Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot 2024: Three Royal Ascot horses to keep on side

Daryl Carter
Daryl Carter likes a 14/1 chance in the Coventry Stakes

Royal Ascot is fast approaching, and Betfair's top tipster Daryl Carter offers up three horses he is excited to see take to the Ascot turf, but says to hold off on any ante-post bets...

It's tough to offer three "best bets" a week before Royal Ascot when there is plenty of water to go under the bridge. Water refers to the uncertain weather forecast offered by the Met Office at the time of writing, but I hope it will not turn this great meeting into a deluge.

If that's the case, it's back to the drawing board, although I will clarify that I am not interested in having any ante-post bets now.

Ground is essential, but as I have said a thousand times before, Group 1/ Grade 1 horses should be able to handle most conditions. I won't be losing any sleep over a mm here or there. Further information, though, comes with the entries this week and then the draw, which all factor into pricing.

However, I do want to point you toward three horses I want to keep on side.

Coventry Stakes - The Actor 14/115.00

This race always throws up a magnificent horse and the favourite Cowardofthecountry is very much respected for his dominant victory in Ireland in a race where the form has worked out very well.

However, Richard Hannon's The Actor looks like a favourable price to confirm the promise of his Newmarket win in a £40,000 Novice event, which has also worked out well. The two-year-old has shown a bundle of talent in two outings, and the third, fourth and sixth have all given the form a boost, with the runner-up yet to run.

His turn of foot is smart, as he showed by clocking good sectionals at Newmarket, including a remarkable 10.67 inside the fourth furlong, and his best work has come at the finish over the minimum distance, suggesting the move up to 6f will be right up his street concurring with his pedigree.

To put his turn of foot into perspective, the favourite Cowardofthecountry has yet to record anything below 12.01, and nothing in this market has recorded a quicker furlong.

He looks brilliant, and with more to come over this six-furlong distance, he is well-fancied to go well. In terms of ground conditions, I wouldn't be keen if it was very soft; he floats, but good to soft wouldn't put me off.

St James's Palace - Rosallion 5/23.50

The St James's Palace will be built up as the 2,000 Guineas rematch between winner Notable Speech and runner-up Rosallion. The ante-post markets for this race are dominated by these two, and I think the market has it correct that they are the pair to focus on.

Notable Speech won the Newmarket 2,000 Guineas in a race that recorded a strong time. Still, he held a fitness edge over all bar three of his rivals, having been hard race-fit from three spins on the AW. That must have been a significant advantage on the day, and I've said it before: I am not sure why connections don't have a prep run before such a race.

There's no doubt that Notable Speech is a smart horse, but his price hasn't factored in something improving on the back of Newmarket.

Runner-up Rosallion took a giant leap forward at the Curragh to land the Irish 2,000 Guineas, putting in some exceptionally strong closing sectionals to collar stablemate Haatem cosily at the line. Only five horses clocked a faster furlong than he did at the Curragh this day, and they all came from the Group 2 Greenlands Sprint over 6f, and those horses all produced it in their second furlong of six, compared to Rosallion producing it in the seventh of eight.

There's no doubt that Rosallion is a strong stayer at this 1m, and compared with his 2,000 Guineas run, it makes all the more sense to say he has improved for the outing. Rosallion was quicker than Notable Speech at every point of the race at Newmarket until the final three furlongs, where he looked to falter for fitness. However, he still clocked the final two furlongs only 0.62 seconds slower than the winner. The move to a more conventional track will suit Rosallion, and he is well fancied to reverse form with Notable Speech on this round mile.

The going report will influence any decision, so I will say again that no bet is advised at this time.

Should the ground come up soft, Henry Longfellow would need careful consideration, but he hasn't shown the speed the front of this market has, and although it's easy to put a line through his run in Paris, his best chance will come with soft in the going description.

It's a waiting game for now, but Rosallion is a horse I am looking forward to.

Prince Of Wales's Stakes - White Birch 9/43.25

The market has this wrong. White Birch should be holding sway at the top of the betting, having toppled the unreliable Auguste Rodin last time out at the Curragh by three widening lengths.

The four-year-old has improved hand over fist this season and arrives unbeaten. Last term, he was the "nearly" horse, having been given exaggerated hold-up rides and arriving with his challenge all too late. He looks to have strengthened this year and is firmly on an upward curve.

He won't mind what the ground is doing, having proven himself on a variety of surfaces. His unlucky second in the Dante last year looks strong, with Continuous and Passenger (also unlucky) behind. He has and can continue to improve past Auguste Rodin.

Alflaila would pose the biggest threat should he line up, but with a good blend of pace and stamina, White Birch will be tough to beat here.

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