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Royal Ascot 2020 Day One Preview And Betting Tips

Royal Ascot 2020 Day One Preview And Betting Tips

This will be a Royal Ascot week that promises to be very different to anything we've seen in living memory. There will be no racegoers at the iconic Berkshire track this week and the usual razzmatazz and pageantry of the world's standout Flat meeting will be missing. A behind-closed-doors Royal Ascot isn't what anyone expected but on the plus-side, after a couple of months without top class sporting action, we'll all be very glad to savour the five days of intense thoroughbred jousting that is in store. Racing experts, The Racing Post, have previews for all five days with expert tips and analysis of every race, including selections and next best bets for all races. Read their tipsters thoughts for Day One below.


13:15 Buckingham Palace Handicap (7f)

The bonus of having an extra race every day at the meeting this year, this race had been dropped from the schedule recently but has now returned. The negative; it's an all-aged handicap with 24 contenders and you shouldn't be shocked if any of them win. This is a spectacularly tough opening for punters.

It's run over the straight 7f and essentially plenty of luck in running will be required. Many of the runners might ordinarily be labelled exposed, but the one trait worth looking out for is Ascot form, which has proved reliable in 14 previous runnings of the race.

One that fits the bill is Jamie Osborne's CLIFFS OF CAPRI, who has two wins and two strong runs from four visits here, all of them over this trip.

He acts on any ground and is set to strip fit for this mission, after he finished 1L second by Jack's Point at Newmarket this month. He's now better off at the weights with that rival and given his C&D form and a very high draw (high/low draws good, middle less so); a big run is expected.

A chance can be given to Kaeso here, despite the fact he was well beaten behind Daarik at Newcastle this month. The latter is going to be shorter in the betting, but Nigel Tinkler's runner was a bit keen on the Tapeta that day and might have needed the run. He should be sharper for it and, again, his form at Ascot is worth putting stock in.

He's run well on all four starts here, including finishing a head second over C&D in the International Stakes last July. Oisin Murphy takes over in the saddle now and that too must be a positive.

Selection: Cliffs Of Capri @ 14/1
Next Best: Kaeso @ 7/1

13:50 Queen Anne Stakes (1m)

The front of the market looks the place to be here and it may be that Aidan O'Brien takes the opening Group 1 contest with CIRCUS MAXIMUS. The Galileo colt won the St James's Palace over a mile here last year, having seemingly failed to get home in The Derby previously.

After that he was just touched off by the very talented Too Darn Hot in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and he also beat Romanised to win a Longchamp Group 1 in September. In between, he was again found wanting in the stamina department in the Juddmonte at York. When last spotted, he ran a fair race at Santa Anita in the Breeders' Cup.

He won first time out last season in a Listed Chester contest (1m2½f) and given his trainer, there shouldn't be any concerns about him putting his best foot forward first time up. Ryan Moore's mount is the one to beat over a stiff mile here and, as a four-year-old, fits the trends for this race very well.

John Gosden's Terebellum is a filly on the up and very much respected after her Group 2 win at Newmarket 10 days ago, but Roseman earns the nod as second-best.

The Kingman colt was progressive last year, ending with a Newmarket Listed win over this trip having also run creditably in Group 3 class in just five starts. He's got plenty scope for improvement and trainer Roger Varian has his string firing.

Selection: Circus Maximus @ 5/2
Next Best: Roseman @ 14/1


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14:25 Ribblesdale Stakes (1m4f)

John Gosden has won two of the last three renewals of this race and the Clarehaven maestro is double-handed here, with MISS YODA and Frankly Darling.

The latter is trading as the 6/4fav and has Frankie Dettori for company, having won impressively on her reappearance/second start at Newcastle on the all-weather this month. The Frankel filly is going up in distance here and can improve again, but her stablemate has achieved more to this point.

Robert Havlin rides, as he did when winning the Lingfield Oaks Trial 11 days ago and given that he's been on board in three of her four starts and Frankie Dettori has enjoyed such a grand association Frankly Darling's connections; it's not to be taken that there's a major first/second string preference here.

Havlin's filly had to overcome a slow start in the Lingfield race and thread her way through the field, taking some narrow gaps as she did. The longer the race went on, the stronger she got and she was ultimately well on top at the line. A big benefit should come from that run and she can continue her trainers' brilliant run in Ribblesdale.

Ryan Moore rides Passion in this for Ballydoyle and she may improve on her Navan comeback six days ago but, at a bigger price, there should also be more to come from Ennistymon, who won a Leopardstown maiden last week on just her second start and can give James Doyle a good spin, in what is a rare opportunity to ride for Aidan O'Brien.

