Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot Tips for Friday: Tony Calvin's best bets for Day Four

Betfair horse racing tipster Tony Calvin on Royal Ascot Day Four
TC recommends five to back at Royal Ascot on day four

Tony Calvin makes the case for four day four bets at Royal Ascot and his best of the afternoon runs in the 15:05...

Day Four Royal Ascot 2024 Superboost

Betfair's Royal Ascot Superboosts have been flying so far during the Festival with Tuesday's, Wednesday's and Thursday's landing at 1/12.00!

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

He has seven rides across the card today at Royal Ascot and we are boosting him to ride 2+ winners on Friday. If you fancy him to do so you can back that at the superboosted price of 6/42.50 from 10/111.91.

The reason why we have seen such extreme betting moves at Royal Ascot this year seems obvious to me.

Simply, it has never been easier to move markets so dramatically for so little money.

Even though it has its limitations, bookmakers still follow the Betfair Exchange, and when the bigger betting beasts (be it syndicates or whoever) start to unload late on there, and keep on hitting the blue button until the stalls open, then everyone else quickly falls into line, perhaps with little money actually changing hands.

Fixed-odds bookmakers understandably take evasive action for nowt, rather than clipping the odds due to weight of money.

Now, not for a minute do I think that significant wagers are not placed elsewhere at meetings like this - even in these affordability times - but I don't think anyone would seriously dispute that the betting waters have ever been shallower.

So when a whale takes a late dip, money displacement immediately occurs, and the tide surges.

And when we get a shortener like Kassaya in the Queen Mary yesterday, or a winning gamble like Aint Nobody in the Windsor Castle (it could be significant that the extreme moves came in juvenile races, in which there was little form to go on - in comparison, the markets were pretty static for Illinois and Auguste Rodin, for example) then everything else has to drift in an Exchange market betting to around 103-4 per cent.

That in itself doesn't explain the insane lengthening of the Betfair Exchange odds of the Queen Mary one-two of Leovanni and Mighty Eriu in Wednesday's opener, for example, but it is a contributing factor.

The less money in markets, the faster they will move.

Matt Chapman had a close shave there, as I had to ditch my original intro, about his comments about me on a recent podcast, to get that betting line in....

Royal Ascot - 14:30: No bet

It has been a frustrating morning of prices changing at the last minute, and one collapsing, but we will soldier on.

I won't be contributing to the Levy in the Albany Stakes at 14:30 - though I strongly suspect I would be doing so if I got involved - as it looks another impossible big-field 2yo race to these eyes.

Plenty disagree it seems, as the Sportsbook betting is dominated by Fairy Godmother and Mountain Breeze at 6/42.50 and 11/43.75 respectively - though both are bigger on the Exchange - and it is the 10s the field outside of that pair if you shop around.

Betfair ambassador Ryan Moore seems pretty bullish about Fairy Godmother in his Day Four column, while namechecking his main market rival, but the problem in these situations is nobody knows what is lurking beneath them in the betting, as we have seen many times this week in juvenile races already.

And it could well be that stablemate Heavens Gate, top price at 10s with the Sportsbook who are paying four places, beats the pair of them.

Ryan Moore celebrates Oaks on Tuesday.jpg

They were heading to the Queen Mary with her before a late change of heart, and that looks the right call, as she was dominant late on over 6f in a good time at the Curragh recently.

If you wanted a bet in the race, then she'd be my idea of it, though I will stress I am not parting with any cash myself. Or at least anything meaningful.

It has been a pretty quiet betting week for me so far, and that continues here, in truth.

But I've pinpointed a few small-stakes bets, so bear with me.

Royal Ascot - 15:05: Back Starlust

Inisherin is the Sportsbook's 9/43.25 favourite for the Commonwealth Cup at 15:05 and he is certainly the one to beat after running very well in the Guineas and bolting up at Haydock last time.

But I just don't play at these prices. Getting a winner on the board is always nice, but I play the long game - as much as it can be painful at big meetings - and I don't think there is much juice in his price anyway.

The Sportsbook are paying four places and I am going to utilise those and back Starlust each-way at 10/111.00.

A good class 2yo, whose best effort probably came when third to Big Evs over 5f at Santa Anita, he disappointed behind Jasour when well backed on his UK return here (they surely rode him too aggressively) but they certainly didn't miss with the money when he bolted up in a handicap off 105 over the minimum trip at York last time under more patient tactics. He was a big shortener there.

So you could argue his two best efforts have come over 5f, and he faces a stiff 6f here.

But I personally don't think it will be an issue with the emphasis on pace here, and he has a load of 6f form anyway, and that York race looks strong.

The runner-up finished a good second (of 16) at Thirsk last time, and the third, sixth, eighth and 10th have all won since.

The first-time blinkers are unexpected (Ralph Beckett has an okay record with them, see below) but the trainer will have his reasons, so that is not going to deter me.

He is actually the highest-rated horse in here after the York run - there is no stand-out in this Group 1 - and he looks a good each-way bet.

I did toy with Malc as a win-only saver as he finished second in the Norfolk here last season and he also shaped well behind Elite Status on his return, not knocked about, but I probably wanted a shade more than the Sportsbook's 16/117.00 to get involved.

I think it is a fair price, but he is 20s elsewhere and that was the kind of ballpark price I was aiming for.

If I can get 20s+ on the Exchange once it beefs up later this afternoon or tomorrow morning (I am publishing this on Thursday morning), I'll probably play him win-only there, even if I suspect he lacks the class of some of these. He is very lightly-raced, though. I kind of half-like 25s chance Pandora's Gift too, as she has a great way of racing, but I'll stop there before I mention all of the field.

