By Thomas Reynolds
Last Updated: 20th June 2019
Forget the slew of Group 1 contests, everyone knows Royal Ascot is really all about the huge-field handicap conundrums and the Britannia Stakes betting is just such a beast.
A hefty 30 runners are expected to go to post for the mile handicap for three-year-olds, leaving anyone intent on attempting to pick the winner in need of a few angles into contest.
Scroll down for four galloping lines of inquiry that it may pay to follow in a race for which William Hill are paying out five places for each-way backers.
The red-hot yard
David Menusier’s Pulborough, Sussex operation may be no Ballydoyle in terms of size, but even Aidan O’Brien can’t touch him for stable form right now.
At the time of writing, team Menusier have claimed a molten seven wins from 12 runners in the last fortnight, with two seconds thrown in among them for good measure.
Migration, trading at odds of 11/1 and currently first reserve, will be his sole Royal Ascot runner should he get into the race and won convincingly over a straight mile at Newmarket last time out.
The course and distance kid
Form over the straight mile at Ascot is Royal Meeting gold dust and, surprisingly, given the sheer number of competitors, Alan King’s Aweedram is the field’s sole course and distance winner.
The Mukhadram gelding came sixth behind the re-opposing Beatboxer when attempting to bring up a post operation hat-trick last time out, blowing his chance by failing to relax in the early stages.
On just his seventh run, there’s likely to be more to come from the 20/1 shot, back at a track where he’s already thrived.
The jockey for the job
Jamie Spencer’s affinity for exaggerated hold-up tactics may have earned him his share of detractors over the years, but the history books suggest there’s no man better to have aboard your Britannia Stakes selection.
The Irishman’s four wins in the race is two more than any other jockey and he’s an interesting booking aboard 28/1 Dark Vision, which amounts to a rare ride for Mark Johnston.
Bought for big money by Goldolphin after going three races unbeaten at the start of his juvenile campaign, his promise promptly evaporated.
However, Johnston’s decision to run him in the 2000 Guineas last month suggests the trainer still thinks there’s class hiding under the bonnet.
The eyebrow raiser
It’s always intriguing when a horse that appears to have been more of staying type over one trip is then tried over a shorter distance, especially when the step back happens on their third ever run.
Ralph Beckett’s 25/1 shot Biometric is just such an animal. Having won the first two runs of his career over 7f, he was then switched back to 6f for the run after which his handicap mark would be given.
Lacking the speed to score, he did well to claim a close second and arrives at Ascot with an official rating of 92, to tackle the kind of trip he looked like he’d appreciate after his second run.