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24th July 2024 11:11 am

“A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries."

2024 Royal Ascot – Day One (Tues 18th June)

These Donors Are AMAZING Thank You

Just in: CJM… Bunter… Ken… Thank you. They join: William S – MEJi – Peter N – Nigel B – Ken C – Mark S – James D – William M – Fiona M – Julian A – Jonathan H – Mrs V.M – Pete BN – Gavin C – Thom S – Sarah C – Mark S – Sam H – James R

16th June : The going at Ascot was described as good to firm, good in places at 11.02 am on Sunday. Sunday has been generally dry with a few isolated showers, and Monday is forecast to be largely dry with sunny spells. Tuesday and Wednesday are also now forecast to be generally dry, with the odd spot of rain no more than a possibility. There is the threat of some thundery showers on Thursday. The forecast for Friday and Saturday is for sunny spells with possible showers. The estimated total rainfall from now until Tuesday’s racing is 0 to 2mm… ow what we call dry.

Queen Anne Stakes (G1) – 2:30 pm

16th June: No Inspiral as predicted by the trades, and Dubai Turf winner FACTEUR CHEVAL is installed as the favourite – his dad Ribchester won this in 2017. He, ROYAL SCOTSMAN, WITCH HUNTER, CHARYN and BIG ROCK all need rain, and at this stage, I’m not sure it’s coming in sufficient quantities.

I would fancy AUDIENCE on the ground at this stage, but I am worried by his front-running style in a race where hold-ups tend to win. Trends aside, I might have a go at MALJOOM to beat FACTEUR CHEVAL, but then I have just rewatched the Prix D’Ispahan and DOLAYLI runs a decent 2l fourth – but again on soft ground.

AUDIENCE 3 pts Win – MALJOOM 2 pts e/w – DOLAYLI 2 pts e/w


21/22 – Aged 4 or 5 years old ALL OK
19/22 – Previous winners over 1 mile No 8-13-14-15
17/22 – Had between 1 and 2 previous runs that season No 3-4-5-7
17/22 – Returned 13/2 or shorter in the betting
16/22 – Had already won a Group 1 race No 6-9-10-11-12
16/22 – Won by a 4 year-old
15/22 – Returned 11/2 or shorter in the betting
11/22 – Trained by either R Hannon (3), A P O’Brien (4) or owned by Godolphin (4)
11/22 – Ran in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury last time out
11/22 – Had never run at Ascot before
10/22 – Won their previous race
10/22 – Favourites that were unplaced
8/22 – Winning favourites

Sort List of Three: BIG ROCK 6/1 – AUDIENCE 10/1 – INSPIRAL 9/4

Away from the trends: POKER FACE 33/1 has got Group form. Any rain in the ground between now and Tuesday would greatly aid his cause.

Coventry Stakes (G2) – 3:05 pm

16th June: Now that we have seen the draw COWARDOFTHE COUNTY – AL QUDRA – ELECTROLYTE all remain of interest. The only other one I might add to the list would be Paul and Oliver Cole’s ARRAN. Paul regularly harvested this race in the 90s and had a third in this with Royal Scotsman in 2022.  couple of years ago. My interest stems from his front-running style and he made virtually all the running to win by a neck at Newmarket’s Craven meeting in April. The second (THE ACTOR) and fourth (AL QUDRA) have both won since and were on my trends shortlist. Given he’s by Havana Grey the trip won’t be an issue.

Dutch COWARDOFTHE COUNTY – AL QUDRA  for 9 ptsELECTROLYTE – ARRAN 2 pts e/w each 


21/22 – Won their previous race No 3-5-13-14-17-18-19-26-27-30-31
20/22 – Had never raced at Ascot before No 11
19/22 – Had between 1 and 2 previous career runs
18/22 – Returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting
17/22 – Foaled in either Feb or March No 2-6-16-20-25
16/22 – Came from the top three in the betting
13/22 – Won over 6f before
11/22 – Winning favourites (3 joint)
8/22 – Ran at either Newbury or Newmarket last time out
7/22 – Trained by Aidan O’Brien
2/22 – Trained by Richard Hannon
1/22 – Won by a Jan foal
13 of the last 16 winners came from stalls 6 or higher
8 of the last 16 winners came from stalls 9-19 (inc)

Shortlist – current racecard numbers: 1-7-8-9-10-22 all of whom have won over 6f. Still meeting all the other marked criteria: 4-12-15-21-23-24-28-29. Based on prices we would suggest at this stage:

THE ACTOR 16/1 e/w – COWARD OF THE COUNTY Win 9/2 AL QUDRA e/w – ELECTROLYTE 25/1 e/w

King Charles III Stakes (G1) – 3:45pm

16th June: Mitbaahy doesn’t run leaving KERDOS from my trends list. He is drawn 8, and again, high numbers are best – witness the stat below: “A horse from stalls 9, 11 & 14 has been placed in 14 of the last 16 runnings”. VALIANT FORCE has lucky draw 14 and will be right up there on the pace. I’m leaving TWILIGHT CALLS in who is still too big at 12s and has Ryan Moore in the plate.

