Royal Ascot Day One Tips: Study done now it's Time for a bet

Royal Ascot
We're off to Ascot for the first day of the Royal meeting

We're off to Ascot on Tuesday afternoon for the first day of the Royal meeting, and here with his thoughts and wagers is our resident tipster Tony Calvin...

"He is certainly exceptionally well-handicapped on a mark of 96 on the form he showed for Mark Johnston in 2018, and two of his better efforts have come at this track."

Back Time To Study at 23.022/1 or bigger in 17:00

Day One at Royal Ascot looked a pretty tough punting card on first viewing - and it is not helped by the fact that more rain is forecast on Tuesday afternoon - and I am not in the habit of betting for the sake of it.

You know the rules. If I don't back it myself, then I ain't tipping it.

Time for my first best

But the more I dug, the more gems I unearthed - he said, rather optimistically - and my idea of the best bet on Tuesday is Time To Study at 23.022/1 or bigger in the Ascot Stakes at 17:00.

It was very annoying to see the general 33/1 in the marketplace all hoovered up this morning - very annoying - but I am still happy to side with him at 20/1+.

He has hardly had the ideal prep, having his first start of the year over a wholly inadequate 1m2f at Lingfield in February, and we didn't see him again until the Chester Cup in May.

He ended up finishing well-beaten there in atrocious conditions but he shaped better than the bare form would suggest.

He had a lot of use made of him early doors to get prominent from his wide draw but he travelled well for a long way before lack of hard fitness told in the ground - the pre-race 25/1 shot traded at 4/1 in the run when sitting third 3f out - and hopefully that should have set him up nicely for this.

He is certainly exceptionally well-handicapped on a mark of 96 on the form he showed for Mark Johnston in 2018, and two of his better efforts have come at this track.

Indeed, he was rated 108 after his second to Torcedor in the Sagaro Stakes over 2m in the soft here last season, so track and ground will be ideal for him here.

The jury is out on whether he will last home over this trip, but I had him down as a grinder given the way he finished his races off over 1m6f and 2m, so the chance is well worth taking at the price.

You have to respect Buildmeupbuttercup simply due to the fact that her trainer has won this race four times in the last seven years but her recent hurdling form does not inspire.

I know she has more strings to his bow than that - and this is her Flat debut for Willie Mullins - but not for me at the price, thanks.

Gunning for glroy

There have been a fair few nibbles for Gunnery at 50/1 and 33/1 downwards since Sunday afternoon and he is very interesting on his 2016 form, after a recent spin over hurdles at Bangor to blow away three years' worth of cobwebs earlier this month, and I can fully see the case for recent Navan winner Kerosin, too.

I was going to leave Gunnery alone because I had missed the fancy prices but, when I stopped sulking, I realised he was still worth a bet at 21.020/1 or bigger (he is also 20/1 with the Sportsbook).

He is well-handicapped on his sixth in the Queen's Vase (the 2m version) here in 2016, and he did shape very well at Bangor considering that was his first run for the best part of three years and he did take a fierce tug there and still saw his race out well. It was actually a decent maiden hurdle, too.

If he settles better and steps forward here, rather than bounces, then this lightly-raced 6yo - he is having just his eighth start - could go close for a stable that won this race back in 2011. The handicapper has dropped him 6lb for that three-year gap, too.

Johnston improver to go well at a big price

No-one really likes to hear about bets you have had, but I have rather cooled on my two ante-post positions in the Queen Anne at 14:30 largely because I wasn't expecting such a big and deep field to materialise on the day.

So while I have beaten the price with Le Brivido and Romanised - I put the former up at 7/1 each way in this column, and have personally backed the latter at 100/1 and 66/1 - this race has a far stronger, and more open, look it than I would have liked.

I am obviously rooting for them both but you have to come to races with an open mind, and I am going to give Matterhorn a small-stakes spin at 32.031/1 or bigger on the exchange.

