Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot Day Four Tips: Kevin Blake likes Porta Fortuna at 7/1 in Coronation Stakes on Friday

Betfair tipster Kevin Blake
Kevin previews the Coronation Stakes on day five at Royal Ascot

After Auguste Rodin came good for the column Kevin Blake previews Friday's Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and says we are in for a fabulous contest as he picks the most appealing bet in the race...

Day Four Royal Ascot 2024 Superboost

Betfair's Royal Ascot Superboosts have been flying so far during the Festival with Tuesday's, Wednesday's and Thursday's landing at 1/12.00!

On Friday we are back with another superb Superboost again backing Betfair ambassador Ryan Moore.

He has seven rides across the card today at Royal Ascot and we are boosting him to ride 2+ winners on Friday. If you fancy him to do so you can back that at the superboosted price of 6/42.50 from 10/111.91.

Day four of Royal Ascot is almost here. As always, once the first race is run, the five-day meeting gathers pace and the action comes thick and fast. Auguste Rodin gave this column a strong result on Wednesday and hopefully we can stay on the right track for the remaining days.

Kevin Blake's Coronation Stakes analysis

The main event on the Friday is the Coronation Stakes (15:45) and it can make fair claim to be one of the best races of the whole meeting. The first three home from the 1000 Guineas will re-engage in battle with more than a couple of very interesting fillies joining the fray. It is no exaggeration to suggest that this race will remove much of the doubt as to the identity of the best three-year-old filly over a mile in Europe.

In terms of how the race is likely to pan out with regard to pace, Opera Singer (9) has made the running a few times, including when producing the best effort of her career in the Prix Marcel Boussac. She is drawn widest, but Ryan Moore is likely to try and attempt to beat that draw by pushing forward.

Ramatuelle (1) is a strong traveller that generally races prominently and proved her stamina for a mile when running so well in the 1000 Guineas. While her rider was rightfully criticised for going for home too soon that day, Oisin Murphy takes over now and seems unlikely to depart from prominent tactics from her good draw. See The Fire (6) ran well when prominent in the Fillies' Mile last year, but was ridden with more restraint on her seasonal return in the 1000 Guineas.

The key piece of form is the 1000 Guineas and that is a fascinating race to delve into. Analysis of the sectional times is crucial to help decipher the truth of what happened and that evidence strongly suggests that Ramatuelle would have won had her rider delayed asking for full effort from his mount. He used too much of her in the hottest part of the race and she paid for it late on.

Porta Fortuna was ridden with more restraint, but with the full benefit of hindsight may have made her move ever-so-slightly too soon in what was a very well-run race. In contrast, it was all happening too quickly for Elmalka in the early stages which did her the turn of keeping her out of the heat of the race until the penny dropped and she swooped to grab victory from Porta Fortuna in the dying strides.

Royal Ascot 2024 field head on.jpg

Of course, the key variable change for the Coronation Stakes is that it is run over a round mile rather than the straight mile of the Rowley Mile track at Newmarket. Assessing how that form is likely to play out over this new course will be rooted in each fillies' adaptability to the different test and how well the race is likely to go for them in tactical terms. All three are well-armed in terms of their mechanics to cope with this different test, with Ramatuelle's run style perhaps likely to be best suited to it out of the three.

The potentially gigantic fly in the ointment is the Aidan O'Brien-trained Opera Singer. Crowned the European Champion Two-Year-Old Filly last year thanks to her brilliant win in the Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp, she had a setback in the spring that saw her miss the 1000 Guineas. Aidan O'Brien made no secret of his feeling that the Irish 1,000 Guineas was coming sooner than ideal for her and that he expected her to very much need the run, but he felt that he had to run her to give him a chance of getting her to the Coronation Stakes in top form.

Considering that, Opera Singer shaped well for a long way, being well involved until fading inside the final furlong. There is a widespread, and most likely well-founded, view that she will improve significantly from that, but I do have some concerns over this course and distance being too sharp for her against this opposition.

Royal Ascot - 15:45: Back Porta Fortuna @ 7/18.00

When one looks at the stride frequencies of the main contenders, the top three from the 1000 Guineas all move and stride like what they look to be, pacey milers. However, Opera Singer is much more so a mile-and-a-quarter and potentially a mile-and-a-half filly in terms of her stride mechanics.

It doesn't mean she can't win, but it does suggest that she'll need to be much the best of these fillies to beat them at their own game over a course and distance that plays to pace more so than stamina. As well as that, she'll have to come from the widest gate of all in stall nine to do it, which raises fears that a slightly tardy start will require Betfair ambassador Ryan Moore to use plenty of petrol to get forward and across to the lead.

So, it's time for conclusions. This is a proper race and I suspect the result on the day might well come down to the run of the race rather than one filly emerging dominant. At the prices, the one I like is the Donnacha O'Brien-trained Porta Fortuna. She can make her pace pay in what promises to be a fabulous contest.

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