Horse Racing

Royal Ascot Day 1 Tips and Predictions

The first day of Royal Ascot 2023 is almost upon us, so let’s go through the each and every race to see which horses may represent the best bets.

Tips for Royal Ascot Day 1
Photo by Icon Sport

14:30 – Queen Anne Stakes

The opening race of the meeting will be the Queen Anne Stakes, which is a Group 1 contest run over a straight mile. At the front of the early market, we have two horses vying for favouritism, one of which is Inspiral, who finished down the field at Ascot towards the back end of last season, but looked a good sort when winning at this level in France prior to that, while she impressed hugely when winning the Coronation Stakes at this meeting last season. A return to that level of form would likely see her put up a big fight against the boys.

However, Modern Games looks the standout performer and if giving his all, seems the most likely winner. He returned to form with a Group 1 win at Newbury recently, while his form when less than two lengths behind the 128-rated winner of this race last year (Baaeed) at Goodwood is the best on offer.

Best Bet: Modern Games @ 2/1

15:05 –  Coventry Stakes

The second race on the card will be a Group 2 contest, which is run over six furlongs. River Tiber for the ever present team of Ryan Moore and Aidan O’Brien is quite a warm early favourite and is likely to go to post having been well supported. He’s two from two and is likely to go well.

None of the last three favourites have won this race, so it’s not all about River Tiber, that’s for sure. Personally, I’d rather take on the favourite here. After all, we’re talking about lightly raced two-year-olds, which means that there are plenty of unknowns, so why not try and find one at a sizable price. At odds of 33/1, I like the each-way chances of Haatem, who arrives here off the back of three runs for Richard Hannon, who has twice won this race since 2009. The colt lost many lengths at the start when upped to this distance for the first time at Newbury last time out, yet still ran on very strongly to take third, which in the circumstances, was impressive. With a level break, he could easily trouble the chief protagonists here.

Best Bet: Haatem (each-way) @ 33/1

15:40 King’s Stand Stakes

In the King’s Stand Stakes, there’s another relatively strong early favourite in the form of Highfield Princess. She failed to make a winning return to action in Group 2 company at last time out, but was previously impressive in Ireland, while she wasn’t beaten far in the Platinum Jubilees Stakes here last season.

For my money, Highfield Princess is too short and can be taken on with Dramatised, who is an exciting and lightly raced filly. One win from one run at Ascot, she won the Queen Mary Stakes on just her second start as a two-year-old, doing so in very taking fashion. After 204 days off the track, the filly made a winning return to action last month, cosily winning a Group 2 at Haydock. With that under her belt, she can do even better, so don’t be surprised if she makes her presence felt here.

Best Bet: Dramatised (each-way) at 15/2

16:20 – St James’s Palace Stakes

In the feature race of the day, the St James’s Palace Stakes, Chaldean is a narrow favourite from Paddington in the early betting, though the former looks the clear pick as far as I’m concerned.

He was unlucky to unseat his rider at Newbury on seasonal reappearance, while he certainly made up for that when winning the 2000 Guineas in decent style. Paddington was always going to be fashionable going for Moore and O’Brien, but his Irish 2000 Guineas win was far less taking in my opinion. Had Chaldean previously run at Ascot, he’d likely be shorter. He’s the class act in the race and is a worthy favourite, so much so that quotes of 9/4 may just be a tad generous.

Best Bet: Chaldean @ 9/4

17:00 – Ascot Stakes

The Ascot Stakes will be the first handicap of this five-day racing bonanza, and it’s a mouth watering one. 20 runners are set to go to post, so it’s a case of take your pick. Willie Mullins doesn’t saddle many on the flat, but when he sends one to Royal Ascot, punters usually take note. It is therefore no surprise to see Bring On The Night, who finished second in this race a year ago, go down as the early favourite, especially with Ryan Moore in the saddle.

If you’re like me, you’ll tend to try and get the favourite of a big handicap beaten more often than not, so here I’m going to side with Pleasant Man, who goes for another National Hunt trainer in the form of Paul Nicholls. His performance in a handicap over a lesser trip at Musselburgh last time out was far from poor, while he ought to appreciate this step up in trip, as was the feeling he previously finished a staying on fourth at Ascot (in this class).

Best Bet: Pleasant Man (each-way) @ 25/1

17:35 – Wolferton Stakes

The Wolferton Stakes, which is a Listed contest, looks as competitive as ever. King Of Conquest is sure to go well in his big to land a fifth straight win for Charlie Appleby, though he only beat a re-opposing rival, who was returning from a 308-day break, at Goodwood last time out.

That rival is Francesco Clemente, who was previously unbeaten in three starts and is now better off at the weights with King Of Conquest For me, with that run under his belt, he looks a decent bet at odds of around 9/2. After all, John Gosden has a good record in this race having saddled the winner four times since 2011.

18:10 – Copper Horse Handicap

To say that jumps trainer Willie Mullins is really attacking this long-distance handicap would be a understatement. He saddles the top two in the early market and has called upon the services of both Ryan Moore and Frankie Dettori. He’s got a very strong hand and that pair could very, very easily finish first and second here.

However, Ruling Dynasty, for Charlie Appleby, ought not to be discounted. The thrice-raced gelding made light work of winning a Newcastle maiden back in October. He was then put away for 227 days before returning to action at Haydock, where he bolted up over an extended one mile and three furlongs. The extra distance seemed to really suit that day and judging by the way that he seemed to finish with plenty left in the tank, there’s every chance that this further step up in trip will suit. Big player for a trainer who is very much in form.

Best Bet: Ruling Dynasty (each-way) @ 15/2

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