I wouldn't be as predictable to say that he has a mountain to climb form-wise, but he is the lowest-rated horse in here on turf official ratings, alongside Hazapour, another one that I can see going well (and he has been very well-backed, too).

Matterhorn has made giant strides since finishing third in a Pontefract maiden on his debut in October, with his trainer predictably not letting him get used to loafing around in his box, and he has received more like the seasoned-handicapper treatment than that of a potential Group 1 winner.

But Mark Johnston has wisely backed off him for four weeks after his Brigadier Gerard second at Sandown last month - that was his 12th start since his debut - and hopefully that short break will have done him the power of good.

Mark JOhnston.jpg

Everyone knows how well all-weather form translates to Ascot, and he has put up some big figures when winning at four of those tracks, not least when trouncing Wissahickon by 7 lengths on Finals Day at Lingfield in April.

That form doesn't leave him far off these (indeed he is rated 115 on the all-weather) and I like the angle of him dropping back to 1m with cut in the ground, with presumably a prominent ride in the offing.

His form figures over 1m read 312111, and his best turf form arguably came on soft ground in the Huxley Stakes at Chester in May.

...And Johnston can go well in the Coventry too

I don't normally bet in 2yo races but Monoski is worth an interest at 12/1 each way, four places, with the Betfair Sportsbook in the Coventry at 15:05.

Prices do change, so look out for bigger, as he was 16/1 on Monday morning.

His pedigree gives you plenty of hope that Ascot will suit, and his form certainly suggests there is every reason to be confident that he can come in the first four at least, for all there are no end of similar types in here.

The form of his second to Bomb Proof at York in a good time has been franked over and again, and he himself came out and gave a decent sort a proper 6-length seeing-to at Pontefract next time.

I wouldn't read too much into the fact that the stable rely on him rather than Visionari, ante-post second favourite for this race, but he certainly looks a pretty fair tool in his own right.

Let's hope old Braveheart has an enjoyable 40 minutes or so, then.

Light at the end of the day

With Battaash and Blue Point seemingly so dominant in King's Stand at 15:40 it is debatable whether there is much of an each-way angle into the race.

Mabs Cross, third to the two market-leaders in this race last season, is the obvious candidate for place money once again but it is a race I can leave alone.

The same pretty much applies to the St James' Palace Stakes at 16:20 though I was nearly lured in by Shaman at a double-price price.

His French 2,000 Guineas second to Persian King probably doesn't leave him with as much to find with Phoenix Of Spain and Too Darn Hot as the odds suggest and, quite clearly, any more rain would do his chances no harm.

Royal Ascot wide shot 1280.jpg

But my final bet of the day is Riven Light at 12.011/1 or bigger in the Wolferton at 17:35 though I would have gone with Global Giant at 40/1+ had the ground been quicker.

Normally when get a horse who was as unspeakably unlucky as Riven Light was at the Curragh last time, they tend to be massively over-bet next time.

So I was pleasantly surprised at his price here, for all this is obviously a very close-knit and trappy Listed race.

One problem could be that he is a horse that goes so well when fresh that the relatively quick turnaround is a slight concern, but a look at his Galway exploits in 2017 suggests he takes his racing well enough.

Trip and ground look ideal, and Colin Keane gets the chance to atone for a moderate ride last time, where he was beaten a short-head but was probably the best horse by about 2 lengths.

And the betting suggested that he may not been cherry-ripe there, too. He was 3/1 in the morning, but he hit 7/1 on Betfair near the off (going off a BSP of 7.44), so perhaps that has teed him up nicely for this, after all.

He is one of the highest-rated horses in here, so he is a bet at double-figures.

Given his huge price, I may end up backing Global Giant if Ascot misses any further rain throughout Tuesday afternoon, but I won't put him up here.


Check out the Betfair Royal Ascot podcast, where Kieran O'Connor was joined by Joseph O'Brien, Gary O'Brien and Barry Orr to preview the finest five days in the flat racing calendar


April 14 2017 to June 17 2019 inclusive (all recommended exchange bets are settled at Betfair SP)

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