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Royal Ascot Wednesday tips – best bets for day two of the royal meeting

We've a selection for each of the Wednesday races at Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot

What are the best bets at Royal Ascot on Wednesday?

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

14:30 Jersey Stakes (Group 3), 7f

The Jersey Stakes is a Group 3 for horses aged three or older and is run over the specialist trip of 7f; traditionally opening Wednesday’s card.

Who’s favourite?
John Gosden’s Castle Harbour arrives here unbeaten after two starts (both over this trip) and, while the son of Kyllachy has got to step up again after winning a competitive York handicap off a mark of 86, his trainer had no hesitation in nominating this Group 3 as his target in the post-race interview. He won his maiden at Newmarket on soft ground so should have no problem with the conditions (they were calling it ‘soft’ on Tuesday) and he will have the services of Frankie Dettori.

Who else is fancied?
Hugo Palmer, who broke his Royal Ascot duck with Galileo Gold on Tuesday, has a fine chance to double his tally with Gifted Master, especially as connections have opted for this race over Friday’s Commonwealth Cup over 6f. Only one of his six wins have come over this longer trip, but he looks best suited to it and his sole Group 3 success came over a mile. He has shown signs of temperament, though, and likes to race on his own away from his rivals, which might be a problem in this big field (21).

Thikriyaat is unbeaten in three runs, including a Listed race at Newmarket last time where he showed a good attitude to hold on by a neck from the reopposing Dragon Hall, who will be sharper for that run. Paul Hanagan has chosen Thikriyaat over Ibn Malik, who is on the same ownership, but that must have been a tough decision as the latter horse won a Newmarket handicap off 107 last time and appears to be still improving.

Richard Fahey has two good candidates in Ribchester, who was third in the 2000 Guineas, and Birchwood, although both carry penalties for previous Group successes.

Any decent outsiders?
It’s 14/1 bar those already mentioned and you can make a case of sorts for several at bigger prices, with French raider Bolting perhaps the most interesting. The impeccably-bred son of War Front has won both his starts this season at Chantilly, coming from last to first in a Listed race over 7f last time. He’s yet to encounter ground as soft as this, though.

Who’s going to win?

This is a tricky race to call and a tentative vote goes to Charlie Hills’ IBN MALIK, a stablemate of last year’s winner Dutch Connection. A smart performer at two, when he twice finished second in Group 2s behind Galileo Gold and Emotionless, he has clearly improved for a gelding operation over the winter and is fully effective with give underfoot.

SELECTION

Ibn Malik 1pt each-way @ 10/1 Betway

15:05 Queen Mary Stakes (Fillies’ Group 2), 5f

The Queen Mary Stakes is a Group 2 for two-year-old fillies run over 5f and the fact the runners tend to have very little experience makes it a difficult race to weigh up, though that didn’t stop punters steaming into Acapulco 12 months ago and she didn’t disappoint.

Who’s favourite?
This houses one of the shortest-priced favourites of the entire meeting in the shape of Wesley Ward’s Lady Aurelia, who made a winning debut at Keeneland in April (over 41/2f), setting a new course record in the process. Two of Ward’s six Royal Ascot winners have come in this race, including Acapulco (who is by the same sire Scat Daddy) 12 months ago, and he has made no secret of just how well she has been working on turf. Of course, all that is now reflected in her price – she’s no bigger than 9/4 – and potential backers are guessing over whether she will act on a soft surface.

Who else is fancied?
It’s 10/1 bar Lady Aurelia and all bar two of her rivals have won a race, so there has to be some value amongst them? Tom Dascombe’s Kachess didn’t beat much when scoring on her debut at Goodwood but she travelled like the winner throughout to surge three lengths clear at the finish and the winning time was decent.

French raider Al Johrah, a daughter of Bated Breath, has shown plenty of speed in wins at Maisons-Laffitte and Chantilly, the latest of those on soft ground. The fact her upwardly-mobile trainer has decided to send her over is perhaps a tip in itself.

