Royal Ascot Day 3 Tips: Ricci ready for a Royal winner

His horses dominated Cheltenham - is Rich Ricci about to land a Royal Ascot winner?
His horses dominated Cheltenham - is Rich Ricci about to land a Royal Ascot winner?

Tony Calvin takes aim at the middle day of the Royal meeting at Ascot with six selections across four races...

Immediately after Galileo Gold won the St James's Palace Stakes on Tuesday, I tweeted that the victory was "another example of why Hugo Palmer was going to stay at the top. Because, trust me, he is there already."

That was no deferential sycophancy - well, it might have been, in which case I am disgusted at myself - but more of a reminder to those who still label him an up-and-coming trainer that he has long since arrived. Three Classics in the last 12 months should tell you that.

So can he work his magic with Architecture in the Ribblesdale at 15:40 less than a fortnight after her excellent second to Minding in the Oaks? I have my doubts, and as a result she makes this an attractive betting race as she takes out 25 per cent of the book.

She is clearly the form filly, and Palmer has been so encouraged by the way that she has come out of Epsom that he is happy to let her take her chance.

But she has only done light canters since the Oaks, nothing serious, and Palmer admitted that she was very tired immediately after the race and it was only 50-50 as recently as Sunday whether she ran.

On balance, I think it could pay to oppose her - though I am not for one moment suggesting anyone lays her at 3-1, and therefore effectively backs the field at 1-3 - and I make no excuses for doing so with Even Song at 5.04/1, even though that isn't the usual price we play at.

You have to remember that this filly was actually trading as the second favourite for the Oaks before she was unexpectedly pulled out at the 48-hour stage - connections basically relied on Minding winning there, and kept her fresh for this race - and, make no mistake, she is very highly-regarded.

Ryan Moore was of the opinion that she would have bustled up Swiss Range over 1m2f in the Pretty Polly last time had he got a better run - some shout considering she was beaten nearly six lengths - and you have to think that this half-sister to Leger winner Simple Verse will excel over this extra 2f.

Queen's Trust was another filly who didn't get the run of the race when fourth to We Are Ninety over 1m2f at Newbury last time and I expect her to take a big step forward over this longer trip, being out of a 1m4f winner who hails from the excellent Saeed Manana-owned family of Luso, Warrsan and Needle Gun.

Back her at 12.5 or bigger on the exchange, but 10-1 each way 1,2,3 on the Betfair Sportsbook is probably an even more enticing play.

Punters come for Applause but the value has gone

The excellent run of Mehmas in the Coventry on Tuesday - he clearly bumped into a live one in Caravaggio there - has cemented his Sandown conqueror Global Applause's position at the head of the Norfolk Stakes betting at 14:30 at around the 3.211/5 mark.

It is hard to argue with that, given that he boasts by far the best form and speed figures.

But do you really want to be playing at that kind of price when a whole host of unexposed youngsters are ranged against him? I think not.

Silver Line clocked a good time at Nottingham and is one of many that have to be respected, while I wouldn't be in a rush to be laying Peace Envoy at his current odds - one bookmaker was going a generous 9-1 on Wednesday morning - as he is Aidan O'Brien's chosen one in the race, is progressive and handled cut well enough when second to a subsequent scorer at the Curragh last month.

If pressed, Peace Envoy would be my choice but I can easily give this race a swerve.

No strong angle to the Tercentenary

The Tercentenary at 15:05 is another very tricky race to call, and I don't have a strong opinion.

It is difficult to gauge the potential and merit of a few in here, not least the unbeaten Long Island Sound stepping up to 1m2f on easier ground in a much better grade, though you have to say Hawkbill and Blue De Vega probably bring the most solid form to the table.

But Abdon is very well-regarded, Royal Artillery needed the run badly first time up at Sandown and has cheekpieces fitted, and Prize Money probably doesn't deserve to be a double-figure poke on his placed efforts this season.

It looks a proper guess-up race to me, and I am not in the mood for those kind of games 12 days into an enforced dry spell. And that does make a man bitter; roll on Saturday afternoon, when the wagon is being well and truly parked up.

Oppose George - it's an Order!

Order Of St George is exactly the kind of horse that I like to take on. He currently trades at 2.021/1 for the Gold Cup at 16:20.

Best horse in the race? Yes. Doubts at the price? Certainly.

Basically if he comes here in the same form as he was when he won the Irish St Leger by 11 lengths then everyone else is playing for places, but he does have his stamina to prove - everyone seems to be assuming that is a given but this is 6f further than he has ever gone before - and I think it is also fair to say that he may have had a rushed preparation.

This comes plenty soon enough after his reappearance win on fast ground at Leopardstown earlier in the month - albeit he wasn't extended to win that five-runner race at odds of 2-7 - after which Joseph O'Brien, perhaps tellingly, said "he had to come here if he was going to get to Ascot."

He has some pretty serious stayers to contend with here, chief among them Max Dynamite. The fact that he was smashed in the betting on his return in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown last month may lead many to assume that he was pretty straight there.

But owner Rich Ricci heavily implied in a pre-race interview on RUK that the race was very much a stepping stone to the Gold Cup, and it was a messy, four-runner race that didn't play to his strengths.

We saw what an impressive horse he was when an unlucky second in the Melbourne Cup, and he laughed at Sagaro Stakes winner Mizzou in the Lonsdale Cup at York last season.

Back him at 9.89/1 in the win and 3.02/1 or bigger in the place market.

Two to back in the Britannia

Stable confidence is apparently sky-high for Out And About in the Britannia at 17:00 and I can't put you off him at odds of 10.519/2. I think that you should put yourself in a position that, if the horse wins, you should at least ensure that you don't lose on the race.

It was fascinating to hear Mark Howard on RUK saying that William Haggas told him back in February that this race was the long-range plan for the horse, and he ensured that he got into the weights when winning over 7f at Haydock last month, his first start since a gelding operation.

An 8lb rise saw him get into the race and that form is strong, too. I will have a saver on him but if you fancy him then you have to fancy Fighting Temeraire, too, at the prices.

Out And About beat Fighting Temeraire by a length in that Haydock race - the third won next time out, by the way - and is now 4lb worse off. And the runner-up is around double the price of the winner at 19.018/1, and that really doesn't stack up.

In fact, looking at the Haydock race, you could argue that Fighting Temeraire was a shade unfortunate not to win, as he did a lot wrong in the race; he pulled hard, and got going far too late. He handles cut and a strongly-run 1m promises to really suit. Zhui Feng is another horse that I think has a handicap in him off this mark, and he is my best of the rest.

Can't say no to Nietzsche in the last

The King George V Stakes at 17:35 looks incredibly tricky. But, despite being 1lb out of the handicap, I think Nietzsche is worth a few quid at 50.049/1. Let's hope Joey Haynes doesn't put up any overweight though, as 8st appears his minimum.

There is nothing sexy about the selection's profile but he has improved since joining Brian Ellison this season, and ran well in a lady amateur rider's race when fourth on Saturday.

Testing ground suits him well and the quick turnaround is no problem - he won under a penalty five days after his Nottingham soft-ground romp in April - and he could outrun his odds off his feather weight.

Recommended Bets
Back Even Song at 5.04/1 in the 15:40
Back Queen's Trust at 12.5 or bigger in the 15:40 and/or 10-1 each way Betfair Sportsbook
Back Max Dynamite at 9.89/1 win and 3.02/1 place in 16:20
Back Fighting Temeraire at 19.018/1 in the 17:00
Back Out And About at 10.09/1 in the 17:00

Back Nietzsche at 50.049/1 in the 17:35

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