The biggest week of the flat horse racing season is upon us, with 5 days of thrilling action scheduled at the incredible Royal Ascot.
The action gets underway on Tuesday with three Group One races set to kick-start the event. The Queen Anne Stakes, the King’s Stand and the St James’s Palace Stakes are the first three races, all of which provide tricky betting for punters.
The Queen Anne Stakes is the opening race of the festival, as well as the first Group One and the strong market leader in the betting is questionably the best and most exciting horse at present, Animal Kingdom. The international horse bolted to victory in the Dubai World Cup back in March, however the surface is unknown to him and rain may cause him problems.
If returning with the same form that he shown last time, he will win the race and although he is best price Evens with Paddy Power, it will take a brave punter to take on a horse that is proven in many conditions and a long way in front of this field.
Declaration Of War and Elusive Kate are the obvious main contenders, both of whom will need to improve considerably to challenge though. The former, who is currently 8/1 with Stan James, disappointed in his first Class One in May, but is given another chance to prove his capability here. Gosden saddles Elusive Kate with jockey William Buick due to mount her, but her third to Excelebration in the Breeder’s Cup gives her plenty to do.
Penitent has the best chance of the outsiders after finishing second to today’s rival Gregorian last time, whilst conceding 5lbs on that occasion. He is an appealing 50/1 with Ladbrokes and a chance place seems possible.
This year’s renewal of the King’s Stand Stakes looks as competitive as ever, with another international entry leading the betting once again. Shea Shea won the Al Quoz Sprint in record time in March and looks a dominant force over this 5f distance.
Jockey, Adam Kirby will saddle the three-year-old, who has a decent chance on the back of a fine third on reappearance in the Temple Stakes. Others will need to improve to have a chance of competing for victory here, although Australian colt, Shamexpress could feature after winning impressively at Flemington last time.
The big question in the St James’s Palace Stakes, is whether or not Dawn Approach can rekindle the form that saw him win the 2,000 Guineas in such emphatic style. After a hugely disappointing run in the Epsom Derby earlier this month, dropping back to 1m could see an eight victory for him.
The betting odds indicate that Paddy Power’s 6/4 Favourite (Dawn Approach) can get back to winning ways, although they offer a rather short 5/2 for A P O’Brien’s Irish 2,000 Guineas winner, Magician.
He is a definite contender here and although he will need to step it up another level to win, this contest is sure make for some fantastic horse racing.
Toronado is another hopeful of finding old form, after disappointing in the Guineas when finishing fourth to Dawn Approach in what was expected to be a tantalisingly close duel.
Glory Awaits represents good each-way value at 33/1 with Boylesports, following his Guineas second.
Top trainers, Hannon and O’Brien have dominated in the UK and Ireland in Juveniles this year and that is shown here in the Coventry Stakes, with both having three entries. Stubbs won well at Naas earlier this month, whilst Sir John Hawkins made all at Curragh on his debut. Thunder Strike is another set to go well in search of a fourth straight win under Dettori in this wide open betting contest.
The final two races of the first day are both wide open contests, certain to cause major problems for those betting. Justification and Tiger Cliff are leading contenders who warrant respect in the Ascot Stakes, however Lieutenant Miller and Marchese Marconi symbolise decent value.
Anticipated is the favourite of Hannon’s quartet of entries in the Windsor Castle Stakes and the 11/2 betting odds that William Hill are offering will surely attract the attention of punters. Ogermeister and Fountain Of Youth should give good accounts, with Sleeper King and Justice Day are appealing outsiders.
Boylesports are offering an unmissable exclusive mobile offer on the horse that’s hot on everyone’s lips at the moment, Animal Kingdom! To take advantage of the enhanced 5/4 (from 4/6) price in the Queen Anne Stakes at 14.30 on Tuesday, simply place your bet on your mobile.
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