The five best days of the summer horse racing calendar await courtesy of Royal Ascot and it is an honour for me to be able to attend on behalf of Betfred as the official bookmaker of the meeting.
Frankie Dettori will be the talk of the town on his final Royal Ascot, at a course he has made his own over the last 30 years. All his mounts will be supported by punters over the course of the next five days.
The meeting starts with a bang as three of the first four races of the week are Grade 1’s with the worlds best milers locking horns up first in the Queen Anne Stakes. Dettori rides Inspiral who has fitness to prove having missed her targets so far this campaign. Plenty of these met in the Lockinge last time when Modern Games came out on top of Chindit and Berkshire Shadow amongst others, but it is the other Godolphin runner who may be the forgotten horse.
Native Trail was a shade disappointing when outpointed by Mutasaabeq on his return at the Guineas meeting at Newmarket, but his Irish 2000 Guineas success and runners-up efforts in the English version and last year’s Eclipse looks the best form on offer and if returning to that form is the one to beat.
Cash is interesting at a price on his second to Chindit here last month, but Jamie Spencer prefers Light Infantry of the David Simcock trained pair.
The Coventry Stakes has had social media in a frenzy with many respected racing personalities arguing the cases market leaders of River Tiber and Asadna after wide margin winning debuts. Many of the 22 runners boast unbeaten profiles though and I’m happy to swerve.
The fastest horses on the planet will clash in the King’s Stand Stakes over five furlongs at 3.40. the Aussies are well represented after Nature’s Strip’s success twelve months ago where he had Twilight Calls back in second. That was the end of his season and he has had excuses for two below par runs this term. At a big price, he is worth backing each way to at least hit the frame again.
Highfield Princess has an incredible rag to riches story and it may not have ended yet after her brilliant comeback run at York, while Manaccan’s seasonal debut at Newmarket can be marked up after racing in the wrong part of the track.
In the St James’s Palace Stakes, the English and Irish 2000 Guineas winners clash in Paddington and Chaldean, but it is the lightly raced and steadily progressive Cicero’s Gift who will carry my money. He beat the Britannia Stakes favourite Docklands and giving 7lb at Wolves in March before showing an excellent turn of foot to win a minor event at Goodwood on Guineas weekend. This is a huge step up in class but I’m not convinced the classic form on either shore is too strong and he could surpass them both here for Group 1 glory.
2.30 ROYAL ASCOT – QUEEN ANNE STAKES – NATIVE TRAIL
3.40 ROYAL ASCOT – KING;S STAND STAKES – TWLIGHT CALLS (EW)
4.20 ROYAL ASCOT – ST JAMES’S PALACE STAKES - CICERO’S GIFT
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