Royal Ascot starts on Tuesday (19th June 2018) and the five days are some of the best racing seen anywhere in the World. There are six quality races each day, featuring the best equine talent from the UK, Ireland, USA and Europe.
More Royal Ascot 2018 Coverage
Check out our Royal Ascot 2018 Category for more Ascot Action including:
- Trading Focus: 2018 Royal Ascot
- 2018 Royal Ascot Top Trainer And Jockey Betting Guide
- Royal Ascot 2018 – Bankers Or Blowouts?
- Royal Ascot Tips And Trends: DAY ONE through FOUR
Royal Ascot is huge for betting and trading purposes and just like the other big festivals, there is plenty of liquidity on the exchanges and bookmakers will generally stand bigger bets. A downside to that if you are trading, is that prices do not move as much so scalping is very difficult. Front runners and horses that sit handy often win at Ascot as they can steal a couple of lengths into the straight and can be difficult to catch. The meeting dates back to 1711 and it hosted its first race, Her Majesty’s Plate, in the August, and introduced the Royal Carriage procession in 1825, which has continued to this day. The meeting is expected to attract more than 250,000 people across the five days and will feature eight Group 1 races.
Tuesday 19th June 2018
The Queen Anne Stakes
As with most of the Ante Post races at Ascot, it is difficult to know which horses the big stables will run as they have multiple entries in many of the races. Aidan O’ Brien may hold the key to many races and his Rhododendron is the likely favourite here following her last stride win in the Lockinge at Newbury over a mile on quick ground. The likeable filly had finished second in the Breeders Cup last season, also on fast ground, and won a Group 1 at Chantilly on soft ground over ten furlongs showing her adaptability on trip, track and ground. The only negative is that she has never run at Ascot but she has shown top class form on a variety of tracks including Epsom and that shouldn’t be a problem. The most likely dangers to her are the Godolphin owned Benbatl, a Group 3 winner at ascot last season and who was a Group 1 winner at Meydan in March, but may want further than this mile trip and the French trained Recoletos who is unbeaten this season and recently won a Group 1 at Longchamp over nine furlongs. One worth considering, if you are looking for an each way angle, is Lightning Spear who was second to Rhododendron at Newbury, being run out of it only in the last strides.
Kings Stand Stakes
One of the fastest races anywhere in the world and the winner will need to be a bit special. Battaash is the current favourite and he is a specialist over the minimum trip and he is very quick but he will need to be to defeat Lady Aurelia who is trained in the USA by Wesley Ward and who won this last year, her second course and distance win following her Queen Mary victory the previous season. It will be difficult to beat these two with Kachy possibly the best outsider as he has twice run at Royal Ascot over 6 furlongs finishing second two years ago. This drop back will suit.
St James’s Palace Stakes
The top rated horse in the field is the Irish trained Romanised who was the shock winner of the Irish 2,000 Guineas at 25/1 but the way he won it didn’t look to be a fluke and he is clearly improving. Tip Two Win was second in the English Guineas and that form is probably stronger but current favourite is Without Parole who is unbeaten in three starts and is a specialist miler. The son of Frankel will be popular as he is trained by John Gosden and missed the Guineas with a minor setback to his foot. One at a bigger price that may run well is the Aidan O’Brien trained Gustav Klimt who ran well in the Newmarket Guineas before his third behind Romanised at The Curragh. Any rain would aid his cause but he is tough and this race may suit him.
Best of the Rest: The Coventry Stakes is an important two-year-old race and when Legends Of War won his maiden at Yarmouth, he clearly impressed many as he was heavily backed into a single figure price having been put up at 16/1 by the less than impressed bookmakers, immediately after the race. What he beat is open to question, as the third has been beaten twice since and the second has yet to run again. The Ante Post favourite is the Aidan O’Brien trained Sergei Prokofiev who has won two if his three runs, both over five furlongs. On watching him run, and on his breeding, he should have no problem with the extra furlong and looks likely to improve for it. The other John Gosden trained horse high up in the betting is Calyx, who to my eye was more impressive than the other two when running out an easy winner of a Newmarket maiden on his only start. The son of Kingman is clearly well thought of and should go on to better things and will give them all a run for their money if turning up on the day.
Wednesday 20th June 2018
Prince Of Wales Stakes
This all revolves around Cracksman who will be one of the best backed favourites of the meeting and who should, on all known form, win comfortably. There were excuses for his narrow win at Epsom as he didn’t come down the hill well and with his liking for this track and trip confirmed when he won last year’s Champion Stakes, then he is going to be tough to stop. Trying to find an each way angle is not easy, Poet’s Word is the obvious one to chase him home but offers no value at all based on his defeat by Cracksman in that Champion Stakes, even if he has improved. One who may improve enough to make the frame, if he heads to this race, is the tough Crystal Ocean who is a two time Group 3 winner this season and deserves a crack at this. He was third in the King Edward Stakes at last year’s Royal Ascot before finishing second in the St Leger to Capri and on that form, over this shorter trip, he is no forlorn hope.
