NAP - 15:05 Ascot - Back Murillo @ 13/2 Sportsbook
My big price selection comes in the wacky Ascot Stakes (see below), but playing more towards the head of the market, I see no reason to divert from Aidan O'Brien in the Coventry Stakes - the race he has farmed in recent seasons, and his tally currently stands at eight.
Anyway, you'll all probably be aware of that, so let's move on.
I like Murillo, and it's not often you will get a chance to back a horse with this profile at decent odds. Granted, this race presents a whole ton of possibilities in terms of big two-year-old improvers, but he's one from the best yard in the business.
He didn't fire at all on his debut at the Curragh, but he duly improved a massive amount to land a Tipperary maiden in convincing fashion. That came on quick ground and his dam was a juvenile winner on a fast surface. He also looks a massive beast who dwarfed the runner-up in size last time out.
Murillo is looking to continue the good work of his sire Scat Daddy; who produced the winner of this race 12 months ago with Caravaggio. The 'Daddy' can also call upon the likes of No Nay Never, Lady Aurelia and Acapulco. Let's hope Murillo can continue the family success.
NB - 17:00 Ascot - Back Star Rider @ 25/1 Sportsbook (PROMO RACE)
My shortlist for this contained a few. Moorside was one judged on her second in the Cheshire Oaks last term, and she has a different sort of profile and pedigree to many in the field from yards you would normally see going around Cheltenham. For that reason, she might be susceptible to something with a bit more staying power.
I considered Wolfcatcher, but I have a doubt about the ground. So for a horse that stays and acts on any terrain - step forward Star Rider at 25/1.
She really improved for the step up to marathon trips last term. She didn't run too badly in the Cesarewitch in 2016, and I wouldn't even consider that a blip. She was consistent and also chiselled out a couple of victories at Goodwood and Newmarket - she seems to like those venues.
Her victory on the Sussex Downs came in the Goodwood Stakes over 2m5f, so far that reason given she stays, that is a big price.
Her trainer Hughie Morrison has mentioned she might prefer juice in the ground, but she seems perfectly happy on a quick surface.
She had a nice spin at Newbury 60 days ago, and she shaped like she might have needed that given the way she faded at the end.
NAP - 17:00 Ascot - Who Dares Wins @ 11/2
This stayers race is usually won by a NH trainer so having Alan King onside is no bad thing, he has three runners in the race but the one I like is Who Dares Wins. He is a five-year-old that has done nothing but improve in his career, signing off over hurdles last season with a third placed effort in the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival. That was from a jumping mark of 146 which makes his current mark of 93 on the flat more than acceptable.
Thomas Hobson looks like being a short priced favourite here for Willie Mullins and Ryan Moore but he has plenty to prove including his ability on good to firm ground as well as getting this trip, for those reasons he is easy enough left alone. Two that could run well are Oceane at 12/1, again from the Alan King yard who looks likely to be in the mix given his stamina is proven over this trip, and another that shouldn't have any problems with the trip Beyond Conceit 13/2 both hold good claims.
But Who Dares Wins gets the vote for me in his last flat race we was staying on well and was a little short of room in the closing stages when fourth in the Chester Cup otherwise that could have been a closer finish and with two wins on good to firm ground already to his credit he looks the one to be on today for me.
NB - 17:35 Ascot - Back Declarationofpeace @ 7/2
Aidan O'Brien has the favourite in the day's finale, The Windsor Castle stakes a 24 runner two-year-old race - In a field of this size there will be plenty of hard luck stories and there will also be plenty of future winners coming out of this contest so I was desperate to find something to take him on with but ended up thinking he holds all the cards.
Declarationofpeace was just outstayed on his debut over six furlongs at Navan, but Coolmore quickly corrected that error of judgment when he dropped back to this distance at Dundalk, where he ran out an impressive easy winner.
He was a long odds-on favourite for that race and this is Royal Ascot not Dundalk so it is difficult to judge exactly what he beat that day, however, the second has come out since and won, Declarationofpeace beat that without getting out of second gear suggesting there could be plenty more to come. He also has the pedigree to win a race like this, closely related to Grade 1 and 2 winners in the United States and by one of the top juvenile producing sires in War Front, whose offspring tend to have a liking for quick ground. He is a short price for what is a very difficult race to win, but these connections don't get it wrong too often.
NB - Ascot 15:05 - Back Brother Bear @ 7.613/2
I really like the chances of Brother Bear in this wide open contest.
This progressive colt put in a much improved effort last time out when beating Would Be King in a Listed event at the Curragh last month. He found plenty for pressure inside the final furlong, and was well on top close home. This was an excellent performance and I believe this likeable individual is open to significant improvement. He will handle the ground and appears to be an uncomplicated ride. I think he will give trainer Jessica Harrington her first Royal Ascot winner, and is fairly priced at 7.613/2 on the exchange.
Wesley Ward sends out Arawak. He was a wide margin winner on debut at Belmont last month. but the track was muddy and there were four horses withdrawn. The race was originally scheduled for the turf but was run on the main track. He merits respect but remains something of an unknown quantity. At present he is trading at 9.89/1 on the exchange.
NAP - Ascot 15:40 - Back Marsha @ 4.47/2
Marsha should prove difficult to beat in this mouthwatering race.
This smart filly was most impressive when winning the Palace House at HQ in the spring. She travelled well throughout, and held on in determined fashion close home to score. This was a fantastic effort considering she had to carry a Group 1 penalty for winning the L'Abbaye last year. She is still relatively lightly raced and clearly has more to offer. At present she is trading at 4.47/2 on the exchange and have backed her at that price.
Lady Aurelia crushed the opposition in the Queen Mary last year, but this race is an entirely different proposition. She won a Listed race on her seasonal reappearance at Keenland this spring, but this is much tougher. Her price looks short enough at 4.57/2.