Royal Ascot 2023
Royal Ascot 2023 Ante-Post Portfolio
Coventry Stakes: River Tiber 13-8
Normally such a good week for me, I have shown profit considerably more often than not down the years at Royal Ascot, 2023 is officially the worst Royal meeting on record for me as I finish -13.6 points to level stakes! There were some crazy results, and everyone I know did their brains, but that doesn't make it any easier to swallow. Nightmare!
You have found the Girdys Gee Gees Royal Ascot page. Here you will find all the Royal Ascot tips, Royal Ascot news and details of the betting for all thirty-five races at Royal Ascot 2023. If you were looking for Royal Ascot dress code advice and fashion hints you are on the wrong page, sorry, horses I know, strappy dresses and big hats, not so much!
Prize money for Royal Ascot 2023 will also be a record £9.52 million, up from £8.65 million (10%) in 2022. All Group One races will be run for a minimum of £600,000 for the first time with increases to the King’s Stand Stakes, St James’s Palace Stakes, Gold Cup, Coronation Stakes and Commonwealth Cup (all £500,000 in 2022), while the Queen Anne Stakes will be worth £750,000 (£600,000 in 2022). The Group Two King Edward VII Stakes will be increased to £250,000 (£225,000 in 2022) while two Group Two races for fillies and mares - the Duke of Cambridge Stakes and Ribblesdale Stakes - are raised to £225,000 (from £175,000 and £200,000). Both the Group Three Hampton Court Stakes and Jersey Stakes also receive increases to £150,000 (from £100,000 and £110,000). As in 2022, no race at Royal Ascot will be run for less than £100,000.
The gates open at 10.30am on all five days with the Royal Procession due at 2.00pm and the first race each day off at 2.30pm with the last at 6.10pm. Beginning Tuesday 20th June and concluding on Saturday 24th June ITV and Sky Sports Racing will be broadcasting all 35 races live throughout all five days. The first six races each day will be broadcast on ITV's main channel, with the concluding contest moving over to ITV4.
Royal Ascot Saturday
I managed a couple of winning bets on Friday to at the least ‘place a plaster over the bleeding’ in what has been a very tough few days for us punters; I head in to the final day -9.3 to level stakes. The going is good-firm and we have seven races to get a few quid back, and hopefully get back into profit! Get ready Mr Bookmaker it's all coming back this afternoon.
2.30 Chesham Stakes (Listed Race) (Class 1) 2yo 7f
Aidan O'Brien has won 4 of the last 7 runnings and looks to have a very good chance again this year with Pearls And Rubies. She looked to want further when winning a 5f Navan maiden on debut a fortnight ago, never really got going to final furlong, and is expected to appreciate the step-up to seven here. I have a bit of the 2-1 this morning. La Guarida had three next time out winners behind when winning a 6f Goodwood fillies' maiden on her second start and is feared, the form of her third to Jabaara on debut took a knock when that one was down the field in the Albany Stakes.
3.05 Jersey Stakes (Group 3) (Class 1) 3yo 7f
Few horses were as busy as The Antarctic last season and he has had a couple of runs already this year including winning the G.3 Lacken Stakes at Naas (6f) last time. Aidan O’Brien said in the build-up “It will be his first try at seven furlongs, but we think it might suit him. He seems in great form, and he always raced like one that could get seven furlongs.” Mysterious Night has the G.1 penalty to carry and the way the Appleby runners have been going this week looks up against it. Covey is the possible improver in the field making it three wins in four starts when landing a treble at Haydock last month over a mile making every yard. I would expect to see Dettori try and make every yard here and make this a bit of a test. I have the standout 5-2 with Hills this morning.
3.40 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes (Group 1) (Class 1) 4yo+ 6f
With the sixteen lining-up the draw may not be as significant here as I would expect them all to come up the middle. Art Power would surely like a bit more juice in the ground whilst Al Suhail has a chance but has to break the bad form of the yard. Highfield Princess is out again quickly having finished second in the King's Stand Stakes earlier this week and is considered, as is Sacred who will likely run a big race again, while Artorius is back having finished third last year. In a truly international field Wellington is over from Hong Kong and Ryan Moore is back in the saddle on the six-year-old having ridden him to success in the past. He’s chased home Lucky Sweynesse four times at Sha Tin this season and that is pretty decent form. I have the 11-2 early that he can make his first trip to the UK a winning one.
