NAP 15:40 Ascot - Back Coronet @ 15/2 Sportsbook price (also PROMO race)
In the hunt to tip my first winner of the week; I will be relying on a filly I fancied in the Oaks - so step forward Coronet.
I am convinced she needs quick ground, so she'll certainly get that on Thursday in the Group 2 Ribblesdale. Hopefully the great stylist Olivier Peslier will ride her a bit closer to the pace than she has been on her previous two starts.
John Gosden's filly was given an awful lot to do in the Classic. I don't think the downpour before the race helped, and she wasn't in love with Epsom either. She plugged on in a race run in a good time. I think she is better than that, and she promises to stay further.
She'll relish the stiff nature of the finish at Ascot, especially as a half-sister to a St Leger second.
The filly is a bet at 15/2 on her juvenile form. She beat the Derby winner (Wings Of Eagles) and the Dante hero (Permian) in the re-jigged Zetland at Nermarket last October. That doesn't read too bad now does it?
Coronet was drifting last night on the Sportsbook, so we can get the bigger price today.
NB - 17:00 Ascot - Back Afaak each-way @ 16/1 Sportsbook price (also PROMO race)
I have already tipped in the Ascot Gold Cup for my ante-post preview, so will leave alone that race to concentrate on the nice and easy puzzle that is the Britannia handicap (at the time of writing 29 runners).
Afaak makes plenty of appeal in a strongly-run race here, and the switch to a lightning fast surface is just what he wants - especially with two relations being Mawatheeq and Ghanaati. They wanted it like a road, and they both won at Ascot too.
Given that Afaak scored in soft ground when last seen at Doncaster bodes well. That was a half-decent handicap in the north run at a fair pace and he beat a solid horse into second. The assessor has raised him 6lb to 92.
And there's his eye-catching run of all eye-catching runs on his debut in the Alex Scott Maiden at Newmarket back in April. He wasn't beaten far but that race has thrown up a stack of winners.
The draw could be better in 10 but we cannot have everything.
NAP: 14:30 Ascot - Back Frozen Angel each-way @ 12/1
McErin will have his supporters as he hails from the Wesley Ward yard, a twice-raced colt who has yet to be seen publicly on turf. But Ward has already demonstrated with Lady Aurelia, Happy Like A Fool and providing the winner of this in 2013 (No Nay Never) that he is more than capable with these sprinters. You also have to think he will be ready as it is a long way to come if you don't believe your horse can act on the surface, however, at the prices on offer I prefer to look elsewhere.
Next in is Santry who maintained his 100% winning record at York, a win that has been franked by the second and fourth scoring since. Both his wins to date though have come on soft and good to soft ground so he may not have conditions to his liking today.
Both market principals look like they will be difficult to beat but with either price or going not being ideal, the one I think will go well is Frozen Angel for the Tom Dascombe yard, who is worth backing each way at a double figure price. He won over course and distance in comfortable style on his second start and despite hitting traffic problems, I liked the way he battled on to finish second in the Listed National Stakes at Sandown on his latest start. If building on that run he should be tough to keep out the frame with the in form Richard Kingscote taking the ride.
NB: 17:35 Ascot - Back Master Singer each-way @ 13/2
I must admit I am a bit disappointed at the price available for Master Singer as he has already started to be supported and I feel like I may have missed the boat a bit, while I wouldn't want to back him any shorter, I am still happy to be with him at 13/2.
It's hard to know exactly what he achieved when he hacked up by 16 lengths at Newcastle last month. He will certainly be up against much tougher opposition today than he faced last time at Gosforth Park but he has also swerved a Group 2 entry this week in favour of this handicap.
A mark of 96 seems very workable on handicap debut as he should improve for the step up in trip, the retention of Andrea Atzeni is another big plus. Ground conditions will also be ideal and if he improves again then he could be really tough to beat.
NB - Ascot 15:05 - Back Mirage Dancer @ 5.39/2
Mirage Dancer should make his presence felt in this fascinating contest.
This extremely well-bred colt finished fourth to Derby runner-up Cliffs Of Moher at Chester last month. He kept on really well in the closing stages, but the winner was long gone. Sir Michael Stoute decided not to run him in the Derby, and kept him fresh for this race. I think he is open to significant improvement and is fairly priced at 5.39/2 on the exchange.
Benbatl looks like the main danger. He finished fifth in the Derby and has cracked heads with some smart horses this spring. He must be respected. but has had three tough races in quick succession which is a slight concern. At present he is trading at 5.79/2 on the exchange.
NAP - Ascot 15:40 - Back Mori @ 3.55/2
Mori is my best bet of the day.
This rapidly improving filly beat Coconut Crème in a Listed race at Goodwood last month. She took the lead a furlong from home, and was well on top at the finish. She is by Frankel and is out of the multiple Group 1 winning mare Midday. The extra yardage should suit her down to the ground and significant improvement is expected. I think she will go very close, and have backed her at her current price of 3.55/2 on the exchange.
Astronomy's Choice could be the best of the four John Gosden representatives. She finished a respectable third in the Pretty Polly at HQ, and is better than the bare form suggests. She looks saver material at around 14.013/1.