Horse Racing Tips: Frank Hickey’s perfect 10 for Royal Ascot on Friday

Paddy's racing trader and tipping guru Frank Hickey returns for another swing at Royal Ascot on Friday.



* 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.

14:30: Elliptic (E/W), Eve Lodge (E/W)

I think Elliptic and Eve Lodge are the two to focus on and I just slightly prefer Eve Lodge, though I will probably back both each way. I put up Eve Lodge for the Queen Mary on Wednesday but she side stepped that race in the pursuit of slightly easier ground.

She caught the eye on debut when finishing third at Ascot over five furlongs but she was staying on really strongly and ran really fast sectional marking her down as an above average performer. She made no mistake on her second start at Lingfield on easy ground, winning without coming off the bridle.

Eve Lodge is by Ardad, who has made an incredible start to his stallion career and sired the winner of Thursday’s Norfolk Stakes here. This looks to be a stronger race than the Queen Mary but again I think the race will set up for Eve Lodge and being drawn high in a field of this size is almost certainly a positive. Charlie Fellowes thinks he has a filly of real potential and from what I have seen, I would tend to agree. I will be very disappointed if she doesn’t play a part in the finish and Paddy are paying 5 places for those playing each way.


15:05 Title

Alenquer beat Derby winner Adayar in the Classic Trial at Sandown but I think it is dangerous to take that form literally and I also think Alenquer will want rain overnight to be seen at is very best. Do I think he can win, definitely, but I just don’t think he deserves to be as short as 2/1 or even 9/4 and I want to take him on. Title is the one I like.

Touched off on debut on heavy ground at Newbury last October, it was a similar story when he was touched off on his reappearance at Newbury on different ground. He then went to Yarmouth for a maiden but he beat the previously Listed placed Sea Karats relatively easily, marking him down as an above-average performer. He was given a mark of 92 after that and it must be significant that they are forgoing that mark, off which he would look like a good thing, to have a crack at a Group race.

To be fair, I can see the reasoning, as this doesn’t look a strong renewal of the race and the time of his Yarmouth win was very similar to Queen’s Vase winner Kemari, though Title ran a much fast sectional. The one negative is that Title does carry his head high and you might not want this to develop into a scrap in the last furlong but I do think he has loads of ability and doesn’t have as much to find as the official ratings suggest.


15:40 Sacred (E/W), Method (E/W)

With Paddy paying 5 places here I am going to fire two darts at the race. The first is impressive Nell Gwyn winner Sacred, who showed a blistering turn of foot to win that race earlier in the season over seven furlongs before not having the stamina for the mile trip in the 1,000 Guineas.

Last year she was a close second in three consecutive Group 2’s including the Queen Mary Stakes here and the Lowther at York. She is drawn next to Supremacy here, so should get a good tow into the race and I think she has excellent each way claims at a fair price.

The other one I like is Method for Martyn Meade who won this two years ago with Advertise. Method dotted up on his first two starts last season, firstly in a Doncaster novice race where he hammered Fev Rover, who won a Group 2 last year and was placed in this year’s 1,000 Guineas, and then Method easily account for the now 101-rated The Mighty Gurkha in a listed race.

Things haven’t gone Method’s way since, his saddled slipped when well fancied in the Group 1 Middle Park and then the soft ground and five furlong trip weren’t ideal when 2nd to Winter Power in the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes. I thought he shaped beautifully at Haydock on his reappearance in the Group 2 Sandy Lane on heavy ground that wouldn’t have suited.

He travelled very well to the furlong pole and weakened from there on the ground, where the lack of a run told. As a prep, I thought it was brilliant and I think he can reverse that form with those that were in front of him and he is a big price with the 5 places.

16:20 Shale, Pretty Gorgeous

This looks a wide open renewal with no real standout filly over a mile seen so far this season. At the prices, I think it is worth taking a chance on Shale as she was one of the best juveniles last season, winning a Group 3 and a Group 1 and was placed in Group company on two other occasions. The wins were gained on decent ground, so hopefully the rain that is due overnight doesn’t impact the ground too much but provided it is no worse than good ground tomorrow, Shale looks a big price.

She ties in well with Pretty Gorgeous, as they were 2-2 a piece from their 4 meetings last season, yet Pretty Gorgeous, who gets her perfect conditions, is a third of Shale’s price. Both are coming into the race off the back of slightly disappointing runs but were Shale to come back to that juvenile form, she will go close here.

17:00 Professional Widow (E/W)

This is extremely tricky with a full field of unexposed fillies but I think it is worth having a small each way play on Professional Widow for Hayley Turner, who has won this race for the past two years. Professional Widow failed to win in 3 starts in maidens but was beaten no further than a neck in those three starts.

She has the perfect profile for a handicap like this, failing to win a maiden at 2, therefore hiding her hand from the handicapper before winning on handicap debut at Nottingham last month off a mark of 80. I thought she did well to win that day, as the steady pace may not have suited. She only got 3lbs for that and he high draw looks sure to be a positive.



17:35 Quickthorn

This is always a competitive handicap and while Aaddeey makes plenty of appeal, I just can’t get away from Quickthorn. Trained by Hughie Morrison, who has an excellent record in these Royal Ascot handicaps, Quickthorn showed nothing in two runs as a juvenile but did win his maiden on his first start at 3.

He ran alright on his first handicap start when a close third over a mile and a half at Kempton but was gelded and wasn’t seen for the rest of last season. On his reappearance this season, he was very strong in the market despite the absence and duly bolted up to win by over 8 lengths in a time far quicker than the Group 3 for fillies run on the card.

He has been bumped up 13lbs to a mark of 97 but I think that mark is workable and providing the ground isn’t rattling fast. I think he will take all the beating.

18:10 Desert Gulf (E/W)

Desert Gulf made a winning debut at Wolverhampton in a novice race last September, beating the 99-rated Lauded. He found a conditions race up in Newcastle a little too hot on his 2nd start but wasn’t disgraced being beaten less than 4 lengths and then found a steady pace over seven furlongs against him.

He tends to be keen and it the return to six didn’t help him settle for his handicap debut at Lingfield last month. Very keen out the back that day, he looked to have a hopeless task turning in but flew home to be beaten a length and a half in a race that wouldn’t have been run to suit.

He got a massive sectional upgrade for that effort and went straight into my tracker after that effort. I think the experiment of dropping him to 5 furlongs could really suit, particularly as he should get a strong pace here to help him settle. Hollie Doyle takes the ride here and hopefully she will get over towards the stands side and I can see him travelling well into the race if settling. I genuinely believe he could be thrown in off a mark of 84 and considering he is a huge price, it won’t cost too much to find out if I am correct.

Frank’s Friday Royal Ascot tips

14:30 Elliptic (E/W), Eve Lodge (E/W)
15:05 Title
15:40 Sacred, Method
16:20 Shale, Pretty Gorgeous
17:00 Professional Widow (E/W)
17:35 Quickthorn
18:10 Desert Gulf (E/W)

* 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.


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