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ITV coverage of Royal Ascot 2021 gets under way as always with the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes over 1m. You won’t get rich here, but of course I expect PALACE PIER to hack up for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori.
The Lockinge Stakes winner is arguably the best miler in the world and while he would prefer a little juice in the ground, he should just be too good. Old boy Lord Glitters might be the each-way choice for those of you wanting to chance a place runner.
Now the Group 2 Coventry Stakes for juveniles over 6 furlongs. I’ll back GISBURN each-way for Pat Dobbs and Richard Hannon. The son of Ribchester has run twice at Newbury and after a decent debut made all to hack up last time in a biggish field. The horse he beat that day has since run alright at Haydock, so the form looks solid enough.
The sprinters are next with the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes over 5 furlongs. A peak Battaash would gobble this lot up like I do a kebab following a night out. That said, after he lay-off and setback I want to back something each-way against him, and that will be the July Cup hero OXTED.
He’s dropping back to 5 furlongs, but should have a strong pace to run at. Most importantly his soulmate Cieren Fallon is back in the saddle for the first time this season. After a couple of slightly disappointing efforts, that might be key.
Another Group 1 now in the St James’s Palace Stakes over 1m. WEMBLEY has been absolutely hopeless in two runs this season, but has the chance to bounce back. The Dewhurst runner-up was probably not ready for the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and might have bottomless ground as an excuse in the Curragh equivalent.
From a good draw here, this is D Day as far as whether he has trained on or not. At the big odds, I’m willing to give him another chance. I also expect Chindit to run well each-way.
We’re in handicap company here with the Ascot Stakes over 2m 4f. Not the first time I have tipped COEUR DE LION in this, and he gives Thore Hammer Hansen a great chance of another Royal Ascot win.
The selection is an old boy now at the age of eight, but he showed when he was a staying on fourth in the Chester Cup that he still has plenty of ability. He’s got a good draw and is only 3lbs higher than when scoring last year. If in the right mood he’s a big each-way player for Alan King.
This is the Listed Wolferton Stakes over 1m 2f. I’d hope PATRICK SARSFIELD would be too strong for this field for Joseph O’Brien and Tom Marquand, who teamed up with these colours to land the St Leger. My hope ran well on seasonal debut, is proven at the trip, has a good draw and a high rating. He’s also proven at around Group 2 level and is hard to beat.
Day 1 closes with the Copper Hose Stakes, a handicap over 1m 6f. SALDIER is a Grade 1 hurdler who has every chance of scoring here off a decent mark. The odds won’t be big with Willie Mullins teaming up with Ryan Moore, but provided he stays the trip on the Flat, . he really should take the world of stopping.
So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?
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