Royal Ascot 2024 | Day 1 Tips | Baaeed’s brother in the last

Royal Ascot Day 4

Royal Ascot Day 1 is upon us and the excitement levels are extremely high.

In the lead-up to the royal meeting, the ground was causing a few issues as many forecasts had predicted nearly 20mm of rainfall ahead of the Queen Anne Stakes.

However, that didn’t materialise and the course has artificially added 5mm onto the straight and round courses.

So, with quick ground accounted into the studying, here are my plays for Royal Ascot Day 1.


2:30 Ascot – Dolayli @ 16/1 with William Hill (4 places) – 1pt EW

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This year’s Queen Anne has many big names to consider.

Facteur Cheval, Charyn, Big Rock, Royal Scotsman, and Audience all set a good standard, but the one that appeals to me the most is Dolayli who has a different profile from most in the race.

Of the five-year-old’s last six races, four have occurred on the all-weather, the most recent of which happened in March when he beat Junko by five lengths.

Admittedly, Junko was having his first run for 89 days, but he won the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase and Group 1 Grosser Preis von Bayern in the space of a month prior to that reappearance which is a solid standard of form.

Furthermore, Junko won the Group 2 Grand Prix de Chantilly at the start of this month to further frank the form.

In Dolayli’s two runs subsequently, he finished third in the Group 2 Prix du Muguet and then improved to finish fourth in the Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan.

As for the strength of that piece of form, the winner (Mqse De Sevigne) was third in last season’s Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes and won two other Group 1 contests before that, the second (Horizon Dore) chased home King Of Steel in the 2023 Group 1 Champion Stakes, and the third (Haya Zark) had just won the Group 1 Prix Ganay.

Furthermore, the fifth (Blue Rose Cen) won three Group 1s last season and the sixth (Marhaba Ya Sanafi) won the Group 3 Prix Bertrand du Breuil recently.

Finally, just to add to his case, his pedigree is ludicrous on paper.

His dam (Dolniya) won the 2015 Group 1 Sheema Classic and he is by the super-sire Siyouni.

A strongly-run straight mile should suit and he’ll appreciate the faster ground.


3:05 Ascot – Cowardofthecounty @ 5/1 with William Hill – 1pt Win

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I’m not one to bet in two-year-old races too often, but Cowardofthecounty produced a performance so striking on debut that is hard to ignore.

His win at the end of April came on soft to heavy ground, but he put two-and-a-half lengths between himself and Whistlejacket (Aidan O’Brien’s full brother to Little Big Bear) who franked the form on his next start as he won the Listed First Flier Stakes.

Will he like the fast ground? Well, he is by Kodi Bear who produces a fair amount of fast ground horses, his half-brother Cassy O won three times on good to firm, and his grand-dam produced Junia Tepzia, the 2009 Listed Premio Coolmore winner on good ground.

That pedigree analysis offers a good bit of confidence behind him liking the ground and following his win at the Curragh, Kevin Blake (race planner to Joseph O’Brien) was full of praise on the Betfair Weighed-In podcast.

Hopefully, he justifies his market position with a nice performance in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes.


3:40 Ascot – Diligent Harry @ 16/1 with William Hill – 1pt EW

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In the newly-named Group 1 King Charles III Stakes, Diligent Harry looks too big of a price to leave alone.

Trainer Clive Cox has never shied away from speaking his mind in regards to what he thinks about this six-year-old by Due Diligence, and he’s also backed that up with his recent race planning.

Connections aimed him at the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint in Meydan in search of some better ground and he delivered for them to finish third in a hot race.

The winner, California Spangle, was banging heads with Golden Sixty over in Hong Kong at eight furlongs last year, so his level of form is strong, and beating the likes of Slight Success (Lucky Sweynesse form), Casa Creed, and Danyah is admirable.

As for his UK performances, he beat Annaf over six furlongs at Lingfield last year, form that looks good as the second won the Group 2 1351 Turf Sprint in Riyadh in February.

He also beat Witch Hunter (subsequent Group 1 Lockinge Stakes third) over six furlongs at Newcastle and the form of last year’s Group 3 Hackwood Stakes looks strong thanks to Cold Case and Shartash.

Following a good reappearance in the Group 2 1895 Duke Of York Clipper Stakes last month, Cox is “desperately keen” to run this horse over five furlongs at Ascot and there is a lot to like about his profile.


5:40 Ascot – Israr @ 7/2 with BetVictor – 2pt Win

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I’m happy to go out on a limb and say that the Wolferton Stakes is between two horses in my head, though those two horses are well-found in the market.

Torito is one of them as he was an eye-catcher at Newmarket when third in a nice handicap on his first start for 11 months, but I think Israr could have too much for him at this level.

The five-year-old by Muhaarar is a solid Group 2 performer who is dropping into Listed company for the first time since his second to Quickthorn, a subsequent six-length Group 1 Goodwood Cup winner, in last year’s Grand Cup Stakes.

After that, he pumped Adayar in the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes and four months later, he chased home Spirit Dancer in the Group 2 Bahrain International Stakes.

On his most recent start, he gave Passenger (the once Prince Of Wales’s Stakes ante-post favourite) a great race to finish second in the Group 2 Huxley Stakes. He was also backed into the SP favourite that day, which is notable.

As for his Ascot record, he was second to Al Qareem in the 2023 Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes and also finished third in the 2022 King George V Stakes, so that stat shows he’s fine with the track.

If he runs up to his bets form, it’ll take a good horse to beat him.


6:15 Ascot – Naqeeb @ 14/1 with William Hill (5 places) & Lmay @ 25/1 with William Hill (5 places) – 0.5pts EW

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In the finale, I’m taking on the head of the market with two regally bred four-year-olds as Naqeeb and Lmay appeal to me.

Starting with the former, the Baaeed half-brother has yet to reach the heights of his famous sibling, but pieces of form make him interesting.

The gelding is rocking first-time cheekpieces, something that is bound to benefit him as he has shown tendencies to hang in his races and William Haggas’ strike rate with first-time cheekpieces is favourable (see tweet below).

Connections entered Naqeeb into the Gold Cup at this very meeting hoping he would turn into a Group 1 horse, but he bombed out in the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup on his latest start, so they have lowered their sights to the Copper Horse Handicap instead.

However, one can partially see why they thought he may end up in the marquee race of the royal meeting as he finished second to Middle Earth (a Group 3 winner with Melbourne Cup aspirations) on his third career start before bolting up at Kempton in a novice event.

That form looks good and he is unexposed in handicap company having won on his only delve into this sphere, so Naqeeb is a bet here.

As for Lmay, the 650,000gns yearling purchase is by Frankel and comes from that lucrative Juddmonte family of Logician, Okeechobee, and Suffused.

This is her handicap debut as she contested Listed, Group 3, and Group 2 races last season, notably when a close third in the Group 2 Park Hill Fillies’ Stakes at Doncaster.

Her form with Sumo Sam, One Evening, Tregony, Warm Heart, and Bluestocking is very solid for a horse rated 96 and she’s bound to come on for her run at York in the Group 3 Bronte Cup Fillies’ Stakes.

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