Best Of The Rest: The Royal Hunt Cup is a cavalry charge over a mile and the draw may play a significant part. Check out where the runners go on the Tuesday before betting. Four-year-olds have won the last three runnings of the race and Urban Fox trained by William Haggas appeals as a likely type for this.
Thursday 21st June 2018
Ascot Gold Cup
Favourite here is Aidan O’Brien’s Order Of St George who was narrowly beaten in this race last year by Big Orange and he does not have that opponent to beat this year. He is unbeaten this season with victories at Navan and Leopardstown, which should put him spot on for this. As with a lot of Galileo progeny, he seems to act on any ground and he will not be stopping at the end of this marathon trip and it is likely that Ryan Moore will have him challenge a bit sooner this time around. There are clear dangers, not least the French challenger Vazirabad who himself is a strong stayer and who just got touched off in a Prix du Cadran over a similar trip. He would be a huge danger with any cut in the ground whilst Stradivarius will be his biggest danger on ground quicker than good. He has finished behind Order Of St George at Ascot over two miles last October and if he stays the extra distance, and there is no reason to think he won’t, then he will go close.
Best Of The Rest: The Brittania Stakes is a mile handicap for three year olds and is a bit of a lottery but something will probably be plotted up. The trends suggest you need to have won the same season and ten different trainers have trained the last ten winners so no trainer really specialises in the race.
Friday 22nd June 2018
A wide open three-year-old sprint with the bookmakers betting 5/1 the field so apart from not knowing what will run, we also have no knowledge of which ones are still improving as sprinters and at this time, it is impossible to predict what will start as favourite. Equilateral has had just three races and looks decent and he won on his re-appearance at Doncaster in great fashion, with the second horse winning twice since. The worry is that his inexperience may catch him out. Sioux Nation is a typical Aidan O’ Brien horse having raced plenty of times with four victories, and he won a Group 3 at Naas this season having won the Norfolk Stakes at Ascot last year. He doesn’t appear to be a superstar but it will take a good one to beat him. Two interesting contenders are Sands Of Mali and Invincible Army, the former is trained by Richard Fahey and he has won two from two this season including the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock. There he held on gamely from Invincible Army, the pair battling to the line but perhaps the result can be reversed here.
Yet another tough race to solve with the top three year old fillies not looking absolutely top class and this may be a race to look for some value. Clemmie is the current market leader and is a Group 1 winner at 6 furlongs but is unproven at a mile having finished unplaced behind Alpha Centauri in the Irish 1,000 Guineas. Clemmie is bred for longer trips but Alpha Centauri did nothing wrong and enjoyed the faster ground and should confirm the form. There has not been a huge amount of betting activity on this race but one who has been nibbled at and would be a very interesting contender should she turn up, is Wind Chimes. Trained in France by Andre Fabre she was third in the French 1,000 Guineas and is owned by Smith, Magnier and Tabor who have most of their horses with O’Brien. Fabre doesn’t tilt at windmills so if she turns up on the day she is worthy of a bet.
Best Of The Rest: The King Edward VII Stakes is for three year olds and is run over the Derby trip. Favourites have a poor record with just one winning in the last eleven years. The race usually goes to one of the top trainers with John Gosden, Sir Michael Stoute and Mark Johnston particularly successful. The winner has often run in a Derby trial but Aspetar for Roger Charlton would be very interesting if he runs as his Goodwood win looks fairly solid.
Saturday 23rd June 2018
Diamond Jubilee Stakes
A lot will again depend on who turns up and who goes to the 5 furlongs Kings Stand. An interesting contender is the “three-year-old” Merchant Navy who is only allowed to run because he is a Southern Hemisphere horse and effectively four. He is difficult to weigh up having won a Group 2 at The Curragh against some decent yardsticks. Harrys Angel is the rightful favourite despite having not won at Ascot, but he has been second there three times including to Caravaggio in last year’s Commonwealth Cup. He showed his well being with a Group 2 victory at York and although he prefers better ground he has also won on heavy. He will take a lot of beating but two against the field are The Tin Man who won this last year and won his only start this season at Windsor, and Librisa Breeze who ran fourth in this last year when meeting all kinds of trouble. He won at Meydan in March and has been kept fresh for this. It looks like Redkirk Warrior will also run here and he is a fascinating runner, if he turns up, as he started his career with William Haggas winning twice over ten furlongs before being sold to race in Hong Kong and then Australia where he has ended up as a sprinter.
Best Of The Rest: The Wokingham is probably the hardest 6 furlong handicap of the season to solve so looking at the trends can often help and five-year-olds have won four of the last five runnings. It is important to be a 6 furlong specialist and generally those near the top of the betting go close as they have been purposely targeted at the race. Two against the field who could run well are Ice Age and Al Qahwa who both have shrewd trainers and will hopefully have them well enough handicapped to go well.
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