Magic Mori Can Turn Heads At Ascot

We’ve enjoyed a solid start to Ascot and hopefully this will continue across the next three days.

Thursday sees the Ascot Gold Cup take centre stage and given Aidan O’Brien’s misfortune so far this week (gutsy Highland Reel apart), there has to be a slight concern about steaming into Order Of St George.

It looks a fairly messy race and this means I’ll be leaving it well alone but will be hoping for a Big Orange win.

The one and only punt for Thursday comes in the Ribblesdale, in the shape of Mori.

She finished a respectable fifth on debut at Newbury – after going off favourite – and she showed the benefit of the run, winning smartly at Ascot next time out.

She was punted off the boards before her cosy Listed win and she has the scope to progress even further.

She’s a Frankel filly out of Midday, so big things were always going to be expected. Good ground is ideal and she looks an attractive proposition stepping up in trip against the AOB-trained fav, who finished third in the Oaks last time.


1.5pt win: Mori (Ribblesdale) &@ 10/3

Enjoy The VIP Treatment At Royal Ascot

Wednesday brings a host of interesting races to get stuck into, with the best punting race of the day sure to be the Royal Hunt Cup.

A cavalry charge down the straight mile at Ascot often bring about thrills and spills and you’re sure to hear many a hard luck story on Twitter come Wednesday evening.

Given a mention of hard luck story, the selection does come with somewhat of a warning. Frankie Dettori is very much a ‘marmite’ jockey. You either love him or you hate him – usually dependant on how well he’s timed his ride.

On his day, there are very few better judges of pace and this will be a necessity with EL VIP in the Hunt Cup. Jamie Spencer is on Banksea in the big race, meaning Dettori will be needed to produce the colt on the final furlong, similar to his last performance at Newcastle.

Dettori has only ridden the 4yo twice in seven runs, which is somewhat of a surprise given he’s number one rider for the owner, and both of those returned rather lacklustre efforts at Haydock.

However, his early campaigns over a longer trip didn’t quite go to plan and he was certainly in need of the run at the Merseyside track earlier this year.

He looked a different horse all together come Newcastle recently. He was strong in the betting, travelled ominously well and when the gap came late, he shot through and won well going away.

This effort suggested he would relish the straight Ascot track and being buried behind a wall of horses. He’s obviously a risk factor, given he will need luck to get his run, yet there’s no doubt there’s plenty more to come from the son of Pivotal and at 14/1, he looks worth a second glance, especially given Afjaan no longer runs for the same owners.

Elsewhere on day two, LE BRIVIDO is of huge interest in the Jersey Stakes. Dream Castle looks sure to be suited over this slightly shorter trip, after somewhat disappointing in the Guineas. However, there have to be questions about his willingness to battle it out, should it come to it, following his displays at the tail end of his last two races.

Daban should frank the Winter form by running her race but the French raider stands out on his three runs thus far. A cosy debut win was followed up with a battling performance over six, next time out, suggesting speed won’t be an issue over the seven.

He then ran a huge race in the French 2000 Guineas, only just being beaten by Brametot, who followed up with a French Derby win and is currently second favourite for the Arc. That short-head second, finishing three lengths ahead of Rivet and Orderofthegarter was a solid bit of form and with so much pace in the race, the fact that he definitely gets a mile, will play into his hands over the seven at Ascot.

He will be able to track Dream Castle and when push comes to shove, Le Brivido can repay Andre Fabre’s faith at a nice price.

1pt EW: El VIP (Hunt Cup) @ 14/1

2pts Win: El Brivido (Jersey) @ 4/1

Get off to a Blessed start at Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot begins on Tuesday, kick-starting five days of pomp, pleasantry and punting.

Ribchester & Churchill are the two hotpots on day one and although they both look rock-solid favourites. However 5/6 and 8/11 shots are not for everyone, so the other races could be where the value lies.

