Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot 2024 Tips: Kevin Blake's five best bets from 9/4 to 16/1

Betfair tipster Kevin Blake
Kevin Blake puts up his five best bets for the 2024 Royal Ascot meeting

Kevin Blake provides us with his five best bets ahead of the 2024 Royal Ascot meeting, ranging from 9/43.25 to 16/117.00

Royal Ascot is here! While it doesn't get a fraction of the prolonged build-up that the Cheltenham Festival gets, Royal Ascot is arguably the very best five-day meeting anywhere in the racing world. The fact that it serves to sneak up on us is beneficial from a betting perspective as both the betting public and the odds compilers are largely coming at these races fresh with less than a week before it kicks off, so the possibility of errors being made that punters can capitalise on is higher.

We have an added layer of intrigue this year as, just as a wider audience is tuning into the entries and starting to formulate opinions, the very real threat of rain from Thursday onwards is quite literally muddying the waters. History has shown us that Ascot has a great capacity to take rain, but if the better part of an inch of rain that is at the upper end of the current forecast duly falls, the meeting might well start on ground that is softer than good.

That is the assumption on which I'm going to base my selections at this stage, so just bear in mind that things might well change if the rain doesn't materialise. I'll be writing daily columns on Royal Ascot for Betting.Betfair, so keep an eye out for those as they'll take account of all the latest ground information and other important variables such as the draw and pace maps etc.

Tuesday - King Charles III Stakes: Back Moss Tucker @ 16/117.00

The sprinting divisions are wide open at present. While many will be putting their hope in Big Evs emerging as a dominant youngster in the King Charles III Stakes, I have a ground-related selection that could well run a huge race at a big price in the shape of the Ken Condon-trained Moss Tucker.

The six-year-old has been in the mix in Group sprints for the last couple of seasons and had his big day when relishing the late rain to win the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh last September. The form of that race can be picked at, but it was far from his first time to hit that sort of level and he wasn't far off it when making an impressive return to action under a penalty in the Woodlands Stakes at Naas.

The rain failed to arrive in time for him prior to the Greenlands Stakes on his latest start, but he still travelled notably well prior to weakening late in a well-run race. He has a bit to find with some of his rivals, but rain will be the equaliser he requires. If the ground is softer than good, he will outrun his big price.

Tuesday - St James's Palace Stakes: Back Henry Longfellow @ 4/15.00

The St James's Palace Stakes is shaping up to be one of the best races of the week at the minute, but if the rain arrives as is forecast, it could turn it on it's head and there is a betting angle to potentially capitalise on this.

Rosallion is currently the second favourite and will have a serious chance of getting revenge on Notable Speech if the ground is quick, but if the rain arrives there is a fair chance that Rosallion won't run. As well as that, the Aidan O'Brien-trained Henry Longfellow will very much be suited by rain and is sure to shorten in the market if it does rain.

He was one of the best two-year-olds in Europe last year and is very much bred to be a better three-year-old. His comeback run in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains can be forgiven as everything went wrong and that run is likely to bring him forward in conditioning terms. He is worth taking a chance on at current prices in the hope that the rain arrives as promised.

Tuesday - Ascot Stakes: Back Zanndabad @ 7/18.00

The first handicap of the meeting is the Ascot Stakes and it is sure to be a cracker. Irish-trained horses won this race five years in a row from 2014 to 2018 and while the home team have retained it for the five years since, I think this could be the year the Irish get it back.

19 years have passed since Tony Martin won this race with Leg Spinner and he might well have a heavy connection to another winner of it in the shape of Zanndabad. Martin has had charge of him since December 2022 and he produced by far his best effort for him on his most recent start in the Chester Cup. Held up in rear, he looked to be full of running entering the closing stages, but he was pocketed in behind horses that weren't going nearly as well as him. Having had to switch to the outside to get a run, he didn't find open country until hitting the furlong pole. Once in the clear he flashed home to finish a never-nearer and unlucky third beaten just a length.

As well as how well he shaped in visual terms, the tracking data from Total Performance Data only serves to hammer home just how unlucky he was. Not only did he travel 11.6 meters further than the winner and four meters further than the runner-up, but he also ran the final furlong in 11.46 seconds, the fastest furlong of any horse in the race excluding the first furlong. In short, he was very unlucky. With his trainer currently serving a suspension, Zanndabad has been switched to Martin's sister Cathy O'Leary who has taken over, but not much is likely to have changed in his training. He looks to have a serious chance.

Wednesday - Prince Of Wales's Stakes: Back White Birch @ 9/43.25

The Prince Of Wales's Stakes is one of the traditional highlights of this meeting and this year it is set to feature a rematch between Auguste Rodin and White Birch from their meeting in the Tattersalls Gold Cup last month. On that occasion it was White Birch that emerged as the surprisingly easy victor over his higher-profile rival, but the clock strongly suggests that there was no fluke about what transpired.

White Birch seems a much-improved performer this year having matured in physical and mental terms. However, the market retains a lot of faith in Auguste Rodin and makes him favourite to reverse form from the Curragh. That doesn't seem quite right and White Birch very much looks to represent the value in the market at present.

Perhaps the prices reflect a doubt about White Birch's participation but given that his alternative options aren't nearly as attractive as this and that the promised rain will very much help him, it will be a surprise if his connections decide against running on Wednesday. If he is indeed confirmed, he seems sure to shorten quite a bit in price and is likely to take plenty of beating.

Friday - Coronation Stakes: Porta Fortuna @ 7/18.00

The Coronation Stakes has the potential to be a highly competitive affair with so much Classic form being brought to the table and sent around a bend. The different configuration of the race promises to be impactful and one filly that will be well suited by the bend is the Donnacha O'Brien-trained Porta Fortuna.

The daughter of Caravaggio has always been a pacey filly having won the Albany Stakes and the Cheveley Park Stakes last year, but she showed her stamina for a mile when finishing an excellent neck second to Elmalka in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket last month. She even shaped a little bit better than the result, as she made her move earlier than the eventual winner and was pounced on late.

She is a particularly fast strider and promises to be well suited by the different set of attributes required for this round mile. She wouldn't want too much rain but looks to have a big chance in what in a fantastic race on paper.

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

Listen to Racing Only Bettor's 2024 Royal Ascot Preview...

Recommended bets


New customers only. Bet £10 on the Betfair Sportsbook at odds of min EVS (2.0) and receive £50 in FREE Bet Builders, Accumulators or Multiples to use on any sport. T&Cs apply.

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