Can Matt Chapman even the score with Charlie Austin in the tipping challenge?
Royal Ascot, 14th - 18th June 2016
Matt Chapman: At Cheltenham I went head-to-head with expensive footballer Charlie Austin and there’s no hiding from the fact Charlie was sensational, banging in goals, left right and centre. Quite unlike him actually! However, I’m guessing that was a fluke Charlie so I’m only too happy to take you on again.
Let’s start with the Queen Anne Stakes 2.30pm, which kicks off a sensational Tuesday. A big field for this event, which usually has only a few who have a chance but on this occasion is a free for all. I never thought I would say it, but I’m backing BELARDO, who was at his best in the Lockinge at Newbury last time and loves some give. With a BHA rating of 119 he should be bang there with the juice in the ground.
Charlie Austin: After destroying Matt in the Cheltenham head-to-head challenge, tipping five winners from five tips, Matt’s been begging me to take him on again so he can get his pride back, I couldn’t resist and I’m confident of beating the so-called-tipster again this week at Royal Ascot.
In what looks a very open Queen Anne Stakes I’m also taking on Tepin with course winner ERVEDYA. She pounced late to beat Found in the Coronation Stakes in 2015, she’s a winner on soft ground so whatever the conditions are on race day shouldn’t be a problem for her. Christophe Soumillon is aboard and in my opinion he’s up there as one of the best jockeys in the world and can get me off to a 1-0 start on day one against Chappers!
MC: On Wednesday the Prince of Wales’s Stakes 4.20pm is almost always a cracker, and this year’s race is dominated by A Shin Hikari, who looked sensational on his French debut. If he’s really as good as he looked then, he’ll win, but I’m just not sure. THE GREY GATSBY is without a run this season so it will be tough for Kevin Ryan’s stable star. However, he definitely should have won this event 12 months ago when Free Eagle just pipped him. Fingers crossed he can hit the frame at the very least.
CA: I know he’s a short price but I really feel A SHIN HIKARI is one the bankers of the week. His recent 10-length win at Chantilly was so impressive, if he repeats that performance he wins! Ground shouldn’t be a problem as he’s got form on soft conditions, and if he wins it will be Japan’s first Royal Ascot winner which can only be a good thing for racing in general.
MC: Thursday is all about the Ascot Gold Cup, whose winning connections will feel as though they have won the Premier League. Not something you will know about Charlie!
I’m boring here as I feel favourite ORDER OF ST GEORGE is a worthy market leader. The selection returned with an ultimately facile success, and of course proved his class last term when absolutely running away with the Irish St Leger. He just looks like a proper top-class prospect.
CA: As Matt was so frightened of getting a hiding in the head-to-head challenge again, he clearly begged Paddy to get first choice on all tips for Royal Ascot. I do think the favourite ORDER OF ST GEORGE will be hard to beat but I’m not going to be boring and pick the same selection, so I’m going to take him on with CLEVER COOKIE each-way. Peter Nivens’ yard favourite was entered to run in last year’s AscotGold Cup but was withdrawn due to the quick ground.
It won’t be like that this year and he’s a big price as he’s in great form after winning the Yorkshire Cup last month.
MC: The big one on Friday is the Coronation Stakes, and the one to be with here is NEMORALIA. Jeremy Noseda’s stable star was progressive as a juvenile and might have gone very close to winning at the Breeders’ Cup, rather than being third, if things had gone a bit differently. She returned with a monster effort at York and could be very special. She has a terrific turn of foot if able to use it. Noseda needs a big horse back in the yard and this could be it.
CA: JET SETTING arrives at Royal Ascot off the back of winning the Irish 1,000 Guineas where she beat Minding on soft ground. Minding is now a dual Classic winner and they both pulled 10 lengths clear of some classy horses that day.
She’s owned by a syndicate who picked her up for 12,000 guineas so it’s a great story, as I part own a racing syndicate myself (Excel Racing) I’m always really pleased to see syndicates winning big races.
She can reverse the Newmarket Guineas form with likely favourite Ballydoyle and the softer the ground on race day the better her chances on raceday.
MC: Saturday is all about the Diamond Jubilee, and class and pace is at a premium. You must be worried here Charlie! Magical Memory will be a worthy favourite and just keeps on winning, but another improver I fell in love with at Windsor earlier this season is THE TIN MAN.
Trained by James Fanshawe, who has had good sprinters recently in the shape of Society Rock and Deacon Blues, The Tin Man was fourth behind Muhaarar in last season’s Champions Sprint, beaten less than four lengths. He’s only had seven races in his life and is fast turning into a star. Tom Queally rides him really well.
So best of luck. Charlie may think this is a penalty kick. But he’d be wrong.
CA: Wesley Ward has brought UNDRAFTED back over to defend his title, he ran a stormer last year to win with Frankie aboard. He warmed up for this race by winning at Keeneland in April. He’s the one I want to be with each-way at the prices. Good luck Matt, I’ve got a feeling this could be 2-0 Austin!
Royal Ascot Selections
- Queen Anne Stakes: Belardo
Prince of Wales’ Stakes: The Grey Gatsby
Ascot Gold Cup: Order of St George
Coronation Stakes: Nemoralia
Diamond Jubilee: The Tin Man
- Queen Anne Stakes: Erveyda
Prince of Wales’ Stakes: A Shin Hikari
Ascot Gold Cup: Clever Cookie (e/w)
Coronation Stakes: Jet Setting
Diamond Jubilee: Undrafted (e/w)