Royal Ascot Day One
It’s not been a bad few days for our Betty Windsor has it? With her 90th birthday celebrations but a few days old, our majesty gets to nurse any of that remaining gin-soaked hangover by overseeing five whole days of Britain’s premier flat-meeting from the plush velvety comfort of that famous Royal Box. What better seat in which for one to simply get back on it, wave to the crowd on the odd occasion, and bet the crown jewels on the following Tips & Stats equine punts please?
After 29mm of rain hitting the hallowed Ascot turf since Friday it’s safe to say that the ground will more than likely ease to soft from the current official reading of good to soft, soft in places. It is the softest ground seen at Royal Ascot since 1971, and owing to that fact we have seen a host of high profile withdrawals due to the conditions, most notably the US trainer Wesley Ward’s absolute monster Acapulco from the King’s Stand. Ward still has a couple of runners entered on today’s card however, and along with a strong French contingent, and a Japanese trained runner, nothing is detracted from Royal Ascot’s emphasis on international flavour.
With the confirmed cut in the ground I’m drawn towards the chances of the Jean-Claude Rouget trained Ervedya in the Queen Anne Stakes (2:30). Having come from nigh on last to first to beat Found around these parts last year, she showed a ferocious turn of foot to win by a neck, it was a superb performance that highlighted her ability as a solid Group 1 performer (3 from 6 overall). Beaten on her seasonal return, I’d be inclined to ignore that run. The winner Vadamos had had the benefit of a few runs so stripped fitter, and when he kicked clear of the field, Ervedya’s jockey Christophe Soumillion looked to just ride into a place. She’s never finished out of the places in 11 runs and with the ideal prep and ground conditions I think that she’s the one to be on here.
Back Ervedya at 9/2
The Coventry Stakes (3:05) is one of my favourite races of the flat season. The best and brightest 2 year olds come to lock horns in one speed induced flurry, and this years renewal is particularly exciting. Aidan O’Brien’s Caravaggio heads the market having won both of his starts pretty readily (beating subsequent winners Lundy and Mister Trader along the way). As ever O’Brien could have another worldie on his hands, but the 9/4 knocking around for his charge seems a little prohibitive to me given that this race seems a deep one indeed. Mehmas looks an obvious threat stepped back up to 6f after finding the minimum trip a touch to hot last time out, Yalta looks like he could be anything for last years winning trainer Mark Johnston, and there are a whole host of other last time out winners that are possible superstars.
The one that I’m advising our Tips & Stats followers to get their groove on to therefore is Psychedelic Funk. Ger Lyons trained, both of the Funk’s starts (and wins), have come over at Naas on both good and soft ground, which certainly bodes well for our selection given the aforementioned ground conditions at Ascot this week. His last run was mightily impressive where he ran out a six-length winner, he looks to be a straightforward, classy individual and his father Choisir was 2 from 2 around Ascot. Need I say more?
If funk ain’t your thing then simply get medieval on the race with, well, Medieval. A ready winner on his debut at Newbury on soft ground, he fetched £110,000 as a yearling and is one with potential. Whether that potential is good enough to win a Coventry remains to be seen, but the 40/1 I’m seeing means that even our knight in shining armour running into a place will bring your bank accounts out of the dark ages.
Back Psychedelic Funk at 6/1
Back Medieval at 40/1
Willie Mullins horses are the envy of the jumps world, but he has no qualms in treading on any flat trainers toes when sending a fleet over for the top flat staying races. The Ascot Stakes (5:00) sees Pique Sous return to the scene of his Ascot victory nearly 2 years ago. He’s an out and out stayer, runs for fun, and with the assistance of Ryan Moore I think the bonnie grey will run a really big race if he retains any of his obvious ability.
Back Pique Sous at 13/2
The Windsor Castle Stakes (5:35) is a race that I’d usually back the Wesley Ward runner blindly. His horses tend to need rattlingly fast ground however, so it’s easy on this occasion to look elsewhere. If Caravaggio bolts up in the Coventry Stakes earlier on in the day then the current fav Mister Trader’s price of 9/2 will surely contract very rapidly. I’m more interested in one at a much bigger price however, John Gosden’s Ardad (who happens to run in the same colours as the favourite). Having won his debut over 5f at Yarmouth, the son of Kodiac has been thrown in to a really hot race, but John Gosden doesn’t make entries like this lightly. There’s a lot of speed in the pedigree, with the dam’s sire Red Clubs having actually won over 6f at Ascot, and I think that this could be a nice each-way angle into a really wide-open race. Plus, you wouldn’t want to be sitting there at the end of the day having seen a Gosden runner go in at 20/1 and not be involved would you? That’s just criminal.
Back Ardad at 20/1
So there you have it. Tips fit for her majesty, and indeed our loyal followers. As always best of British! X