Royal Ascot 2018: The view from the Betfair Trading floor
With less than a week to go until this year's Royal meeting at Ascot we caught up with James Ryan from the Betfair trading team to see where the money is going and who to back and who to avoid...
"When not called upon by John Gosden who has several good chances himself, Frankie Dettori will also potentially have the pick of the Wesley Ward horses. Between those two titans of the turf he should give Ryan Moore a couple of sleepless nights. The 9/4 on the Sportsbook is quite appealing here."
Where is the value in the Queen Anne on Day 1?
This is a wide open renewal this year and it's hard to argue with anyone trying to find a double priced winner. I'll leave the pronunciation to Richard Hoiles on the day but the horse I have sided with is the French trained Recoletos.
He came to my attention in the Champion Stakes last year when he was the last horse off the bridle and got tired close to home. This suggested that a stiff mile would be perfect for him rather than a mile-and-a-quarter.
I've heard people raise their concerns about the faster ground at Ascot as he has never raced on ground with 'firm' in the description, but this isn't a worry in my opinion. He's got a low quick action so it would be no surprise to me to even see him improve for better ground. I think the 5/1 currently on offer with Betfair is a cracking each-way bet.
Which of the Group 1 races could produce a shock?
The Diamond Jubilee is another wide open race. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a double figure winner of this.
Looking at the market leaders, Harry Angel's record at Ascot is nothing I'd be writing home to my mother about, while Merchant Navy and Redkirk Warrior are both Australian sprinter and it can be tough to weigh their form up against the European horses. It would be no surprise to see either of them go close but question marks remain.
This could leave the race wide open to a double figure priced horse claiming the prestigious prize.
Who will be Top Trainer/Jockey?
It's very hard to look past Aidan O'Brien at the front of the market for Top Trainer. He has the ammunition and seems to deliver every year here at Royal Ascot. But 2/5 won't interest most so, if you're looking for a value punt, the 16/1 on Wesley Ward looks attractive - if you believe his comments about having up to 10 winners.
As for the jockeys, when not called upon by John Gosden who has several good chances himself, Frankie Dettori will also potentially have the pick of the Wesley Ward horses. Between those two titans of the turf he should give Ryan Moore a couple of sleepless nights. The 9/4 on the Sportsbook is quite appealing here.
Which of the international raiders should we be looking out for?
As mentioned above I believe Recoletos will get the International brigade off to a flying start in the Queen Anne but I'm also keen on two sprinters from the Wesley Ward brigade.
These are Bound For Nowhere in the Diamond Jubilee (10/1 on the Sportsbook) and former Diamond Jubilee winner Undrafted who is on a nice mark in the Wokingham and trading at 14/1.
Meanwhile, colleagues in the International Racing team were very impressed by two of Wesley Wards two-year-olds, Chelsea Cloisters and Magical Romance. Both of these are definitely worth following into battle wherever they line up.
What is the worst result in the book as it stands? And who are we prepared to take on?
After the Coronation Cup at Ascot we were not overly impressed with Cracksman. We decided to be best priced and have laid him consistently since. We are still a stand out price at 11/10 for Cracksman in the Prince Of Wales. He is the worst result in the book so far for Ascot.