Royal Ascot Picks and Handicapping
Handicapping Naps for Royal Ascot
5 Longshots for 2019 worth a look by Kellie Reilly
With the depth of the fields on offer at Royal Ascot, there’s plenty of value to be had. The trick, of course, is landing on the ones who actually pay to follow, and trying to pinpoint those before the fields are finalized is even more challenging.
Here are five runners, one on each day of the meeting, worth a look at a price:
TUESDAY’S QUEEN ANNE (G1)
Of the three Group 1s on opening day, this “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) may offer the most opportunity to get a true longshot on the board in ROMANISED (33-1 as of June 14). Partly that’s because of the inconclusive nature of the older mile division, although Lockinge (G1) winner Mustashry can put that argument to bed. The major reason for giving Romanised a third chance to make his presence felt here is maturity. A three-quarter brother to former Hong Kong standout Designs on Rome, the Ken Condon trainee figured to improve with age, so his past failures in the Coventry (G2) and St James’s Palace (G1) might no longer apply. For the same reason, it’s encouraging that he managed to win last year’s Irish2000 Guineas (G1). The Lockinge is the most productive prep for the Queen Anne, and his useful fourth could be a harbinger of a move forward – if the ground isn’t too soft.
WEDNESDAY’S DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE (G2)
The featured Prince of Wales’s (G1) has a few major threats, but this straight mile contest has an entrant whose current 5-1 odds leap off the page. VERACIOUS represents the winningest owner and trainer in the race’s short history – Cheveley Park Stud and Sir Michael Stoute, with four apiece – and comes off sneaky losses in the Dahlia (G2) and Princess Elizabeth (G3), both noted stepping stones to this spot. The Frankel half-sister to Mutakayyef was a fine third in Alpha Centauri’s record-setting Coronation (G1) here last summer, albeit over the round course, and she could be sitting on her best effort of the season. Stablemate Rawdaa is the favorite, but turning back in trip, while Veracious sports eye-catching form at the mile. Another Cheveley Park homebred intriguing at triple the price, PREENING, was not originally mentioned as an intended runner but will line up
THURSDAY’S RIBBLESDALE (G2)
While there are options to try to beat Gold Cup (G1) champion Stradivarius, it might be easier to get an attractively priced alternative home in the Ribblesdale (G2), and FRANKELLINA appeals at 7-1. Trainer William Haggas wanted the well-regarded debut winner to have two preps going into the Oaks (G1). She was ready in time for only one, a remarkable dead-heat second in the Musidora (G3) after blowing the start. Thus fitness likely told in her creditable sixth in the Oaks, and I’m not sure she was totally in love with Epsom either. Back on a more straightforward course in this third start off the layoff, the daughter of Frankel is poised for a breakthrough.
FRIDAY’S COMMONWEALTH CUP (G1)
Both of the card’s Group 1s could be chalky, but one Commonwealth Cup (G1) entrant smacks of a substantial overlay. As tough as Ten Sovereigns looks in this sophomore sprint, ADVERTISE has a similar profile at a far bigger 14-1. Like the raging favorite, he was a Group 1-winning juvenile who cuts back to a more congenial trip after an unplaced effort in his 2000 Guineas (G1) reappearance. Ten Sovereigns is the better credentialed of the two, but Advertise himself brings serious form from last year. Runner-up to Calyx (who was a top contender in this race until a recent injury) in last summer’s Coventry over course and distance, he also chased Too Darn Hot in the Dewhurst (G1). Anything close to that level of performance puts him squarely in the mix.
SATURDAY’S DIAMOND JUBILEE (G1)
If Inns of Court (5-1) appears finally on the verge of an overdue Group 1 laurel, DREAM OF DREAMS has the stealthy look of a Stoute improver on the verge of peaking at 14-1, so warrants mention as a proper longshot. Out of a half-sister to multiple highweight Airwave, runner-up to Choisir in this race in 2003, Dream of Dreams was a nearly-horse at the Group level last season. But he’s two-for-two so far at five, and his taste for winning could carry over. Dream of Dreams comes off a visually impressive dethroning of Jubilee rival The Tin Man in his favorite prep, the Leisure at Windsor. While The Tin Man was conceding seven pounds, Dream of Dreams won a shade cozily. He has to prove himself on the class hike, but he’s going the right way for a master trainer.
2018 Handicapping Archives
Royal Ascot Pick Day 1 – Tues
Royal Ascot Pick Day 2 – Wed
Aidan O’Brien has three in here but we will go with the less fancied Nelson. He won on heavy ground in his first start of the year against group three company then tired last out on better ground. Son of Frankel is out of a group one stakes-winning dam that won the Irish Oaks G1 going 1 ½ miles. Donnacha O’Brien will probably put him in front and he has enough class to see the trip out. Aidan’s son is winning at an amazing 40% clip (14 for 35) the past two weeks.
