It's been a fairly quiet betting week for Tony Calvin but his Royal Ascot could still end with a bang as he makes the case for four runners on Saturday's card...
"I think Max Dynamite is worth a bet at [4.0] or bigger in the Queen Alexandra at 17:35. There is no big story here. He is the best horse in the race on several pieces of form from 2017 and 2018, and he would take the world of beating on his second in the 2m2f Doncaster Cup last season."
I have found it pretty hard to eke out bets at Royal Ascot this week and have not been anywhere near as busy on the punting front as a result. That may be just as well given the way they have been running. Once again, I've found it tough going on Saturday's card.
Two against the field in the Wokingham
I am going to immediately get stuck into what I have unearthed, starting with my two against the field in the only handicap of the day, the Wokingham at 17:00.
I pretty much hate myself for doing this but I simply could not get away with the pair at the top of the market.
First up at [9.0] or bigger is Cape Byron.
This dual course-winner loves it here and his Victoria Cup victory last month represents very strong handicap form, so a 4lb rise was to be expected.
This is actually his first start over 6f but he travels so well in his races that it could well see him progress further.
In fact, looking at the way he shapes over 7f and 1m, I think a blitzkrieg, big-field handicap over 6f could be tailor-made for him.
It is interesting to note that Michael Jarvis did the Victoria Cup-Wokingham double in 2005 (though Ascot was shut at the time) with Iffraaj, and Cape Byron's trainer Roger Varian was his assistant back then.
You are never going to get a bargain with a Frankie Dettori runner at this meeting for the foreseeable future, but Danzeno has more going for him than most and is worth an interest at [11.0] or bigger.
He is among the oldest horses in the line-up as an 8yo but he absolutely bolted up on his return over 5f in a good time at Nottingham, and is 3lb well-in on that victory, even with his 5lb penalty.
He historically has had problems with his feet, but connections thought they had them right before Nottingham - he was off for the best of a year before that run - and so it proved as he danced in by six lengths from a last-time-out winner.
You can easily argue that all his best efforts have come at this track, and he was beaten only one-and-a-half lengths off a 2lb higher mark than this when fifth in this race in 2017 (though he was not too clever when finishing in midfield last season).
A midfield draw in 17 gives the Italian options, and the only possible negative that I can see - bar 27 rivals in a ridiculously competitive race - is the drying ground. But good going would be fine, and he has finished fifth in a July Cup on a quick surface, too.
Of the bigger-priced ones, Cenotaph and Intisaab made most appeal.
Duke of Hazzard irresistible at the price
To be perfectly honest, I could pretty much have left my bets there for the day, but the Betfair Sportsbook are dangling a carrot by offering Duke Of Hazzard each-way at 50/1 (four places) in the Jersey at 15:05.
And I'm chomping.
Like Danzeno, the drying ground probably isn't ideal for him, but I am willing to take that on the chin at the price, especially as I like the angle of him stepping down to 7f.
He has run to a pretty good level in all three starts this season, with the pick a fifth in the French 2000 Guineas on heavy ground, but on each of those occasions over 1m I think he has been strongly hinting that a return to 7f will suit him.
He finished third over course-and-distance on fast ground in the Chesham here last season, and he was wearing a first-time tongue-tie that day.
That equipment is back on today (he also wore it when winning at Goodwood) and hopefully that is significant.
The betting suggests that the 17-runner Chesham at 14:30 could be a straight fight between the 5/4 favourite Lope Y Fernandez and 4/1 chance Pinatubo, with 14/1+ the rest.
I bet the new owner who paid £520,000 for Mohican Heights at the Goffs Sale on Monday night is delighted to read that!
The jolly seems to be held in the highest regard but that is factored into his price, and then some, and Woodcote winner Pinatubo has the stronger form and time claims, as it stands.
But, with so many unexposed winners against the pair, not least Mohican Heights, then it is not hard to give this race a swerve.
Max Dynamite to end festival with a bang?
Similar comments apply to the Hardwicke Stakes and Commonwealth Cup - my nominal selections would be Defoe and City Light - and I'm really going to despise myself now as I think Max Dynamite is worth a bet at [4.0] or bigger in the Queen Alexandra at 17:35.
There is no big story here.
He is the best horse in the race on several pieces of form from 2017 and 2018, and he would take the world of beating on his second in the 2m2f Doncaster Cup last season.
Twice placed in Melbourne Cups, he has a significant class edge on these and is trained by a master in these Ascot staying races, and he simply looked more of a 6/4 poke to me, as I have no doubt Willie Mullins will have him fit and firing for this.
I know he hasn't excelled in two starts here and some may question his stamina, but he may not need to get out of second gear here.
A rare bet at short-ish odds for me on another quiet punting day.
Best of luck.
Duke Of Hazzard 50/1 each way (four places) in 15:05
Cape Byron at [9.0] or bigger in 17:00
Danzeno at [11.0] or bigger in 17:00
Max Dynamite at [4.0] or bigger in 17:35