Royal Ascot

Friday Royal Ascot Tips: Take Believing in the Albany without the favs

Royal Ascot
Mark Milligan has a bet in Friday's opening race at Royal Ascot

"She missed the kick by a good 10 lengths that day but still managed to come through and win the race comfortably"

Mark Milligan has taken a look at Friday's Albany Stakes and has a bet without the market leaders...

For the first time this week we're going to concentrate on the juveniles for our 'race of the day', as we take a look at Friday's opening Group 3 Albany Stakes at 14:30.

A quick glance at the list of previous winners suggests that this is a race that has been won by a variety of trainers, and it can actually be a chance for some of the lower-profile yards to land a share of the spoils.

Mick Channon is the leading trainer with three successes to his name, the latest of which came with Samitar all the way back in 2011.

Channon isn't actually represented this year, though, so he won't be adding to that tally, and neither is last year's winning trainer Andrew Balding.

However, 2020 winner Karl Burke has Cathy Come Home in the line-up, and that yard has already tasted juvenile success at the meeting this week courtesy of Dramatised in the Queen Mary.

The main contenders

Aidan O'Brien's No Nay Never filly Meditate showed a willing attitude to make a successful debut at the Curragh in April and built on that with a useful performance when following up in a Group 3 at Naas last month.

She'll go on improving and it looks significant that O'Brien has opted to run her in preference to his Justify filly Statuette, who was a most impressive winner on debut.

It's been a fair while since Saeed bin Suroor regularly dined at the top table in the UK but he could have a good one on his hands in the shape of Exceed And Excel filly Mawj.

She looked a fine prospect when making a visibly impressive winning debut at Newmarket last month, storming clear of subsequent winner Believing in the final furlong, for all that one wasn't given too hard a time.

She's open to plenty of improvement and won't have any issues going an extra furlong here. She also represents a sire with a fine record at the track.

Like Meditate, Queen Olly is a No Nay Never filly and she cost a fair amount having been purchased for €300,000 as a yearling. She looked potentially useful when scoring on debut and looks sure to improve.

The one knock on that performance is the ordinary timefigure the race produced.

How does the market see it?

Meditate and Mawj dominate the betting on the Sportsbook at the time of writing, and certainly on what that pair have produced so far, those positions seem justified.

Meditate in particular produced a timefigure that makes her worthy of favourtism in her own right and if I was playing the race purely from a win market perspective, she'd be top of my list.

That's not to say there wasn't plenty of promise in Mawj's debut, however, though her figure was just okay rather being outstanding.

Third in the betting Queen Olly, and she'd be the one of the first three in the betting that I'd be most keen to take on. There wasn't anything intrinsically wrong with debut win, I would just have liked to see her return a faster figure on the day.

The one at much bigger prices that interests me is Believing, who was second to Mawj on debut without being given a hard time, and then got off the mark in amazing fashion at Wolverhampton last time.

She missed the kick by a good 10 lengths that day but still managed to come through and win the race comfortably, and that's not something you see very often in 6f races.

She's available at 18/1 on the Sportsbook, which is a perfectly acceptable price for those who want to play that way, I'm just not convinced she's quite good enough to beat the top pair in the market.

How to play the race

This column is all about finding alternative ways to play a particular race, and this contest looks to have thrown up an ideal opportunity for us to get with Believing, while still making decent profit if she isn't quite good enough to beat Meditate and Mawj.

The market we're interested in is the 'without' market on the Sportsbook, where we can take option C, which allows us to back Believing each-way at 15/2 without Meditate and Mawj.

This gives us plenty of chance to make profit on the race, potentially down to as far as fifth place if the two market leaders finish in the first 2 places.

I suspect Believing has been somewhat underrated by the traders, and she represents a trainer in George Boughey who really knows the time of day with his two-year-old fillies.

If she wins, we win, while allowing us the option that she could finish as low as third and still return a winner, even before the each-way element is factored in.

All told, this bet looks a good percentage call.

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Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.