Royal Ascot Day Four Preview And Betting Tips
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Royal Ascot Day Four Preview And Betting Tips

A high-class afternoon is in store at Royal Ascot, with five Group races coming up on Friday afternoon. By Enda McElhinney. The Commonwealth Cup over 6f is the feature event as some of the speediest three-year-olds around strut their stuff. There's also the Albany Stakes, Norfolk Stakes, Hardwicke Stakes and the Queen's Vase. Get our Racing Post expert tipster's thoughts on day four at Royal Ascot below.



1.15 Palace Of Holyroodhouse Handicap (5f)

Art Power dominates the market for Tim Easterby after spreadeagling the field on his return at Newcastle this month. Silvestre De Sousa was looking around for non-existent dangers that day and his charge powered away in the manner of a smart sprinter. He did something similar on turf at York (soft) last season and he has to be greatly feared on the available evidence.

Band Practice is clearly smart for Archie Watson and is easily forgiven a poor Breeders' Cup run when last sighted, but he must concede upwards of 6lb to a talented bunch now and that has got to be a concern.

Watson fires a quartet of runners at this prize and MAYSTAR is the one with experience to handle it. He had some excellent form last year, winning three from six starts and has gained Group 2/Listed experience in 2020; including when second in France last time out in a Listed race. Hollie Doyle clearly gets on well with him and at 14/1 they are fairly solid contenders.

John Quinn's KEEP BUSY has demonstrated an ability to put together strong efforts in quick succession and so this third run of the month isn't a big worry. The Night Of Thunder filly was clear second behind talented runaway winner Lazuli in the Scurry Stakes at Sandown last weekend and can give another solid account now with Cieren Fallon taking 3lb off.

Selection: Maystar @ 14/1

Next Best: Keep Busy @ 14/1

1.50 Albany Stakes (6f)

Half the field have got a single '1' beside their names in the form box and this renewal of the Albany Stakes typically provides a talented bunch of young fillies' with their first major step on the ladder.

Amongst the most striking of contenders is Wesley Ward's Flying Aletha, the early 7/2 market leader. She won in fine style at Gulfstream on debut, bouncing out and making all for a smooth success. This increased trip should be to her liking and William Buick's mount is a key player for the American trainer that excels with a speedy filly.

Mother Earth didn't have the best trip on debut at Navan recently when finishing second and should improve, but she wasn't even first pick from Ballydoyle that day and this isn't a race that has served Aidan O'Brien particularly well, with just a lone win since its inception in 2002.

Trainer Mick Channon, on the other hand, has won the Albany three times and at odds of 25/1 his contender MAHALE makes solid appeal. She was doing her best work late on debut in 5f Newmarket maiden this month and should be well suited going up in trip.

That race has already thrown up three further winners and with Oisin Murphy booked, the price looks too big with this filly by Kodiac fancied to improve.

The William Haggas-trained GOLDEN MELODY defied a bit of greenness to win on debut at Haydock (6f, good to soft) and ultimately did it a shade cosily. James Doyle's mount will know more about the job now and looks a live contender as such.

Selection: Mahale @ 25/1

Next Best: Golden Melody @ 8/1

2.25 Norfolk Stakes (5f)

Having powered home on debut at Yarmouth recently THE LIR JET has been snapped up by Qatar Racing and will have their regular rider Oisin Murphy taking over today.

The champion has been amongst the winners here this week already and the form of his debut win has already been boosted by the fifth Ocean Star chasing home a promising newcomer at Chepstow since. His sire Prince Of Lir won his contest in 2016 and this could provide the benchmark winner for his maiden crop of progeny.

Eye Of Heaven and Macho Pride also arrive into this having won their only starts and Mark Johnston's charge justified cramped odds when winning at Newmarket. He's the more obvious sort on paper and should give Frankie Dettori a nice spin as he seeks a fifth win in the Norfolk following A'Ali's win last year.

Given the manner in which he was closing out the race on debut at Gulfstream, the Wesley Ward-trained GOLDEN PAL is highly likely to improve upped to 6f now. He's a son of Uncle Mo and his trainer won this event in 2018 with Shang Shang Shang. He is just preferred as second choice ahead of twice-second Lipizzaner, also by Uncle Mo, representing Ballydoyle.

Selection: The Lir Jet @ 5/1

Next Best: Golden Pal @ 9/2

3.00 Hardwicke Stakes (1m4f)

Last year's Derby hero Anthony Van Dyck made a very encouraging reappearance at Newmarket this month when finishing second best behind the front-running Ghaiyyath in the Coronation Cup.

