Royal Ascot

2024 Royal Ascot: Rhys Williams has six eyecatchers from last week's action

Royal Ascot
Our racing expert has six eyecatchers from 2024 Royal Ascot

Our resident tipster has reviewed the five days from the Royal meeting and has six horses to follow going forward in their careers...

  • Rhys Williams has six eye-catchers from 2024 Royal Ascot

  • Horses to keep onside next time out

  • Handicappers that can go well dropped in class


Cowardofthecounty stayed on well to win on debut but that victory came on much softer ground than he raced on at Ascot and the increased test of speed looked to find him out in the Coventry.

He has to be nudged along at the back of the field early on and was switched to the middle of the track to make his challenge, which probably wasn't the ideal place to be, before running on strongly to finish seventh.

He looks an obvious type to improve for a step up in trip.


Naqeeb hasn't looked straightforward and cheekpieces were applied for the first time in the staying handicap on Tuesday.

He was dropped out in last and was still there turning into the home straight. He began to make some headway but could never get a clear run and wasn't given a hard time late on, finishing twelfth.

It might be that the trouble in running prevented him from showing his quirks again but I'm prepared to give him another chance in a similar contest with the headgear on.


It was beneficial to race handily in the Queen's Vase and I think Birdman did well to finish as close up as he did having been more patiently ridden.

He raced towards the back of the field and out three wide for much of the race. He was still travelling strongly turning into the home straight and closed on Illinois but he still looked green and could only finish third.

his experience should bring him on mentally and under more favourable circumstances, I think there's more to come from Birdman.

French Duke

French Duke made his handicap debut in the King George V Handicap and shaped better than his finishing position suggests.

He was gradually restrained to race towards the back of the field early on and then got hampered by Chantilly and raced keenly without cover.

The colt made some headway very wide and that continued around the final bend which left him in a position to challenge two furlongs out but making such a big move out wide took its toll late on and he faded to finish sixth.

He looks capable of winning a handicap of similar quality over this trip or dropped back to around 1m2f.

Chicago Critic

Chicago Critic was stepped up in class and sent off at a big price in the Jersey and he ran very well. He was held up in a race that wasn't too strongly run and he was still travelling well in behind horses two furlongs out.

Once switched out for a run, he picked up well but didn't quite have the speed of a couple of his rivals and finished third.

This was a big step up from Chicago Critic and I think he could be even better back over a mile.


Orazio didn't quite become the sprinter that he looked capable of being early last season but he put up a big effort in defeat in the Wokingham.

Once coming out of the stalls, he was immediately restrained to race at the back of the field. He was still there two furlongs out before being switched to get a clear run on the near side and he took off inside the final furlong to finish third, clocking the quickest final furlong by nearly half a second.

It might be that he's not the most reliable but if Orazio can build on this then he could be capable of progressing out of handicap company at some time.

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