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Royal Ascot Friday tips – best bets for day four of the royal meeting

We've a selection for each of Friday's races at Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot

What are the best bets at Royal Ascot on Friday?

Our racing expert has run the rule over Friday’s Royal Ascot card.

14:30 Albany Stakes (Fillies’ Group 3), 6f

The Albany Stakes is a relatively new race (since 2002) for two-year-old fillies and is run over the straight 6f.

Who’s favourite?
Aidan O’Brien’s Cuff looks a worthy favourite after taking her record to 2-3 with a smooth three-length success over Yulong Baobei (a far from disgraced seventh in Tuesday’s Windsor Castle) over 6f at Naas last time, after which connections mentioned this race as a possible target. A daughter of Galileo, her proven stamina and ability to handle soft conditions counts for plenty. Strangely, this is one Royal Ascot race to have eluded her trainer so far.

Who else is fancied?

There are plenty of less-exposed dangers amongst her rivals, though, and they include Wesley Ward’s Create A Dream, who made all to score over 5f here (good to soft) on her British debut, with The Last Lion (runner-up in the Norfolk Stakes yesterday) a neck away in second and Deningy (who looked unlucky) in third. She reportedly took a lot of time to get over her trans-Atlantic travel and can therefore be expected to come on plenty for that experience.

Richard Fahey’s Queen Kindly absolutely dotted up on her debut over 5f at Catterick (good to firm), with her jockey looking round for non-existent dangers even before picking up the leader inside the final furlong. She is superbly bred being the first daughter of Frankel to make the racecourse and she is also the first foal of the Princess Margaret, Lowther and Diadem Stakes winner Lady Of The Desert.

Grizzel represents Richard Hannon, who sent out last year’s winner Illuminate, and she lines up unbeaten after two starts, the latest coming over 5f at Beverley, where she relished the stiff uphill finish to lead near the line. The second, Clem Fandango, boosted the form when finishing third in Wednesday’s Queen Mary, albeit a long way behind the winner Lady Aurelia.

Any decent outsiders?
All bar two of the 16 runners have won a race and Mark Johnston’s Kilmah looks the most interesting of those priced at 10/1 or bigger having beaten Seafront by a comfortable two lengths on her Newmarket debut, despite dwelling at the start. That latter horse went on to finish a three-length third to Cuff in Ireland, so a strict interpretation of the form gives her a fighting chance of beating the favourite.

Best bookie offer?
Paddy Power are refunding losing stakes as a free bet (up to £25) if your horse finishes second to the SP favourite, most likely Cuff, while bet365 are going one quarter the odds instead of the standard fifth.

Who’s going to win?
Cuff is a worthy favourite but she’s not short of progressive, unexposed rivals and there’s some value to be had in KILMAH at Paddy Power’s 11/1 (especially given their concession). She’s got an entry in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes in September so she’s clearly highly regarded and should do a lot better with that Newmarket experience under her belt.

SELECTION

Kilmah 0.5pt each-way @ 11/1 Paddy Power (1/5 odds, 1.2.3 – money back on the win part if she’s second to the favourite)

15:05 King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2), 1m4f

The King Edward VII Stakes is a Group 2 for colts and geldings over 1m4f and often attracts also-rans from the Epsom Derby, though such horses don’t have a particularly good record.

Who’s favourite?
While Aidan O’Brien has a disappointing record in this race, that is largely because is it is far from being his chief target and his Beacon Rock, a comfortable winner of the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes over 1m2f when last seen in May, has been pointed at it since. The son of Galileo made all on that occasion and should have no trouble getting today’s extra two furlongs, with the third Foxtrot Charlie giving the form a boost when when landing a Listed contest next time. On balance then he’s a worthy favourite at around the 3/1 mark.

Who else is fancied?
Carntop is next in the betting and there was a lot to like about his close second in the Lingfield Derby Trial, a half-length behind the winner Humphrey Bogart and with a length to spare over the third Across The Stars (who both re-oppose here). The latter horse has since finished a well beaten tenth in the Derby, but Carntop missed Epsom to wait for this and, as a thoroughly unexposed middle-distance stayer, he must have a leading chance. He’s owned by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, so he’d be an appropriate winner at the royal meeting and a day before The Queen’s unofficial 9oth birthday – not that it will make him run any quicker!

