With memories of Jubilee weekend and Desert Crown’s Derby win at Epsom still fresh in the mind, Tuesday sees the beginning of this year’s Royal Ascot, considered by many the biggest race meeting on the calendar.
As the cream of horse racing descends on Berkshire, the best horses from across the globe will face-off for five days of elite Grade 1 competition.
The big names from the US, Japan, Australia and France will all be making the trip to challenge the British and Irish field and picking a winner will be harder work for punters than at any other time in the year.
So, where might we find some value? Once more BestofBets have put our heads together and have come up with four horses that could do well this week at hefty e/w prices.
Berkshire Shadow – St. James’s Palace Stakes, Tuesday, 16:20
With Coroebus set to be one of Royal Ascot’s big favourites for the dominant team of Will Buick and Charlie Appleby – currently at 2/5 – punters will be looking elsewhere for places in the St James’s and where better than Berkshire Shadow now at a weighty 33/1 across the board.
The Andrew Balding-trained 3yo may have only won a third of races on the flat but is capable of beating a stellar field as we saw last year in the Coventry.
Having come fifth in his only race this year at Newmarket, Berkshire Shadow should be fresh and could be ready to live up to his name, pouncing once more from the field.
Lengthening in price over the weekend from 25s perhaps given the forecast, it would be no surprise though to see a return to an original SP before Tuesday, if not shortening again.
Cruyff Turn – Royal Hunt Cup, Wednesday, 17:00
Wednesday’s Royal Hunt Cup over a mile is set to be the biggest field by some distance this week and the contenders are numerous.
This looks so much of a lottery the favourite may go off as long as 8s as it if it were a long distance race over the jumps and we have an inkling that York star Cruyff Turn will do his stuff.
Winner of three races during the last year, Tim Easterby may have his best Royal Ascot fling this year with David Allan on board and at a tasty 28/1 with William Hill.
The Cheveley Park Stud could find the going not to his liking but in these sort of races, if Cruyff Turn can go with the field as he did last month on the Knavesmire, this gelding has every chance of a good placing.
Cleveland – Ascot Gold Cup, Thursday, 16:20
In the big race of the week, Stradivarius will go for a record-equalling fourth Gold Cup on Thursday still at a decent 3/1 price, but our smaller money will be on Cleveland to make the trip.
Like Berkshire Shadow, Cleveland’s price has almost doubled in recent days, now at whacking 40/1 with SkyBet. That may have more to do with the expected going this week but Ryan Moore’s winner at Chester a month ago still lingers in the memory and shouldn’t be dismissed here.
Cleveland will have to go with the mighty Stradi to have any chance but may be able to mop up a place and with a good stake, could bring in a nice haul.
Pizza Bianca – Coronation Stakes, Friday, 16:20
The US will be out in force at Ascot this week and one of the big unknowns will be Pizza Bianca, who we feel could make an impact in the Coronation Stakes on Friday.
With three wins in five on the flat, Bobby Flay will be looking for a dream debut on UK soil and with conditions set to be good to firm, the going should suit nicely.
Inspiral will be the one to beat to the pole, however the filly has become renowned for a strong surge in the final furlongs in her wins at Pimlico and most significantly at Del Mar, beating a field of 13 other horses. If ‘Bianca finds Ascot to her liking, this horse could do very well at 16/1.
Highfield Princess – Platinum Jubilee Stakes, Saturday, 16:20
To round our picks off, we look to the final day of Royal Ascot on Saturday and to a horse we at BestofBets simply adore. Highfield Princess.
Having hauled a tidy sum for members of our team on a regular occasion, the glorious French mare won her last two races at York and Newcastle in dominant fashion but is not reckoned to be up to scratch in the big one. We beg to differ.
Highfield Princess took the Buckingham Palace 12 months ago on this very course yet is still valued at a very enticing 12/1. Of all five of our picks here, she might just go the closest to a win. Regardless, this wonderful horse and the likely mount of Jason Hart have a very decent shot at placing, at the very least.