2.30 Royal Ascot

The beautifully-bred September sprung to the head of the market for this event courtesy of a tremendously-impressive debut win at Leopardstown. She became Aidan O’Brien’s first successful newcomer from two dozen such runners this season and is open to any amount of improvement. However, she is priced accordingly and, in a race packed full of unexposed and exciting juveniles, it isn’t too difficult to find strong opposition to the Ballydoyle representative, even if they only run September, which may translate as a sign of stable confidence perhaps? Masar did well to overcome trouble in running to score at Goodwood and will have learned a lot, but NYALETI (Best price 12-1) also won on her debut at Salisbury in a strong time last Sunday and, although this represents a quick turnaround, she rates a big player with a step up in trip likely to suit. The only slight concern being she was a shade difficult to load into the stalls, but hopefully that was just inexperience and greenness and there could be further improvement to come granted a stiffer test of stamina.

Both her overall and split times compared very favourably with the classier races on the card so she is clearly interesting at a nice price today.

Nyaleti - 0.5pts e/w @ 12/1

3.05 Royal Ascot

The Sir Michael-stoute-trained Khairaat looked an exceptional prospect when making all to score at Chester on his return and time may tell he could be a cut above his rivals here. However, he did enjoy the run of the race from the front that day and there was a rumour at the track yesterday that his work at home hadn’t been that impressive since. He could well be a tight enough price so the likes of CENTRAL SQUARE (Best price 8-1), Elbereth and to a lesser extent RESTORER (28-1) make some appeal at bigger prices. Central Square shaped with plenty of promise at Newmarket on his comeback and this has been the plan all season for a horse who loves fast ground, a strong pace and big field. It is also significant that the blinkers have been re-fitted. Restorer needs a little more explaining but William Muir couldn’t have his string in better form having saddled a number of winners recently and Restorer is put forward as a lively outsider given he has been running with credit over 12 furlongs lately. I liked the way he finished at this track behind Desert Encounter in a race at this track earlier this season and the drop in trip and the likelihood of a more genuine pace could see him post a career best. I spoke to his trainer following that Ascot run and he was itching to run him back over 10 furlongs so he looks worth playing at a huge price. Restorer 1/2pt ew @ 28-1
Central Square - 0.5pts e/w @ 8/1
Restorer - 0.5pts e/w @ 28/1

3.40 Royal Ascot

Last year’s winner Dartmouth will be a popular fancy in the market after making a winning comeback at York on easy ground. His trainer has proven time and again he is a master of extracting progression from slow-maturing middle distance horses and this dual-track winner looks sure to go well again, especially as the course executive have put plenty of water on the track to ensure conditions don’t become too quick. However, IDAHO (Best price 11-2) wasn’t far behind Dartmouth when they met at Woodbine last autumn and was given a considerate ride when making his seasonal bow behind stablemate and Coronation Stakes winner Highland Reel at Epsom. Fast ground holds no concerns for the selection who was placed in both the English and Irish Derby behind Harzand last year prior to displaying a taking turn of foot to win the Great Voltigeur at York.
Idaho - 0.5pts e/w @ 11/2

4.20 Royal Ascot

The complexity of the draw rears its ugly head gain in this event and an absence of out-and-out front runners in the field add to the confusion. Favourite Limato is well fancied to bounce back from a poor showing in Dubai where he pulled muscles on ground which was softer than ideal and he will be tough to beat providing stall 15 isn’t a huge inconvenience. In the hope that the first-time visored Suedois goes a good pace from stall nine then TASLEET (Best price 8-1) could be the answer following his sparkling display in the Duke Of York Stakes. Previously thought to hate soft ground, the Showcasing colt blitzed Magical Memory et al with a power-packed finish and the fact he has good form over seven furlongs could be a crucial attribute as he should be finishing to good effect.
Tasleet - 0.5pts e/w @ 8/1

5.00 Royal Ascot

Backing a horse with proven stamina over further than the six furlong trip of the Wokingham has been a fair tactic in recent seasons and SQUATS (Best price 22-1) could be primed to spring a surprise. Nothing went right for the selection in the Victoria Cup as he was drawn low and the entire field migrated towards the stands’ side rail meaning he was left on the wing with precious little cover. Unsurprisingly, he made little impact on the race and it could be that early season test isn’t for him as he also disappointed in it 12 months previously. His figures at the Berkshire venue, with the exception of his Victoria Cup runs, read 3124243 and he may find the drop to six furlongs to his liking with in-form Georgia Cox on board. Given the events of this week, it is probably wise to pick a horse on either side of the track (cue those down the middle finish four lengths clear) so AMAZOUR (best price 20-1) is offered as the best of those situated on the far rail. Like many that enjoy the straight track at Ascot, the selection boasts excellent all-weather form, including on a stiff track like Newcastle where he has displayed a sharp turn of foot to land decent races on more than one occasion. He caught the eye at Haydock on his latest start behind Mythmaker and the return to a taxing six furlongs could see him go close.

Squats - 0.5pts e/w @ 22/1
Amazour - 0.5pts e/w @ 20/1

5.35 Royal Ascot

The finale represents a different test for THOMAS HOBSON (Best price 11-4), but he displayed a scintillating turn of foot to rout a competitive field of handicappers on the first day of the meeting and a reproduction of that change of gear could make him difficult to resist here. Admittedly, the seven-year-old takes on a much better class of rival while Martin Harley also replaces Ryan Moore in the saddle with the latter claimed for US Army Ranger. However, trainer Willie Mullins saddled Simenon to complete the ‘marathon double’ at the Royal meeting in 2012 and Thomas Hobson is fancied to follow in the hoofprints of that fine stayer and Pique Sous who landed this event in 2014 for his yard. Godolphin duo Qewy and Winning Story look the chief threats.

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Thomas Hobson - 1pt @ 11/4