RACING expert Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) returns to share his best bets from Day 1 of the 2020 Royal Ascot festival.
Queen Anne Stakes | 1:50 Tuesday | Royal Ascot | ITV
The Queen Anne is the traditional curtain-raiser (although this year it's second on the bill) but the first Group 1 action of the day. As has been the case for the past few years ,we're lacking a real star older miler but I feel the favourite here should get us off to a flyer.
Circus Maximus (11/4 William Hill) heads the market and to me he looks the one beat. Winner of the St James' Palace Stakes last year, his only below par runs were over further distances (Derby and International Stakes) and his form is rock solid over a mile.
He will handle the ground, will be prepped for this and I expect him to add yet another Group 1 to Aidan O'Brien's CV.
King's Stand Stakes | 3:35 Tuesday | Royal Ascot | ITV
The King's Stand is the highlight of day one and despite the smaller than usual field it's a fascinating race.
The market revolves around Battaash, who despite being the highest rated sprinter around is 0/3 at the track and indeed the Royal meeting itself. When things go right, he's almost unbeatable, and this is easier than his two defeats in the race but value lies elsewhere, to me.
His stablemate Equilateral (12/1 Bet365) was seventh in this race last season but I suspect he will fare much better this time around. He seems best to me when fresh and the Covid-19 outbreak saw his spell in Dubai cut short and that could be a blessing.
His main rivals for the places here Liberty Beach (big step up in class) and Glass Slippers (high class form but very different ground here) are beatable and I am backing Equilateral each-way here.
1.50 Ascot – Circus Maximus (11/4 William Hill)
3:35 Ascot – Equilateral (12/1 each-way Bet365)