The King’s Stand Stakes is the meat in the Sandwich of the Queen Anne (Sky Bet offer is superb, yet again) and the St James’s Palace Stakes, so it’s sure to be a proper betting race, with punters (and bookies) looking for salvation amidst the odds-on shots.

Lady Aurelia heads the market and after apparently impressing Ryan Moore in a piece of work earlier last week, the money has come again, forcing her into a best price of 3/1. Her latest victory was not too impressive on the bare bones but there is sure to be more to come and it is hard to forget her previous victory at the track.

Marsha’s latest victory at Newmarket, giving weight away, was a monstrous effort, which suggests she is certainly a Group One filly. However, it is the next horse in the market that looks to be worth a chance.

SIGNS OF BLESSING was relatively unfancied when he arrived from France for the Diamond Jubilee, going off 25/1 before only just getting reeled in, in the shadow of the posts, eventually finishing a neck and short-head back in third.

After winning a Group One at Deauville, he returned to run a monster at Ascot in the Champion Sprint Stakes, finishing a close fourth after getting caught late. He gave Profitable almost a stone and a two length beating on his final start, which was simply jaw-dropping and the only real negative could be the ground

His best work has come on Soft but the Ascot clerk is sure to water in an attempt to get any firm out of the ground. Freshly watered, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue and it’s hard to see him not running a huge race.

He’s drawn just five stalls away from Lady Aurelia, so it will be an interesting tactical battle for the lead but it’s hard to see him out of the placings and there are sure to be extra place offerings on the day,

Elsewhere on day one, it could pay to side with ENDLESS ACRES at a big price. Thomas Hobson is sure to prove popular for the majestic combination of Moore and Mullins, yet Charlie Fellowes’ horse could be worth a second glance.

He missed the Chester Cup and ended up bumping into a well-backed Mark Prescott horse at Newmarket, finishing a fair second, with the pair well clear of the field. This will have put him spot on for Ascot, which will have been the long-term goal and at 20/1, the lightly raced son of Champs Elysees is worth a small interest.

1pt EW: Signs Of Blessing (King’s Stand) @ 7/1

1pt EW: Endless Acres (Ascot Stakes) @ 25/1

Royal Ascot – Day Four Advice

We were left with only one selection on Thursday, as our single, Alive Alive Oh, was declared a non-runner.

However we yielded a decent profit, as Top Trip who was advised each-way at 20/1, was backed into 7/1, finishing a close third behind favourite Estimate in the Gold Cup. It was a great run from Top Trip, and he’s one to keep an eye on for the future, along with Altano who was given a rather strange ride to say the least.

Friday opens with the ever competitive Albany Stakes, for which Joyeuse will be of particular warm order for Lady Cecil, who is in great form.

The half-sister of Frankel overcame greenness to land a Lingfield maiden in great fashion. She is open to massive improvement, and should put in a bold performance.

However I am extremely keen on Richard Fahey’s filly Sandiva, who looked a real classy type when landing a listed race at Naas last time out.

He is a shrewd trainer and doesn’t send runners to Ireland without thinking they are going to go extremely close. She backed up her trainer’s confidence in tremendous style, and this, to go with her maiden victory, is the best form in the book.

That was on good-to-firm ground, the current going at Ascot, so the ground is no worries for he daughter of 2000 Guineas winner Footstepsinthesand.

The 3/1 currently on offer looks great value, although I do expect a gamble on Joyeuse, so bet with a BOG (Best Odds Guaranteed) firm.

To go with this selection, making our Friday a bet, a win-double, we add Battle of Marengo from the Aidan O’Brien stable.

The highly rated colt lost his unbeaten record in the Derby, when he faded late on, losing two places five yards from the line.

Friday’s field is a lot less competitive than the Epsom Derby, and he should take all the beating, if given a patient ride by Joseph O’Brien.

His main competitor is Greatwood, who was a leading Derby hope, before he flopped in the Dante, missing the race completely. He will arrive at Ascot, and should run into the places if he can put his last run behind him.