Choreographer is another to have missed the Derby for this having finished only seventh in the Dante at York, which doesn’t tell the full story. It took an age for him to get a clear run in the home straight and then, once he got some room, he was stopped again inside the final furlong, before making eye-catching late headway. A ready winner of a Windsor maiden (1m2f, good to soft) on his sole previous start, he is open to plenty of improvement and that is very likely now he steps up to 1m4f.

Ger Lyons’ Lustrous Light is another with just two starts under his belt and he appeared to have a good bit left when passing the post in front at Navan last time (1m2f, good to yielding), with his rider keen to not give him a hard race. This is far tougher of course, but he’s an exciting prospect.

Any decent outsiders?
John Gosden won this race with Nathaniel and Eagle Top in 2011 and 2014, so his pair of Linguistic and Muntahaa are not discounted lightly. Aidan O’Brien has a second string in Housesofparliament but he’s had his limitations already exposed and was only fourth behind stablemate Beacon Rock last time. He may be on pacemaker duties.

Best bookie offer?
Paddy Power are refunding losing stakes as a free bet (up to £25) if your horse finishes second to the SP favourite, most likely Beacon Rock, while bet365 are going one quarter the odds instead of the standard fifth.

Who’s going to win?

Beacon Rock has every chance of staying 1m4f on pedigree – and may even improve for it – but he’s been running in Group races since last September and others may be open to more improvement. Past results tell us that it usually pays to side with emerging talent, as opposed to those who have been prepared for Classics, and Roger Varian’s CHOREOGRAPHER is certainly in that bracket. A son of Sea The Stars and a whopping 850,000euros purchase, he can start paying some of that back with a victory here.

SELECTION

Choreographer 2pts @ 13/2 Paddy Power (money back if he finishes second to the favourite)

15:40 Commonwealth Cup (Group 1), 6f

Only the second running of a race that was framed for three-year-old sprinters and got off to the perfect start when last year’s winner Muhaarar went on to become champion sprinter.

Who’s favourite?
Quiet Reflection has been put in as 2/1 favourite to beat just ten rivals, with the soft ground ruling out several of those who might have given her a race. As it stands, she is the top-rated runner (but only just) and receives 3lb from all bar the two other fillies in the race, La Rioja and Illuminate. The winner of three of her four starts at two, including a Group 3 at Newmarket, she was very impressive when beating Donjuan Triumphant by nearly four lengths at Haydock last time, with Buratino and La Rioja further behind, having landed another Group 3 (in France) on her reappearance. Given that she has a long, raking stride, she handles cut in the ground well and that makes her the one they all have to beat.

Who else is fancied?
The aforementioned Donjuan Triumphant reopposes on 3lb better terms and given Richard Fahey’s colt was having his first run of the season and probably didn’t appreciate the drying ground, he’s entitled to finish a lot closer. Arguably his most impressive performance to date came in a French Group 2 last October when hammering his rivals on soft ground, so conditions are perfect for him and he stays 6f well.

Log Out Island was a speedy juvenile and he simply blitzed his rivals in a Listed contest at Newbury last time, making all and winning unchallenged by three and a bit lengths. However, the form may need treating with some caution as he flew out of the stalls in a first-time hood and quickly opened up a ten-length lead without his jockey James Doyle having to do much at all. Having gifted him such a massive lead, his rivals were simply left with too much to do to reel him in and it’s safe to say he was flattered.

French challenger Cheikeljack is an interesting runner as the form of his win in Group 3 Prix Djebel last time has been boosted by subsequent Group wins for the second and third, Ribchester (Wednesday’s Jersey Stakes) and Attendu. He was dropping back to 7f that day, having been campaigned at over a mile, and his jockey was allowed to dictate the pace from the front on desperate ground. Considering he’d been beaten twice in Pattern company previously, it’s not unreasonable to think that result flattered him a bit and he’s now dropping down to 6f and taking on Group 1 company for the first time.

