The biggest race meeting on the calendar has arrived!
Royal Ascot 2022 looks like it could be vintage year. Not only is the weather set fair for the coming days with the going likely good to firm, this particular edition will have more Grade 1 races and a greater international flavour than ever before, as horses in bigger numbers from all four corners of the globe assemble in Berkshire.
As the star rides from the United States, Australia, Japan and France make the pilgrimage, here at BestofBets we have taken a look at the favourites outside of the British and Irish stock who could make an impression over the coming week.
To begin, American hopes are high of a very happy trip across the Pond and the biggest draw will be Golden Pal.
Trained by 12-time Royal Ascot winner Wesley Ward, the speed sensation should take like a duck to water with the conditions this week. Winner of both the Breeders’ Cup Sprint senior and Juvenile races in the last two years, Golden Pal is familiar with Ascot and came second in the 2020 Norfolk Stakes.
With dual hopes in both the Kings Stand and Platinum Jubilee Stakes, it is the Kings race on opening day over 5f where his raw speed could be telling. Billed as Golden Pal versus Australian strong hoper Nature Strip, the sprint will surely be a highlight of the meeting and Golden Pal may have the edge.
Ward’s second strong shot of a 13th win on the Berkshire flats comes in a marquee Platinum Jubilee Stakes with a real international flavour. Ireland’s Ascot regular Campanelle will look to win at the royal meeting for the third year on the bounce after victories in the Queen Mary and 12 months ago in the Commonwealth.
This time around going for glory in the marquee Platinum Jubilee, it will be a predominantly US v Australia potential winning field again.
Whilst both Golden Pal and Nature Strip could also be in the running once more, New Zealand trainer Chris Waller’s other big ride for Australia – Nature Strip’s stablemate – Home Affairs, will likely go off as favourite – holding at 4/1 for the moment. Saturday’s main event has all the ingredients to be an absolute show-stealer over 6f.
Of the other hopes from the other side of the Atlantic, the Coronation Stakes could supply and looks like another fascinating global contest.
Bobby Flay’s Pizza Bianca we have already tipped as an outsider at 16/1 but Christophe Clement could have competition from Cambridge trainer Graham Motion, who will hope Spendarella can remain unbeaten in only her fourth race at a slightly shorter 12/1 in the market with William Hill.
One other multinational chance of note, former NBA star Tony Parker will also be eyeing Ascot Glory on 10/1 French filly Mangoustine.
Japanese hopes, meanwhile, look better than ever after a breakthrough 12 months with jockey Cristian Demuro winning the Arc, further Asian success highlighted by a stunning show at Meydan back in March, when rides from the Land of the Rising Sun took victory in four of eight races on Dubai World Cup evening.
Looking to this week’s event as their best chance yet to pick up their first win at Royal Ascot, Shahryar is being backed by many in Wednesday’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes over 1m2f at 7/2 with Bet365, Betfair and PaddyPower.
Aside from his run in the UAE, Hideaki Fujiwara’s 4yo has won half of his races entered. The only note of caution here should be that his win at Meydan was his only entry this year, however that could yet work as an advantage.
Shahryar will have stiff competition with current 11/8f Bay Bridge but in a field of just five this colt could finally bring home a win.
Japan’s other main interest lies with Shahryar’s stablemate Grenadier Guards. Going in the stacked Jubilee Stakes to take on the Americans and Australians amongst other, this particular colt of the legendary Frankel has the pedigree to spark at Royal Ascot but must overcome lofty odds.