Patrick Weaver returns to look at the best lay bets for Gold Cup day at Royal Ascot, and explains why Queen Power is not the answer to the Ribblesdale Stakes...
"The current prices of Fleeting and Queen Power do not truly reflect their achievements to date."
Sir Michael Stoute has one of the best records of any trainer at Royal Ascot, and had a winner yesterday with Crystal Ocean. He will be hoping for a second today, but Queen Power has a stiff task.
Queen Power needs to improve considerably if she is to take the Ribblesdale Stakes at 15:40.
Weak Oaks trial
Her latest success in a weak Oaks trial at Newbury earned her an official rating of 100, and her supporters can rightly point out that she is improving.
Her main market rival, Fleeting, has been keeping better company and was a fast-finishing third in the Oaks at Epsom. Given she was down the field in the 1,000 Guineas, she too is clearly improving - yet Fleeting, who is rated 110, is 2.829/5 and Queen Power (100) is 43/1. Their current prices do not truly reflect their achievements to date.
Potential to improve further
Frankellina 8.27/1 could well finish in front of Queen Power, too. She dead-heated for second in the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes, a more significant trial for the Oaks than the one Queen Power contested at Newbury. She was five lengths behind Fleeting at Epsom but has the potential to improve further.
Queen Power should be laid in the Ribblesdale Stakes win market at 3.55/2.
King Ottokar looks the best place lay in the Hampton Court Stakes at 15:05.
The first four in the betting for this 10-furlong Group Three for three-year-olds are all under 3 in the place market. King Ottokar's form is not nearly as good as that of Cape Of Good Hope yet there is only a point between them in the betting, due to King Ottakar having won both his races at Newbury on soft ground. Cape Of Good Hope is 6.411/2 and King Ottokar 98/1.
Trouble in running
Fox Chairman 65/1 was a close third to Tuesday's winner Circus Maximus in their Derby trial at Chester. He would have finished closer to the winner had he not met trouble in running in the short straight, so that was a really good run in the context of this race.
Sangarius, Headman, Roseman, Kick On, Great Scot and Arthur Kitt all have similar ratings to King Ottokar, so if you add Cape Of Good Hope and Fox Chairman, we have eight on our side.
I suggest laying King Ottokar, at 32/1 in the Hampton Court Stakes place market.
The third lay is in the closing race, and the riskiest of the three as there are four places in the King George V Handicap at 17:35 which has 19 runners.
My lay, Sir Ron Priestley, has been well-backed all week despite having not run on going softer than good. That suggests that his trainer, Mark Johnston, thinks the three-year-old may be better still with give in the ground.
Johnston won the race 12 months ago with Baghdad, and the successful rider, Andrea Atzeni, has again been booked for Sir Ron Priestley.
Only two winners
Although the Sardinian has only ridden two winners for Johnston, over half of his 22 mounts for him have finished in the first four - not surprising as he tends to ride his horses out to the line, and rarely drops his hands when he sees he cannot win.
Despite these positives, I feel Sir Ron Priestley, 7.413/2, is not as promising as Baghdad was coming into the race last June. He also has to race off a 4lb higher rating.
Johnston's other runners, Summer Moon 2221/1 and Persian Moon 4443/1 make more appeal despite their odds.
With Aidan O'Brien running four - including the top two in the handicap, Constantinople 5.85/1 and Antilles 2221/1 - Sir Ron Priestley is worth laying at 3.211/5 in the King George V place market.
Lay Queen Power to Win in the 15:40 at 3.505/2 or shorter
Lay King Ottokar to Place in the 15:05 at 32/1 or shorter
Lay Sir Ron Priestley to Place in the 17:35 at 3.211/5 or shorter