Aidan O’Brien’s Roly Poly ran green on her Naas debut yet still managed to hang on by a short head and connections were quick to mention the royal meeting as a possible target. She could finish only fourth on her next start, but the winner Caravaggio boosted the form when landing Tuesday’s Coventry Stakes and Ryan Moore is booked.

Any decent outsiders?
Mark Johnston doesn’t tilt at windmills with his juveniles and both his runners, Camargue and Katrine, need respecting. The former in particular showed good speed when winning over track and trip last time and may be more streetwise than most of these after three runs.

Best bookie offer?
The standard each-way terms are one fifth the odds and three places, so bet365’s one quarter the odds is noteworthy.

Who’s going to win?
When Wesley ward gets excited about a horse it usually pays to take notice but his enthusiasm for Lady Aurelia has filtered through to her price and, with the ground a big unknown, it could pay to look elsewhere for some value. I’ve stopped at French challenger AL JOHRAH. It’s hard to weigh up her form but she’s certainly speedy and is proven with cut in the ground.

SELECTION

Al Johrah 0.5pt each-way @ 10/1 bet365 (1/4 odds, 1.2.3)

15:40 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes (Fillies’ Group 2) (Str), 1m

The Duke Of Cambridge Stakes is a relatively new race (since 2004) for fillies and mares and is run over the straight mile.

Who’s favourite?
The Andre Fabre-trained Usherette will go off a short order – a best-priced 9/4 at the time of writing – following her impressive Dahlia Stakes defeat of Arabian Queen at Newmarket on Guineas weekend, when taking her career record to 5-6. Her only defeat came when taking a big step up in class behind Amazing Maria in Group 1 company at Deauville last August, having been a bit reluctant to enter the stalls. She’s shown no signs of temperament in winning all three of her starts this season and she is nicely clear of her rivals on the official ratings, with the possibility of further improvement to come. However, since this race’s inception no filly or mare has carried a penalty to victory.

Who else is fancied?
John Gosden’s Jazzy Top is next best on the ratings, being 2lb inferior, and she escapes a penalty for her Group 3 success. But she finished well beaten behind Usherette on her Newmarket reappearance when sent off 5/2 favourite and, while that run was probably needed, she does have to bounce back here. Her stable has won two of the last nine runnings, so it would be unwise to rule that out.

Godolphin are mob-handed as in addition to the favourite they also have Always Smile, Lucida and Devonshire carrying their blue colours. The former is stepping out of handicap company but she is proven here, having been pipped by a nose by Osaila in the Sandringham 12 months ago, and she would have needed the run when beating Convey (favourite for the Hunt Cup) a neck at York on her reappearance. Stablemate Lucida was beaten less than a length in last season’s Group 1 Coronation Stakes and that is arguably the best form on offer. Both have to prove they can cope with today’s softer conditions, however.

Any decent outsiders?
American raider Miss Temple City is back for more after finishing a respectable fourth in last season’s Coronation Stakes, though his Group 1 penalty doesn’t help matters. Goodwood Listed winner Blond Me finished ahead of her at this level in the States last year and merits respect, while Spangled won like a Group filly in the making when scoring over 7f at Leicester last time.

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, in this case Usherette.

Who’s going to win?
Andre Fabre has compared USHERETTE favourably to some of the best fillies he has trained and she may well be good enough to shrug off a penalty in this Group 2 before going on to even better things. Anyone looking to take her on should head to Paddy Power given their generous concession, and Always Smile looks the best alternative.

SELECTION

Usherette 2pts @ 9/4 BetVictor

16:20 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series), 1m2f

The Prince Of Wales’s Stakes is a Group 1 contest for colts and geldings over 1m2f and this year’s renewal could see history in the making with A Shin Hikari bidding to become the first Japanese winner at the meeting.

Who’s favourite?
This Group 1 revolves around A Shin Hikari, who is a best-priced 8/11 with Sky Bet to become Japan’s first Royal Ascot winner. It’s easy to see why he’s so short as few Group 1s are won quite as emphatically as the son of Deep Impact landed the Prix d’Ispahan at Chantilly in May on heavy ground, with four previous Group 1 winners left toiling in his wake. December’s Hong Kong Cup success on good ground proved that was no fluke as well as showing his versatility over the ground and, if reproducing the form of those last two victories, he will be unbeatable here. The only caveat being he looks a better horse from the front and his jockey Yutaka Take will have to get the fractions right.

