The opening afternoon of Royal Ascot on Tuesday is set to be headlined by Battaash, in his quest to make it third time lucky in the King’s Stand Stakes.
The action is underway from 13:15 right through until 16:40, with seven races on the card. You can watch them all live when you log into MansionBet and our expert tipster has been looking through the card for day one.
13:15 Buckingham Palace Handicap
The opener is perilously tough starting point for punters, a 7f handicap with a maximum field of 24 going to post. Tread lightly early on and the best advice is to look for some previous course form. One that meets the criteria is Jamie Osborne’s CLIFFS OF CAPRI at
He has two wins and two good runs from four starts here (all over 7f) and warmed up a good recent second at Newmarket. Second choice would be KAESO, who gets Oisin Murphy for assistance today and is another with a run under his belt, when well held behind the re-opposing Daarik on the AW at Newcastle. He went close in the International over C&D last season and should have a say at
13:50 Queen Anne Stakes
The Group 1 fare begins with Queen Anne over a mile and that looks the ideal mission for Aidan O’Brien’s CIRCUS MAXIMUS, the
9/4 favourite. He won the St James’s Palace at this meeting a year ago and went down on his sword behind Too Darn Hot in the Sussex at Glorious Goodwood. He also won a French Group 1 over the trip and the stiff mile here is perfect. He has the best form in the book.
Possible improver is
10/1 chance ROSEMAN for Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni. He put up a good showing in the Hampton Court (1m2f) last June and boasts good mile credentials. There should be more to come from him and his trainer/jockey are in excellent fettle.
14:25 Ribblesdale Stakes
This race has been kind to John Gosden, with three wins in the last four years. Star Catcher scored a year ago and Frankie Dettori will attempt to carry the same colours to victory now on board Frankly Darling, impressive on her AW return at Newcastle recently. She’s the
6/4 fav, but preference is for her stablemate and Lingfield Oaks Trial winner MISS YODA at
Rab Havlin’s mount overcame a troubled run in that win 11 days ago and is fancied to progress again. She’s very exciting and shades her stablemate at these prices in a race where Gosden has a major say.
15:00 King Edward VII Stakes
Only six have turned up for the King Edward VII Stakes and the Aidan O’Brien/Ryan Moore duo will be hard to beat with
8/11 fav MOGUL. He progressed nicely over the mile last year, winning a Leopardstown Group 2, before a fair fourth in the Vertem Futurity at Newcastle won by 2,000 Guineas hero Kameko. By Galileo, this step up in trip promises more and he’s got a lot in his favour.
Unbeaten Mohican Heights cost his connections £520,000 after a winning debut in Ireland and the son of Australia was a Listed winner at Salisbury in one start last summer. He’s sure to have a say and is the value call at 4/1 against the market leader.
15:35 King’s Stand Stakes
BATTAASH has twice chased home the mercurial Ascot specialist Blue Point in this race, a point seemingly overlooked by those that consider Charlie Hills’ charge to have an ‘Ascot hoodoo’. That amounts to high-end form and his blistering success in the Nunthorpe last summer was an illustration of just how good Battaash can be on his day.
Arguably, he’s getting better with maturity and in a weaker than normal renewal of this 5f Group 1 event, the
8/13 fav is holding all the aces under Jim Crowley in his attempt to make it third time lucky.
16:00 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes
William Haggas won this fillies’ Group 2 last year and his unbeaten challenger MISS O’CONNOR is exciting today. She’s 4-4 and showed a really likeable attitude when taking a Group 2 at Saint-Cloud in the autumn.
Her front running style might have left her vulnerable but she relished the challenge when rivals closed late on, pulling out extra to win. With ease in the ground forecast, she’ got perfect conditions for her biggest test yet.
16:40 Ascot Stakes
A race that often goes to a jumps trainer; Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls, Dan Skelton, Alan King and last year’s winner Ian Williams are represented here.
Henderson’s mare VERDANA BLUE is intriguing at
10/3. She’s a Grade 1-winning hurdler and could be up to carrying top-weight, while the Seven Barrows handler has taken advantage of Willie Mullins being absent, as he booked Ryan Moore (three wins in eight years in this) to ride.
10/1, a major chance is given to Sir Mark Prescott’s LAND OF OZ and he’d be the bet. He was most impressive when winning a 2m2f soft-ground Cesarewitch Trial at Newmarket in September and his below-par showing at HQ the following month, came at the end of a long season. He warmed up nicely on the AW for this and can resume his progress.