Daily Tipping

Royal Ascot Day Three Tips: All mad for Almania in the King George Stakes

flat horse racing
Almania can go close in the last on Thursday at Royal Ascot

"He gets in here off a mark of 95 and this well-bred Australia colt will appreciate the longer trip and easier ground"

Our resident tipster, Tony Calvin, marks day three at Royal Ascot with a fitting three bets at big prices.

The "problem" with Thursday's card is that I fancy a fair few of the favourites, and my records show that I am pretty poor judge of one at a short price - and I am sure plenty will think the same of my selections at bigger odds, too - so I am in a bit of a dilemma.

And Wednesday afternoon's torrential rain has massively muddied the waters, somewhat.

Anyway, let's kick off in chronological order, starting with the Norfolk Stakes at 14:30, and see how things unfold.

I find it hard to get away from Sunday Sovereign, but do you really want to be taking 5/2 against 14 lightly-raced and unexposed youngsters?

I am sure many will answer in the affirmative as there is little doubt that he is the form horse. His 3-length defeat of Arizona (albeit, that one was making his debut) obviously got a big boost here on Tuesday and he bolted up under a penalty in a soft-ground race at Tipperary next time.

On balance, I can let these sort of horses - especially one taking on so many unknowns in the changing ground, - go and win without my money.

Little bit of hope

The Hampton Court Stakes at 15:05, is also chock-full of horses that are on the up, but this is one race where I am happy to play at the top of the market and back Cape Of Good Hope at 7.06/1 or bigger.

I am a bit concerned by his draw in stall one as he has been held up on both starts this season - and the sofetning ground on Wednesday was an obvious concern - and the potential for trouble in this 15-runner race is plain for all to see.

But perhaps he was just a hostage to fortune when winning from stall one at Epsom first-time-out and from a wide berth in the French Derby last time, where he did well to be beaten less than 5 lengths given the way the race panned out for him.

So hopefully he will be ridden to the fore here - and he was ridden prominently in good placed efforts at two - and take another big step forward.

He is just about the form horse going into the race anyway, and this full-brother to Highland Reel and Idaho certainly has the pedigree and profile of a 3yo that will continue to improve with his racing.

You can certainly make the case for the horse he beat by ½ length at Epsom, Cap Francais, at 14/1+, but I will just stick with the one punt.

No opposing Fleeting

The world and its partner saw how unlucky Fleeting was in the Oaks and I am in no rush to oppose her in the Ribblesdale at 15:40, even if her price of 7/4 doesn't particularly get my pulse racing.

I tipped and backed her in the 1000 Guineas, in which she finished stone last, as I was very taken with her May Hill win last season.

But she left that form well behind her when third in the Oaks, and she could well have given the winner Anapurna a fright had she not been checked at the furlong marker there.

It wouldn't surprise me were she to win this by upwards of 2 lengths but, as with the opener, I can let her go unbacked at the prices on offer.

Sick of Stradivarius

I have got sick (and poorer) of opposing Stradivarius in the past year, so I really should have learned my lesson by now.

Some Betfair exchange layers haven't it seems, as he trades around the 11/8 mark at the time of writing (has been 6/4 and bigger) on the exchange for the Gold Cup at 16:20, which is bigger than the best price in the fixed-odds marketplace.

He simply looks guaranteed to run his race, and that may well be good enough to see off the likes of Cross Counter, Dee Ex Bee and Flag Of Honour.

I like the latter most at the prices, and it wouldn't surprise me if the 2017 St Leger winner Capri finally came back to form after two lack-lustre runs this season, but I can't see much of a betting angle into this contest.

Stradivarius at Ascot 1280.jpg

Pogo can rule Britannia

Luckily, we have bets in the last two races, starting with Pogo at 32.031/1 or bigger in a devilishly-difficult Britannia at 17:00.

He looks the best bet on a tricky day.

You wouldn't be surprised if any of the 30 runners obliged here, but I thought Pogo was considerably overpriced on his Newmarket win in a good time last month.
He was tried in the German 2000 Guineas last time and seems to have run okay in seventh, but it is his victory at HQ that points to his winning claims here.

He came home powerfully to make it two-from-two in handicap company that day, and I still think he can be competitive here off a 6lb higher mark.

The runner-up went on to finish third in a hot Epsom handicap, the third and fourth both bolted up by wide margins next time, and the fifth, Leroy Leroy, was beaten only a head in the Zetland Gold Cup.

The form could hardly have worked out much better then, and I loved the way that Pogo travelled throughout and ran through the line at Newmarket.

Good to soft ground would be ideal (he said optimistically), and he will do for me. If he came here straight from his win last month I think he would be half the price, and he hardy blew out in a Classic last time.

Last but not least

I initially liked Constantinople in the last at 17:35, as he could develop into a very smart stayer this season and is well drawn in 18.
But I was hoping for a bit bigger than 5/1 in such a deep race, for all his Group 1 and 2 potential.

I toyed with Leroy Leroy, but his stamina for 1m4f is a question mark, and so is his draw in four, but I am going to take a small-stakes chance with Almania at 18.5 or bigger.

The statistics will tell you he is very well-housed on the outside in 21 and, even though he went off at 20/1, there were some glum faces when he finished last in the Dante. Maybe something came to light for that disappointment.

Group-race plans were obviously shelved on the back of that run but he gets in here off a mark of 95 and this well-bred Australia colt will appreciate the longer trip and easier ground, and he did look a good prospect when winning over 7f on good too soft at Sandown last season.

He could blow out - and the ground is an unknown - but 16/1+ seems a fair risk-to-reward punt.

Good luck.

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