By News Team
14th June 2021
Horse racing fans are in for a real treat over the next five days with Royal Ascot finally upon us. The new and extended schedule means we now have 35 races to enjoy and our man, Nick Luck, will be previewing all of them for us at William Hill.
So, sit back and enjoy the show!
ORDER OF AUSTRALIA is the pick at 6/1 for a minor turn-up in the Queen Anne (2.30pm) ahead of what promises to be another sensational Royal Ascot week. Everyone knows that Palace Pier should just get on and win this race, but there are a few things worth considering. First, there might be relatively little pace on here (as last year) and there’s a chance of a messy traffic-strewn race like last year. Secondly, Palace Pier’s one defeat came at this track, admittedly under very different conditions (but he had won on heavy previously). Thirdly, the selection, with Ryan Moore, blinkers and form over further is highly likely to bounce out and race handily. If he is able to dictate, he could take the world of passing, particularly if he resumes the sharp improvement he showed for genuinely fast ground at the end of last year.
I’ll also be backing REGAL REALITY each-way at 22/1, in the firm belief that a straight mile on decent ground in the visor under this rider can combine to produce optimum performance.
DHABAB is my stab at the Coventry (3.05pm) at 8/1. It may be that John Gosden isn’t celebrated as an Ascot two-year-old trainer, but he ought to be. From very few bullets, he has knocked in Calyx (this race), Newfangled (Albany), Ardad (Windsor Castle) and Richard Pankhurst (Chesham) in the last few years alone. All four were coming into the meeting on their second starts. Like Ardad, Dhabab was a fast breezer at the two-year-old sales, and made a real impression on his racecourse debut in a smart time. National Stakes winner Ebro River should run well while it would be foolish to underestimate York debut winner The Organiser.
HARRY’S BAR (33/1) is a swing for the fences in the King’s Stand (3.40pm). This is a mighty talented horse, but needs it all to drop just right for him, and a stiff five furlongs run at a ridiculous pace might just be ideal. This is my main worry for Battaash: the stiffness of the track just finds him out here in the last hundred yards, and the presence of no fewer than nine proven rapid trailblazers against him could compromise his chance in that respect. Amazingly, Harry’s Bar has never run at Ascot, but the progeny of Exceed And Excel do really well on this straight track and – for a horse with such limited turf experience – I loved his run at Naas last time. King’s Lynn is another who could go well at odds.
CHINDIT makes most appeal at the prices in the St James’s Palace (4.20pm) at 17/2. Unbeaten away from Newmarket, he nonetheless ran a pretty decent race in the Guineas, making good late gains from an unpromising position in the wrong part of the track. He certainly looks most compelling of the group who contested that race. I fancy Highland Avenue to reverse Ascot placings with Mostahdaf, while Naamoos is another who could run a big race at a price.
TRUMPET MAN makes significant appeal at 12/1 in the Ascot Stakes (5.00pm). Simply, there are very few horses that look stouter stayers than him at a decent level, as he showed numerous times over two miles last year. Despite not winning this season, he has looked an improved performer and posted an excellent effort in the Chester Cup. Franny Norton can ride him prominently with great confidence from his inside draw and he should roll along very happily on this faster surface. In addition to the obvious Mullins trained threats, the unexposed Lostwithiel could well have quite a bit more to offer.
DAWAAM can run a bold race in the Wolferton (5.35pm). Strictly on ratings, he has a mountain to climb, but that is in part because all his best form has come on the all-weather, including when numbering likely favourite Solid Stone among his victims last autumn. His comeback run (since gelding and a breathing op) showed an improved performer, much more akin to the one that his trainer was expecting early in his career, as he had to prevail against the pace bias and won quite cosily in the end. This is a race full of holes, but this progressive five-year-old is just starting to find his feet and could be the one at 14/1.
SLEEPING LION is my best bet of the day at 10/1 in the Copper Horse Stakes (6.10pm). Always a talented if rather delicate horse for James Fanshawe, for whom he ran three humdingers at this track, he moved his form to a completely new level when getting up to beat Postileo in Kempton’s Queen’s Prize. The way he travelled through that race suggested that a well run 14 furlongs should be no bother at all to him – he almost looked a quicker horse than previously – and he definitely wants a sound surface. A seven-pound rise may not be enough to stop him.