Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot Day Two Tips: Kevin Blake says Auguste Rodin can return to victory in Prince Of Wales's Stakes

Betfair ambassador Kevin Blake
Kevin previews the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes on day two at Royal Ascot

Kevin Blake discusses the clash of Group 1 winners at Royal Ascot on day two before revealing which one he is backing in the feature Prince of Wales's Stakes...

Day Two Royal Ascot 2024 Superboost

2024 Royal Ascot started with a bang on Tuesday with our Superboost of Henry Longfellow to finish in the top 4 of the St James's Palace Stakes landed easily!

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

He has a great chance on multiple Group One winner Auguste Rodin in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at 16:25 today, and if you fancy the horse to run well you can back it at the super-boosted price of 1/12.00 from 4/91.44 to finish in the top two today.

By the time you read this, Royal Ascot will very much be up and running. Hopefully the opening day results have been kind to you and excitement levels are just as high for day two.

Mind, even if the ball didn't bounce the right way on the opening day, remember that Royal Ascot is a long week. Such is the nature of much of the racing, most people will be playing at bigger prices that they often will and in that situation, it only takes one home run to change the complexion of the week.

Group 1 winners clash in Prince of Wales's Stakes on Day Two

The Prince Of Wales's Stakes (16:25) is the main event of the day and while it has lost some of its intrigue with White Birch not turning up, it will be the staging ground for a fascinating clash between the multiple Group 1 winners Auguste Rodin and Inspiral.

Before getting into the contenders, it is worth considering the pace. It seems to be many years now since we were in the era of pacemakers. They were much more common in years past, with multiple big operations often deploying their own pacemakers in a single race. There has been a move away from them in more recent times and I would argue that Group 1 racing has suffered for it, as less pace tends to mean more compressed finishes and more emphasis on luck in running.

However, this race might well see a return to the era of the pacemaker based on what we see on paper. Ballydoyle look to have a pacemaker for Auguste Rodin in the shape of Hans Anderson (6). He is a 103-rated colt that made the running at a solid tempo in the Tattersalls Gold Cup and was good enough to hold onto the lead until a furlong-and-a-half from home.

Intriguingly, the Maurizio Guarnieri team also run an apparent pacemaker in Snobbish (9), but whether he'll be up to the job is a fair question. He made his way to the front after a furlong or so when winning a maiden over a mile-and-a-quarter on the all-weather at Pau in December, but hasn't got to the lead in his last two starts in conditions races. Whether he will be able to contribute the pace of this race in a meaningful way from stall nine is questionable.

If Snobbish doesn't get involved, Ballydoyle might well be able to control the pace of the race as they wish via Hans Anderson. Auguste Rodin seems best suited by racing reasonably close to an even pace, so that might well be the way it plays out. Auguste Rodin can jump to go forward from stall three while Hans Anderson is fired forward from stall six to lead, leaving Auguste Rodin to follow him.

Blue Rose Cen (4) usually likes to sit prominent and might well be happy to sit outside Auguste Rodin with Inspiral , Horizon Dore, Lord North and Alflaila likely to be held up.

Inspiral may struggle to pass stamina test

Now, what of the contenders. Inspiral is a five-time Group 1 winner over a mile and is well established as a tip-top performer on her day, for all that she can have an occasional off day, which is what she had on her seasonal return in an unusual running of the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

That was a race run at an unusually high tempo and examination of the stride frequencies of all the runners in it show that the vast majority of the field were revving at close to their maximums from the outset before weakening late on. For Inspiral and others, they never got a breather, the pressure never relented. On what was her seasonal reappearance, Inspiral just couldn't cope with that and was beaten 13 lengths.

That run can be forgiven, as can the runs of most of those in behind. There are very few Group 1 races over a mile that are run like the Lockinge was and that so many failed to cope with it demonstrates the extent to which it can be forgiven.

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Now, the key variable here is the unexpected decision to switch Inspiral from the familiar territory of the Queen Anne Stakes to the longer trip of the Prince Of Wales's Stakes. Many are likely to not consider this an issue given that Inspiral won on her one and only run over a mile-and-a-quarter miles in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, but I wouldn't like to use this an indisputable evidence that she'll be fully effective at the same trip at Ascot.

A mile-and-a-quarter around Santa Anita is very much a test of speed and in that race there was a particular emphasis on speed. The mid-race tempo was tepid and the finish was fast as a result, with Inspiral producing a searing final furlong of 10.78 seconds to come from an unpromising position to get up close home. As well as it being a speed-focused mile-and-a-quarter, the form isn't quite at the same level of her very best form over a mile.

When one looks at Inspiral in striding terms, she has all the attributes of a pacey miler that had the class to get away with a speed-focused and sharp mile-and-a-quarter on firm ground in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf. A mile-and-a-quarter at Ascot will represent a far stiffer test of stamina. There is also a possibility that she will find herself in an disadvantageous position, as the regular slow starter is highly likely to be dropped in from the widest stall in pursuit of cover. To me, this all adds up to make her an unappealing prospect for the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at her current price.

Royal Ascot - 16:25: Back Auguste Rodin

Auguste Rodin will not be considered a reliable conveyance by everyone as a result of his high-profile blowout runs in the last two seasons, but there can be no questioning his class based on his very best efforts. He has put together a remarkable CV of five Group 1 wins from a mile to a mile-and-a-half. The fact that the pulls up when in front also suggests that we may not have seen the absolute best of him on his best days.

While his profile thus far has been one of boom or bust, he muddied the waters with a run that sat somewhere in between for this first time when he finished second to the improved White Birch in the Tattersalls Gold Cup last time. The rain that arrived before the race wouldn't have been ideal for him, but the run did represent a step back in the right direction after a lifeless effort in the Dubai Sheema Classic.

The return to faster ground is sure to suit Auguste Rodin and there is a chance that he will come on from his run at the Curragh. This race is likely to set up kindly for him and my view is that we are likely to see a return to victory for him.

Now head to our Royal Ascot 2024 hub for tips, previews and analysis

Listen to Racing Only Bettor's Day Two 2024 Royal Ascot Preview...

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