Royal Ascot 2023. The premier Flat racing meeting of the year is only a few days away and with plenty of questions requiring answers on the track, I’ve taken a deep dive into the big races to provide five, yes five, ante-post selections.
The five-day meeting is a showcase of the sport’s best worldwide talent and this year should be no different.
I’m excited for it to start and without any hesitation, let’s begin!
Craven winner overpriced?
At 33/1 with BetVictor for a Craven winner after running poorly on ground that wouldn’t have suited, INDESTRUCTIBLE looks overpriced to me in the St James’s Palace Stakes.
Karl Burke’s colt by Kodiac was very impressive at Newmarket in April having made most of his running from the middle of the track on a day where the far side rail looked to be an advantage.
???? A huge week for @amoracingltd continues! ????
A nice form boost for Chaldean, too ???? pic.twitter.com/ZDG6X376Ie
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) April 20, 2023
Furthermore, in the opening furlong of the Craven, they were a bit slow, but by the time the three-pole rolled around, Kevin Stott was unable to stop his mount from pulling to the front at an even pace, so if the likely pace angle of Mostabshir sets a nice pace we could see a better performance from Indestructible.
And looking at that Craven form alone, The Foxes in second would go on to win the Dante Stakes at York and Mostabshir, the 7/1 fourth-favourite for the St James’s Palace, was back in fifth place before he bolted up in a novice race at York one month later.
???? The Foxes wins the Dante!
White Birch flashes home to take 2nd with Passenger and Continuous sharing the spoils for 3rd.
???? The winner is now 8/1 (from 20/1) for the Derby…pic.twitter.com/ci1u45Evwu
— Sporting Life Racing (@SportingLife) May 18, 2023
Of course, I respect the two Guineas winners at the top of the market, more so Chaldean over Paddington, and I think GALERON can be dangerous for Charlie Hills after a promising run in the Irish 2000 Guineas, but at the top of my list for value is Amo Racing’s charge at 33/1 with BetVictor.
Calling on a former fancy
Last month’s Chester Cup was a near miss for my two BestOfBets.com selections. Call My Bluff was a good third behind the winner, Metier, and CALLING THE WIND looked like an eyecatcher in sixth.
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) May 12, 2023
I’m siding with one of them again for the Ascot Stakes at 5:00 on Tuesday and it is the latter who gets my vote at 14/1 with BetVictor.
Last time out, Jamie Spence gave Richard Hughes’ seven-year-old a canny ride to be one of the last off the bridle at Chester, though he wasn’t able to make this count as he found himself in a pocket around the bend.
Once a gap opened up, he showed a good turn of foot, but Rajinsky moving across him in the final few strides didn’t help and he eased up to the line.
Despite this great run, the handicapper dropped him one pound for the run and with Billy Loughnane on board next week, he will effectively run off a four-pound lower mark.
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) June 18, 2022
Furthermore, better ground might see him at his best as his third in last year’s Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot and third to Coltrane at Sandown after that suggests he is versatile.
Calling The Wind is my first handicap bet of the five at 14/1, though he isn’t the last.
Big enough price
I start this fancy off with a tone of annoyance.
Earlier this week, I looked at the early entry handicap races and PEROTTO at 12/1 was an attractive bet in the Royal Hunt Cup.
Since then, top tipsters Paul Kealy and Rory Delargy have put him up and his price has halved to 7/1 with BetVictor, however, as the title suggests, the price is big enough to still back him.
In his two years since his Britannia Stakes win in 2021, Roger Varian’s New Bay gelding has yet to return to the winners’ enclosure, which is a small worry, but his runs behind Baaeed, Megallan, Benbatl, My Oberon, Triple Time, and Sir Busker is very good form.
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) June 17, 2021
Now running off his last winning mark of 99, he will be primed for one of the feature handicap contests.
Experience to the fore
Moving on to the final day of action at Royal Ascot, I’m taking a chance with EMARAATY ANA at 40/1 with BetVictor to upset the Australian brigade at the top of the market.
Although he is seven, Kevin Ryan’s Shamardal gelding still showed plenty of life at the Breeders’ Cup when second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on firm ground over five-and-a-half furlongs.
Caravel has done it again!
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) June 10, 2023
The Group 1 winner has only run at Royal Ascot once in his career when disappointing in last year’s renewal of the Jubilee Stakes, however, his record when running after a 50+ day break is 1/11 so the run at York last month should have him set for a big run this time around.
Although Highfield Princess, if she turns up, has already beaten him at York over five furlongs, Emaraaty Ana was actually ahead of her when they last met in that Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and if they were to meet over six furlongs, that would play to his strengths.
He may be coming towards the end of his career, but recent runs suggest he is as good as ever and 40/1 is a massive price about Emaraaty Ana.
The best bet
And finally, in one of the concluding races of the week, ORAZIO is the NAP at 8/1 with BetVictor in the Wokingham Stakes.
The four-year-old by Caravaggio was very impressive over course and distance last time out when showing a good turn of foot to comfortably defeat his seven other rivals.
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) May 12, 2023
That Ascot performance directly followed a gutsy effort at Newmarket the month before so he couldn’t be in any better form.
The promising thing about his recent wins is that it obviously took the yard a bit of time to get him right as shown by his 17-month break from the track at the end of 2021, so now he is winning with confidence, he is finally showing everyone what his £215,000 yearling price tag promised.
The better ground shouldn’t be a worry and Orazio is the NAP of Royal Ascot.