Any decent outsiders?
La Rioja finished well beaten at Haydock, but she too was perhaps inconvenienced by the drying conditions and it came at a time when her trainer Henry Candy was struggling for form. He struck with a 25/1 winner at Newbury last week so may have turned the corner and this filly has always been highly rated, showing her preference for soft ground when hacking up in a Group 3 at Salisbury last September.

Washington Dc and Buratino were winners at last year’s meeting but would prefer faster ground than they will get here.

Best bookie offer?

Paddy Power are refunding losing stakes as a free bet (up to £25) if your horse finishes second to the SP favourite, almost certainly Quiet Reflection.

Who’s going to win?
Whilst Quiet Reflection was super impressive when winning over this trip at Haydock, a couple of her main rivals were caught out by the drying ground and Ascot’s stiff 6f might just find her out – she emptied very quickly when just holding on a in a Group 3 over this trip in France on her penultimate start. Besides, she’s a very short price for her first try and Group 1 company and Donjuan Triumphant could make more of a race of it today. However, the value bet has to be LA RIOJA, who is definitely worth another chance now her stable is showing signs of form and with the ground in her favour.

SELECTION

La Rioja 1pt each-way @ 12/1 Coral (¼ odds, 1.2.3)

16:20 Coronation Stakes (British Champions Series) (Fillies’ Group 1) (Rnd), 1m

The Group 1 Coronation Stakes over 1m4f is often the next port of call for fillies who have previously contested the English, French or Irish 1000 Guineas and this year’s renewal is no exception.

Who’s favourite?

Adrian Keatley’s Jet Setting lowered the colours of dual Classic winner Minding in the Irish 100 Guineas and the pair had the race between them as there was a ten-length gap back to the third. Prior to that, she’d finished a well beaten ninth in the Newmarket version and it could be that she was seen to maximum effect at the Curragh, where she was given a well-judged ride with ground conditions in her favour, and few would argue that Minding ran below par on that occasion. She has her ground again here but, even so, she looks plenty short enough now at a best-priced 9/4.

Who else is fancied?

Her main challenger appears to be French raider Qemah, who showed she had trained on after a promising juvenile campaign when displaying a blistering turn of foot to win a Group 3 at Chantilly (1m, soft) on her reappearance, before failing to justify favouritism in the French 1000 Guineas, with the better ground a possible factor. Her trainer Jean-Claude Rouget nominated this race as her target afterwards and he knows what it takes to win having sent out Ervedya to score last year. He will have been delighted to see all the recent rain as his filly is particularly effective with cut in the ground.

The British challenge is headed by Jeremy Noseda’s Nemoralia, a Grade 1 third at the Breeders’ Cup (given a lot to do) and impressive when beating inferior rivals a Listed contest at York (1m, good to firm) on her reappearance, suggesting she has has come on again this year. This race looked the ideal target after that performance and her strong-travelling style and potent turn of foot make her a dangerous opponent. Her Keeneland run shows she handles some ease in the ground, although I’m not convinced it’s ideal for her.

John Gosden’s Nathra finished a head in front of Qemah when runner-up in the French Guineas, having run a creditable fifth in the Newmarket equivalent previously, and she goes particularly well on a soft surface. Besharah was one of last season’s best fillies but has come up short in her three runs this term.

Any decent outsiders?
Aidan O’Brien’s Alice Springs heads the remainder (10/1 and bigger) and she comes into the reckoning on her third behind Minding at Newmarket. However, she disappointed in the French version at Deauville and will need to bounce back with a career-best to prevail. Kevin Ryan’s’ Ashadihan is a more interesting outsider as she finished runner-up in last season’s Albany and proved she had trained on when scoring decisively over 7f at Lingfield on her reappearance, despite not handling the track and her regular rider Jamie Spencer putting up 1lb overweight.

Best bookie offer?
Paddy Power are refunding losing stakes as a free bet (up to £25) if your horse finishes second to the SP favourite, almost certainly Jet Setting.

Who’s going to win?

