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