RACING expert Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) returns to share his best bets from Wednesday's action at Royal Ascot.
Queen Mary Stakes | 2:30 Wednesday | Royal Ascot | ITV
The Queen Mary is arguably the most competitive race of the meeting and is likely to produce a top-class winner. A lot of this revolves around Wesley Ward as he often has a speedy filly in his care but the fact his horses are relatively big prices indicate they are opposable.
I'm backing what is on paper (and hat choices) Godolphins third-choice here in the shape of Ickworth (9/1 Ladbrokes). She is two from two and last time she beat a decent Ballydoyle benchmark in the shape of King Neptune in good style, and I believe she is a fully out of the top drawer.
That day she won comfortably and showed she handles cut in the ground which she is likely to encounter here. In what looks a red-hot opener I think she represents a good each-way bet.
Queen's Vase | 3:05 Wednesday | Royal Ascot | ITV
The Queen's Vase is run over its new distance of one mile and six furlongs and it's lost a little of its lustre as a producer of stayers. This is a decent race without really setting the pulse racing and I've backed one on the up to take the step up in grade in his stride.
Jalmoud (6/1 Paddy Power) is two from three after winning a listed race in France last time out and strikes me as a horse who will do nothing quickly. He lead on the line last time and will appreciate the soft ground here. With his stable absolutely flying I am backing him each-way for this race.
Prince Of Wales' Stakes | 3:40 Wednesday | Royal Ascot | ITV
The Price Of Wales’ Stakes is regarded by many as the race of the meeting and this is a fantastic renewal for us. There may only be eight runners but it's a brilliant eight and there is one here who I think has been slightly overlooked.
Crystal Ocean (9/2 Bet365) is a horse I love and he narrowly went down in the King George last season over twp furlongs further on similar ground. That day he was ridden aggressively, and with Frankie Dettori on board and a small field, the scene could be set for another masterclass front running ride from the Italian.
It's a high-class field but he's the top rated in it and this remarkably consistent colt has never been out of the first three in his life. If you can get 5/1 he is an each-way bet to nothing in my eyes.
Royal Hunt Cup | 5:00 Wednesday | Royal Ascot | ITV
The Royal Hunt Cup is one of the big betting races of the meeting and this is a very competitive renewal. There has been plenty of money in the market recently, mainly for unexposed types, however I'm backing one who may be exposed but has course form and I expect to run a huge race.
What's The Story (22/1 William Hill) runs off a career high mark here but he has plenty of strong handicap form in the book and comes here off his best-ever performance. He was fourth in the race last year and with his ability to handle any ground a huge bonus too.
With some bookmakers offering up to seven places he is a great each way bet.
2:30 Royal Ascot – Ickworth (9/1 each-way Ladbrokes)
3:05 Royal Ascot – Jalmoud (6/1 each-way Paddy Power)
3:40 Royal Ascot – Crystal Ocean (9/2 Bet365)
5:00 Royal Ascot – What's The Story (22/1 each-way William Hill)