The second day of the Royal Ascot meeting takes place on Wednesday when another seven race card is the betting challenge as we go in search of winners at the most famous festival in the racing world.
There are five races on the Wednesday card which are not handicap races and two which are. We’ll preview the handicaps elsewhere but here is our look at the other races, of which we have a Group 1, three Group 2s and a Listed race.
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2.30 Royal Ascot: Queen Mary Stakes
We open day 2 with a 2 year old race for fillies over 5 furlongs & this is the race that US trainer Wesley Ward targets with his best juvenile. Twilight Gleaming is the one he relies on here & she won her last race by over 7 lengths. A high draw in 20 also helps over the straight track & she’s the most likely winner but is not a backable price for me at around 9/4.
Frankie’s mount Artos looks to be drawn all wrong so a bigger danger could be Quick Suzy if she copes with the ground. O’Brien relies on Yet who narrowly won her only race at Dundalk on the all weather & she could go well at a price whilst the Clive Cox pair cannot be dismissed with Crazyland a crazy price at around 28/1 & Get Ahead hard to keep out of the frame if her draw in 3 isn’t the negative it first appears to be.
A race to watch rather than bet in & hopefully one that we’ll get confirmation over the draw ahead of the Royal Hunt Cup later in the day.
3.05 Royal Ascot: Queens Vase
14 face the starter for this Group 2 stayers contest for 3 year olds over 1 mile 6 furlongs. In the last 20 years, Mark Johnston & Aiden O’Brien have dominated the race with 7 wins apiece & they saddle 2 & 3 runners respectively here. O’Brien has the likely favourite with Wordsworth & he looks a decent type after finishing 2nd in Listed class last time out but he was turned over at odds on so there’s a question mark against him.
Stowell is his nearest market rival & is one of three runners for the Gosden’s. Winner of a maiden last time out at this track, it was just a 3 runner race & he has to improve plenty to win here. Law Of The Sea, at a much bigger price, might be the best of the Gosden trio as he’d won a pair of novice events in style before disappointing in the Chester Vase but was found to be coughing post race. Dancing King & Golden Flame are the Johnston pair & both come here after winning handicaps most recently. The former has won his last 4 & the most recent pair of wins came on this sort of ground so he should go well.
However, the one I like is the O’Brien second string, Kyprios. He’s won 2 of his 4 starts, both in Ireland & both under today’s jockey, but has disappointed on his other 2 starts over in England. The first disappointment was in the Zetland Stakes at Newmarket, a track that doesn’t suit everyone. This season, he opened up with a good win at Cork before coming over for the Derby trial at Lingfield. He was 4th in that, 2 places behind Derby winner Adayar, and had excuses given he wore cheekpieces & they clearly didn’t work. The trainer has a poor record with horses sporting first time cheekpieces but a much more encouraging record when they are discarded as they are today. His best performance has come on his only run away from soft ground so today’s faster ground, the extra distance & the discarding of headgear all point to a big run, with the one concern being a wide draw. At the prices, he’s worth an each way bet.
Back Kyprios (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 11.00 William Hill BOG (⅕ odds 1-5)
Back it here:
3.40 Royal Ascot: Duke of Cambridge Stakes
A Group 2 for fillies & mares over the straight mile with a field of 12. We have a very warm favourite in the shape of Lady Bowthorpe who has gone from strength to strength, winning the Group 2 Dahlia on return & then running Palace Pier to just over a length in the Lockinge where she came over 5 lengths clear of the 3rd horse home. A repeat of her Lockinge run should see her winning this but I’m not convinced she wants fast ground (although she has won on it) & she does have a 3lb penalty to carry.
Queen Power, Lavender’s Blue & Indie Angel were 2nd, 3rd & 4th in the Dahlia behind Lady Bowthorpe & all 3 could go well. The former also has a 3lb penalty but did bolt up by over 8 lengths on her last run whilst the other 2 come straight here from that Newmarket race. Champers Elysees was a Group 1 winner last year & shoulders a 5lb penalty here but of more concern is her form in 2 runs this term whilst Double Or Bubble is stepping up in class for Chris Wall but keeps on progressing & could be a danger to all.
I’m taking 2 against the field, both who have solid course form which I feel cannot be overlooked. The first of those is last year’s Sandringham winner in the shape of Onassis. She absolutely loved being held up off a fast pace then & came with a late run to win a shade cosily. Since then, she’s been to Chantilly & won a Listed race on fast ground & signed off last year being returned to a sprint trip when not disgraced in the Group 1 Champions Sprint. Being off the track for 242 days should hold no fears given that Sandringham win on reappearance last year and she looks the most likely to trouble the favourite as she’s probably got the best turn of foot in the field. At a double figure price, I cannot see her being out of the money.
Last year’s 2nd, Agincourt, is my second bet. She came into last year’s race unfancied at 28/1 but ran a cracker being edged out by a head behind Nazeef. She had Queen Power & Lavender’s Blue behind that day & I fancy her to confirm that form today. She wasn’t as good after that run but 3 quick runs in succession didn’t appear to suit. She’s raced just once this term, her first run since wind surgery, & was a nose behind Ilykato at Goodwood giving that rival almost a stone. Likely to improve for that run & back at a track that suits her racing style, I expect her to give her running & hopefully go one better in the 2021 running of the Duke of Cambridge.
Back Onassis (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 13.00 Betfair BOG (⅕ odds 1-4)
Back Agincourt (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 17.00 Betfair BOG (⅕ odds 1-4)
Back them here:
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4.20 Royal Ascot: Prince of Wales Stakes
The feature race is the Prince of Wales over a mile and a quarter which has attracted a disappointing field of 7. There really is no bet angle for me here but it looks like a race to savour where I’m expecting a straight battle between Lord North & Love. I cannot split the pair so it’s a race to sit back & enjoy.
5.35 Royal Ascot: Windsor Castle Stakes
Another 2 year old race, this time with a massive field of 28 but yet another where Wesley Ward saddles the favourite, this time with Ruthin. He has a very strong hand as he is also responsible for the second favourite in Golden Bell. The first named is the mount of Dettori & he could be exceptional but it’s really hard to be sure. If pushed, I’d be more inclined to follow his horses in the opener on the card so with 5 places on offer, I’m going to look for something to oppose the pair with.
That comes in the shape of Dig Two who has a cracking draw in stall 25 & has won his last 2 starts. On his second start, over the minimum trip on similar ground to this at Newmarket, he won easily by just under 3 lengths with the second, a winner since, a further 2 lengths in front of the 3rd. Last time out, he was stepped up to 6 furlongs on the all weather & was even more impressive winning by over 3 lengths with a further 4 lengths back to the 3rd. The fact he’s spreadeagled a couple of small fields bodes well & the fact he’s proven over further is a big plus too. In a race where the draw could prove crucial, I’m happy to be on a nice each way price.
Back Dig Two (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 10.00 Bet365 BOG (⅕ odds 1-5)