Hillstar will go close if he manages to settle early, but Battle of Marengo should have far too much class, and the current shade of odds-on may be subject to an even bigger gamble as he looks to be one of the ‘bankers’ of the week.


2 points win double: Sandiva & Battle of Marengo @ 6.63/1

Royal Ascot – Day Three Advice

It’s been a rather ‘near-miss’ week, with only one of our each-way doubles getting placed each day.

However, it shows we’re in the right ball park, and you have to keep the faith as my favourite day of the week comes up!

The first main selection comes in the shape of Alive Alive Oh, in the Ribblesdale Stakes.

The filly has only raced three times, and has become more and more impressive with each passing run.

She began with a respectable third behind Irish 2000 Guineas winner Magician, before going on to notch two wide-margin victories, with the last being in a listed race.

The daughter of Duke of Marmalade has the pedigree to suggest she will stay the distance, and if she does, the forecast rain will be no problem.

The Lark will be a big danger, after a solid run in the Oaks, arriving late on the scene under a typically patient Jamie Spencer ride. She is a guaranteed stayer, and should be fighting out the death, yet she was beaten fair and squad previously by Winsili who re-appears on Thursday.

The form of that race has worked out well, and with John Gosden’s filly bypassing the Oaks for a crack at Royal Ascot, you can be assured she will arrive here fresh.

The best-priced 11/2 does appeal from an each-way perspective, but it looks as though Tommy Stack’s filly Alive Alive Oh, will have enough of a turn of foot to safely see off the field, providing she does stay.

That is the win single sorted, so now for a bigger priced potential surprise package in the big race of the day, the Gold Cup.

There is sure to be plenty of support for the Queen’s filly Estimate, who is currently a very warm favourite.

However I’m taking a punt on the very aptly named Top Trip, who is an unknown over the longer distance, but looked every inch a stayer when just going down a nose in the Yorkshire Cup.

Francois Doumen initially stated he would look after his colt, and shy away from Ascot, so the U-turn intrigues me, and clearly suggests he thinks his charge can land a blow.

He finished his race very well over an inadequate distance last time out, and the extra six furlongs will hopefully allow the 4yo to settle early on, and ensure he doesn’t get outpaced like he did for a stage last time out.

Mickael Barzalona has form in the race, having finished runner up on Opinion Poll when un-fancied in 2011, so he knows how to get the best out of underdogs.

In what looks a very open race, the 20/1 looks a fair price, on a classy sort firmly on the upgrade.


2 points win: Alive Alive Oh @ 5/2 (Various)

1 point e.w: Top Trip @ 20/1 (Ladbrokes)




Royal Ascot Day Two – Advice

Day two of the five-day Royal Ascot festival looks like a punting minefield, with a number of very competitive handicaps.

However, there are still plenty of classy horses on show for us to get stuck into, yet I am very keen on the chances of two fillies.

The first comes in the shape of Chigun, from the Lady Cecil stable. It would be a very poignant victory, in memory of her former trainer Sir Henry Cecil, who sadly passed away recently.

He was always a dab hand when it came to training fillies, and no doubt his wife will have picked up many of his tricks and techniques, as-well as understanding how to treat individuals.

henry cecil

Chigun was last seen cosily landing a Group three in Ireland, under the expert guidance of Tom Queally. She has came on since her defeat earlier in the season, to Dank who also re-appears on Wednesday.

Chigun looks one still firmly on the upgrade, and with Lady Cecil’s stable being in great form, the 7/2 looks tremendous value.

Her main challenger looks set to be from the favourite Duntle, having already had a course and distance win to her name, after landing the Sandringham last year. She will strip fitter from her last run in Ireland, and another bold run is expected. Yet, at the odds, I am more inclined to side with Chigun, who is nearly double price at the minute.

Our other main selection of the day is classy filly, The Fugue.

She lines up against the males in the Prince of Wales’ Stakes, having had a lengthy lay-off since her third in the Breeders Cup Filly and Mare’s turf.

