ANOTHER busy day at Royal Ascot and Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) has picked out his best bets for us.
14:30 Royal Ascot | Channel 4
The Albany Stakes gets Friday under way and it looks a good renewal. The red hot Aidan O’Brien yard provides us with the favourite so will this be win number 52 for him or will something else be victorious.
Cuff has a maiden win and a Listed victory to her name and is definitely the horse to beat here. I’m not sure what she beat last time out however she is improving and with the yard flying she could win this but I’m taking a chance on another.
Create A Dream won at this course on debut showing good pace and a very good attitude when beating The Last Lion who franked that form in the Norfolk Stakes. That was a good debut however I think she will improve further for the step up in trip however I think she is up against a very good filly here.
Queen Kindly is one of Frankels first crop of 2 year olds and could easily be his first Royal Ascot winner. She is beautifully bred out of Lady of the Desert who was a very good juvenile herself and I think Queen Kindly is a huge price.
Sent off at 2/5 on debut she made short work of her rivals and is open to any amount of improvement. I’m backing her each way to give Richard Fahey a flying start on what could be a huge day for the yard.
15:05 Royal Ascot | Channel 4
The King Edward Stakes is a mile and a half Group 2 for 3 year olds and sees the Derby form on offer however I expect the winner to come from elsewhere.
Beacon Rock is another favourite for the Ballydoyle team however I’m not a huge fan of him. Granted he’s a good colt but he isn’t one of the yards leading lights and looks exposed. He won a Group 3 last time out but it wasn’t a particularly strong race and I think he is vulnerable here.
Humphery Bogart won the Lingfield Derby Trial and ran 5th at Epsom but as we seen yesterday that race can leave a mark on horses and I’m not sure if he will be seen at his best here. He stays and is a decent type but I’m not interested in him here.
Choreographer ran a race better than his finishing position suggests in the Dante and ran on strongly late on. With a clearer run he would have finished closer to the winner but I don’t think he would have been placed. He is a very interesting runner and could improve significantly from York however he’s not for me today.
The one I like here is Carntop. Second to Humphery Bogart at Lingfield he was in front two furlongs out and he looked inexperienced once he got there. He remains unexposed and potentially very good and comes here fresher than most of his rivals. This is only his fourth start and if he shows natural improvement in think he will go very close here.
15:40 Royal Ascot | Channel 4
The Commonwealth Cup is the big 3 year old sprint of the season however because of conditions we’ve got a depleted field and are missing the American sensation Acopolco, however it’s a decent little race and should be very informative.
Log Out Island was a very busy juvenile last season and returned this season with a dismal effort at Chelmsford. However on his second start with a hood fitted he ran riot over six furlongs at Newbury. On that day he showed Wesley Ward 2 year old early pace and if he produces another run like that then he will be hard to beat. This represents a very different challenge and I expect him to struggle here.
Cheikeljack comes here from France dropping back to six furlongs for the first time however he has to be respected. He beat Ribchester easily last time out and that form reads very well now. He looks pacey however this is a different proposition to a seven furlong race in France and though he is quick he may get taken off his feet here.
Quiet Reflection is favourite for this and she was a sensational winner at Haydock and looks the one to beat here. She has only been beaten once, in the Lowther last season and will handle conditions well and she ticks a lot of boxes. She may win this but she’s a bit short in the market so I’m backing one that finished behind her last time out.
Donjuan Triumphant was another very busy juvenile last season however he ran with distinction on all his starts only finishing out of the places when fourth in a French Group 1 on heavy ground over seven furlongs. He was sent off favourite that day but he looks to me like he’s all about speed and these are his conditions.
He was three lengths behind Quiet Reflection last time however that was his seasonal debut and Quiet Reflections second start so he can get closer if not reverse that form in a race that looks perfect for him.
16:20 Royal Ascot | Channel 4
The Coronation Stakes is a cracking little race and sees the return of Jet Setting after her defeat of Minding in the Irish Guineas and this looks set up for her.
Nathra is a hugely dependable filly and comes here on the back of a fifth in the Newmarket Guineas and second in the French version. She has form on soft ground and looks like she will run her race here however I think she needs further now and I expect her to step up in trip after running here.
Nemoralia ran in to places in a couple of American Group 1 races last season and on her seasonal debut looked better than ever when taking apart inferior rivals at York and looks one of the top fillies around this season. However I think she needs good ground or better and today’s conditions won’t suit her. She is one to keep onside though.
Qemah finished just behind Nathra in France however she has been well supported this week and connections obviously expect her to improve past that rival here. She was favourite that day and will improve for the return to soft ground and she may well reverse form but can she improve past Jet Setting?
Jet Setting was still a maiden up until March and in five juvenile races despite running well never indicated she was a potential superstar. Sold cheaply out of the Richard Hannon yard she joined Adrian Keatley yard where he has transformed her into a Group 1 horse.
She won a maiden and a 1000 Guiness trial before running down the field in the Newmarket version where she didn’t handle the ground. However back on her favourite heavy ground she defeated Minding and it was 10 lengths back to third. She has since been sold for 1.3 million to Chinese owners and I think she will repay some of that investment here. I make her my bet of the meeting.
14:30 Royal Ascot – Queen Kindly each way (15/2 Bet Bright)
15:05 Royal Ascot – Carntop to win (5/1 Skybet)
15:40 Royal Ascot – Donjuan Triumphant to win (6/1 BetVictor)
16:20 Royal Ascot – Jet Setting to win (5/2 Stan James)