4.20 Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) 4yo+ 1m4f
With Hukum out this now looks to be at the mercy of Free Wind. A top-class filly she won the G.2 1m2f Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies' Stakes on seasonal reappearance, runner-up Rogue Millennium took the Duke of Cambridge earlier in the week, and she will appreciate the step back up in trip here. I have snaffled a bit of the 11-10 this morning. If there is a danger it is probably good old Pyledriver.
5.00 Wokingham Stakes (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2) (0-110) 3yo+ 6f
It don’t get any easier with the last three races all competitive affairs. Apollo One went well in this last year, perhaps pulling a bit too hard early, and is back off a mark 1lb lower than in 2022, due to rise 3lb after today. Stall 15 looks ideal and a big run is expected. Orazio won over track and trip last time and the lightly raced four-year-old is very much on the up but has a 9lb rise in the rating to overcome whilst the very experienced Summerghand is down to a mark that means he has to be considered. I have plumped for Apollo One each-way (6 places) at 12-1.
5.35 Golden Gates Stakes (Class 2) (0-105) 3yo 1m2f
Frankie Dettori's final Royal Ascot ride is Knockbrex and as such was always going to be popular in the market and is duly favourtie. The form of his second at Haydock in April has been franked by Gregory already this week in the G.2 Queens Vase and a return to this trip should suit as he simply didn’t get home over 1m4d at York last time; winner there Chesspiece was third in the Queens Vase to Gregory. With those two now rated in the 100’s his mark of 90 could look very lenient by quarter to six! I have had to back him at 5-2; i'm not usually one for the Hollywood dream endings but this story just might have one.
6.10 Queen Alexandra Stakes (Conditions Race) (Class 2) 4yo+ 2m5½f
A wide-open affair over the marathon distance for the lucky last of the week; if you're desperate for a winner the race planners aint done you any favours! The race has cut up a bit with just the ten left in. Stratum has to be respected having won the last two renewals of this although the ten-year-old isn’t getting any better as his age. Dawn Rising is a decent hurdler who could have a bit up his sleeve off a mark of 102 here. Cesarewitch winner (tipped on here) Run For Oscar has a prep over 1m4f in a Listed heat at the Curragh and even though he is up to 101 on the Flat now probably still has a pound or two in hand on the handicapper. I have 5-2 this morning.
Royal Ascot Friday
Yesterday must have been the roughest day at Royal Ascot I can remember. 150-1 shot Valiant Force winning the Norfolk Stakes was of course the headline but he was followed by big price winner after big price winner……… If you had a couple of them good luck to ya, but everyone I know is licking their wounds this morning. I go into day four -7.5 to level stakes; all being well that number will look a lot healthier by 6.20 this evening.
2.30 Albany Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies) (Class 1) 2yo 6f
Carlas Way looked pretty good winning on debut at Doncaster and runner-up Star Of Mystery franked the form by going in next time out recently. The daughter of Starspangledbanner can take this and I am on at 9-2. There are plenty of dangers naturally and they are headed by Newmarket winner Soprano.
3.05 Commonwealth Cup (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (No Geldings) (Class 1) 3yo 6f
Little Big Bear heads the market and his chance is an obvious one after recording a comfortable success in the Sandy Lane at Haydock. Mischief Magic is one of my Dirty Dozen, I said at the start of the season I expected this to be the target. The G.1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint winner was disappointing in the ‘trial’ for this but I am prepared to give him another chance. The fact William Buick keeps the faith with him has to be seen as a positive. Charlie Appleby said “Mischief Magic has come forward a good amount from the trial for this, which was run on slower ground than ideal for him. Returning to a sounder surface will hopefully put him back in the mix.” I am on this morning at 30-1 each-way (4 places).
3.40 Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (Handicap) (Class 2) (0-105) 3yo+ 1m4f
This is a bit of a puzzle with plenty in with chances. Al Nafir makes seasonal debut and although up to a mark of 100 can be in the mix. Okita Soushi is considered as is Nagano. Teumessias Fox is up 7lb for his latest victory but looks capable of carrying the weight. Andrew Balding's four-year-old looked to have plenty left in the tank at Newmarket and it would appear the gelding operation in the autumn has had the desired effect. I have a bit of the 11-2 this morning.
4.20 Coronation Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Fillies) (Class 1) 3yo mile (Rnd)
Mawj won't be here following a bad scope which, in my eyes, leaves this completely at the mercy of Tahiyra, who I still can’t quite believe didn’t win at Newmarket. Another member of the Dirty Dozen running today she looks the best three-year-old filly about by some way and I will be shocked if she doesn’t take this. No sort of price at 4-6 early but I wouldn’t lay you Evens!