He was held up and had to do plenty to try and get to the enthusiastic leader, and should benefit from what is likely to be a more conventional race this time around. That form is fair, and he had last year's winner of this, Defoe, a long way behind in fifth spot, but his only start here was a disappointment in the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes last summer and he might be a vulnerable favourite.

The aforementioned Defoe perhaps peaked a year ago, though his connections will hope a return to a slower surface may assist him today.

Having finished second in the in Brigadier Gerard Stakes behind Lord North (ultra-impressive Prince Of Wales's Stakes winner here on Wednesday) at Haydock on his seasonal bow, Mark Johnston's

ELARQAM should be cherry-ripe for this. He looked well-held at one point before rallying strongly and this first crack at a mile and a half is almost certainly in his favour now.

He's got the piping-hot Jim Crowley on board and his trainer has always thought plenty of this son of Frankel. There may well be more still to come from this now-reliable performer.

SPANISH MISSION was a Group 3 winner at Newmarket last summer over 1m5f and won't be founding wanting here for stamina.

His Goodwood efforts over this sort of trip are promising and while he was below his best in Dubai in the spring; David Simcock's challenger isn't easily dismissed at a working man's price back for a summer campaign in Britain.

Selection: Elarqam @ 7/2

Next Best: Spanish Mission @ 22/1

3.35 Commonwealth Cup (6f)

The writing was on the wall for MILLISLE from halfway in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket recently as she didn't settle as needed on her first crack at the mile. Given the manner in which Love powered away, it likely might not have made any great difference.

Jessica Harrington's runner was very good at this sort of trip last season, including when readily accounting for Queen Mary winner Raffle Prize to land the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket.

Tom Marquand gets the call to ride here and, if he can get her to settle, this immediate return to 6f could reap dividends for her.

The unbeaten Pierre Lapin comes here bidding to go one better than his half-brother Harry Angel, second in a strong renewal of this in 2017, and is respected but this is a big enough ask on just his third start and he's deemed short enough therefore at 7/2.

Harry Angel's trainer Clive Cox has another promising sprinter in GOLDEN HORDE. Winner of the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood last summer, he also shaped nicely here in the Coventry and was second in the Middle Park. That's the sort of big-race experience that money can't buy and Adam Kirby's mount is expected to be bang there as a result.

Selection: Millisle @ 11/1

Next Best: Golden Horde @ 6/1

4.10 Queen's Vase (1m6f)

Having run into a rapid improver in English King in the Lingfield Derby Trial on his return to action, BERKSHIRE ROCCO essentially lost little in defeat. The winner is Epsom-bound for The Derby next month and Andrew Balding's runner-up probably improved in chasing him home, finishing some seven-lengths clear of everything else in doing so.

The form of his Zetland Stakes third at Newmarket (1m2f, soft) last backend is also strong and this Sir Percy colt is fancied to make a good stayer, with this longer trip unlikely to present a problem.

He is fancied to provide Oisin Murphy and Andrew Balding with another big-race success.

The likes of Born With Pride and Al Dabaran appeal as possible improvers too going up in distance but close attention must be paid to SANTIAGO for Aidan O'Brien. He won a decent maiden at Listowel in September on his third and final two-year-old start and, being by Authorized, is another with the scope to build heavily on that now tackling this sort of trip.

He's the only representative for Ballydoyle in a race the yard has won five times in the last decade.

Selection: Berkshire Rocco @ 10/3

Next Best: Santiago @ 4/1

4.40 Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (1m4f)

A field of 19 are scheduled to tackle Friday's finale, the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes over a mile and a half and this tough handicap is a real test for punters at the end of the fourth afternoon.

West End Charmer looked an improved performer with his Newmarket success on return this month and will be popular in his attempt to provide Mark Johnston with a fifth success in this race.

It's worth exploring something at a price in this fiendish contest and INDIANAPOLIS might be able to rekindle last summer's C&D-winning form. He looked in need of the outing on his recent comeback and should be more forward now.

He's 4lb above that win-mark from last August but is just 2lb clear of the mark from which he ended last term on a winning note at Leicester. He'll go on any ground and should give his running under Ben Curtis.

At an even bigger price BYRON FLYER could sneak some place money for Ian Williams and Richard Kingscote. He has run well in all three course starts, twice finishing second over two-miles and eventually finishing eighth having attempted to make all in a first-time visor in this race a year ago.

He's a versatile performer with wins on the Flat, over hurdles and fences and his recent return at Newmarket saw him finish a rallying fourth over 1m4f. He's 4lb lower than when beaten just over four-lengths in this last year and should outrun his odds, especially if he's able to take a tow into the race this time.

Selection: Indianapolis @ 25/1

Next Best: Byron Flyer @ 40/1


V: 1.26.2 All rights reserved. August 2021