Crystal Ocean scored for the Bets Of The Day team yesterday, and our trio of tipsters are looking for winners on Thursday with their selections at Royal Ascot...
"The selection has some pretty smart form and makes his handicap debut here from a mark of 102 and goes for Frankie Dettori."
I like Fox Chairman the best for King Power
King Power Racing are a growing operation and they were so close to landing a Group 1 winner on Tuesday with Beat The Bank, but today could be a bank busting day for them. They have a real contender in the Norfolk Stakes (14:30) with Sunday Sovereign and a live chance in the lucky last with Fox Premier but the one I think has the best chance is the Andrew Balding trained Fox Chairman in the Hampton Court Stakes at 15:05.
This is a race over a mile and a quarter for horses who are generally just a bit below Guineas or Derby class and this son of Kingman wasn't beaten far behind Circus Maximus (won the St James Palace Stakes on Tuesday) in the Dee Stakes at Chester when he didn't get the clearest of runs.
I have no doubt that Fox Chairman is a very talented horse and well capable of winning at this level. Even though he has only had two starts so far he is open to any amount of improvement and has to have a strong chance with a clear passage. The talented Silvestre de Sousa is in the plate I'm hoping he can keep the colt out of trouble in what could be a big day for connections.
Dee Ex Bee can strike if Stradivarius drops a note
Make no mistake Stradivarius is the one to beat in this as he tries to make it back-to-back successes in the race and as he has shown repeatedly, over the last two years, he is an exceptional stayer. So far, Stradivarius has beaten everything that has dared to challenge him, unbeaten in his last six starts. However, he may need to be at his best to keep out last year's Derby second Dee Ex Bee who has relished the step up to two miles this term.
The additional half a mile today could see even more from him today, as his trainer Mark Johnston feels there is no limit to his stamina. He won Ascot's Gold Cup trial, the Sagaro Stakes, before making all in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown Park. Even though this is his first attempt at two and a half miles I think he is worth taking a chance with at the prices and even if Straivarius does prove too good then its hard to see him out the frame.
Expressionist the big improver
Norfolk Stakes (14:30) - Back Expressionist
Expressionist is taken to upset the short priced favourite in this interesting contest.
Despite not looking fully wound up this Night Of Thunder colt beat Clan Royale on debut over this course last month. He took the lead a furlong from home, and was pushed out to win with a bit to spare. The ground will not be an issue, and I think he is open to significant improvement. The 13.012/1 on the exchange is too big to pass up, and have backed him accordingly.
Sunday Sovereign heads the market at 3.39/4 on the exchange. He was won his last two in great style including a victory over Arizona in May. He deserves his position at the head of the market, but there are some nice types in this race and is a little short for me.
Constantinople for Coolmore
King George V Handicap (15:40) - Constantinople
Constantinople can give the Coolmore team another winner in this competitive handicap.
Last time out at the Curragh this Galileo colt put in a much improved effort when winning a Group 3 from Buckhurst. He took the lead well inside the final furlong, and was going away at the finish. He should act on the ground, and will benefit from the extra yardage. He ticks a lot of boxes and is fairly priced at 5.95/1 on the exchange.
Almania merits consideration. He was outclassed in the Dante when finishing last behind Telecaster, but did not have a particularly hard race.
Will they be able to catch Frankie in the Ribblesdale?
Rather unsurprisingly, Aidan O'Brien's Fleeting heads the betting for the Group 2 Ribblesdale, but she's short enough at 11/8. Yes, she was an unlucky third in the Oaks, but she finished stone last in the 1000 Guineas. One thing that does highlight is how fillies can improve dramatically from one run to the next at this time of year.
With that in mind, I am going to play on John Gosden's Star Catcher.
Rated only 98, she would have a fair bit to find on form against the leading contenders, but I don't mind that in these sort of races. I certainly expect her to improve for the step up to 1m4f today.
She gave a strong impression that she's a proper staying filly when she bolted up in a Newbury maiden earlier in the season over 1m2f. She raced handy and seemed to relish the soft conditions. The 3yo powered home and looked ever-so-strong when she hit the line. Success in the same race 12 months earlier went to Lah Ti Dar.
Her last run was at Listed level (again at Newbury) on quick going. She was wide early and Frankie Dettori kicked on to make the pace. She wasn't beaten far, but watching her action, she looks more of a soft ground horse.
Bred for this sort of test with a liking already shown for testing conditions, she'll have the optimum set-up. She might not be good enough to beat Fleeting, but I doubt she'll lack for stamina and rates a fair each-way bet too at 7/1.
Gosden has a strong hand in big handicap
I swerved the Hunt Cup yesterday, but I am happy to have a go at the Britannia on Thursday. It's also an Extra Place Special race with six places at 1/5 odds and the option of using the Edge.
Operating firmly on those drawn high, I initially looked at Beatboxer. He somehow managed to win a decent handicap at Haydock last time and flew home. But I worry about the ground as he's a Scat Daddy.
My bet is Gosden's 'other one' in Turgenev. He ticks the high draw box in 22 and comes into the race from a different angle having competed in some decent contests. He was third in the Derby Trial at Epsom earlier this season, and he followed up that effort with a fair run in the Dante. He was well beaten, but he wasn't disgraced.
He looked a bit of a suspect stayer over 1m2f, so the move in dropping down to 1m is a plus for this race, and just tucked in off a fast pace should suit perfectly.
Turgenev has acted on good to soft which allays one or two fears, but he should handle testing conditions with his pedigree as a Dubawi by Tasaday. His dam had plenty of form in soft and heavy conditions.
The selection has some pretty smart form and makes his handicap debut here from a mark of 102 and goes for Frankie Dettori.
Norfolk Stakes (14:30) – Back Expressionist
King George V Handicap (17:35)) – Constantinople