5.00 Sandringham Stakes (Fillies' Handicap) (Class 2) (0-105) 3yo mile (Str)
Another puzzle to work out but I think I have one that can run a big race. Dream Of Love drops down in class here the Charlie Appleby trained filly having finished third in the G.2 German 1,000 Guineas earlier this month. I have a bit of the 20-1 each-way (7 places) that she can defy top-weight. The trainer told the Godolphin website “Dream Of Love has proven a consistent little filly. She disappointed on testing ground in the 1,000 Guineas before a creditable race on a sounder surface in the German equivalent. She looks stronger compared to the spring and should be a contender on ground we know she appreciates."
5.35 King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2) (Colts & Geldings) (Class 1) 3yo 1m4f
Arrest was disappointing in the Derby where it looked as though he was unsuited by the track and it looks as though the going has gone against him here. Continuous is surely better than his run in the Prix du Jockey Club, I tipped him at Chantilly, and may have more to offer stepping up in trip. King Of Steel was second in the Derby, running a massive race on seasonal debut and it will be fascinating to see how he goes here. Strictly on Epsom form King Of Steel is the one to be on but he is too short for me especially as he has played up in preliminaries in the past. I have taken a chance with Continuous at 15-2 early.
6.10 Palace Of Holyrood House Stakes (Handicap) (Class 2) (0-105) 3yo 5fYet another head scratcher for the lucky last with plenty in with chances over the five-furlongs. Radio Goo Goo is five from six this season and clearly in rude health so has to be considered dropping back to the minimum trip. Clearpoint is in a first-time visor and could get involved whilst Harry Brown is another shortlisted. I have gone with Hispanic at the standout 12-1 with Power early. He got no sort of run in the Listed Westow Stakes at York having been badly hampered soon after the start. He looks to me the type that O’Brien will be winning bigger prizes with later in the season. A lot of the early pace should be in the higher number stalls so hopefully he can track that early before blasting clear.
Royal Ascot Thursday
It is Ascot Gold Cup day and what an intriguing race we have this year. Not a bad day for me on Wednesday with a couple of winning bets, Gregory winning and Sonny Liston second, advised each-way, at 25-1; I still can't quite believe Relief Rally didn’t get up in the first! My fancies for Thursday follow and I go into the day -1.5 points to level stakes after two days.
2.30 Norfolk Stakes (Group 2) 2yo 5f
Wesley Ward has American Rascal in the line-up and he has to be taken seriously. Out of 2016 winner Lady Aurelia, by Curlin, he was very impressive winning over 4½f on debut at Keeneland in April hands and heels with Joel Rosario on-board looking back through his legs in the final furlong to see how far back the others were! “If you look at him, he looks like he’s a running back in the NFL,” Wesley Ward said of his charge recently “He’s pure speed physically.” I am on at 11-2. As for the home team Elite Status has looked pretty tasty in his two starts. Winning at Doncaster and Sandown. Karl Burke certainly likes him saying in an interview last week “I think he has the potential to be very good and I hope he can show that next week.” and he has to be shortlisted.
3.05 King George V Stakes (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2) 3yo (0-105) 1m4f
I have tipped Tagabawa on all three start to date, both his starts at two and again when winning at Kempton in April on his three-year-old seasonal debut. A son of multiple G.1 winner at two and three New Approach he is out of Group winner Tasaday who herself was unbeaten in three starts at two in France. She has already produced two winning foals, both 110+ rated, so there is every reason to assume this one should be above average and he can confirm that by winning this before stepping up to Group class as the season progresses. I am on at 6-1. Charlie Appleby said: “We saw marked improvement from Tagabawa when he stepped up to a mile and a half on his last start and he goes into this in great shape. Any handicap at Royal Ascot is always going to be very competitive but we feel he has the right credentials to be a big player. Quicker ground will suit and he stays this trip well.”
