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The first three days of Royal Ascot are now done and dusted, and what a three days they have been, but it’s not time to get the Ascot blues just yet, as we still have two days of premier racing left. Let’s jump straight into looking at the best bets ahead of day four.
14:30 – Albany Stakes
- 1 14:30 – Albany Stakes
- 2 15:05 – Commonwealth Cup
- 3 15:40 – Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes
- 4 16:20 – Coronation Stakes
- 5 17:00 – Sandringham Stakes
- 6 17:35 – King Edward VII Stakes
- 7 18:10 – Palace Of Holyrood House Stakes
18 got to post for the Group 3 Albany Stakes, which is a race for two-year-old fillies only. The early market leader is Carla’s Way, trained by Simon Crisford. She’s raced only once, but won in good style at Doncaster, while the runner-up from that race has since gone on to easily win a decent novice event. She’s clearly highly thought of and should run a big race.
For me, Dawn Charger looks on the large side and thus rates as a nice each-way bet. Karl Burke has a very promising crop of two-year-olds this season, and this filly is certainly part of that group. She comes here as one of the most experienced horses in the race having made three starts, and she won a decent novice race with plenty in hand last time out. She ought to have a say in this.
Best Bet: Dawn Charger (each-way) @ 25/1
15:05 – Commonwealth Cup
In the Commonwealth Cup, Little Big Bear, who was successful at the Royal meeting last year, is a very strong favourite in the early market, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the three-year-old went off as a odds-on favourite for this.
The mount of Ryan Moore has only been beaten twice, winning each of his other five races, winning the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes in good style at Curragh towards the end of last season. That form is hard to ignore, as is the fact that he’s three from three in Group races over six furlongs. A few short ones have been foiled this week, but he really does look the best horse in this race and will take some beating.
Best Bet: Little Big Bear @ 6/5
15:40 – Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes
There are 19 runners set to go for Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes, which is a handicap race. Going by some of the handicaps this week, it’s a small field! The early betting is competitive as to be expected and it’s 5/1 the field.
Al Nafir is going to be popular for Charlie Appleby and William Buick, that’s for sure. He won a big-field handicap at Newmarket when last seen and has been kept under wraps for this since, presumably to preserve his handicap mark. A few horses have won this off the back of lay-offs, so don’t be surprised if that one runs a big race.
At an each-way price, Haunted Dream catches my eye. This returned from a near 200-day break to win a Class 3 handicap at Chelmsford on return and he’s only been hit with a 2lb rise for that effort, so could quite easily have a bit in hand over the handicapper. Moreover, he should strip fitter for that reappearance, and he’s a sort that like strongly run races, which this is likely to be. He finished not that far behind Al Nafir in the Old Rowley Cup last season, staying on all the time.
Best Bet: Haunted Dream (each-way) @ 20/1
16:20 – Coronation Stakes
The feature race of the day on Friday is the Coronation Stakes, and in this seven-runner field, 1,000 Guineas runner-up Tahiyra looks the class act.
The filly didn’t quite get to the winner of the 1000 Guineas, but she made up for that with an assertive win in the Irish 1,000 Guineas last time out. That form is hard to ignore and if she turns up in the same for here, she’ll likely win.
Some people may want to take the favourite at 4/7, but I’d prefer to take her on with Meditate, who finished second in the Irish 1,000 Guineas but could have more to give if the ground continues to get firmer. Her best form came on firm ground when she won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, which is a very prestigious contest, and a repeat of that form could see her give the favourite more to think about this time.
Best Best: Meditate @ 5/1
17:00 – Sandringham Stakes
No less than 31 runners are declared for this fillies handicap contest, so close your eyes, get a pin out and stick it in somewhere. More seriously, Coppice, for Frankie Dettori and John Gosden, does look to hold strong claims after bolting up in novice company on just her second start, Aiden O’Brien’s Jackie Oh probably won’t be too far away.
Staying with the O’Brien family, I like son Joseph’s runner here. He’s been a tad unlucky with a few this week and clearly has his string in decent form. Ma Belle Artiste returned from 248 days off to land a race a Killarney last time out, beating some decent rivals. if she strips fitter for that effort, I can see her going close here. Personally, she warrants more respect than early odds of 14/1 suggest, so she’s value to my eyes.
Best Bet: Ma Belle Artiste (each-way) @ 14/1
17:35 – King Edward VII Stakes
We have another short-priced favourite here in the form of King of Steel, who returned from a lay-off of 224 days to get within half a length of the Epsom Derby winner last time out. That was some effort and if he can back it up here, then the three-year-old will be tough to get the better of, that’s for sure.
In truth, this race lacks depth, so it’s not easy to find something to take the favourite on with. On ratings, the mount of Kevin Stott is the clear winner and as touched on above, he probably only has to turn up in the same form to get the job done.
Best Bet: King of Steel @ 6/5
18:10 – Palace Of Holyrood House Stakes
The King Edward VII Stakes only has six runners, but Friday’s final race, which will be the Palace Of Holyrood House Stakes, more than makes up for that. 28 runners are declared here.
I’ll get straight to it ahead of the lucky last on Friday evening. Frankness looks set to run well here and as far as I’m concerned, 12/1 is worthy of some each-way support. This horse looked to be ahead of the handicapper when winning cosily at Goodwood last time out, so a 5lb rise may be slightly lenient. He ought to appreciate the quickening ground too.
Best Bet: Frankness (each-way) @ 12/1
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