By News Team
Last Updated: 21st April 2021
The jewel in the Flat racing calendar is upon us and Royal Ascot takes centre stage over the next five days. There are 36 races for fans to enjoy and Nick Luck will be previewing each day for us at William Hill.
Here are his fancies for day one of the royal meeting.
Siding with Candy’s charge in opener
Trying to work out which race comes where at Royal Ascot this year is hard enough, let alone finding the winners, and we’ve hardly been gifted an easy start. The Buckingham Palace Stakes (1:15pm) has been exhumed after its burial in 2014, shortly before my selection made his racecourse debut.
Yes, folks, you read that right. In a race that features a whole host of likely rapid improvers from the biggest Newmarket stables fast-tracking their way to pattern company, I am tipping a nine-year-old. GREENSIDE is his name, and he rounded off last year with a career best effort here under the same talented apprentice, Marco Ghiani. Amazingly, that was his first ever run at seven furlongs, and he seemed to improve for it. Any showers around would help his cause, but he’s sure to run with credit and warrants small stakes each-way at 16/1.
Two at double figures in the Queen Anne
Jim Crowley had the hardest choice of the week in the Queen Anne (1:50pm), and I can see why he has gone for Mohaather given the buzz around the horse of late. That said, he could have ridden last year’s Lockinge winner MUSTASHRY, who is clear top rated, loves a straight mile, goes really well fresh, and is available at 12/1.
In all honesty, there are several horses I could fancy here, but I’ll have two bets at the prices: Mustashry and BILLESDON BROOK who, with the mares’ allowance, should also be competitive with a stiff track and searching pace almost certain to bring about the best in her. She’s also a juicy each-way price at 16/1.
Frankly Darling looks solid in Ribblesdale
I’m not really inclined to take on Frankly Darling at 6/4 in the Ribblesdale (2:25pm). The daughter of Frankel posted a decent time on her seasonal debut at Newcastle and looks sure to be suited by this trip. She is from a stable that is loaded with talented three-year-old fillies, and I’ll be disappointed if she can’t win.
O’Brien’s second-string the play in King Edward VII
Frankie Dettori might double up in the King Edward VII (3:00pm), where he has picked up the spare ride on Aidan O’Brien’s apparent second-string ARTHUR’S KINGDOM.
This talented colt, priced at 11/2 improved steadily through his two-year-old career, rounding off with a good second in Group One company in France without being unduly hard ridden in deep ground. His pedigree pegs him squarely as a 12-furlong horse, while the much shorter-priced stablemate Mogul is not certain to be best suited by this trip on breeding.
No Liberty if you back Beach in King’s Stand
The King’s Stand (3:35pm) represents the best ever opportunity for Battaash (8/13) to lay his Ascot hoodoo to rest. A repeat of last year’s second to Blue Point should be good enough, but that last half furlong on this stiffish track is always a bit of a concern when you’re contemplating backing him at short odds, and I’m leaning towards LIBERTY BEACH each-way at 10/1 in receipt of all the allowances as a three year old filly.
She needs another big step forward, but she was unlucky not to win a warm Queen Mary last year, will appreciate a return to five furlongs and comes from a stable that is starting to fire.
Stoute could be Jubiloso in Duke Of Cambridge
I know John Gosden thinks the world of Nazeef in the Duke of Cambridge (4:10pm), but I narrowly prefer JUBILOSO at 10/3. After a sparkling start, she was a bit disappointing last year, but she was unlucky not to win at Goodwood and something was clearly amiss at Sandown. I am keeping the faith with Ryan Moore back in the plate.
Dubawi Fifty can round out day one
Moore will be a short price to follow up in the finale, the Ascot Stakes (4:40pm), on Verdana Blue, one of my favourite horses in training. I’m not convinced, however, that she’s really a cast iron stayer at this trip, and I’m happy to watch her win at the current odds of 7/2. I’m interested in DUBAWI FIFTY, who ran a storming race to be second in this off the same mark two years ago and wasn’t far off a career best when we last saw him in the winter. He looks a solid play at 12/1.