3.40 Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies) 3yo 1m4f
Al Asifah is the red-hot favourite having been supplemented for this last week following her six-lengths win in the Listed Agnes Keyser at Goodwood over 1m2f earlier this month; she won over the same trip at Haydock on debut in May. This will be her third start in less than a month which may be a big ask for a late developing type but you have to be impressed with her two runs to date, she possibly hasn’t beat much but she has beaten them easily. Bluestocking and Warm Heart are closely matched on their Newbury form with the Ballydoyle filly just coming out on top there. For me Infinite Cosmos is the one that should relish the step-up in trip, will possibly get further on pedigree, and her third third behind Soul Sister in the G.3 Musidora looks a solid effort now. By Sea The Stars out of Group performer up to 1m6f Waila I'd like to see her positively ridden to make this a proper test. At 12-1 she can be backed each-way (3 places 1/5) and that is what I have done.
4.20 Gold Cup (Group 1) 4yo+ 2m4f
Eldar Eldarov has to be considered along with Coltrane and Emily Dickinson getting a little weight with the various allowances but there is one here that intrigues me and I have to take a chance with, Yibir. His trainer Charlie Appleby said: “Yibir heads to the Gold Cup and showed his old enthusiasm in his work. He’s definitely come forward from his run at Newbury. We know it’s an extra mile on top of his trip now, but what we’ve seen with the likes of Broome, these older mile-and-a-half horses can do it. What the jockeys say in the Gold Cup is that you can get the two miles but it’s beyond that which is an extreme distance for our Flat horses. To say he’s going to get the two and a half miles would be a bit bold, but he has the right running style and likes fast ground. If he’s still there when the bell rings [on the home turn] he'd be a live player." He owes me nothing having backed him numerous times and this could be a new beginning for the five-year-old. We all know he can be a bit of a monkey but I can see Buick sitting out the back slowly bringing him into the race and as his trainer says if he is on the premises turning in he must have a big chance; he is the best horse in the race. We could see a little racing history this afternoon with a Breeder's Cup Turf winner (Broome was second that year in Del Mar) going on to win the Gold Cup! I am on at 12-1 this morning with Power.
5.00 Britannia Stakes (Heritage Handicap) (Colts & Geldings) (Class 2) 3yo (0-105) mile (Str)
It’s another cavalry charge up the straight mile and another race in which you can make a chance for half-a-dozen or so of the runners. Docklands won over track and trip last time out and after just four starts could have plenty more to come yet. I read an interview with Jessica Harrington in which she said of Panic Alarm “A race like the Britannia looks right up his street. He’ll love the way the race is run and goes there with a big chance.” I found those interesting comments with the horse stepping up to a mile for the first time but she generally knows what she is talking about. Third in the Madrid Handicap won by Paddington on his three-year-old debut, which looks above average form now, he has held his own in good company the last twice and the extra furlong might be right up his street. At 28-1 he is the each-way punt (4 places 1/4).
5.35 Hampton Court Stakes (Group 3) (Class 1) 3yo 1m2f
Stable mates Epictetus and Torito are both considered along with Drumroll over from Ballydoyle. Bold Act was disappointing in the Feilden Stakes but returned to form last time in the London Gold Cup when second. Charlie Appleby said: “We were pleased with Bold Act’s latest run in the London Gold Cup, when he ran a very solid race. His rating suggests that he can be competitive at this level, while the ground and trip will suit. He ticks plenty of boxes and should hopefully be a live player.” Caernarfon was fourth in the 1,000 Guineas at HQ on her return, before running another good race, upped in trip, when a fine third in the Oaks. This might be her ideal trip and she has to be considered off the back of those two runs getting weight from the boys. I have plumped for Caernarfon at 15-2 early.
6.10 Buckingham Palace Stakes (Handicap) (Class 2) 3yo+ (0-105) 7f
A real head scratcher to end the day for punters. Croupier has to be considered in the form he is even though he is off a career high mark here. Biggles is a consistent type who can get some prize-money whilst Montassib is also shortlisted. The grey Unforgotten looked a fair horse on the All-Weather and then disappointed on his Turf debut at HQ. He bounced back when third at Newbury last time and gets in off the same mark of 97 here. Stall 18 looks a good draw and if Dettori can get him in a decent position early he should be on the premises at the business end. I am on at 6-1 early.
Royal Ascot Wednesday
Day two dawns of Royal Ascot and the sun is shining, I am happy to report. The going is now described as good on the straight course and good, good to soft in places on the round course with possibly an isolated shower forecast but it should stay dry. I am -1.2 points to level stakes after day one, Paddington being the one that had me kicking myself yesterday; I said it was a flip of a coin between him and Chaldean and got it wrong! My fancies for day two follow and all being well there's a few winners in there.
