Royal Ascot Day 5 Tips | Swinging from the Mountains

Royal Ascot Day 5, July Festival

Well, Royal Ascot Day 5 is here and we have made it to the end of a long week.

Away from the betting aspect of the royal meeting, I (as well as many) think that Royal Ascot 2024 has succeeded where Cheltenham potentially faltered this year.

Great field sizes, competitive contests, no odds-on favourites (to my counting), and a great vibe around the place.

This isn’t to take any shots at the Cheltenham Festival as many know my love and affection for that meeting, but as a jumps man through and through, Ascot (despite multiple days under a beating sun) failed to disappoint in a year where jump racing’s Olympics had a deflating feeling about it.

Let’s hope this year was a blip for Prestbury Park’s marquee event in terms of the overall enjoyment, though as we all know, a few changes are required to help that occur.

Anyway, back to what matters, we are rolling into the final day of the royal meeting on the back of a good week for the column.

Before the Chesham kicks off action today, the column has secured a profit of 22.5pts from 35.5 staked (ROI of +63.4%), so let’s hope we can continue this nice stretch of form.

 

3:05 Ascot – Candleford @ 12/1 with BetVictor (3 places) – 1pt EW

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The two market favourites – Continuous and Middle Earth – are definitely the ‘sexy horses’ in this line-up, but Candleford appeals to me at the prices.

The six-year-old by Kingman is race-fit, something Aidan O’Brien’s four-year-old by Heart’s Cry isn’t, and Candleford has a big affection for Ascot.

He was second (when subsequently disqualified due to Adam Farragher weighing-in light) on his Ascot debut and he then won at Royal Ascot in 2022 in the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes.

Later in 2022, he finished third to Hamish in the Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes, form that looks solid as his stablemate has won five Group 3s since and he finished second in the Group 1 Coronation Cup on his last start.

As for his other form, his victory in the Listed August Stakes at Windsor in August 2023 looks good as the second (Solid Stone) had form with Hukum in 2023, the third (Lion’s Pride) ran to an RPR of 119 in the Listed Floodlit Stakes two starts later, and the fourth (Deauville Legend) was fourth in the 2022 Melbourne Cup.

Following that, his second to Bay Bridge in the Group 3 September Stakes is another great piece of form as he finished sixth to Ace Impact in the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe subsequently.

With a winning return under his belt having claimed success at the Curragh 28 days ago (which has seen Sumiha, the second, frank the form by winning the Group 3 Munster Oaks on her next start), one would hope he’ll improve fitness-wise and he’ll enjoy the fast ground.

 

3:45 Ascot – Swingalong @ 12/1 with William Hill (4 places) – 1pt EW

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In the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes, I can’t ignore the form that Swingalong has in the book.

The four-year-old filly by Showcasing is a rapid sort who finished third in a good renewal of the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup last year.

The winner (Shaquille) won the Group 1 July Cup Stakes on his next start, the second (Little Big Bear) was a high-class Group 1-winning two-year-old, the third (Ocean Quest) won a Group 3 on her next start, and the seventh (Shouldvebeenaring) placed in two Group 1s subsequently.

That is rock-solid Ascot form and she also finished fourth on soft ground in the Group 1 British Champions Sprint Stakes on her final start of the season.

She has winning form on good ground and last year’s appearance at the royal meeting occurred on good to firm, so the quick surface will cause no issues and she blew the cobwebs off at York last month.

With a solid Ascot record and Group 1 form to fall back on, she seems like a fair bet at 12/1.

 

4:25 Ascot – Mountain Bear @ 40/1 with BetVictor (4 places) – 0.5pt EW

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The Group 3 Jersey Stakes looks like a great contest this year, but Mountain Bear is one I’m interested in at the big prices.

Many eyes will turn to Aidan O’Brien’s first string, River Tiber, at the head of affairs and he does demand that high level of respect, but the same case occurred last year with The Antarctic and stablemate Age Of Kings won the race instead.

On last year’s form, he was third to Haatem and Iberian (a highly regarded Charlie Hills-trained horse) in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes on less-than-ideal ground and he finished the season with a great run in the Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on firm ground when second to stablemate Unquestionable.

Unquestionable has since finished fourth to Rosallion twice this season, the best of which came in this week’s Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes.

Mountain Bear is likely to improve for his outing in the Irish 2000 Guineas and O’Brien does have a knack for winning the Jersey Stakes with outsiders.

Not only did he do it last year, but Mountain Bear’s grand-dam (Song Of The Sea) produced Ishvana who won the 2012 renewal at odds of 20/1 even though the yard had Reply in the contest, a better-fancied runner with good Guineas form in the book.

Hopefully, something similar can occur this year.

 

5:05 Ascot – Chipstead @ 40/1 with William Hill (6 places) & Orazio @ 16/1 with William Hill – 0.5pt EW for both

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The Wokingham is a tough, tough handicap, but I’m splitting stakes and taking a chance on two horses.

The first is Orazio who is probably my biggest cliff horse on the Flat as I’ve backed him in all of his last five races.

To begin with, he was my big ante-post fancy for last year’s Wokingham and he finished sixth when well-backed into an SP of 7/2.

He ran well that day, and while plenty (including connections) thought he wants cut in the ground, that occurred on fast ground and he didn’t seem to hate it.

This season, he ran respectably on seasonal debut in a fairly strong renewal of the Listed Cammidge Trophy Stakes as the winner (Montassib) finished sixth in the Group 2 1895 Duke Of York Clipper Stakes subsequently and the fourth (Adaay In Devon) won the Listed Scurry Stakes on her last start.

My theory is that this horse isn’t a six-furlong horse that contains a rapid turn of foot. Instead, he has the ability to travel at a very high cruising speed and maintain that when it matters late on.

If Saffie Osborne can position him prominently, I think he might enjoy that more than coming off the pace.

As for Chipstead, this is slightly a sentimental vote as Jack Doughty takes the ride, but he’s back to a winning mark with good form in the book.

His last four winning marks came off 97, 97, 102, and 97, so today’s rating of 98 is workable and Doughty’s five-pound claim is a massive bonus.

He was subject to a big gamble on his last start in the Epsom Dash, but he was caught for a touch of speed, so this return to six furlongs at Ascot will suit.

 

5:40 Ascot – Palace Green @ 10/1 with Paddy Power (5 places) – 1pt EW

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The Richard Hughes yard isn’t in the best form at the moment (one winner from 33 runners), but the horses look like they are running into form and that is enough to give me hope for Palace Green.

The three-year-old by Sea The Moon has good form in the book as he was third to Dallas Star, a subsequent Group 3 Ballysax Stakes winner, at Bath on just his second career start.

He kicked this season off with a nice five-length win at Kempton before running well on his first start at 12 furlongs at York.

It looked as if he didn’t quite stay the trip that day, but he loomed up ominously well for a while, which offers plenty of encouragement that he’s still improving.

Furthermore, the winner at York was Aidan O’Brien’s London City, a regally bred colt (by Justify out of the Galileo two-time Guineas winner Winter) who was running off a lowly mark of 93.

This looks like a little bit of a plan by connections and he’s an unexposed horse to side with here.

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