15:45 Royal Ascot

ELMALKA (best price 4-1) might have been a shock winner of the 1000 Guineas, but the speed figure and subsequent form shown by many in behind her that day suggest there was no fluke about the performance, and she is fancied to vindicate that view on just her fourth career start. 

A big eye-catcher in the Fred Darling at Newbury on her seasonal bow, Roger Varian’s filly was still allowed to go off as one of the outsiders at HQ the following month but despite not being talked up as one of the likeliest winners, she proved the market all wrong with a display of some panache. 

Last at halfway, she made ground to race just in behind the leaders with two to run and once in full cry and meeting the rising ground, she stayed on powerfully to overhaul Ramatuelle and Porta Fortuna close home, ultimately, scoring with a bit in hand. 

On the evidence of that effort, the daughter of Kingman is well worth a pop at 1m2f later in the season, but for now, a well-run stiff mile suits her fine and providing she’s touch turning for home, expect her relentless gallop once in top gear to gain the day. 

ELMALKA – 1-point win@4-1

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16:25 Royal Ascot

Harry Eustace went agonisingly close to gaining Royal Ascot glory with Divine Comedy earlier in the week and the Newmarket handler has a reasonable chance of gaining compensation with the ever-consistent ZIGGY (best price 16-1) in this middle-distance handicap. 

Off the track for 451 days prior to facing the starter at Epsom back in April, the six-year-old had the misfortune to bump into a revitalised Crystal Delight, who has subsequently gone on to boost the form, and it was a similar scenario back at the same course last time. 

Although running right up to his best form, he couldn’t quite live with Relentless Voyager in the latter stages but as he didn’t get the clearest of runs down the straight and the winner isn’t too far off pattern material, finishing an honourable runner-up under the circumstances wasn’t a bad return. 

Four-year-olds have a good record in this race in recent times and TONY MONTANA (best price 20-1), arriving here in the form of his life, is worth a small interest to see whether he can continue the good work since switching stables. 

An instant hit on his first outing for Michael Bell, he went on to supplement those gains with a game success at Windsor last time out (strong time figure) and with the way he hit the line strongly pointing towards him getting further in future, connections are more than entitled to have a crack at this tougher race. 

ZIGGY – ½ point each-way@16-1

TONY MONTANA – ½ point each-way@20-1

17:05 Royal Ascot

Billy Loughnane enjoyed his biggest success so far to date when capturing the Coventry Stakes on an outsider and although SOPRANO (best price 25-1) isn’t quite that unfancied in the market in comparison, the up-and-coming young pilot probably has a better chance for victory number two at the Royal meeting than the odds imply. 

A top-class juvenile, good enough to finish third in the Albany Stakes on just her second career start, since then George Boughey’s inmate has sometimes cut a rather frustrating figure, none more so than when coming miles off the pace to fill out the same position in the Dick Poole at Salisbury several months later. 

In between she finished runner-up to subsequent Irish 1000 Guineas hero Fallen Angel at Newmarket and based on her two performances so far this season, she looks to have trained on. Although yet to trouble the judge, she has shaped both times as if she may need at least a mile to showcase her talents and with today’s contest offering the ideal opportunity to back up that view, the daughter of Starspangledbanner has enough class to easily outrun her odds.

SOPRANO – 1-point each-way@25-1

17:40 Royal Ascot

In retrospect, the fractions set by AGENDA (best price 7-1) in the Chester Vase were unlikely to be sustained all the way to the line but even so, he still came out of the contest with a glowing reference, and he could turn out to be the joker in the pack if ridden with a shade more restraint. 

Ridden aggressively from the word go on the Roodee, only Hidden Law was able to keep tabs on the son of Galileo once he’d set sail for home and although he was eventually worn down by the ill-fated winner, the time figure he posted suggested he lost nothing in defeat. 

Clearly a horse who stays well, it will be interesting to see what tactics are employed on this occasion, especially with other front runners in the line-up, but either way, he looks to be still improving and with bags more to come, another positive display looks on the cards. 

AGENDA – 1-point each-way@7-1