2.30 Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2) Fillies 2yo 5f
I really wanted to back Born To Rock in this but she is now a non-runner due to a bad scope and that means this looks a wide-open affair to kick off day two of the Royal Meeting now. Beautiful Diamond, Got To Love A Grey and Midnight Affair are all considered. Relief Rally made it two from two when winning at Salisbury last time and the form of both wins looks pretty decent. By that leading source of speed Kodiac she is out of Kathoe meaning she has four winning siblings (all sprinters) including Group winning full-brother Koropick. The draw is slightly high but near enough to the middle to be of little concern for me. I have a bit of 9-2 early.
3.05 Kensington Palace Fillies' (Handicap) (Class 2) (0-105) 4yo+ mile (round)
There are plenty in with chances for the second race on day two as well as the opener, in fact I think this is tougher for us punters than the first! Tamarama will undoubtedly be popular with Frankie Dettori keeping the ride after he steered her to victory at Kempton last time but she is on a career high rating of 90 now. Crystal Caprice steps back into Handicap company having run in Listed heats recently. Yerwanthere arrives after just three career starts and may be the Group horse in a handicap here, a rating of 93 certainly gives her a chance. She lost her unbeaten record at Naas in Listed company last month but certainly got no luck in running there and I read with interest Joseph O’Brien saying recently “She’s a lovely unexposed filly that we’ve always liked. We’ve had the Kensington Palace Fillies’ Handicap in mind for her since she won at Dundalk back in December……….she works like a classy filly and if her lack of racing doesn’t hold her back, I think she’s capable of getting seriously involved.” I am taking a chance she’ll prove too good for this field and I am on at 9-2 this morning.
3.40 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies & Mares) (Class 1) 4yo+ mile (Str)
I made a note of a comment from Jospeh O’Brien in an interview during the build up to the meeting that for Jumbly “The Duke of Cambridge been the aim all along” following her second on seasonal reappearance in the G.2 Lanwades Stud Stakes at the Curragh. Quite lightly raced for a four-year-old I think she can take this before a likely step up to the top-table later in the season. I am on at 9-4. Prosperous Voyage was back in the Winners Enclosure at Epsom last time in the G.3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes, and of course won the G.1 Falmouth last season though that was a huge surprise. She’s a decent filly but I would suggest fully exposed while the selection has the potential to improve yet. Rogue Millennium is another solid if not spectacular performer who can pick up some decent prize-money.
4.30 Prince Of Wales's Stakes (Group 1) 4yo+ 1m2f
This has been a headache for me. I said in conversation recently that I can see Luxembourg and Bay Bridge facing each other several times this season and taking turns to win after their one, two in the 1m2½f Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh last month. Well here they are again but this time we have 2021 Derby and King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Adayar thrown in for good measure. Bay Bridge would have liked more rain I am sure and the drying conditions probably aint helping his chances. Luxembourg just came out on top in the G.1 Tattersalls Gold Cup and has an obvious chance, especially with the stable amongst the winners yesterday. I am sticking with Adayar though. Only seen twice last year he should the talent remains taking the G.2 Gordon Richards Stakes pretty easily, the form of which is working out well. I am on at 3-1 for the five-year-old to remind everyone just how good he is. Following a recent gallop on Newmarket’s July course Charlie Appleby commented "Adayar had a nice pleasing piece of simple work as he's there now, and William was delighted with him. You saw his enthusiasm in the gallop that he was dragging William to the lead there and he went through the line well, finishing with his ears pricked. It’s a great experience and we are lucky that we are able to come here and be able to do it. We did the same with him when we took him to the Rowley Mile before he won the Gordon Richards Stakes. The lorry ride is very important in that they know they aren’t going to go into the fire every time they go on a horsebox. He goes into the Prince of Wales's as joint-favourite and deservedly so on what we saw at the Guineas meeting."
5.00 Royal Hunt Cup (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2) 3yo+ mile (Str)
Another proper puzzle to try and work out here with a proper cavalry charge up the straight mile. From what little we can glean from Tuesday it appears the middle to far-side could be favoured. Sonny Liston was a speculative Derby ante-post punt for me last season. He obviously didn’t reach the heights hoped for but gets in here off a mark of 100, the booking of Ryan Moore catches the eye and first time blinkers could lead to improvement, a high draw is a slight negative but I am on at 14-1 each-way (7 places) as think a strongly run mile might be his ideal now.
