* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
Palace Pier is well clear on ratings and should prove difficult to beat. The concerns for those of you willing to take the short price are the fast ground (most of his best form is on ground with cut in it) and the potential for this to become very tactical race with a lack of obvious pace.
I am going to back Regal Reality each-way in the main market and then will do similar in the betting without Palace Pier market. Regal Reality is quite unexposed at a mile despite being a six year old. He was a Group 3 winner over a mile last season and was only just touched off by last year’s 2,000 Guineas winner Kameko in a Newmarket Group 2 to finish the season.
Fast ground really suits him and two years ago he finished just under three lengths behind Enable and Magical in the Group 1 Eclipse at Sandown over 10 furlongs, which highlights how much ability he has. This race looks to lack obvious pace and as a result it has the potential to get messy. I think that Regal Reality will be ridden just behind the pace and will be well positioned to strike when the pace lifts.
That may not be sufficient to beat Palace Pier but I think he an excellent chance of hitting the frame at the very least and represents excellent value in the main market each-way and in the betting without Palace Pier market.
This looks to be one of the most open renewals of the St James’s Palace Stakes in a long time and Poetic Flare heads the market after winning the English Guineas and his near miss in the Irish version.
He does set the standard but he has had four starts this season already and he will need some constitution to run right up to his best again now, in what is his fourth start in under seven weeks.
Lucky Vega was just behind him at Newmarket and the soft ground at the Curragh didn’t appear to suit when he was 4th in the Irish version but conditions will be more suitable here for him. Thunder Moon and Battleground need to overcome awful efforts in the 2,000 Guineas and while that is possible, their prices aren’t exactly compensating hugely for that doubt about them.
The one that looks a very fair price is Chindit for Richard Hannon. Chindit just doesn’t appear to like the downhill section of the track at Newmarket, as he disappointed in the Dewhurst there last season and was fifth in the Guineas in May. He did run much better that time staying on really strongly down the near side, when all the action developed away from him.
He is undefeated away from Newmarket and has won at Ascot previously. He normally gets dropped right out in his race but I suspect he will be ridden a little more forward here and he could well reverse that Newmarket form.
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The market has latched onto Willie Mullins two in MC Muldoon and Raydapour and both have strong claims considering Willie’s record in these type of events at this meeting.
I just can’t get away from Cape Gentleman though. A winner in France, he switched to Emmett Mullins last season and landed a gamble when running away with the Irish Cesarewtich off a mark of 85 on just his second start for the yard. He hasn’t been seen on the flat since and will run off a mark fully 15lbs higher now but over the winter he has been campaigned over hurdles, winning two of his four starts, including a Grade 2.
Emmett Mullins has yet to have a winner on the Flat in the UK but he is operating at a 38 per cent strike rate with his UK runners over jumps in the last five years. It is surely only a matter of time before he gets his first Flat win in the UK and I think he has a huge chance of achieving that with booking of Rachael Blackmore the cherry on top. It would be some achievement were she to be Cheltenham top jockey, win the Grand National and be a Royal Ascot winning jockey all in the same year.
Saldier is going to be very difficult to beat here after a facile win on the Flat at Listowel recently and also being a Grade 1 winner over hurdles. There don’t to appear to be any real negatives with him but his price is a little short for my liking.
With Paddy paying 5 places, I am going to side with one each-way in Brilliant Light for Godolphin. Only a four year old, he only made his debut less than a year ago but was quite progressive last season winning two of his four starts. He was sent out to Meydan earlier this year and wasn’t disgraced in four starts there despite now winning.
He hit the frame in his first three starts there, in two handicaps off a mark of 93 and then in a Group 3 when the ratings suggested he had a bit to find. That Group 3 third was his first start at this trip of a mile six furlongs and he was staying on really strongly that day in a race that probably wasn’t run at the strongest tempo. He found Group 2 company a little too hot on his last start in Meydan but returns to the UK back down to handicap company off a mark of 101 which is workable.
The likely strong pace looks sure to suit and the first-time visor might help him also. The Saeed bin Suroor stable are in great form at the moment, operating at a 29 per cent strike rate the last two weeks and the booking of Oisin Murphy is another positive. Brilliant Light makes plenty of appeal to collect each-way money at the very least.
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