CH4 Racing presenter Nick Luck has some strong fancies on day one of Royal Ascot.
The percentage plays is Belardo who may yet be a touch underrated. For a horse without a very sexy profile, he’s got quite a lot on his CV, including an excellent second here to Solow (what price would HE be in this race?!), a Dewhurst win and ultimately quite a convincing win in the Lockinge last time. He might have most to fear from Ervedya who looked very good here last year and is adaptable regarding ground.
Carravagio is all the rage in the Coventry Stakes (3.05) and he’s clearly got a very good chance, but I don’t think that there is much between him and Psychedelic Funk on what they’ve achieved so far and, at the prices, I would rather be with Ger Lyons colt. He’s got a nice blend of sped and stamina in his pedigree and I think he’ll get home really well on this track when others have cried enough.
After much deliberation my selection in the King’s Stand (3.40) is Profitable, who has won the two big five-furlong sprints in Britain this year already, seems to be improving and handles cut really well. I was impressed with his win at Haydock - I thought he travelled like the best horse despite being poorly positioned for most of that Group One contest, and I’m convinced he was value for more than the neck winning margin that day. He will have no problem with the stiffer track and I think he should be clear favourite here - I can’t understand the disparity in price between him and the filly.
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I must have a saver on Waady who has become a bit of a bogey horse for me as when I tip him he gets beat and when I leave him alone he wins. I’ll have a few quid on him in the hope that Frankie Dettori can get him settled and, if he does, he wouldn’t have much to find with the best of these.
Awtaad gets the nod in the battle of the three Guineas winners in the St James’s Palace Stakes (4.20). Given these conditions and what appears to be a likely severe test over this trip, I fancy him to confirm the Irish Guineas form with Galileo Gold.
Silver Concorde looks to have really strong claims in the Ascot Stakes (5.00) after an excellent run in the Chester Cup, where he came from a really difficult position. He has plenty of form on an easier surface and I fancy him to beat the horses that beat him that day. There are one or two interesting rivals, notably Penglai Pavilion who has been given a massive chance by the handicapper on his old form, while Hassle is another after bolting up in a hurdle race at Fakenham the other day. He’s just the type of horse Richard Newland could get a lot more out of.
The Windsor Castle (5.35) might not be as competitive as first appears as the American horses won’t have their ideal conditions. Battaash is my idea of the best bet and I expect there to be plenty of money for him. There are soft ground influences on both sides of his pedigree and he absolutely bolted up at Bath on debut. He could be anything at this stage.