Horse Racing: Graeme Johnston’s best Saturday selections for Royal Ascot


RACING expert Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) picks out his best bets from Saturday's action at Royal Ascot.

14:30 Royal Ascot | Chesham Stakes | ITV

The Chesham Stakes was won last year by Churchill and the connections of these juveniles will be hoping to follow in his illustrious hoof prints.

Only half the field has won so far and at seven furlongs, it tends to be contested by horses with their best days in front of them. But there is one who on her sole start looked like she could be top-class.

September (5/4 William Hill) is bred to be special and this stalemate of Churchill put up a very taking performance on debut. Given that juveniles from the yard tend to improve vastly for their debut (she's the only one to win on debut all season) she could be very special.

She was weak in the market too so I have a feeling she could end up one of the top two year-old fillies. She showed great speed to go clear of her rivals on debut and when you look at her immaculate pedigree you have to be confident this trip will be within range.

Those looking for a bigger price could do worse than backing Nyaleti (12/1 Paddy Power) who impressed on debut and could well run into a place here.

15:05 Royal Ascot | Wolferton Handicap | ITV

The Wolferton Handicap is another race that can throw up a good winner and this is an intriguing race. At the head of the market there are two who look really interesting, one a recruit from abroad and another a slow maturing improver, and to me it looks between the two.

Khairaat (4/1 Ladbrokes) has won three of his four starts and could be anything. Last time out he won impressively from the front at Chester but this is a much stronger race. He's highly regarded and the stable excels with this type of horse, but the yard isn't flying and he may be better later in the year.

Kidmenever (11/2 Bet365) joined the Charlie Appleby yard from France and ran twice on Dubai over the winter where he looked a good accusation for the yard. The stable has had winners this week and I suspect there is more to come. A lot of these look exposed and I have backed Kidmenever each-way here.

17:35 Royal Ascot | Queen Alexandra Stakes | ITV

Royal Ascot comes to an end with the longest race of the week and there is one in here that is arguably the most interesting runner of the week.

Thomas Hobson (11/4 Bet365) won well earlier in the week and will surely be popular but he comes up against a horse I've been waiting for to step up in trip, and though it's a dramatic increase, I'm backing him.

US Army Ranger (7/1 Paddy Power) looked like a top-class middle-distance performer 12 months ago but his career has rather fallen apart since. He has kept good company and ran some decent races but hasn't won in over a year. Last time he was well beaten in the Coronation Cup and his days over middle distances look behind him now.

He takes a huge step up in trip here and this one paced sort could finally get his head back in front here. He is a generous price and if this extra mile does reinvigorate him then he could outclass his rivals.

Qewy (6/1 Ladbrokes) is guaranteed to stay and is a consistent stayer and could go close if at his best after his time in Australia.

Best Bets

14:30 Royal Ascot – September (5/4 William Hill)

15:05 Royal Ascot – Kidmenever (11/2 each-way Bet365)

17:35 Royal Ascot – US Army Ranger (7/1 Paddy Power)

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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