Who else is fancied?
His rivals have been whittled down to just five and they are headed by Aidan O’Brien’s Found, a high-class filly in her own right who has been kept busy since flopping at odds-on on her reappearance in early April. She made amends when landing a Group 3 at the Curragh on her next start, only to find Fascinating Rock (back at the Curragh) and Postponed (Epsom) too good in her two starts since. She looks sure to run her race, providing her exertions haven’t caught up with her, but she has a whopping 9lb to find on the ratings with the Japanese runner.

The Grey Gatsby, rated 2lb her superior, has been a wonderful servant to connections and is running in his eleventh consecutive Group 1 contest, a run which includes a couple of victories; the Prix Du Jockey Club and Irish Champion Stakes. He’s best over this trip but wants decent ground ideally and some place money might be the best his connections can hope for.

Any decent outsiders?
My Dream Boat finished fifth behind a Shin Hikari at Chantilly and would have finished a lot closer with a clear run. He relishes cut in the ground and hails from the bang-in-form Clive Cox stable, responsible for Kings’ Stand winner Profitable, so he may run far better than his 16/1 price tag would suggest.

The remaining runners, Western Hymn and Tryster, are much harder to fancy.

Best bookie offer?
Betfair are offering new customers 10/1 on A Shin Hikari, albeit to a maximum stake of £5, with any winnings paid out as free bets.

Who’s going to win?
It’s impossible to oppose A SHIN HIKARI and you could argue that the 8/11 is value given his superiority on the ratings. But he’s far too short for most punters and the suggestion is a speculative straight forecast with the Cox runner.

SELECTION

A Shin Hikari-My Dream Boat 0.5pt straight forecast

17:00 Royal Hunt Cup (Heritage Handicap) (Str), 1m

The Royal Hunt Cup is a big-field handicap run over the straight mile and is always one of the big betting races of the meeting, with some notable gambles landed.

Who’s favourite?
Sir Michael Stoute’s Convey has been favourite for this pretty much since betting opened having shown improved form for a gelding operation and the application of cheek-pieces on his last two starts. Seriously unlucky at York, where he had to weave his way through the big field to get a run before going down by a neck to Always Smile (who runs in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes earlier), he then failed by another neck to peg back Home Of The Brave in a Group 3 at Haydock, an improved effort that leaves him officially 7lb well-in.

Who else is fancied?
Portage is another who is well-in under a 5lb penalty for winning a Listed race over 1m2f at the Curragh just 11 days ago and he also has a course and distance success last July to his name, albeit off a 15lb lower mark. Mick Halford’s colt clearly handles a big field as he finished second in the Irish Cambridgeshire and was second in his group (fifth overall) in the Newmarket Cambridgeshire last September after being hammered into 9/2 favouritism. Given he stays further, he’ll be doing all his best work late on. Too late, perhaps?

Librisa Breeze won twice for Jeremy Noseda last season and looked to have improved again on his first start for Dean Ivory at Wolverhampton in April, when showing a smart turn of foot to come from last to first under today’s pilot Robert Winston. That wasn’t a great race, admittedly, but he’s gone up just 5lb as a result and that was enough to get him into this race off bottom weight. There could be more to come from him.

Donncha, who was a close second in the Spring Mile and fifth in a hot York handicap last time, is another worth considering with Tom Marquand claiming 3lb off him. The ground might be too slow for recent Nottingham winner Spirit Raiser, but it won’t inconvenience last year’s fourth Balty Boys, who is 8lb lower when you take his rider Callum Shepherd’s claim into account.

Any decent outsiders?
Two previous winners are available at big odds: GM Hopkins is bidding to repeat last year’s victory off a 9lb higher mark, while 2013 winner Belgian Bill, who added the Betfred Mile at Glorious Goodwood last season off today’s mark, is also back for more.