5.35 Queen's Vase (Group 2) 3yo 1m6f
We have an unusually short jolly for this in the shape of Gregory. He arrives unbeaten in two following a comfortable victory over 1m3f at Goodwood last month in a Listed heat and this longer trip looks likely to suit. By Golden Horn his dam Gretchen won a G.2 over 1m6f during her career and grand-dam Dolores has foaled several stayers including Irish St Leger winner Duncan and Doncaster Cup winner Samuel so their is plenty of stamina on the dam side. He is plenty short enough at 7-4 but looks like a potential St Leger horse and could well be favourite for the last Classic of the season after this.
6.10 Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed Race) 2yo 5fOn a day that may well prove to be a good day to be a Bookie it’s another race with plenty in with chances. Barnwell Boy goes for Charlie Johnston and has caught my eye. He won by 4½ lengths on debut at Goodwood over six last month despite edging to his left and looking very green when out in front on his own; second has won since to give the form a frank. This and the Norfolk were under consideration with the trainer just favouring this race, he said recently “He was very impressive at Goodwood and the people with the stop watches are getting fairly excited about him. That was over six, but he showed so much speed that day and given that Ascot is such a stiff track we are going to come back at five furlongs in either the Windsor Castle or the Norfolk.” I think they have made the right decision as I quite strongly fancy one for the Norfolk tomorrow, in fact it looks a good renewal, so they can nick a decent prize here before looking at other targets, perhaps back over six, later in the summer. I am on at 7-2.
Royal Ascot Tuesday
It is one of the best weeks of the year, possibly the best, it is Royal Ascot week, as they say, Royal Ascot, like nowhere else. I managed to show a profit over the five days last year and hopefully I have a few winners up my sleeve for this year. They got the rain as forecast but as yet it hasn’t greatly changed the going and we start the week with the going described as good to firm on the Straight course with the Round course good.
Five-days and thirty-five races in total, here we go.............
2:30 The Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1) 4 yrs+ One mile
One of my strongest fancies of the week goes in the first race as I am on Modern Games at 7-4 ante-post. He has drifted a bit in places with everyone getting very excited about a piece of work Inspiral reportedly put in the other day but as I said earlier she’s not been seen since finishing sixth in the G.1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes last back end, in which Modern Games was second giving her 3lb, so she doesn’t overly concern me. In fact I fear the selections stable mate Native Trail more as although he hasn’t turned into the wonder horse we thought he might be after his two-year-old campaign he still has the potential to get it all right one day and if he does it could be some performance. Charlie Appleby, who trains both four-year-olds, said: “Modern Games came out of the Lockinge Stakes in good form and we have been delighted with his preparation. It was great to get a G1 win in the UK under his belt and, providing there is not a deluge of rain, he looks the one to beat again. Native Trail has definitely come forward since his run at Newmarket. He is a sharper, fitter individual now and benefited from a racecourse gallop last week. He is a Classic winner in his own right and goes to Ascot with a live chance.”
3:05 The Coventry Stakes (Group 2) 2yrs Six furlongs
The other of my ante-post punts goes in this as I am on River Tiber at 13-8. Another who has drifted slightly but I am not worried as I think he’ll shorten again near the off and could be nearer Evens than 2-1 by post time. He has looked a real prospect in his two runs to date and Aidan O’Brien knows what it takes to win this race. Asadna was impressive at Ripon but the form suggests she didn’t have much to beat. Givemethebeatboys arrives unbeaten in two, showing some fight to win both with his win in the G.3 GAIN Marble Hill Stakes looking fair form and looks the danger.
3:40 The King’s Stand Stakes (Group 1) 3yrs+ Five furlongs
They won’t be hanging about in this one, it really is a case of blink and you’ll miss it. With Dirty Dozen member and relatively easy recent winner of the G.2 Temple Stakes (tipped on here of course) Dramatised lining-up you’d think it would have been a relatively easy decision for me but this is a bit of a puzzle. You have to take the Aussie sprinters seriously, so much of their game down under is geared to speed these days and Cannonball and perhaps mostly Coolangatta have to be feared. Highfield Princess is top-class but perhaps slightly better on soft so connections will likely have wanted more rain to have arrived I would suggest. Track and trip winner Manaccan is good but not quite top-table quality for me whilst Twilight Gleaming has to be feared if out the stalls on the B of the Bang! I am sticking with Dramatised in the hope she’ll have a bit more to come yet after her seasonal debut win and only five career starts; I was also hoping the rain wouldn’t arrive as she won't mind fast underhoof conditions so it appears okay for her. I am on at 15-2 this morning.
