#startracking Monday June 13th 6pm

Need to see how the ground rides here at Royal Ascot. Loads of quality horses but are there any real stars?

2.30 Plenty of quality but nothing to get the heart racing. How good is Tepin, the American filly? Do you know? I don’t. The colts are all almost, on their day, horses, Arod, Belardo, Toormore, Lightning Spear etc. trying to give three pounds to the girls. Amazing Maria needs quicker ground which leaves me with two French fillies. Both have form on Soft -ish ground although I think the younger horse will handle it better. Both have course and distance form Esoterique was second to Solow in this race last year whereas Ervedya won the Coronation Stakes, the 3yo fillies equivalent. At the prices I’ll back both.

Esoterique      one star* win @ 15/2 with PP                     Ervedya          two star** win @ 4/1 general

3.05 I don’t normally back 2yo’s until after Royal Ascot. This nineteen runner field may also give a clue to the ground across the straight course and any actual or perceived bias. Normally you are looking for a winner on his only previous run in the top five of the betting. I pass on two bits of information, the first is that Aiden O’Brien and the stopwatch boys were raving about Caravaggio’s time at the Curragh with the trainer suggesting he maybe a “special” horse, US bred son of Scat Daddy and Kevin Ryan/Jamie Spencer being very bullish about Broken Stones, a £200K son of Requinto bought at the Guineas breeze ups. Caravaggio is short at 9/4 so its Broken Stones one star* e/w selection @ 14/1 with PP and four places. (Might want to hold on for better terms in the morning.)

3.40 21 sprinters over the 5F for the G1 Kings Stand Stakes. Pin at the ready! If the ground is genuinely Good to Soft or worse, then Mecca’s Angel has an awful lot going for her but even with the defection of Acapulco and Sole Power 7/4 is ridiculously short. So no selection but the three for the Placepot would be the favourite, Pearl Secret and Move in Time.

4.20 This year’s St. James’s Palace Stakes for 3yo colts run over the round mile brings together the winners of the French, Irish and English 2000 Guineas in The Gurkha, Awtaad and Galileo Gold. Connections are to be commended and add into the mix Godolphin’s highly thought of Emotionless and this is a worthy Group 1.

I don’t think Frankie Dettori got the clearest run on Galileo Gold at the Curragh against the improving Awtaad and I fancy him to turn the form around here in the Italian’s backyard as I think the English Guineas was the strongest of the three and Galileo Gold is fine with the grade, the trip and definitely the ground.

It was no surprise that Hugo Palmer, this seasons break through trainer, was very positive on his Betfair blog. “Galileo Gold is in absolutely fantastic form ahead of what promises to be a very exciting clash of the three Guineas winners in the St James’s Palace Stakes on Tuesday, and what appears very much the race of the meeting and of the season so far. He has delighted me in his recent work, and we have kept him a bit busier between Ireland and Ascot than we did between the two Guineas, and he seems more relaxed and settled as a result. He is buzzing ahead of the biggest race of his career, though the Guineas will always be the most important race for him, as that was a Classic and the announcement and arrival of a very good horse.

It will be infuriating for everybody concerned with the meeting if the weather is bad this week and the ground gets very soft, as no-one targets mud-lovers at Royal Ascot. The ground will hopefully not be as bad as it was at the Curragh on Guineas day, when the Irish trainers told me that it was nearer heavy than the official description of yielding. Galileo Gold ran a great race there, especially considering Awtaad got first run on him. He was trapped in a pocket on the inside and he couldn’t properly gallop and use his stride until the winner had flown. I am not suggesting we would have beaten Awtaad, but it certainly wasn’t ideal.”

Galileo Gold is a two star** win selection @ 6/1 general.

5.00 I just don’t get this race at Royal Ascot. A flat 2m 4f C2 handicap so the Cheltenham crew get a day out in Berkshire! The likes of Elliott, Mullins and Henderson must love the chance of a £50K pot in June. This year the field of 20 contains four that were recently hurdling under the care of John Ferguson until Sheikh Mohammed knocked that little game on the head.  It isn’t even really a handicap as there is just ten pounds from top to bottom. 9yo Pique Sous won the race last year under Ryan Moore’s guidance and they pair up again off two pounds higher but on much softer ground.. Willie Mullins has also put Sempre Medici in the field, Dermot Weld has the Cheltenham bumper winner 2014, Silver Concorde, with Pat Smullen in the saddle and Nicky Henderson has his Chester Cup winner No Heretic ridden by Jamie Spencer. I have absolutely no idea and very little interest so my two for the placepot are Sempre Medici and Galizzi.

5.35 The final race on Ascot’s opening day is a 24 runner Listed race for 2yo’s over 5F. I can’t think of a less enjoyable betting medium. I have again got to find something for the placepot so we will go with Ardad, Bataash and Mister Trader. The first two are from big yards, run once, won once and the third was second to Caravaggio last time out which could look tasty after the G2 Coventry earlier.


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