On Day 1 of the 2018 Royal Ascot meeting Tuesday, the hope is Godolphin has a very good afternoon. On the other hand, Godolphin could have a great day and it might not be enough to help us wagering-wise. Explanations ahead.
An excellent day of racing is on tap beginning at 9:30 a.m. (EDT). Here is an action play and some spot Win plays for the four pattern events.
Race 1 — Queen Anne (G1)
Having no strong opinion in this seemingly wide-open curtain raiser that attracted a field of 15, our play here is strictly for action/entertainment purposes.
#2 BEAT THE BANK (15-1) has so far been an all-or-nothing type. Unfortunately, Ascot has been the site of two of his three no-shows, once at the Royal meeting last year in the Jersey (G3) and again in the Queen Elizabeth II (G1) in October.
In between, Beat the Bank won three straight, including a dynamite effort against softer in the Joel (G2) over the Rowley Mile at Newmarket. Well backed in the QEII at 4-1, he tossed a clunker over very soft ground finishing 10th of 15.
His comeback in the Lockinge (G1) on May 19 wasn’t much better as he beat just two of 13 rivals. Given it was his first race back in seven months, he could move forward off that run, but obviously has form to find on those that beat him soundly at Newbury, like RHODODENDRON and LIGHTNING SPEAR, and the Godolphin-owned BENBATL, a Royal Ascot winner last season. Still, a return to his very best would put him in the frame against those and others.
Each-way action bet on Beat the Bank.
Race 2 — Coventry (G2)
Ten days after giving his once-beaten sire, Kingman, his first racecourse winner, #7 CALYX (5-2) might roll again after delivering a hammer to his debut rivals by five lengths at Newmarket for trainer John Gosden.
Another interesting second-time starter is DUBAI LEGACY (#9, 10-1), who didn’t have it quite as easy in his Doncaster opener yet still appeared as if he had a bright future.
The Godolphin-owned son of Discreet Cat traveled smoothly throughout, responded when called upon, but showed greenness late when bearing out a bit toward the line. His winning margin was a fairly safe half-length, though, and the final time of 1:22 3/5 for 6 1/2 furlongs was respectable given the testing conditions underneath.
Dubai Legacy picks up the colorful Belgian Christophe Soumillion for this. We’ll bet to Win and box him in an Exacta with Calyx.
Race 3 — King’s Stand (G1)
Advertised as a battle between BATTAASH and the American filly LADY AURELIA, who won this last year, this five-furlong dash includes a dozen others. One is Godolphin’s BLUE POINT (#2, 7-1), who has won two of three over this course, the lone setback being a third at the Royal meeting last term in the Commonwealth Cup (G1).
Possessing sufficient class given his back-and-forth with the likes of Harry Angel, the main concern is that this five-furlong trip might be a touch short. Trainer Charlie Appleby thinks it will suit, though, and he only missed by a head in the Meydan Sprint (G3) two back going five.
“Coming back to five furlongs will also suit him as they will go hard up front and he will come into the race at the right time,” Appleby said.
His luck has been bad of late. A gate scratch when a strong favorite in the Al Quoz Sprint (G1), he was next sent to Hong Kong and trailed the field in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize (G1).
“He was disappointing in Hong Kong, where we tried to take them on at their own game and race up on the pace, which didn’t work. He had a bit of a torrid journey home as well, so he had a nice break since then and the last two weeks I couldn’t have been any happier with him,” Appleby said.
Back on familiar turf here, Blue Point is a bettable alternative to the top two choices.
Race 4 — St James’s Palace (G1)
It remains to be seen how Saxon Warrior bounces back later in the year, but in general the three-year-old milers in Europe this year do not appear to be a vintage bunch.
France-based colts typically don’t fare well in this meeting of Guineas winners, but Godolphin’s WOOTTON (#10, 8-1) might prove an exception. A comfortable winner of his first two outings last season, he next fended off Olmedo by a head in the Prix de Fontainebleau (G3) at the re-opened Longchamp in mid-April in his season debut.
Not settling properly in the early stages of the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) (G1), Wootton allowed Olmedo to turn the tables on him in that classic by two lengths. It was a good effort nonetheless, and a more relaxed trip under Mickael Barzalona can make the difference for a colt that has done little wrong so far.
You can watch and wager on Royal Ascot all week at TwinSpires.com.