KERDOS – TWILIGHT CALLS Dutch for 7 pts Win (approx 5/1 at current odds) – VALIANT FORCE 4 pts e/w


21/22 – Aged 7 or younger No 2
20/22 – Had won a Group race before No 1-8-9-10-11-12
18/22 – Aged 4 or older No 14-15-16-17-18-19-
18/22 – Had won over 5f before
16/22 – Returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting
14/22 – Finished first or second last time out No 3-13
14/22 – Had run at Ascot before (9 had won at the track) No 6-7
12/22 – Favourites placed
12/22 – Won by a non-UK based trained horse
6/22 – Ran at either Flemington (3) or Chantilly (3) last time out
6/22 – Favourites that finished third
4/22 – Won by an Australian-trained horse
4/22 – Winning favourites
4/22 – 3 Year-old winners

A horse from stalls 9, 11 & 14 has been placed in 14 of the last 16 runnings

Based on the top trends there are two qualifiers KERDOS 10/1 and MITBAAHY 20/1. KERDOS would be a strong selection at this stage e/w. VALIANT FORCE won the Norfolk Stakes last year at 150/1. He is remarkable consistent and has been sprinting in the US after his ½l 2nd to Big Evs in the BC Juvenile Turf Sprint. Back home now, this has always been the target for the owner, my only concern being his age against the stats. However I take some confidence from Bradsell’s victory last year a 3yo coming back to win again at the Royal Meeting after a 2yo victory the year before. I wouldn’t be surprised to see TWILIGHT CALLS arriving on the spot at a rattle and he is possibly too big at 14/1. He has often shown some real finishing speed and given he missed the break in The Palace House his last furlong was very zippy. Definitely one for the exotics and placepots

Consider all four for a combo exotic.

St James’s Palace Stakes (G1) – 4:25 pm

16th June: Haatem and River Tiber have withdrawn, leaving ROSALLION and METROPOLITAN from the trends short-list. This is a proper race with eight runners, of which four are Group 1 winners. English and Irish 2000 Guineas winners NOTABLE SPEECH and ROSALLION go head to head for a second time this season. My joker is DARLINGHURST. I’m almost tempted to suggest just watching it for the sheer pleasure… but I won’t.

ROSALLION 5 pts Win – DARLINGHURST 3 pts e/w


22/22 – Returned 10/1 or shorter in the betting
19/22 – Had won over a mile before No 2-5-7-9-11
17/22 – Had either 2 or 3 previous runs that season No 3-8
17/22– Previous Group 1 or 2 winners No 1
15/22 – Previous Group 1 winners
15/22 – Returned 3/1 or shorter in the betting
13/22 – Winning favourites (1 joint)
13/22 – Won their previous race
11/22 – Ran in the Irish 2000 Guineas (Curragh) last time out (8 won it)
10/22 – Irish-trained winners
7/22 – Won by trainer Aidan O’Brien
6/22 – Had run at Ascot before

Just 3 winners from stall 1 or 2 in the last 16 runnings

TRENDS SELECTION: I am left with four – ROSALLION 3/1 – METROPOLITAN 8/1 – HAATEM 20/1 – RIVER TIBER 25/1

Given the pricing trends, you’d have to think ROSALLION for the win, but I do like METROPOLITAN’s form and one not on the trends – DARLINGHURST.

I did quite fancy DARLINGHURST [10/1] for this but he fails the trends in that he has had too much racing this season and had not won a G1 or G2 before. However, he does have very decent form – which was given a boost when First Look was 2nd in the French Derby. There are a number of other form lines that suggest he is a G1 heir-apparent and I accept that there is an element of guessology – but his price suggests that I am not far wrong in my opinion.