She is a ten-furlong specialist, having won two of her three starts over the distance, her only defeat coming at the Breeders Cup.

Her mix of high cruising speed, and a magnificent turn of foot will come into play on Wednesday, as there is set to be a strong gallop set by Windsor Palace.

Her two main rivals look set to be favourite Al Kazeem and last year’s Derby winner, Camelot.

The pair locked horns at the Curragh last month with Al Kazeem coming out on top in a tactical affair.

However tomorrow Camelot’s staying ability will come more into play with a truly run race, and a stiff galloping track. I expect Camelot to reverse the placings, however he may find one too good if The Fugue is wound up to her full potential.

Of the other races on the card, there are very few that really interest me from a betting perspective, as there looks to be many races that are just too close to call.

If I was pushed to select one more on the card, it would have to be Garswood in the opener, who looks set to appreciate the step back to 7f.

He landed a 7f listed handicap very comfortably at Newmarket before going on to disappoint slightly in the Guineas, when he was never really in the race.

Richard Fahey is in good form, and the current 5/1 does appeal in what looks an open race.


2 points win: Chigun @ 7/2 (Various)

1 point e.w double: The Fugue & Garswood @ 41/1 (Paddy Power)

Royal Ascot – Top Trainer/Jockey

It is usually a procession at Royal Ascot, for Aidan O’Brien to sweep up the top trainer prize, as he dominates the Group fields, usually mob-handed.

However BetVictor are taking no chances this year, going 1/3 about the Irishman landing the prize, which he has done four times in his career so far.

However, there may be cause to look elsewhere, as although O’Brien is coming over with plenty of horses, as he usually does, it is arguably his weakest crop for a good few years.

He is likely to have only one favourite on day one (Stubbs), and that’s in a competitive 16-runner field.

In the past he would have a plethora of talent, with a good few starting at odds-on. Yet this year, he looks set to scrape a few winners, but lacks the bankers of years gone by.

This is why it is sensible to take a chance on the in-form Richard Hannon, who is currently trading at 4/1.

He has plenty of smart juveniles, and is mob-handed in most 2-y-o races, which is where you want to have the most possible chances.

His stable have hit top form, and Richard Hughes is riding out of his skin, which only add to his chances of being top trainer, as Hughes is his retained stable jockey.

The 4/1 is definitely a bit on the large side, and I would definitely suggest it is worth chancing, at a bit of value, as opposed to the 1/3 about O’Brien.

So.. if Hannon is to have a great week, it will pay to desert Joseph O’Brien, current favourite to be top jockey for the week, to also back Hughes at 4/1.

BetVictor claim there has been plenty of support around for Hughes, as they originally opening him up at 6/1, before plenty of support has seen him clipped in to a more than respectable 4/1.

He has top pick of all of Hannon’s horses, and know which are going best of all at home on the gallops. He is very rarely wrong, and as-well as Hannon’s backing, he is also set to pick up a few very exciting spare rides.

He is riding out of his skin at the moment, and has clawed the deficit back to only one, behind Ryan Moore in the flat jockey’s championship.

The 4/1 looks a solid investment, and if Hughesy pips your horse to the line, it will ease the pain, every so slightly.

Another thing that will ease the pain, is our friends at BetVictor are REFUNDING UP TO £25 AS A FREE BET, IF HUGHES MAKES THE FRAME.

This is a real offer, and one that you should all definitely take advantage of.

If Hughes is riding a fancied runner in the race, but you’re keen on another, have a bet with BetVictor and they’ll refund your losses of up to £25, as a free bet if Hughes makes the frame.


Richard Hannon to be top trainer @ 4/1 with BetVictor

Richard Hughes to be top jockey @ 4/1 with BetVictor




Royal Ascot – Day One Tips

It’s finally that time of year, where the Royal’s descend to Berkshire to get involved with five of the greatest flat racing days of the year.

Opening Day Double:

Five days of brilliant Group One action kicks off on Tuesday with the Queen Anne Stakes.