They can’t be discounted by any means at bet365’s 22/1 and 40/1 respectively, but the same firm’s 33/1 on Instant Attraction really catches the eye. The five-year-old hasn’t won since last June but he’s been running well, only being headed close home at Thirsk and Epsom last time. He would have 2lb more to carry if the latest effort could be taken into account and the recent rain ensures he gets his ideal underfoot conditions.

Best bookie offer?
Several firms are offering a commendable five places for each-way backers, but Paddy Power have gone one step further with six places up for grabs.

Who’s going to win?
Convey looked way too short at 5/1 a week ago but he’s tempting now he’s drifted out to over twice that price (11/1) with Paddy Power. However, he may not be totally straightforward and has found a way to get beat the last twice, so I’m going with LIBRISA BREEZE instead for the reasons given above. Having also made a case for INSTANT ATTRACTION at bigger odds, he’s also going to be carrying my each-way money. They’re drawn 12 and 26 respectively and if I had to hazard a guess over any draw bias, I’d say the far side (low numbers) might just have an edge as in last year’s race, but much depends on where the pace is.

SELECTIONS

Librisa Breeze 1pt each-way @ 12/1 Paddy Power (¼ odds, 1.2.3.4.5.6)
Instant Attraction 0.5pt each-way @ 33/1 bet365 (¼ odds, 1.2.3.4.5)

17:35 Sandringham Handicap (Fillies’ Listed) (Str), 1m

The Sandringham Handicap is a relatively new race (since 2002) and is run over the straight mile for three-year-old fillies. Big fields are the norm but the race has been relatively kind to punters with no major shocks since its inception.

Who’s favourite?
One of the most open races of the entire meeting, yet we have a relatively short-priced favourite in the shape of John Gosden’s filly Persuasive, who is unbeaten after three starts and could well be a Group horse in the making. Certainly, she has the potential to far better than her current rating of 95 and was only recently taken out of the Group 1 Coronation Stakes, such is the regard she is held in. She’s unproven on ground as slow as this, having won twice on the all-weather and on ‘good’ in between, but some elements of her pedigree suggest she will handle it. Betfair are longest at 13/2.

Who else is fancied?
Mick Halford’s Anamba was impressive when winning a Listed race over 7f at Naas on her reappearance in May, when taking on her elders as well as colts and geldings, and this Godolphin-owned filly is open to further improvement after just three starts. She promises to stay a mile (she too was given a Coronation Stakes entry) and won’t mind the conditions one bit, having won twice on yielding ground.

Czabo is one of two Mick Channon runners (the other being Opal Tiara) and she must come into the reckoning on her latest Listed success at Deauville (1m, soft), having previously found Group 1 company at the Curragh too hot to handle. She is reunited with Silvestre De Sousa who has a good record for the stable and has won on her twice previously.

Sir Michael Stoute’s Diploma appears to be going the right way judging by her smooth success in a York handicap over 1m2f on her reappearance, although dropping back to to a mile is not ideal given how well she was finishing on the Knavesmire. She’s one of two runners for The Queen, whose Make Fast looked in need of a step up to this trip when finishing strongly into second in a Listed contest at Epsom on Oaks day.

Any decent outsiders?
You can make a case of sorts for around 20 of the 26 runners but those with more obvious claims include Mix And Mingle, seventh in the 1000 Guineas when last seen and reportedly working well since, and Ireland’s Dolce Strega, who has come out this spring to win twice, including a 7f Group 3 contest at the Curragh on soft ground last time.

Best bookie offer?
Both bet365 and Sky Bet are paying out on five places rather than the standard four, so they should be your first port of all for each-way bets.

Who’s going to win?
The unbeaten Persuasive could be far better than her mark and is a worthy favourite, but she has to overcome a big field and the ground is also an unknown. I’m therefore loathe to put her up at just 6/1, but there’s more juice in the price of ANAMBA and Mick Halford’s filly looks to have that touch of class needed to win this, with William Buick (1-3 on the stable runners in Britain) booked to do the steering.

SELECTION

Anamba each-way @ 10/1 bet365 (¼ odds, 1.2.3.4.5)

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