4:20 The St James’s Palace Stakes (Group 1) 3yrs Colts Old mile
The third Group One of the day, and it’s another that could be a cracker of a renewal. 2,000 Guineas winner and Dirty Dozen member Chaldean and Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Paddington face off with a few other decent types in the line-up for good measure. I’ve not had a lot of luck with Chaldean, backed him when Dettori fell off out of the stalls at Newbury and then left him alone at HQ when he won the Guineas; I tipped another Dirty Dozen member Silver Knott each-way. It has to be said the Guineas form has received some knocks and it of course looked a bit of a messy affair at the time. Paddignton has been improving with every run and O’Brien certainly knows how to train the winner of this race as well and the son of Siyouni has an obvious chance. Cicero's Gift is the potential improver arriving with three victories in three starts to date in which he has looked potentially very good but this is a big step-up in class. The rain arriving won’t have hurt either of the Guineas winners chances and it is almost a toss of a coin between the pair. I have sided with Chaldean at 13-8 with Hills this morning and hopefully get it right with the colt this time!
5:00 The Ascot Stakes (Handicap) (Class 2) (0-100) 4yrs+ Two miles, four furlongs
A number of the Jumps trainers like to target races such as this at the meeting and it’s no surprise to see Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson with runners in with chances. I am equally not surprised to see Willie Mullins has sent Bring On The Night over for this again. He looked to be going very well last year and coming to win the race but Coltrane just kept going and held on; that one of course is now rated over a stone better than he was this time last year and many peoples fancy for the Gold Cup! The concern is he hasn’t been seen since this run last year. Ahorsewithnoname from the Henderson yard with Buick in the saddle is another for the jumps sphere that has a chance. Chester handicap winner Zinc White has gone up 8lb for that win but is open to improvement yet as is the second that day Novel Legend (gone up 6lb). Chester Cup runner-up Zoffee established himself as one of the better Flat handicap stayers last year having had three years jumping before moving to Hugo Palmer and could prove a threat to all if getting in a decent rhythm. I have plumped for Zoffee at 12-1 each-way (6-places) in what is a pretty competitive heat.
5:35 The Wolferton Stakes (Listed) 4yrs+ One mile, two furlongs
King Of Conquest has been progressive over the last few months for Charlie Appleby and arrives making a bid for 5-timer. He has shown some guts to come out on top more than once, as Saga and Francesco Clemente have both found out recently having been beaten at Newmarket and Goodwood respectively, they do both get 3lb today as King Of Conquest has a penalty for his win at Goodwood. If he is there or thereabouts turning in he won’t get down without a fight. The four-year-old likes to race prominently so expect to see William Buick trying to get him in a nice position early. I am on at 9-1 each-way (4 places). The aforementioned Saga and Francesco Clemente have obvious chances whilst Bolshoi Ballet never really reached the heights expected of him, he is a G.1 winner in the States, but hasn’t won since taking that Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes back in 2021.
6:10 The Copper Horse Stakes (Handicap) (Class 2) (0-105) 4yrs+ One Mile, Six Furlongs
Willie Mullins has the two at the head of the marker for this with Vauban a pretty short-priced favourite. A top-class hurdler (160 rated) he gets in here off a mark of 101 on the Flat and should win hard held on paper. Ryan Moore has been booked to ride, connections won’t have minded the rain they have had early on Tuesday though has it got in the ground enough? The bottom line is the jolly looks to be on a very handy mark returning to the flat and his claims are there for all to see. Ruling Dynasty is the one of the ‘flat team’ who might be able to give the jolly a run for his money. Charlie Appleby said in the build-up “Ruling Dynasty has come on since winning at Haydock and we feel that stepping up in trip is going to see further improvement. Handicaps at Royal Ascot are always very competitive, but he goes there in great shape off a sensible mark.” A half-brother to trainer Charlie Appleby’s King Edward VII Stakes winner Old Persian, as well as another of the trainers decent stayers Bandinelli, you would expect the step-up in trip will suit. He ran a huge race to give 21lb to the field when winning over 1m3½f at Haydock last time so is clearly fit and well. The each-way prices have gone but if the ground stays relatively fast, as it appears it will, he may be happier than the short-priced fav. I have 4-1 this morning.
