A very good opening card kicks off Royal Ascot 2015 on Tuesday.
Apologies but having been away for a few days this is a very brief summation of my thoughts for Day 1. I will try to go more in-depth for the rest of the week.
2.30 This could be the race of the week with 4 of the 8 runners all having a serious chance. I’d be more inclined to be lay Able Friend of the 4. A combination of travelling over from Hong Kong and this being a completely different kind of track to what he’s used to are factors against him. French ace Solow doesn’t have those concerns but the ground is likely to be quicker than he has been used to. The home team of Night of Thunder and Toormore are closely matched on Newbury form. I came away thinking that Toormore could reverse form from that next time but as the ground is a bit faster it might be in Night of Thunder’s favour now.
It all adds up to no bet but if pushed I would suggest Night of Thunder each way (Paddy Power giving money back on win part if finishing 2nd or 3rd)
3.05 Another no bet race is the Coventry Stakes. Round Two has been compared favourable to previous winner/ Guineas winner Dawn Approach by his trainer. It’s impossible to assess the US challenger Finnegan but Wesley Ward 2yos are sometimes physically ahead of their counterparts here. Air Force Blue should improve for his debut and can’t be ignored. From a price perspective, marginal choice would be Buratino at 9/1 (especially if ¼ 1234 were available at that). He didn’t beat much last time at Epsom and the time wasn’t great but he looked much improved.
3.40 Mecca’s Angel would be hard to beat on soft ground but on this surface I could see here being taken out and Rule 4s hitting the rest. Sole Power should have his conditions to suit but at 8 isn’t getting any younger. I opposed him last year to no avail. I won’t be doing the same this time but won’t be betting him either. Shamal Wind represents Australia and is impossible to assess. It’s surprising to see G Force running here instead of the 6 furlong race on Saturday but I can see him hitting the frame and has some appeal with firms offering 4 places each way at odds in excess of 10/1
4.20 Least competitive race of the day and I struggle to see beyond double 2,000 Guineas winner Gleneagles – as long as he’s over his exertions from his last win. Not a bet at odds on though
5.00 Ray Ward got hopelessly hampered in this race last year and would have gone close to winning otherwise. He was given a warm up over a totally inadequate trip last time which should tee him up nicely for this. The odds have got skimpy though after some initial quotes of 12/1 to 14/1 at the 5 day decs. He is top of my shortlist along with Broxbourne who has a very similar profile to Nicky Henderson’s recent winner of this race, Veiled.
5.35 The one betting recommendation race of the day. Soapy Aitken missed the break and ran very green last time but was still far too good for the useful Silver Wings. I think he would have been very competitive in the better class Norfolk Stakes on Thursday so this race should theoretically be easier pickings. I would be stronger on him again but for the large number of runners and a possibly poor draw. On the other side of the track I’m backing my bet up with Opal Tiara who I think was beaten by a real good ‘un in Easton Angel at Beverley last time ( time better than Lathom on the same card). Take the winner out and she would have beaten a decent field by 4 lengths and I’m hopeful she can show that formline to be strong
Backing with firms who offer 4 places here the recommendation is :
1.5 pts ew Soapy Aitken @6/1 (Paddy Power, Skybet, Betfair Sportsbook)
0.75pts ew Opal Tiara @20/1 (Paddy Power, Ladbrokes)
Best of luck all with whatever you back
RESULTS FROM TODAY:
Although not a recommended bet Buratino’s chances were highlighted so hopefully a few followed that one in.
In the last, Soapy Aitken held every chance before finishing 4th to pick up place money. Opal Tiara won her own private race on the stands side of the track but the draw was all against her
Recommended stakes 4.5 pts, returns 3.75pts