Royal Ascot Day 5 Lays: Starman faces stiffest test yet

St Leger winner Logician in action
St Leger winner Logician has struggled in his last two races and needs to recover his 2019 form

Our lay bet specialist, Patrick Weaver, picks out his horses to oppose on the final day of Royal Ascot, where he believes Starman won't live up to his name...

"Logician weakened quickly on his return to the track at Newbury last month. He looked out of love with the game that day, and horses that have lost their will to win are great for layers."

I'm not a fan of betting at Flat meetings with soft or heavy going - whether it's Royal Ascot or Hamilton. Keep stakes to a minimum as it is pot luck whether a horse that has not run on turf after heavy rain will act on it.

Starman has yet to sparkle on soft going

The feature, as ever, is run at 16:20 - and it is the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, a Group 1 sprint over six furlongs.

Starman had looked likely to start favourite until the rain came. But by midday Friday he had been displaced at the head of the market by Dream Of Dreams and Nahaarr.

Oisin Murphy's mount would have been my place lay anyway, as he ran badly on his only previous start over course and distance last October. That was on soft ground and Art Power, Dream Of Dreams, Happy Power and Sonaiyla were among the 13 horses that finished in front of him.

At York last month in a Group 2 on good to soft, Starman beat Nahaarr a neck with Summerghand, Ventura Rebel, Art Power, Emaraaty Ana and Final Song four or more lengths behind.

There's no doubt Starman deserves a second crack at a Group 1 but he was found wanting on soft last autumn and may not be the answer.

Logician needs to return to his 2019 form to have any hope

I'm hoping Frankie fans will get on their smartphones and back Logician in the Hardwicke Stakes at 15:40. That will shorten the odds of my lay of the day, which has been out of form this year.

The son of Frankel won the 2019 St Leger but hasn't been the same since. He won a two-horse race at Doncaster 12 months later but was then last of four at York and weakened quickly on his return to the track at Newbury last month.

Logician looked out of love with the game that day, and horses that have lost their will to win are great for layers.

The favourite Broome has won four Group races in Ireland, and was fourth and sixth in two Derbys in 2019. He is tough, as good as he was as a three-year-old and should finish in front of Logician.

Ilaraab has won all his six races in the last 12 months. He has been stepped up in class after each success and hasn't let William Haggas down.

Wonderful Tonight closed her last campaign out with two Group 1 wins - on soft here at Ascot and on heavy at Longchamp. She gets 3lb from the colts and geldings.

Albaflora has an each-way chance, having won a Listed race over course and distance by seven lengths last month. This looks far harder, but she is proven in the muddy conditions which is a major plus.

Chesham looks out of Her Majesty's Reach

The opening race at 14:30 is the Chesham Stakes for two-year-olds over seven furlongs.

Aidan O'Brien has won four of the last 10 runnings - all ridden by Ryan Moore and all started favourite.

His Point Lonsdale is likely to be one of the shortest-priced runners of the week, and could start odds-on. Understandable, really, as he won his Curragh maiden by five lengths, drawing right away from his 10 rivals in the final furlong.

This makes him the form pick ahead of Great Max which got up close home to beat Harrow over six and a half furlongs at Newbury last week.

In addition to Point Lonsdale and Great Max, I like Sweeping which showed a good attitude when chasing home Dhabab at Leicester. The winner was sent off favourite for the Coventry Stakes on Tuesday, which shows how much the Gosdens think of him, and he would have been placed had he got a clear run and not been hampered.

With Masekela winning over six on soft at Goodwood, it is perfectly possible that the two that were first and second at Yarmouth New Science and Reach For The Moon won't get a look in.

That novices' event was run at a pedestrian pace with New Science winning with a bit in hand from Her Majesty's runner, who was outpaced and ran on late to take second.

It will inevitably come down to which ones handle the ground the best, but if you were to lay one for a place I would choose Reach For The Moon who will improve for the run and should be a lot better at three than at two.

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