhere, Pearl Secret and Maarek should find the ground too quick, but Moviesta, who has been disappointing so far in his two runs, is expected to improve on the fast ground and he looks each way value at 16/1.
Sky Lantern (each-way).
For the latest ante-post betting on Royal Ascot with BetVictor please click here