Animal Kingdom is the odds-on favourite, and it seems impossible to oppose the Breeders Cup Mile runner-up, who went on to land the Dubai World Cup in tremendous fashion, destroying a classy field.

He has been working well since coming over to England, and the straight mile should cause no problems for the International raider.

Elusive Kate and Trade Storm are interesting contenders at a price, but Animal Kingdom looks nailed on, and is the beginning of our opening day double.

The second horse in the double is Epsom Derby flop Dawn Approach.

The son of New Approach looked a superstar in the making during his unbeaten 2yo career which included a win in the Coventry Stakes at this meeting 12 months ago.


He carried this form into his 3yo career, landing the 2000 Guineas with sumptuous ease at Newmarket, before going on to disappoint in the Derby, after failing to settle early on.

A drop back to a mile is sure to suit, and he should arrive to the race fresh, after Kevin Manning eased the colt down a long way from home at Epsom.

His magnificent cruising speed and turn of foot make him a worthy favourite, especially with doubts over Magician’s fitness, following reports of bruising on the colts’ shin.

He looked a special horse when landing the Irish 2000 Guineas, and will prove stiff opposition, as will Toronado from the Richard Hannon stable.

Richard Hughes has always maintained confidence in his mount, and said in his Racing Post column this week, if they can get over their own problems, they will win.

However, they now face a bigger problem in the face of Dawn Approach, whose course form, unbeaten record over a mile, and the shrewdness of his trainer Jim Bolger, suggests 11/8 is too big to ignore.

If he arrived here without stepping out at Epsom, he would be around the 1/2 mark, so if you can forgive him that one run, he seems a worthy bet.

Don’t Abandon the Reckless:

Overseas raiders have a brilliant record in the Kings Stand Stakes, but this year, the short priced favourite Shea Shea, does not appeal at the odds.

Instead, we should turn to Clive Cox’s raider, Reckless Abandon at 5/1. He won over course and distance at last year’s Royal meeting, and has since gone from strength to strength.

He’s notched up three group wins, two of those group one’s, since last June, and went very close to making it four, when finishing a narrow third behind Kingsgate Native at Haydock last time out.

That was his first defeat on a racecourse, and he was extremely unlucky, having been stranded down the far side before finishing with a flourish, but Kingsgate Native and Swiss Spirit, who both re-appear at Ascot, having the benefit of the stands side rail.

Spirit Quartz and Morawij have both been out since and franked the form, having both raced with Reckless Abandon on the far side, they have both gone on to land pattern races, which provides a timely boost.

He faces stiffer competition today, but with the weight allowance for three-year-old’s, and a decent draw, the 6/1 looks a solid each-way bet.

Arise Sir John:

The Coventry is as competitive as ever this year, with sixteen quality 2yo’s going to battle it out over a stiff six at the Berkshire track.

The favourite, Stubbs from the Aidan O’Brien stable, looks an interesting prospect, and landed the same prep race as last year’s winner Dawn Approach.


However, he has a tendency to hand left under pressure, and the fact he’s coming from stall 1, means that is arguably the worst draw possible for the son of Danehill Dancer.

This leads us to look for a bigger priced raider, and one who fits the bill perfectly, is O’Brien’s supposed second-string, Sir John Hawkins.

The pedigree of the colt is simply superb, with the four-time Group One winner, Henrythenavigator being his sire, and his dam being none other than former Irish Oaks winner Peeping Fawn.

He showed great promise on debut, when showing great natural speed, beating a fairly competitive field with a tad in hand.

He will come on massively for the run, and with Ryan Moore on board, the confidence can only increase.

The 13/2 looks a solid each-way bet, and it would be no surprise to see the colt emulate his father, by winning the Group Two on Tuesday.


2 points win double: Animal Kingdom & Dawn Approach @ 3.12/1 (Paddy Power)

1 point e.w double: Reckless Abandon @ Sir John Hawkins @ 51.5/1 (William Hill)