Horse Racing: Best bets from Day 1 at Royal Ascot

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RACING expert Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) returns to share his best bets from Friday's action at Epsom.

Queen Anne Stakes | 2:30 Tuesday | Royal Ascot | ITV

The Queen Anne Stakes is the traditional curtain-raiser of the Royal meeting and, as has been for the past couple of years, it's wide open. I'm of the opinion that the mile division is lacking a real star and this is not a vintage renewal. With that in mind, I'm going for one at a double-figure price.

Mustashry is a horse I've always liked but I think he's done well to win a Group 1. Watching that race he looked spectacular in the paddock and I'm not sure if he has anymore improvement left in him. That may well have been his target and I'm begrudgingly opposing him.

Le Brivido is a previous winner at this meeting and represents a trainer who likes to target this race. He was available at 14/1 a few weeks ago so he has been well backed, and I can see why. However, he is just too short in the market for me now and I'm not going to back him.

The one I'm going to back is Hazapour (11/1 Unibet). He went down the Derby route last season and after a decent effort there, his season rather petered out. However, he returned this season with a solid win over a mile and he is unexposed over this trip. He appreciates a bit of cut in the ground and with a big field, the likely strong pace will suit.

With Frankie Dettori in the saddle, everything looks primed for Hazapour to run a big race.

Coventry Stakes | 3:05 Tuesday | Royal Ascot | ITV

The Coventry Stakes is one of my highlights of the week and it rarely doesn't produce numerous top class runners. This year's looks decent and there is one who has form on soft ground who I think is worth following.

Archie Watson looks to have a serious crop of juveniles on his hands just now and the best of which looks to be Guildsman (8/1 Bet365).

He was seriously impressive at Goodwood on debut winning by a big margin on soft ground. The opposition that day wasn't the strongest but he looked top class, and with rain in the air during the early part of the week he may handle conditions better than most which is a huge plus.

King’s Stand Stakes | 3:40 Tuesday | Royal Ascot | ITV

The King's Stand is, in my opinion, the best five furlong race of the season and this is a very hot renewal. Much of the race revolves around the favourite Battaash, and I'm very much in the pro-Battaash camp.

In his younger days he was a real tearaway and he lost a few races in the preliminaries with his over enthusiasm to blame. Last year in this race be went off at a suicidal pace (so fast he broke Lady Aurelias spirit) and paid the price by not seeing out the trip. However, he seems to have finally matured and if he settles here and gets a pace to chase, he is, in my opinion, unbeatable.

My advice is watch the build-up to the race. If he is calm and goes to post easily then get your money down as there isn't a better five furlong horse around if he does.

Wolferton Stakes | 5:35 Tuesday | Royal Ascot | ITV

The Wolferton Stakes may not be the best race of the week – or even the day for that matter – but it's a seriously good race and one where I have a strong fancy. Plenty of these have mixed it at Group 1 level and I'm backing one who I believe has a future at that level.

Addeybb won the Lincoln last year in the style of a top class horse but what promised to be his breakthrough year faded away after two poor efforts at the top level. He returned this season with a family flat effort at Chester but I think he is worth one last chance here.

The ground is perfect for him and he will be fully fit for this race. On ratings he is well in here and if he bounces back to his best he can get his career back on track.

Best Bets

2:30 Royal Ascot – Hazapour (11/1 each-way Unibet)

3:05 Royal Ascot – Guildsman (8/1 each-way Bet365)

3:40 Royal Ascot – Battaash (2/1 Bet365)

5:35 Royal Ascot – Addeybb (8/1 each-way Coral)

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About Author

I grew up watching Hearts games with my dad and playing football at every opportunity so betting on it was the logical next step! Football coupons became a Saturday ritual and it introduced me into the world of horse racing. I started watching it on a regular basis, and after Galileo's Derby win in 2001 I was hooked. I follow both flat and national hunt racing attending the northern meetings when possible.

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