Ascot Stakes (Handicap) – 5.05pm

17th June: I am really struggling with this race. The trends aren’t much help, but it is obvious that this is the specific target of NH trainers with nippy two-milers. I looked at the figures of those NH trainers with runners in the 2024 race over the last 20 years:

Trainer R-W-P Win EW
W P Mullins 20-4-10 +11.00 +8.95
Ian Williams 16-2-4 +64.00 +38.75
Alan King 10-1-4 +7.00 +7.13

I also looked at a narrower set of trends

8 of the last 10 winners had run over NH Rules that calendar year
8 of the last 10 winners were aged 6+
8 of the last 10 winners carried between 9-3 and 9-10 (inclusive)
8 of the last 10 winners had run 2 or more times that season
8 of the last 10 winners came from stalls 1-7 or 17-19
7 of the last 10 winners had not won a race that season

That left me with a shortlist of PIED PIPER  – THE VERY MAN – TRITONIC… nothing like the other trends shortlist!

So I’m going with my instinct.

BOHER ROAD 3 pts Win – TRITONIC 3 pts e/w -THE VERY MAN 2 pts e/w – ALMUHIT 2 pts e/w


19/22 – Carried 9-0 or more No 17-18-19-20
16/22 – Had at least 1 previous run on the flat that season No 12-11-6-3-1
15/22 – Had won over at least 2m on the flat before No 8-10-13-16-
12/22 – Aged either 4 or 5 years-old No 2-5-7-9

At that point the shortlist is BOHER ROAD – TEMPORIZE – ALMUHIT

The remaining trends are:
12/22 – Returned a double-figure price in the betting
9/22 – Won their previous race
4/22 – Trained by Willie Mullins (4 of the last 12)
3/22 – Trained by the Pipe stable
3/22 – Ridden by Ryan Moore (3 of the last 12)
3/22 – Winning favourites
2/22 – Trained by Ian Williams

Just one winner (or placed) horse from stall 1 placed in the last 16 runnings

Wolferton Stakes (Listed) – 5:40 pm

17th June: Regal Reality is withdrawn. Stupidly, I have also realised that the race conditions changed from a handicap to a Listed race in 2018 – which makes most of the stats untenable. I apologise and hope I haven’t led too many of you astray. I am going for the horses of someone I regard as a good egg in the sport, Sheikha Hissa.

ISRAR 5 pts Win – MUJTABA 3 pts e/w


16/21 – Had between 1 and 3 runs already that season No 1-2-9-17-25-26
16/21 – Finished unplaced last time out (I’m taking top 3 negative) No 4-5-6-7-10-11-12-15-20-22-23-29
15/21 – Had won 3 or more races during their career No 16-18-28
14/21 – Had won over 1m2f or further before No 13-19-27
13/21 – Aged 4 years-old
12/21 – Had run at Ascot before
11/21 – Unplaced favourites
11/21 – Returned a double-figure price
7/21 – Ran at either York (4) or Goodwood (3) last time out
4/21 – Trained by John Gosden (4 of last 13)
4/21 – Trained at Kremlin House Stables (Roger Varian/M Jarvis)
2/21 – Trained by Sir Michael Stoute
2/21 – Winning favourites
14 of the last 18 winners returned 7/1 or bigger
4 of the last 8 winners came from stall 5

The weak trends leave me with a choice from five: 14-24-8-3-21. If the ground comes up softish – I’d be looking at HAUNTED DREAM (25/1) – REGAL REALITY (14/1) and ASTRO KING (12/1)

Keep TORITO (6/1) in the back of your mind as well. He is now gelded, and was caught in traffic last year in the Hampton Court, but kept on strongly in the final furlong. A decent third in Newmarket’s Suffolk Stakes at Newmarket and given another 2lbs to 107. He’s ideally suited to this 10f distance

Copper Horse Stakes (Handicap) – 6:15 pm

17th June: Again, there are no trends, with just four runnings. Pied Piper hasn’t declared for this as predicted, but  A PIECE OF HEAVEN will not be budged from his market position around the 7/1 spot. He looks a safe each-way bet, with the place money acting as insurance.

A PIECE OF HEAVEN 5 pts e/w


Just four previous runnings
Vauban won the race in 2023
Get Shirty won the race in 2022
4/4 – Carried 9-1 or more
4/4 – Aged between 4-6 (2 winners aged 6)
2/4 – Winning favourite
Trainer Willie Mullins won this race in 2023
Trainer David O’Meara won this race in 2022
Trainer John Gosden won this race in 2021
Trainer Roger Varian won this race in 2020

If he comes here rather than the Ascot Stakes, I’d fancy PIED PIPER for Fat Gordy. He is more than up to the task (¾l 2nd in The Cesarewitch last season, 3rd in the County Hurdle this season-2nd last season) and is only 2lbs higher. However be warned Jamie Spencer is named in the plate for The Ascot Stakes so he might well go there.

A PIECE OF HEAVEN looks pattern class winning his last at Leopardstown by 4l. His rating is frankly a stab-in-the-dark number and I think he could be good for another 10lbs.

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