19th June 2023
It has been an unusually quiet run up to Ascot for me with just two ante-post bets on. This is partly due to the Bookies offering crap odds and no non-runner no bet and partly because the weather has been in the back of my mind, you can't trust the British Summer. We start the week with the going described as good to firm on the Straight course with the Round course good, good to firm in places, though a thunderstorm is forecast on Tuesday morning and that is one of the reasons I have been holding off on the ante-post front; the going could change dramatically before racing begins tomorrow. I will be up with the bets tomorrow morning after all the Bookies finally go best odds guaranteed so about 10ish all being well.
16th June 2023
River Tiber has been added to my Royal Ascot ante-post portfolio for the 6f Group Two Coventry Stakes at 13-8 with Power (the best price I can get though I believe Sky Bet are 7-4). When you see Aidan O’Brien, who's won the race nine times, saying things like “he looks the one for the Coventry…he would have learned a lot from Naas run..” in an Ascot preview you have to take note. Unbeaten in his two starts to date, 5½f at Navan on soft and then 5f at Naas on good with a combined winning lengths total of 12½ lengths he certainly looks a very fast two-year-old. Following his win at Naas O’Brien also said "I'm very happy we ran him. He's not had anything to take him off the bridle at home and at Navan he won very easily, so he probably didn't know a lot. It was good today that there was a good strong pace on good ground. Ryan had to get down and make him stretch, so he will have learned a lot about it today." With a hat load in with good chances on the first day of the Royal Meeting, as well as O'Brien having this one and Paddington to name but two Willie Mullins has a couple coming over for the handicaps, I can see a few of the Irish raiders shortening as the trebles and Yankees get placed.
5th June 2023
I am a fully paid-up member of the Modern Games fan club and straight after his win at Newbury in the G.1 Lockinge Stakes in May, his fifth G.1 victory, and first in the UK I noted Charlie Appleby saying “We will head to Royal Ascot for the Queen Anne Stakes now. We will keep an eye on the Sussex Stakes afterwards and see what the three-year-olds are achieving through the summer. Ultimately, we would like to head back to America to try and win at the Breeders’ Cup for a third time.” The G.1 Queen Anne Stakes looks at his mercy to my eyes. He’ll have to give Inspiral weight if she makes it, not seen since finishing sixth in the G.1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes last back end, in which Modern Games was second giving her 3lb, so she doesn’t overly concern me. Maljoom aint been seen since the Royal Meeting last year, and as potentially good as he was looking it would be a big ask to win a race like this on seasonal debut after such a long absence. Chindit simply isn’t as good as Modern Games end of story whilst stable mate Native Trail, another favourite of mine, is arguably better over further. As long as he shows up fit and well surely he takes this? As William Buick said after Newbury “He is very straightforward and there are no idiosyncrasies. He is just a very, very good horse.” I am on ante-post at 7-4.
Royal Ascot 2023 Order of Running:
2:30pm: Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1)
3:05pm: Coventry Stakes (Group 2)
3:40pm: King’s Stand Stakes (Group 1)
4:20pm: St James’s Palace Stakes (Group 1)
5:00pm: Ascot Stakes
5:35pm: Wolferton Stakes (Listed)
6:10pm: Copper Horse Stakes
2:30pm: Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2)
3:05pm: Kensington Palace Stakes
3:40pm: Duke of Cambridge Stakes (Group 2)
4:20pm: Prince of Wales’s Stakes (Group 1)
5:00pm: Royal Hunt Cup (Heritage Handicap)
5:35pm: Queen’s Vase (Group 2)
6:10pm: Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed)
2:30pm: Norfolk Stakes (Group 2)
3:05pm: King George V Stakes
3:40pm: Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2)
4:20pm: Gold Cup (Group 1)
5:00pm: Britannia Stakes (Heritage Handicap)
5:35pm: Hampton Court Stakes (Group 3)
6:10pm: Buckingham Palace Stakes
2:30pm: Albany Stakes (Group 3)
3:05pm: Commonwealth Cup (Group 1)
3:40pm: Duke of Edinburgh Stakes
4:20pm: Coronation Stakes (Group 1)
5:00pm: Sandringham Stakes
5:35pm: King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2)
6:10pm: Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes
SATURDAY2:30pm: Chesham Stakes (Listed)
3:05pm: Jersey Stakes (Group 3)
3:40pm: Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2)
4:20pm: Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes (Group 1)
5:00pm: Wokingham Stakes (Heritage Handicap)
5:35pm: Golden Gates Stakes
6:10pm: Queen Alexandra Stakes