Stream Of Stars is moving up in class off a win here going 1 ½ miles to break his maiden. Son of the long-winded Sea the Stars is out of a dam by Sadlers Wells that won a group two stakes race at 1 ¼ miles and he gets Frankie Dettori back aboard. He has tactical speed and Frankie will try to get first run on the leaders. John Gosden is 10 for 30 the past two weeks.
Kew Gardens is another from Aidan O’Brien and this son of Galileo gets Ryan Moore. He was used in the pace in the Epsom Derby G1 but ran well in a Derby Trial at Lingfield on good turf. O’Brien passed up the major tests for this and he might have an edge but figures to take too much money with Moore aboard.
Southern France broke his maiden two starts back going 1 ½ miles then came back to win at 11 furlongs. Donnacha O’Brien gets off to ride the top choice so Seamie Heffernan gets the mount. – by Dick Powell
11 Stream of Stars
5 Key Gardens
9 Southern France
Royal Ascot Pick Day 3 – Thurs
Vazirabad can go over $3 million in earnings today and he did it all the hard way at the marathon distances. After a first run, he won the Dubai Gold Cup G2 at Meydan going two miles in fast time for the second year in a row. Given a 57-day break by Alain De Royer-Dupre, he came back and won going 1 7/8 miles on good to soft turf at ParisLongchamp by a well-earned neck as he did just enough. He probably would be at his best with some give to the ground but sports a solid record on good going. Son of the long-winded Manduro has been first 15 times and second 5 times in 22 lifetime starts and shows no sign of slowing down at the age of six. The incomparable Christophe Soumillon rides as usual.
Order of St. Georges won this race in 2016 then was second last year. He shows two wins to get ready against short fields in Ireland but this is the target. Another who could go over $3 million in earnings with a win, the son of Galileo has been able to handle softer ground better than firm and the race will evolve into a tactical chess match that might force Ryan Moore to move sooner than he wants.
Willie Mullins riding William Buick going long on the turf – where to I sign up? Max Dynamite has been all over the world and shows a third in the Melbourne Cup G1 last November going two miles on good ground when he ran into traffic from post two in a 23-runner field. He has had two hurdle races then a group two going 1 ¾ miles on the flat to prep for this. – by Dick Powell
2 Order of St George
1 Max Dynamite
Royal Ascot Pick Day 4 – Fri
In what looks to be an evenly matched group of 13 3yo fillies going a mile around a right-hand turn, Coeur de Beaute won a group three stakes races to get her season going then missed by a neck from post 14 going a mile in the 1,000 Guineas G1 at ParisLongchamp. That post is very hard to overcome at that distance there and she showed she can get a mile after sprinting her juvenile season. Stephane Pasquier will drop her back early and make one, wide run that should be enough.
Clemmie is a beautifully-bred daughter of Galileo -are there any other – that won a group one stakes race on soft turf going six furlongs last year at Newmarket then made her seasonal debut going a mile for the first time and Seamie Heffernan didn’t race her hard at the finish so the race looks worse on paper than it really was. Ryan Moore picks up the mount.
Alpha Centauri was an upset winner of the Irish 1,000 Guineas G1 in her second start of the year and she seemed to move up on good ground. From the female family of the great Miesque, she draws perfectly for a stalking trip. Billesdon Brook upset the 1,000 Guineas G1 at 66 to 1 and did it pretty convincingly. Richard Hannon and his father have always been tough at this meet and she was a group three stakes winner going seven furlongs last year. Teppal ships back from France where she won the French 1,000 Guineas for Olivier Peslier. – by Dick Powell
8 Coeur de Beaute
3 Alpha Centauri
5 Billesdon Brook
Royal Ascot Pick Day 5 – Sat
Redkirk Warrior ships in from Australia and we have seen how well their sprinters have done here over the years. 7yo gelding won a group one sprint down the straightaway at Flemington two starts back in February when he beat Redzel, inaugural winner of the Everest Challenge. He came back there with a nose victory over Merchant Navy who came back to win his European debut for Aidan O’Brien last out in an Irish Group three. Oldtimers usually come back well after a freshening and he should be the one to beat with Frankie Dettori.
Spirit of Valor is the “Other Aidan O’Brien” in here. He was a good 3yo and looks like he progressed last out when he almost pulled off an upset over his stablemate. Son of War Front has some speed and should be up near the leaders with Donnacha O’Brien. Firm ground should suit.
Merchant Navy won five of six in Australia last year including a group one stakes win at Flemington. He switched to the Aidan O’Brien barn and promptly won by a length and will be the horse to beat in here at a short price. The Tin Man just keeps firing bullets and won this race by a neck last year for James Fanshawe. He won his seasonal debut and should be ready for a prime effort today. Harry Angel could be the best in Europe but seems to do his best racing over softer turf than today.
9 Redkirk Warrior
11 Spirit of Valor
7 Merchant Navy
The History of Yeats