ROYAL Ascot draws to a close on Saturday. Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) intends going out on a high with his best bets.
14:30 Royal Ascot | Channel 4
A two year old Listed race over seven furlongs and it's produced a field lacking in experience which makes it difficult to be over confident as there are so many unexposed horses with five maidens and one making their debut.
The favourite, Ballydoyle, named after the yard Aidan O'Brien trains from has run once coming fourth in her maiden. There can be little doubt she will leave that form well behind, and I would be surprised if a horse that connections have given this name to didn't end up a Group 1 filly in time. She's bred to improve with a step up in trip and comes from a stable on form and ridden by a jockey that is riding on a different level but I can't back her at 5/4.
My selection is Tonkinese. So far he has run twice coming second in a hot looking Curragh maiden, then easily landing the odds in a seven furlong maiden at Leopardstown. He looked like a good horse that day and there is still plenty improvement in his locker too.
Ballydoyle has to improve to reach his level of form, and at 4/1 he looks a good bet. He won his maiden on firm ground so there is no worries on the ground front either. I make him a solid opening bet of Day 5.
15:05 Royal Ascot | Channel 4
A 16 runner handicap here and despite the presence of a 7/4 favourite I think this is a tight little race. John Gosden is responsible for the favourite Mahsoob and he is unbeaten in three starts. He could be a lot better than his current mark, but he doesn't appeal to me at that price.
I'm going for an each way bet in this in the form of Ayrad. Held in high regard by the Roger Varian yard, he has lined up in a French Derby and a Champions Stakes in his race career. Though he was out of his depth on these occasions it shows connections have a lot of faith in his ability.
Last time out he won a Listed race at Goodwood and done it in good style. He met some trouble in running that day and he was value for more than the half length margin. That race was over two furlongs further than he encounters today but I see this as a positive.
In a big field on a stiff track with a long home straight you need a horse that stays well, and I can see him flying home late on under Frankie Dettori. He represents solid each way value at 16/1.
15:40 Royal Ascot | Channel 4
The Hardwicke Stakes is over the King George course and distance and is often a dress rehearsal for that race. Three horses who have their sights set on that race line up here and it looks between them.
Eagle Top won the King Edward Stakes at Royal Ascot last season and done it in the style of a horse destined for the very top. He brushed aside subsequent Group 1 winner Adelaide in what was one of the performances of the meeting.
He followed that up with a slightly lacklustre fourth in the King George and he wasn't seen for the rest of the season after that. He returned this season with a fourth behind Western Hymn in the Brigadier Gerrard stakes and ran a promising enough race without getting the pulse racing. He arrived at the meeting last season on the back of a disappointing run but this is a strong renewal so he's not for me at this stage.
This leaves Telescope and Postponed. I firmly believe that this will be the first two, and I will be backing a forecast, but who will win? Postponed has a very progressive profile. Since coming third in the Tercentenary Stakes behind Cannock Chase last season he hasn't looked back.
He won a Hamilton Listed race before ending the season a good winner of the Great Voltiger at York. He returned this season behind Western Hymn before going down half a length to Al Kazeem in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh. The step up to the mile and a half here will help him improve again, but I still see him as the likely second behind last year's winner Telescope.
Telescope is a horse I love. A facile winner of this last season he was slightly disappointing in the King George before ending the season with a couple of flat efforts in the Juddmonte International and Breeders Cup Turf. He returned this season at Newmarket going down a neck to a stablemate of Postponed, before slamming his rivals in the Al Rayyan Stakes at Newbury.
That was visually impressive, and though he beat horses that would be outsiders in this race, his previous course form makes him a confident selection here, meaning another win for Ryan Moore! The forecast should pay around 4/1 and that's my selection here.
16:20 Royal Ascot | Channel 4
The Golden Jubilee is the highlight of the final day and I have been looking forward to this race all week. Brazen Beau is the favourite here and is hoping to join to add his name to the list of previous Australian winners of this race. He brings top Southern Hemisphere form to the table here but he may come unstuck to a horse I have tipped here before.
Mustajeeb is available to back at 11/2 here and this is a bigger price than I was expecting. The winner of the Jersey Stakes here last season, he was campaigned over a mile last season ending his campaign with a defeat in the Breeders Cup Mile, where he beat himself by pulling far too hard. He's a head strong sort, and he never really settled in any race over a mile.
I always wanted to see him over sprint distances and thankfully so did connections and he was given his chance to shine in the Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh last month. He won that race well and he done so impressively. Always travelling well in a strongly run race he was always in command and put up a performance that screamed Group 1 horse.
After the race Pat Smullen couldn't contain his excitement claiming this horse was destined for the very top of the sprint game. I couldn't agree more and he's my main bet of the day, and due to his price he is open to each way backers too.
14:30 Royal Ascot – Tonkinese to win (4/1 William Hill)
15:05 Royal Ascot – Ayrad each way (16/1 BetVictor)
15:40 Royal Ascot – Telescope/Postponed Straight Forecast
16:20 Royal Ascot – Mustajeeb each way (11/2 William Hill)
Hot favourite Brazen Beau is 3/1 to win the Diamond Jubilee on Saturday at Royal Ascot.
Incredibly new customers at Coral can back him at 7/1 simply to finish in the first three!