It might be a trait this week, with so many Ballydoyle jockeys at home in Ireland to pay attention to some big-name UK riders getting the leg up on talented horses.

Selection: Miss Yoda @ 11/2
Next Best: Ennistymon @ 11/1

15:00 King Edward VII Stakes (1m4f)

Only six line up here and it's tough to see beyond MOGUL for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore. Favourites traditionally do well in this contest, with the same team scoring with Japan a year ago.

A Group 2 winner in Ireland last year over a mile, Mogul went to Newcastle in November for the Vertem Futurity and didn't really appear to handle the track having been easy to back.

That was however behind subsequent 2,000 Guineas winner Kameko and, with an Irish Derby entry, Mogul should improve going up in distance now.

His stablemate Arthur's Kingdome has promising form in the book, but perhaps the main danger will come from hitherto unbeaten Mohican Heights.

He was a Listed winner at Salisbury in August on his first start for David Simcock after arriving from Ireland and should appreciate the longer trip here, with Berlin Tango (third in the Salisbury race) a recent Group 3 scorer over a mile and a quarter.

Selection: Mogul @ 8/11
Next Best: Mohican Heights @ 4/1

15:35 King's Stand Stakes (5f)

Another short-priced favourite this time and one that it is impossible to oppose. BATTAASH has been second in the previous two renewals of this race behind Blue Point and should get his compensation now with the Godolphin star out of the way.

Charlie Hills' speedball put up one of the most memorable displays in recent times when he smashed the track record in the Nunthorpe at York last season, rubbishing any suggestion he didn't act on the Knavesmire. He hasn't won around here yet, but the opposition this time is paltry by recent standards and the favourite is very hard to beat if he runs even at 90 per-cent for Jim Crowley.

An each-way alternative could be progressive three-year-old Liberty Beach. John Quinn's filly won over 6f at Haydock on reappearance, but really should be best over the minimum distance. There's more in her locker and she gets a handy allowance against her elders in this contest. She could well make the frame in what, overall, looks a substandard King's Stand.

Selection: Battaash @ 4/6
Next Best: Liberty Beach @ 10/1

16:10 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes (1m)

William Haggas plundered this Group 2 prize a year ago with Move Swiftly and he's got standout claims now with unbeaten mare MISS O'CONNOR.

After winning on debut in Ireland for John Feane in May last year, she was moved to the Haggas team and progressed rapidly, winning a Listed Haydock contest in August after sluicing up at Nottingham on stable bow.

She then won a Group 3 in France on her final start and really impressed with the way she responded when challenged late on.

She likes to get on with it and, with the Saint-Cloud win in mind, it will take a good effort to get by her. A bit of give in the ground is crucial for Miss O' Connor and it appears she has got that here.

Queen Power is next best for Sir Michael Stoute in this contest. She ran well in the Ribblesdale here last year (fourth) behind the exceptional Star Catcher and reappeared recently when second to Terebellum at Newmarket. That rival is amongst the market leaders in the Queen Anne and Silvestre De Sousa's mount is very interesting down to a mile.

She has sometimes failed to settle early in her races and the drop back should help in that regard, especially with the promise of plenty early place.

Selection: Miss O'Connor @ 11/2
Next Best: Queen Power @ 7/1

16:40 Ascot Stakes (2m4f)

Willie Mullins has won this contest four times in seven years from 2012 and it's a race that often goes the way of a jumps/dual purpose yard. The Irish champion doesn't have a runner today, though the likes of Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls, Dan Skelton and last year's winning handler Ian Williams are all targeting the prize.

Of their contenders, the one that stands out is top-weight Verdana Blue for the Seven Barrows maestro.

The 2018 Christmas Hurdle winner was last spotted in fourth at Kempton in the same contest in December, behind subsequent Champion Hurdle-winning stablemate Epatante. She also won the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr last spring in very easy fashion off a mark of 154.

She's classy and Henderson isn't messing around, having secured the services of Ryan Moore - winner of the three of the last eight renewals of this.

The one that gets the nod though is LAND OF OZ for Sir Mark Prescott and Luke Morris. The Australia colt was progressive last year and advertised his stamina with a fine win in a Cesarewitch Trial, over 2m2f at Newmarket in September.

He ran no race in the main event the following month, though that came at the end of a busy season and he perhaps had had enough by then.

He's had the benefit of a recent pipe-opener at Chelmsford over 1m6f (second) and that should stand him in good stead, as he looks to resume his progress now by bagging this prestigious prize.

Selection: Land Of Oz @ 10/1
Next Best: Verdana Blue @ 4/1

V: 1.14.1 All rights reserved. August 2021