It's the second day of the Royal Meeting at Ascot, and here with his big-price recommendations, as always, is our resident tipster Tony Calvin...
"Instant Attraction" is my main fancy at odds of 34.033/1, and the case for him is very straightforward. He loves soft ground, is bang in form, and is 3lb well-in after an excellent second at Epsom last time."
When I worked full-time at Betfair, the rumour that the Queen Mum had an account occasionally resurfaced when big meetings came around. It was probably nonsense, but it raised a few eyebrows and chuckles, and you never know. She certainly liked a punt, and any woman who also indulges in an afternoon gin or two certainly gets my vote, anyway.
So let's hope her daughter takes a leaf out of her book today, on the punting, if not the Hendricks, front.
Light can provide Music to Her Majesty's ears
If you are reading this Elizabeth, luv, I suggest you log on to the exchange and smash into your Light Music at odds of 23.022/1 or bigger in the Jersey Stakes at 14:30. It should help pay for the birthday party. Both of them, in fact.
It does look a ridiculously competitive renewal, and the likes of Gifted Master and Ribchester have very good form strong claims, while soft-ground winner Castle Harbour did look ridiculously impressive when winning a York handicap off a mark of 86.
They have not been lost in the market though, and I think quotes of 20-1+ about Light Music greatly appeal.
The filly didn't lack for soft-ground form in her three juvenile starts last season and although Maureen Haggas was of the opinion that she was toughing it out in spite of the ground, rather than enjoying it, the fact remains that she handled it. And handled it well.
She beat a horse now rated 98 when winning in the soft at Newbury on her final start at two, and she ran a very encouraging race on her return at Lingfield, considering the pre-race talk was that she would need the run. I expect her to take a big step forward here.
Oppose Lady with a Dolly in Queen Mary
The Queen Mary at 15:05 features a favourite that you have to take on in the shape of Lady Aurelia.
Wesley Ward has been making his usual bullish comments about the Keeneland winner - indeed he apparently believes she is better than Acapulco, from what I've read - but talk is cheap, and there will be no hiding place for her in these conditions. She was as short as 6-4 in a place on Tuesday morning, but I wouldn't be surprised if she was trading nearer 3-1 at the off.
To be honest, it is a bit of a guessing game as to what you oppose her with, but the two that caught my eye were Simmie and Quench Dolly.
I love backing Sylvester Kirk's 2yos second time out and as they progress and I wouldn't put you off her at a massive price, but I am going to put up Quench Dolly at 65.064/1 or bigger to minimum stakes.
Connections were talking of coming here for a "good day out" after she won narrowly first time up at Goodwood but hopefully no-one has told the filly, as I think she has more chance than simply a jolly girl's outing.
Granted, the form of that Goodwood win is modest - the placed horses have been beaten since - but it is her pedigree that leads me to believe that she could outrun her odds.
She is by Hellvelyn, whose progeny go very well on testing ground, and his 2yo winners on the soft this season include Mister Trader and Mrs Danvers. And his best filly, La Rioja, dotted up in soft ground at Salisbury last season.
Ground concerns make for a no bet Duke of Cambridge
Usherette is by far the most likely winner of the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes at 15:40 but I would be worried about the ground if I were backing her at odds as short as 3.185/40.
I like Always Smile but the ground is an unknown for her, too, and I went round in circles in this race before coming to the conclusion that I wasn't going to have a bet. So normal rules apply - if I'm not backing, then I ain't tipping.
Japanese star to make all in Prince of Wales'
The same comment also applies to the Prince Of Wales' Stakes at 16:20 where A Shin Hikari - I was going to say the Beast from the East, but I hate rubbish like that - bids to transfer his stunning Hong Kong and French form to Ascot.
If he gets an easy lead then his current odds of 1.715/7 could shift into about 1.42/5 after about a furlong, and that is entirely plausible given the make-up of this field. But I'm happy to see him make all without my money, if that is what happens.
Two against the field in ultra-competitive Hunt Cup
In the Hunt Cup at 17:00 the ante-post favourite Convey has to be considered an unlikely runner on the prevailing soft ground.
The weather has also gone against my long-term fancy for this race, Earth Drummer, so I will put up Instant Attraction and Donncha.
Instant Attraction is my main fancy at odds of 34.033/1, and the case for him is very straightforward. He loves soft ground, is bang in form, and is 3lb well-in after an excellent second at Epsom last time. In fact, I am very surprised that he is anywhere near 33-1 given his profile.
Donncha is equally obvious, though his price is a fair bit shorter at 15.014/1. He ran very well on fast ground when fifth in the Hambleton at York last time, but is equally at home when the mud is flying.
He actually finished a place in front of Instant Attraction when second in the soft-ground Spring Mile in April and he can also boast good course form, too, having finished third here in a valuable 7f handicap on testing ground last July. He looks very solid.
Rose can blossom in Day 2 finale
The ground has gone against Mix And Mingle in the Sandringham at 17:35 so I will throw a few quid on the horse that finished fourth to her at Newmarket last season, namely Mise En Rose at 22.021/1.
She is unproven on the ground but she ran a great race when third to Persuasive in a good time at Chelmsford last time, and I don't think a 1lb rise for that is harsh. She is lightly-raced, and I think she is worth chancing at the price.
Back Light Music @ 23.022/1 in the 14:30
Back Quench Dolly @ 65.064/1 in the 15:05
Back Instant Attraction @ 34.033/1 in the 17:00
Back Donncha @ 15.014/1 in the 17:00
Back Mise En Rose @ 22.021/1 in the 17:35