2024 Royal Ascot: 5 longshots to consider

June 16th, 2024

Final declarations for Royal Ascot will be available 48 hours in advance of each race day. At this stage, the fields are coming together enough to try to find possible sleepers. 

Here’s a longshot to consider for every day of the meeting:

Tuesday’s Queen Anne (G1) – Dolayli

If Maljoom is the price play on form from an Ascot past, Dolayli has the sneaky potential of an unexposed horse on the upgrade. The Aga Khan’s homebred resurfaced this winter from a long absence, and he soon emerged as a budding star on the French all-weather. His absolute thrashing of a globetrotter the caliber of Junko made him one to follow. Trainer Francis-Henri Graffard has categorically stated that Dolayli is a future Group 1 winner; it’s just a case of where he earns it. 

Granted, the Queen Anne (G1) isn’t necessarily the obvious spot for a horse who stays much further. Yet the prospect of a strong pace over a stiff mile track could suit him well. Note that Dolayli has run respectably in defeat in his past two on turf, including a better-than-appears fourth in the Prix d’Ispahan (G1). 

Wednesday’s Queen Mary (G2) – Kassaya

Normally I’d go for a longshot in the Duke of Cambridge (G2) on this day, but there’s too much uncertainty about the cast to render an early judgment. While the 36 (!) juvenile fillies in the Queen Mary (G2) will also be whittled down, the definite runner who looms as the biggest overlay is Kassaya

Juddmonte bought the Kingman filly for 1 million guineas as a foal, and her appeal is obvious as a half-sister to classic hero Chaldean, Group 2-winning juvenile Alkumait, and Group 1-placed sprinter Get Ahead. Kassaya lived up to her speedy pedigree, and big reputation, by beating the boys at Nottingham second time out for trainer Andrew Balding.

Thursday’s Gold Cup (G1) – Sweet William

If head is ruling heart, and you’re trying to beat past champion Kyprios at odds-on, Vauban was a very attractive price play. But a lot of others have had the same idea, and he’s shorter in the market than he once was. 

Gregory is the most obvious alternative, as his price illustrates, but there’s another progressive stayer in the John and Thady Gosden yard – Sweet William. He too has pedigree power, as a Sea the Stars half-brother to Hurricane Lane. Although a bit of a character, Sweet William has never been out of the trifecta in 11 starts, and he comes off a breakthrough victory in the Henry II (G3). 

On paper, he ranks below stablemates Gregory and Trawlerman, but there’s a sense that we haven’t seen the best from Sweet William yet. 

Friday’s Coronation (G1) – See the Fire

With one of my strongest fancies of the whole week, Bucano Fuerte, out of the Commonwealth Cup (G1), it’s back to the drawing board for the Friday longshot. I have my eye on two possibilities in the Coronation (G1). The market suggests that Skellet is likelier going versus the boys in Thursday’s Hampton Court (G3), so that leaves See the Fire as the Coronation overlay.

As a daughter of the great Sea the Stars and Arabian Queen, who toppled Golden Horn in the 2015 Juddmonte International (G1), See the Fire always promised to be better with maturity. So I take it as a glaring hint that she was able to win on debut as a juvenile and place in the May Hill (G2) and Fillies’ Mile (G1). 

The Andrew Balding pupil resumed in the 1000 Guineas (G1), where she faded to 12th after chasing early. That wasn’t the place to be on that occasion. Another forwardly-placed Guineas flop, Fallen Angel, rebounded in the Irish 1000 Guineas (G1), and See the Fire has a license to turn the page as well. A 15-2 chance at Newmarket, she’s regarded highly enough to have entries versus older males in the Eclipse (G1) and Sussex (G1).

Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee (G1) – Montassib

Shartash, likely to be my top pick, is on the cusp of perhaps no longer qualifying as a longshot, so we’ll look to the massively overpriced Montassib to play the role. The William Haggas veteran isn’t as exposed as his record implies, since he only recently shortened up to six furlongs. The drop in trip has been the making of him. If the forecast rain does arrive late in the week, and he gets his prerequisite of soft ground, the Exceed and Excel gelding has a license to outrun his inflated odds. 

Stay tuned for more analysis and selections throughout Royal Ascot!