It is arguably the greatest racing carnival in the world and all eyes switch to England for the Royal Ascot carnival. With 5 days of racing from Tuesday to Saturday and 30 races to be run, there is just as much action on the track as off.
Starting with the Royal Parade of the attending Royal Family and all the fashion in the paddock, there is as much attention about who is in attendance. UK bookmakers even offer odds on what colour the Queen will be dressed in!
However it is the on-track action where we can look to find a winner and we have put together a game-plan to hopefully add some royal sovereigns to our back pocket.
Day One was bookended by William Buick, landing a double with Ribchester and Sound And Silence. Buick has been booked on four rides for Day Two of the Festival, with his best chance appearing to be Jack Hobbs in the Prince Of Wales Stakes.
Ryan Moore was able to land a winner on Day One, partnering the Willie Mullins trained Thomas Hobson to victory in the Ascot Stakes and in the process suggested he could be a horse that would be a solid contender for the 2017 Melbourne Cup should he make the trip. Moore has a strong book for Day Two, highlighted by Happy Like A Fool in the Queen Mary Stakes and Highland Reel in the Prince Of Wales Stakes.
Frankie Dettori was a notable omission on Day One and unfortunately he won’t be seen at Royal Ascot in 2017. The Italian has succumbed to an arm injury that he picked up at Yarmouth last week and he ruled himself out of the entire Festival.
James Doyle scored a Day One winner aboard Barney Roy who was able to turn the tables on Churchill in scoring a good win. Doyle rides Caulfield Cup runner-up Scottish in the Prince Of Wales and also looks to have a winning chance on Laugh Aloud in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes.
Wesley A Ward struck on Day One with the impressive win of Lady Aurelia in the Kings Stand Stakes. The American has another strong winning chance on Day Two with Happy Like A Fool who is the favoured runner in the Queen Mary Stakes.
Sir Michael Stoute has a two-pronged attack on the Prince Of Wales Stakes with Ulysses and Queens Trust both having some chance in the 9 horse field. Stoute also prepares the South African import Smart Call that was encouraging when first seen in the UK.
Charlie Appleby managed to quinella the final race on Day One and on Day Two, saddles last start second-placegetter of the Caulfield Cup Scottish. He has not been since his 2nd to Jameka and resumes over the 2000m of the Prince Of Wales Stakes.
QUEEN MARY STAKES
Following on from a highly successful Day One Gameplan where all 3 plays were profitable, we look to keep the momentum. We marked Lady Aurelia on top with the filly duly saluting and suggested each-way plays on Mutakayyef and Roussel who both finished 2nd.
In the Queen Mary there is plenty to like about the Wesley A Ward trained Happy Like A Fool. Currently better than even money looks attractive despite the big field. The filly was a smart winner on debut in the US and with Ward having won this race the past two years, he knows the type of horse and form required to get the job done.
PLAY: Number 8 Happy Like A Fool to win
DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE STAKES
The top 4 in the market for this one mile contest are Laugh Aloud, the French runner Qemah, the South African import Smart Call and Usherette.
Qemah may have had excuses when first-up, but not buying into that and found her a touch disappointing. Not sure if the SA filly is up to this class and on a head to head of the other two, Laugh Aloud looks the better filly. There looks to be some upside to her and her win at Epsom had plenty to like about. From the astute Gosden yard, she is the one that gets our attention for this.
PLAY: Number 7 Laugh Aloud to win
The William Haggas trained On Her Toes will be second-up this campaign following her return in a Listed event at York where she placed 2nd. A winner in three successive races as a 2YO, her preparation was rounded out with a 3rd in a G3 Fillies race. The filly looks to have some scope and at each way value gets the nod.
PLAY: Number 6 On Her Toes each way