Strap yourselves in and don’t look back. Five days of drama, punting possibilities and fun are ahead of us, live on Sky Sports. Lewis Jones is here to guide you on a path to profit…
I’m seldom to tip anything shorter than 3/1 but it’s hard not to get drawn in by one today. There’s pressure on BATTAASH (2/1 with Sky Bet) to deliver around the 2/1 mark in the King Stand’s Stakes at 3.40 but he’s without question the most likely winner. My punting day revolves around him.
Charlie Hills’ speedster looks set to announce himself as the best sprinter on the planet judging by his mature reappearance at Haydock, where he reserved more energy in the early stages before tanking into an easy lead. If Jim Crowley can repeat the feat at Ascot then he’ll reverse the form with Blue Point from last season no problem.
Arizona holds very strong claims in the Coventry Stakes at 3.05 as not only did he show the perfect mix of speed and stamina at the Curragh, Aidan O’Brien’s record is too good to ignore in this race. Despite blindly backing his runners being a quite obvious system, you’d have made £67 profit to £1 stakes punting all his Coventry runners in the last 20 years.
He’s not the way I’m playing this though – my eyes are drawn to the without Arizona market and GUILDSMAN is a must-back around the 5/1 mark.
As debuts go, his win at Goodwood was everything you want to see from a potential Group class performer. Despite being tardy from the gates, he cruised into contention before absolutely sailing clear by a widening six-lengths. That maiden seems to always throw up a smart performer and the speed figure suggests we have another one on our hands here. Trainer Archie Watson, despite his inexperience, has already trained a Royal Ascot winner and runner-up, therefore the selection is in very capable hands. Get on in the without market.
I’m convinced STAR OF BENGAL (8/1 with Sky Bet) is the best horse in the Wolferton Stakes at 5:35 but an outside draw is tempering my enthusiasm for a proper lump job of an each-way bet.
He’s out in stall 15 which isn’t as bad as many people make out if you’re dealing with a hold-up horse, however, Star Of Bengal is likely to go forward and no horse to have raced prominently drawn in a double figure stall (47 have tried) have won in the last 20 years over Ascot’s 10 furlong track. However, 11 of those have hit the frame which is enough to keep me involved. The John Gosden runner could be Group One class so may have the engine to defy his poor berth under Frankie Dettori.
LORD GLITTERS (16/1 with Sky Bet) ran an uncharacteristic shocker in the Lockinge Stakes but you can always forgive a horse one bad run – one of few horse racing clichés with actual substance. He was mad fresh that day, pulling his way to front rank which isn’t his run style. If Daniel Tudhope can settle him at a track he’s relished in the past – as shown by his second in this last year – then he’s bound to be finishing strongly in a wide open Queen Anne Stakes at 2.30.
It’s not often a Cheltenham Festival ante-post fancy of mine rocks up with a chance at Royal Ascot but SNOW FALCON (10/1 with Sky Bet) is an intriguing runner in the Ascot Stakes at 5:00. Noel Meade decided to skip Cheltenham with his classy chaser and his entry here could be a stroke of genius if the cards fall right for him. There’s a huge amount of pace on which should set this up for a strong traveller from off the pace – a set of criteria which brings Snow Falcon right into contention.
The St James’s Palace Stakes at 4.20 has left me scratching my head. Was Phoenix Of Spain favoured by the track in his Irish 2000 Guineas win? Have we really seen the best of Too Darn Hot yet? And is King Of Comedy up to this level? The market seems to have got it spot on – a race to watch rather than punt on.
- 3.05: Guildsman without Arizona 5/1 with Sky Bet (3pts)
- 3.40: Battaash 2/1 with Sky Bet (3pts)
- 5.35: Star Of Bengal 8/1 with Sky Bet (2pts EW)
- 2.30: Lord Glitters 12/1 with Sky Bet (1pt EW)
- 5.00: Snow Falcon 10/1 with Sky Bet (1pt EW)
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