The final afternoon of Royal Ascot is one to savour, with a trio of Group 1 contests nestled amongst a high-quality card of eight races.
The St James’s Palace Stakes (3.00pm) could well prove the race of the entire week with Pinatubo and Wichita tackling the unbeaten Palace Pier. Action starts at the earlier time of 12.40pm and our tipster has selections in all races.
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12.40 Silver Wokingham Handicap (6f)
A big-field handicap to get the action started and one that appeals is
16/1* chance LOUIE DE PALMA for the Clive Cox team. A C&D winner last season (good to soft), he handles all ground and his best efforts tie in well with likely market leader Swindler. Unlike that rival, Adam Kirby’s mount has nothing to fear on the forecast soft ground.
Ryan Moore rides MAGICAL WISH (
12/1) for the Richard Hannon team, a winner on the Polytrack at Lingfield in March when last spotted. He’s likely to handle conditions well and has twice gone close with this rider on board in the past.
1.15 Queen Mary Stakes (5f)
One of the few omissions from the CV of Aidan O’Brien, a Queen Mary win for impressive recent Naas scorer MORE BEAUTIFUL (
6/4) wouldn’t come as a surprise. The half-sister to 2000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior looked very smart on debut and should take a step forward now.
Second choice is SACRED (
11/2) in the Cheveley Park colours. She made a pleasing start at Newmarket this month, quickening away in good style to win. That race has already thrown up three next-time-out winners and with James Doyle in flying form this week, the daughter of Exceed And Excel should be in the argument.
1.50 Coventry Stakes (6f)
In contrast to his Queen Mary record, the Ballydoyle supremo has farmed the Coventry Stakes with nine wins already and ADMIRAL NELSON (
11/4) can send him into double figures. A £440,000 recruit, he was second best to a stablemate in the betting this month on his debut at the Curragh but readily on top where it mattered on track. It was an eye-catching display and this son of Kingman has star potential.
No fewer than eight of the field here boast one-race/one-win records and so it’s tough to tally what form is best. That said, QAADER (
5/1) was visually impressive at Newbury on debut eight days ago, beating a well-touted newcomer. The third has won since and with Jim Crowley in possession of the Midas Touch this week, he’s a big player again.
2.25 Coronation Stakes (1m)
Cloak Of Spirits was a noble second in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket having forced the pace, finishing just ahead of the previously unbeaten QUADRILATERAL (
9/4) at HQ. The former may not get an easy time up front now, while Roger Charlton’s Frankel filly is fully expected to go well if settling a bit better today.
Jessica Harrington won this in 2018 with Alpha Centauri and may do so again now in the same Niarchos colours with ALPINE STAR (
4/1). She had 1000 Guineas winner Love behind in the Debutante Stakes at the Curragh when last spotted and gets Frankie Dettori for company on her seasonal bow. She may have the class to overcome the fitness advantage she concedes here.
3.00 St James’s Palace Stakes (1m)
Just an absolute mouth-wetter of a race. Seven runners, six of them winners of group races in their juvenile seasons and the other an unbeaten Kingman colt with ‘possible superstar’ written all over him. This is Flat racing at its finest.
Pinatubo (third) lost his unbeaten tag in the 2000 Guineas last time and, on the face of it, had no excuses for finishing behind runner-up WICHITA (
2/1). That was a reversal of last year’s form and the Ballydoyle inmate may uphold it today.
Threat could be just that on his seasonal bow tackling a mile for the first time but PALACE PIER (
4/1) is a very exciting colt for John Gosden.
He’s always been held in high regard and he swatted his rivals aside from a mark of 98 recently at Newcastle in a handicap to make it 3-3 so far. Up in class he may be, but he hasn’t yet scratched the surface in terms of ability and there looks to be considerable depth there. Statement performance anticipated.
3.35 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6f)
The best £2,800 spent at the sales in a long time went on SCEPTICAL (
9/4) last year. A Godolphin castoff, he has made remarkable strides in five runs for young trainer Denis Hogan in Ireland. He thrashed his opposition three times at Dundalk and answered any doubters in fine style with a runaway Listed win at Naas this month on his turf bow.
A wise call to sidestep Battaash in the King’s Stand can pay off here. For added ‘fairytale-ness’; Frankie Dettori replaces out of commission claimer Joey Sheridan on this grand stage.
The reliable mare ONE MASTER (
9/2) was second in the Champions Sprint here last autumn, goes on testing ground and has yet to finishing out of the money in three Ascot starts. She appeals most of the remainder.
4.10 Wokingham Stakes (6f)
11/1) and GULLIVER (
16/1) finished first and eighth recently at Newmarket on their reappearances.
The winner is a solid performer with C&D-winning form on soft ground and is very likely to go well again with 5lb claimer Marco Ghiani getting back on board.
Ryan Moore doesn’t ride too often for the David O’Meara team and his presence here catches the eye on Gulliver. A soft-ground winner, he handles any conditions and he was never really in the race at Newmarket having gone around in rear. If his rider can slot in prominently now, they’ll have a live chance.
4.40 Queen Alexandra Stakes (2m6f)
The longest race of the week brings down the curtain and it’s another chance for Alan King to shine with WHO DARES WINS (
11/4). The Barbury Castle handler won the Ascot Stakes earlier this week and his useful dual-purpose performer isn’t likely to wilt when this gets tough late on.
Having been backed with apparent certainty on his first start for Andrew Balding at Newmarket recently, NATE THE GREAT (
13/2) couldn’t reward his supporters. He has form in a 1m5f Group 3 from last season and is of interest again despite this stamina-sapping trip being an unknown factor.
*All odds correct at time of writing