Royal Ascot 2023 – Day 1 Handicap Races Tips and Betting Preview

The opening day of the Royal Ascot meeting continues on Tuesday where two of the last three races are handicaps, the first two handicaps of the 2023 meeting. They come after the majority of the non-handicap stuff has concluded. We’ve previewed those races here.

That leaves us with a couple of handicaps to delve into, one with 20 runners and the other with 16 so there is plenty in them to decipher. Keep reading this preview for a full look at both races and a selection for each.

5.00 Royal Ascot


The first handicap of the week is the longest handicap of the week, with a marathon trip of two and a half miles where we have a field of 20.  Over this trip, the draw shouldn’t be an issue but I think it is & I’d be a bit concerned on anything drawn on the wide outside albeit it’s not impossible to win from there.  Jumps trainers like to target this race so it’s not surprising to see Willie Mullins saddling the favourite in Bring On The Night.  He’s not been seen since finishing a beaten favourite in this 12 months ago; this time around he has a worse draw and is 4lbs higher so is worth taking on.  Nicky Henderson’s Ahorsewithnoname is his nearest market rival and he was 5th in last year’s Cesarewitch off today’s mark.  He’s won over hurdles since and is drawn better so certainly has good claims.  Ian Williams has a good record in this race and his Law Of The Sea was an eyecatching 4th in the Chester Cup where he was denied a clear run on more than one occasion.   This even longer trip may play to his strengths but I was a bit disappointed he failed to win at Haydock last month albeit over a shorter trip.


Novel Legend – Despite the big field, I don’t think there’s a whole host of improvers but the selection certainly is exactly that.  Drawn 1, he brings handicap form of 2412112 to the table which has seen his mark go from 77 to 94.  He’s looked better every time he’s gone up in trip winning by 6 lengths 2 starts ago at Newbury before running well in the Chester Plate where he finished despite hating the track & getting a poor run through.  He might need a drop of rain to show his best but there’s every chance that may arrive and provided he gets some juice as well as a good early position from the gate, he should go very well indeed.  The stable is in form too; this is their only runner of the day and they come here with 4 winners from their last 8 runners.   It’s hard to see him finishing out of the frame with the additional places being offered.


Back Novel Legend (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 11.00 Bet365 BOG (⅕ odds 1-6)


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6.10 Royal Ascot


The final race of the day is the Copper Horse handicap over a mile and three-quarters, and this is another race where the draw can play a part.   What you need to know here is that the runners head into the turn very soon after the start so your race can be as good as over if you don’t get a decent sit from the gate.  High class hurdle Vauban for Mullins & Moore is the very warm favourite & if he translates his hurdling form to the flat, he might be too good for these.  Ruling Dynasty, for the Appleby yard, looks a bit too short in the betting to me given his wide draw and his first start out of novice company whilst Absurde is yet another for the Mullins yard who could be anything.  I’d love Ed Bethell to have a winner this week & his Chillingham has a good chance but, whilst there’s improvement to come, he’s up in class & mark.  Point King has a chance on form but he’s massively inconvenienced by the draw so I’ll look elsewhere.


Get Shirty – At the prices, I keep coming back to last year’s winner and I’ll take him to follow up from his success 12 months ago.  He had a single figure draw last year and has the same again, whilst he gets in here off his last winning mark.  He won this quite comfortably off a mark of 99 before following up in the Old Newton Cup off today’s mark of 105 a few weeks later.  Since then, he’s been predominantly running in pattern company but did run 2nd and 3rd in a pair of very good handicaps overseas in the UAE & Saudi Arabia.  His form this year hasn’t amounted to much but his 9th of 10 at Haydock last week is better than it appears as he was held up in a race where the pace wasn’t strong & the winner made all, whilst he was still one of the last off the bridle & wasn’t given a hard time at all.  It felt like a prep for this & it saw his mark dropping by 2lbs.  A tongue tie is applied here & that, coupled with a return to the plate for his regular jockey, should see a much improved performance.   At very big odds, he looks a decent each way punt.


Back Get Shirty (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 34.00 William Hill BOG (⅕ odds 1-5)

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