There's eight tips today, including a 33/1 shot in the last race.
14:30 Royal Ascot
JUST WONDERFUL (Best price 5-2) displayed plenty of speed on her debut at the Curragh, so much so that she covered the final three furlongs in a similar time to high-class sprinter Merchant Navy who won later on the Curragh card. Merchant Navy is rated 117 and heads for the Diamond Jubilee tomorrow so that was clearly an excellent performance first time up from Just Wonderful who was the exception rather than the norm in being a Ballydoyle juvenile which was successful on debut.
The form has been boosted since by runner-up Lethal Promise, who ran out an easy six-length winner on his next start, while third-home Gossamer Wings was agonisingly beaten in the Queen Mary at 25-1.
15;05 Royal Ascot
Taking on the might of Aidan O’Brien in a middle distance Group contest may not be the cleverest strategy, but I have been impressed with RAA ATOLL (Best price 5-1) this season and he looked to win with plenty in hand at Leicester last time. The overall time was highly respectable, but the selection’s sectional time equated brilliantly with any other horse on the card which suggests he is capable of mixing it at Group level. Stall one may make life a little awkward for the selection, but if any rider can overcome that inconvenience it is the inimitable Frankie Dettori and the Italian is fancied to steer home another Royal winner.
15:40 Royal Ascot
INVINCIBLE ARMY (Best price 8-1) may have tasted defeat at the hands of Sands Of Mali at Haydock last time, but he can wreak revenge back on today’s stiffer track.
James Tate’s likeable speedster began his campaign with a wonderful display on ground arguably too soft back in May over today’s course and distance and a strong gallop and faster conditions should ensure he posts a major show today. There appears an abundance of pace on the near side with Sands Of Mali, American raider Gidu and Fleet Review all drawn in and around the selection and the fact he boasts course experience and stays strongly at today’s trip could be vital components.
16:20 Royal Ascot
Being able to hold a position and possess the ability to quicken are vital attributes on the round track at Ascot and BILLESDON BROOK (Best price 13-2) looks to have both in spades. Those that witnessed the change of gear displayed by the selection in a Goodwood nursery last summer may not have been surprised to see her grab the 1,000 Guineas by the scruff of the neck with an exhilarating move to the front under Sean Levey.
The ability to accelerate in a stride when required separates the good horses from the exceptional and Billesdon Brook can display that capacity this afternoon. She looks a very fair price and represents one of the more attractive bets of the week
Stallthree is a slight concern for DI FEDE (Best price 16-1) but most of the quality horses look to be drawn low in this field and with Broadway on the far side, there is a hope the pace will be genuine. The daughter of Shamardal has plenty of experience which can be a vital attribute in races of this nature and she bears the hallmarks of a filly which has been quite cleverly campaigned this term.
Di Fede’s comeback at Ascot, when too keen and fresh, has worked out nicely with Urban Fox and Tribute Act acquitting themselves well and her win in a minor Leicester event meant the handicapper couldn’t get too aggressive.
Sadly, all of the tasty prices about the chances of AGROTERA (Best price 13-2) disappeared overnight but I can’t resist a saver on a horse that looks very well handicapped and is partnered by Jamie Spencer on the straight track. As a sire, Mastercraftsman often produces powerful and robust offspring and that certainly appeared the case with the selection when I saw her at Windsor.
She is a fine specimen which should find the hustle and bustle of a big-field to her liking and she is undoubtedly well treated in comparison to the 101-rated Dathanna who beat her a length here in May on ground softer than ideal.
17:35 Royal Ascot
Morning odds of 33-1 look a little derisory for the chances of MANJAAM (Best price 33-1) given he was only beaten nine lengths in this race from a poor draw 12 months ago. Connections fitted the five-year-old with blinkers that day and they appeared to light him up from a low draw and he could never really get competitive. A wide draw has been crucial in this race in recent times and the selection produced a smart turn of foot to score at York last time so could outrun his morning odds in the hands of the excellent Eddie Greatrex.
The prospect of a decent gallop courtesy of Dash Of Spice, Count Calabash and Crowned Eagle should assist EYNHALLOW (Best price 12-1) who can race exuberantly but boasts a huge chance if he settles. Backing the Godolphin four-year-old is likely to be a white knuckle ride as he needs to be ridden for luck but if he gets some cover and the breaks he has the talent to take a hand at the finish.