Jet Setting has the standout piece of form and her new owners the China Jockey Club, who paid a whopping £1.3m for her at the Goffs London Sale earlier this week, will be hopeful of an instant return. She may well win but 9/4 is no giveaway and I’d rather have a small each-way punt on ASHADIHAN. Connections have always held in her high regard (she holds an entry in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes) and there was talk about the Irish 1000 Guineas following her reappearance win at Lingfield, where she would have won by a street but for almost stopping around the home bend. We know she handles this track and, while she has to prove she stays this far, it looks a chance worth taking at the odds and with her rider Jamie Spencer particularly adept at riding waiting races at this track.

SELECTION

Ashadihan 0.5pt each-way @ 33/1 Coral (¼ odds, 1.2.3)

17:00 Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (Handicap), 1m4f

The Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes is a Heritage Handicap for three-year-olds and up and is run over 1m4f. Several recent winners have gone to success at a higher level, including last year’s winner Arab Dawn.

Who’s favourite?
Godolphin’s Elite Army is already a Royal Ascot winner, having landed the King George V Handicap over this trip at the 2014 meeting, and he was back in the Ascot winners’ enclosure when landing a Listed contest on his reappearance in May, having been off the track for nearly a year due to injury. Given plenty of time to get over that, Saeed bin Suroor’s five-year-old is entitled to go off favourite now back in handicap company, despite carrying top weight.

Who else is fancied?
Godolphin have a strong hand as Charlie Appleby fields the lightly-raced Rare Rhythm, who is at the other end of the weights and just 5lb higher than when hacking up in a Newmarket handicap over this trip last September, despite still looking a bit green in the closing stages. That run proved he is effective with cut in the ground and he should have more to offer after just four starts, though we have to take his fitness on trust after a 267-day layoff.

You will be nicely in pocket if you have stuck with Sir Michael Stoute here as he has had six winners since 1998 and, helpfully, he has only one runner this time, Kings Fete. He was having his first race since the 2014 St Leger (ninth behind Kingston Hill) when shaping well into fifth over an inadequate 1m2f in a Goodwood Listed race on his reappearance. Chance.

Any decent outsiders?
It’s 10/1 bar the three already mentioned and that brings in The Queen’s Fabricate, who made a pleasing return following a gelding operation when finishing second in a Hamilton handicap (1m4f, good to firm). He looked stronger as that race developed and, being out of an Oaks runner-up, he should stay all right.

Kinema has a far more exposed profile but the switch to Ralph Beckett has clearly done him some good as he showed a major return to form when travelling smoothly and winning with an impressive late challenge over 1m6f at Goodwood last time. Connections see him as an Ebor horse and he will be finishing better than most in the testing conditions.

Aintree hurdles winner Ivan Grozny merits a mention for Willie Mullins, while First Sitting is of interest after winning readily over an extended 1m3f at Windsor just 11 days ago and is well-in under a 4lb penalty here.

Best bookie offer?
Betfred are refunding losing stakes if your horse finishes second to a Ryan Moore-ridden winner at the royal meeting, and he’s on the fancied Kings Fete here.

Who’s going to win?
A wide open handicap but RARE RYTHYM is at the right end of the weights and there are no worries over the soft ground. His trainer, who struck with Hawkbill in Wednesday’s Tercentenary Stakes, gave him a favourable mention in a Stable Tour earlier in the season, saying he had the potential to be a progressive mile and a half horse this season, and he’s likely laid him out for this to take advantage of a good mark.

SELECTION

Rare Rhythm 1pt @ 8/1 Betway

17:35 Queen’s Vase (Listed), 2m

This has attracted a big field of stayers – some more doubtful than others – and plenty can be fancied. But it could pay not to look too far down the betting list as six of the last eight favourites have won and Dermot Weld’s EBEDIYIN can make that seven from nine. A winner at Galway on his debut last September, he was entered in the Derby for a long time and, while not showing enough to justify a tilt at Epsom, he was much better when upped to 1m4f on testing at Naas last time, winning by a coupler of lengths, and this two-mile trip could show him in an even better light. His dam, Ebadiyla, won the Irish Oaks and French St Leger and is a half-sister to Ascot Gold Cup winner Estimate, so there is plenty of stamina in his pedigree. His trainer excels with such types and that he travels over with him is a tip in itself.

SELECTION

Ebediyin 2pts @ 4/1 Paddy Power

Good luck with your Royal Ascot bets!

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