Timeform: Your Lucky 15 for Wednesday at Royal Ascot

Timeform have given us their four picks for Day Two of the Royal Meeting...


Shades of Blue is an American crime drama on NBC, with Jennifer Lopez the leading “actress”. She used to be Jenny From The Block, and the young sprinters will need to be quick out of the blocks in the Queen Mary Stakes, which opens the card at 14:30. Shades of Blue was strong in the betting and looked potentially smart when making a winning debut over C&D last month, beating a couple of subsequent winners with a bit to spare, so she gets the vote for last year’s winning yard.

Given the bullish reports coming from Wesley Ward it’s no surprise to see Chelsea Cloisters a strong favourite and she has to be feared, with Servalan – whose sire No Nay Never won the Norfolk Stakes at this meeting in 2013 – considered the best of the rest.

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Nelson is almost a cast-iron certainty for the Queen’s Vase (15:05), not because of form, but because I backed him at a big price for the Derby before he was taken out of the race. Aidan O’Brien has saddled the winner of this contest four times since 2010 and Nelson is taken to provide the yard with another victory, for all that Ryan Moore has seemingly passed him over in favour of Kew Gardens.

The presence of unexposed stablemate Southern France adds further intrigue to what looks a potentially strong renewal, though, as Horatio Nelson himself said: “No captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of the enemy.” Course winner Stream of Stars is the pick of the home brigade.

Another O’Brien runner, Hydrangea, failed to blossom when dropped back to a mile last time, but this stiff finish should suit as she sticks to that trip in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes at 15:40. She should be hard to beat if coming on plenty as expected from her reappearance at the Curragh. Marco Botti has a good chance in this race, though not if last year’s runner-up Aljazzi hands her rivals a lead at the start as she did at Sandown last time, while Lingfield winner Tomyris and recent C&D handicap one-two Urban Fox and Tribute Act should also be in the mix.

Cracksman had excuses when below his brilliant best in the Coronation Cup at Epsom and should bounce back in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, but he looks short enough, and a better bet for the Lucky 15 is Medahim in the Royal Hunt Cup (17:00). Though he flopped in the Britannia at this meeting last season, he has some strong three-year-old form to his name and looks poised to run a big race after catching the eye over a shorter trip at Goodwood last time.

In what looks an ultra-competitive renewal of the Royal Hunt Cup, a race that was once the subject of an unfortunate spoonerism by commentator Simon Holt, there are any number of dangers, with Saltonstall, Afaak and Firmament particularly feared.

Find the latest Royal Ascot betting over at paddypower.com

What do you think?