After a successful Tuesday, Patrick Weaver returns to look at the best lay bets for the second day of Royal Ascot, and explains why Zabeel Prince's winning run will come to an end...
"Zabeel Prince is the least likely of the five at the front of the market to make the first three."
Only one race on the second day of Royal Ascot is likely to have a favourite starting at less than [4.0] - The Prince Of Wales's Stakes at 15:40.
This Group One is the best race on the card, attracting six that have won at this level - Magical, Sea Of Class, Waldgeist, Zabeel Prince, Deirdre and Desert Encounter.
Of the two that haven't, Hunting Horn is more than likely a pacemaker for Magical. The other, Crystal Ocean, came within a neck of winning last year's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 12 furlongs at Ascot, finishing nine lengths clear of the third.
Magical is running as well as ever this year, but it should be pointed out she has only done as the market expected to win at Evens, 2/9 and 2/7. A lot will depend on how Sea Of Class runs in her first race since an unlucky second to Enable in the Arc last October.
She won her four starts prior to that - two over 10 furlongs, and the Irish Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks over 12 - and will be hard to beat at the top of her game.
Prince to be dethroned
I have changed my mind time and again, looking for the best win or place lay, but the official handicapper's rating of 117 for Zabeel Prince has persuaded me that the six-year-old is the least likely of the five at the front of the market to make the first three, and is worth a place lay at [3.5].
Horses his age do not often figure in the finish to a Prince Of Wales's Stakes and he carries the same weight as Crystal Ocean (rated 125) and Waldgeist (122). He also gives Magical (123) and Sea Of Class (122) 3lb. Something that is unlikely given he is older than them.
Up in distance and class
One filly stands out in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes at 16:20.
Pretty Baby is the only one of the 17 runners that have not contested a race over a mile. She may not appear an obvious place lay, as she has won five of her seven races and been beaten narrowly in the other two. There must be a reason, though, why William Haggas has never raced this four-year-old over a mile.
I would not dream of laying her over six or seven furlongs but stepping up both in distance and in class - this is her first Group Two - she looks vulnerable.
I Can Fly, Rawdaa, Anna Nerium, Veracious, Red Tea and Nyaleti all have higher official ratings, so the handicapper would not be surprised to see Pretty Baby finish unplaced, and I'll be place laying at [3.0] or shorter.
At a disadvantage
Well-backed runners changing trip don't win as often as punters would like. That is certainly the case with horses moving between five and six furlongs. A five-furlong winner will often struggle to see out the extra 220 yards, while those that have raced over six often cannot find their rhythm when dropped back to five.
Little wonder, then, that the last 10 winners of the closing Windsor Castle Stakes at 17:35 all raced exclusively over five furlongs prior to Royal Ascot. Bearing that in mind, two towards the head of the market, Southern Hills and Temple Of Heaven, are at a disadvantage having raced over six.
Southern Hills dropped back from six to five last time when beaten a neck by odds-on shot Air Force Jet in a Navan maiden. Temple Of Heaven won over six at Newbury last month after a successful debut over five.
Wesley Ward's two runners, Foolish Humour and Karak, are having their first starts outside of New York. If they fail to adapt to a straight five furlongs on going slower than they have encountered, it is quite probable that Southern Hills and Temple Of Heaven could both be placed but that risk is built into their prices.
Tough as he is, Temple Of Heaven is worth laying at [3.0] or shorter in the place market.
Lay Zabeel Prince to Place in the 15:40 at [3.5] or shorter
Lay Pretty Baby to Place in the 16:20 at [3.0] or shorter
Lay Temple Of Heaven to Place in the 17:35 at [3.0] or shorter