It pains me to even read Ramatuelle's name after the one that got away in the 1,000 Guineas, a race in which she would have won had a rocket not been inserted Aurelien Lemaitre's derriere at the three-furlong pole.

That was the longest last 50 yards of my 2024 betting life, as she emptied into third.

Lemaitre has got the bullet (and I bet he got the aforementioned rocket by connections after the race), and Oisin Murphy takes over. And with a more measured ride, and luck in running, then she surely overturns the Newmarket form with Elmalqa and Porta Fortuna.

Stall one worries me, as does the stiff mile, even round a bend, but perhaps Murphy will be told to go on to minimise trouble in running, though Content in three could be in here as a spoiler on the front end.

You have to fear her stablemate Opera Singer, drawn in nine, as she looked a worldie in the Boussac last year and she was thought to need the run badly on her return, after a setback, in the Irish 1,000 Guineas last time, but I can't see how she is 13/82.63 against Ramatuelle's price.

Perhaps bookmakers are reading too much into the trainer's comments about the Curragh run last time rather than concentrating on the run, which saw her soundly beaten in third.

I was very tempted to tip Ramatuelle at 9/25.50 with the Sportsbook, but the presence of Content worries me, as does the stamina angle, so I will sit it out.

And, in any case, the 9/25.50 has just become 7/24.50. Every little counts. In my book, at least. Devoted Queen has just been taken out of the race.

Royal Ascot - 16:25: Back Party Central

I had to do a double-take when I saw that Ethical Diamond had been put in at 9/43.25 by the Sportsbook in the 16:25.

Sure, he looks to hold a good chance for the Willie Mullins-Ryan Moore axis, and they think he will love the ground, but he wouldn't interest me at the 11/43.75 elsewhere - all the 3s was taken on Thursday morning - so that is a big pass and a half.

I am going to play two, win-only, against him, even if the Sportsbook are paying six places.

The first was going to be Bague D'Or for the in-form James Ferguson at 20s with the Sportsbook, but his price was clipped into 16s, and then slashed to 11s just before this went live I had to pull the tip and do a re-write.

Which was a shame as I will keep in the case I made for him below.

I tend to take Newmarket form with a pinch of salt but he did it well over 1m6f there and hopefully a 5lb rise hasn't scuppered his chance here.

His best form is over further than this 1m4f contest, but I have six potential pace angles here and I love his draw in 22. One from one at Ascot, and a horse who loves fast ground, hopefully he will hopefully arrive late on the scene, high, wide and handsome.

I was surprised to see Party Central on offer at 40.039/1 on the Exchange when I did my final sweep of prices on Thursday morning.

I'll play fair though, and suggest you have a few quid on her at 33s with the Sportsbook, or 34.033/1 or bigger on the Exchange. I'd personally take the Sportsbook price.

She has a quick turnaround to overcome as she ran here in the 1m6f Copper Horse on Tuesday, but presumably she stayed in Ascot and didn't return home, so no travelling has been involved, and she did remarkably well to finish eighth there considering she was second-last turning in.

This sweet-traveller has the pace for this challenge, having won over the trip and even over an extended 1m1f last season, and I like her draw in 15, too.

Declan McDonogh, who rode her at Down Royal two starts ago, replaces Tuesday's jockey Jamie Spencer.

I am hoping both of my jockeys take the cowards' route and come wide to avoid trouble, even if it means forfeiting some ground.

Royal Ascot - 17:05: No bet

As I have already said this week, you need to effectively back a four-timer to cop in the 30-runner straight-track handicaps here - there will be at least three groups, and then you have to get the winner of the one that leads the way at the line - so I am going to sit out the Sandringham at 17:05.

The Sportsbook are paying six places here though, and my nominal two against the field each way would be Soprano at 28s (she actually looks pretty solid, as far as this race goes, especially as I think a mile promises to suit) and Gushing Gold at 100s.

The latter also has a stamina question to answer and comes here in relatively modest nick, but she is well handicapped off 92, will love the ground, and ran well in the Albany here last year, a race that Soprano actually came third in.

The more I looked at her, the more I was tempted by that three-figure price (the best out there), but I decided to stick to my non-betting guns. It really does look an incredibly competitive race, and I imagine that 100s would go tout suite, anyway.

I couldn't put you off Soprano at 28s, though.

Royal Ascot - 17:40: Back Chief Little Rock

One of the Sportsbook's odds-compilers may be a Sectionalista as Mondo Man is just 12s with them, when he is 14s and 16s (the latter in five places on the Oddschecker grid), in the King Edward VII Stakes at 17:40.

He was coming home strongest of all in the French Derby and surely William Buick, who retains the ride, will look to ride him closer to the pace here. If indeed, the horse consents to, and the trip and the ground are other unknowns.

I'll probably have a win-only saver on him on the Exchange, so I don't lose if he wins.

Unlucky Goodwood runner-up Space Legend and Ryan Moore's mount Diego Velazquez head the betting at 4/15.00, but I like the Wayne Lordan-ridden Chief Little Rock at 9/110.00 win-only with the Sportsbook or 11.010/1 or bigger on the Exchange.

I'll be going down the latter route - he is 12.011/1 as this goes live - as I'll be sticking in an in-running lay at just over evens.

He really upped his game when making all over 1m2f at the Curragh last time, and while that form will need improving on here, I envisage him getting to the front once again from trap one. The stats tell you the inside draw is not great, but it could be beneficial here given his run-style.

I have his stablemate Agenda and Space Legend as potential pace pressure, but hopefully he wins the internal Ballydoyle vote for who goes forward out of their quartet, and Space Legend could be ridden conservatively from eight.

I appreciate some may see him in the guise of a pacemaker here, in the mould of Unquestionable on Tuesday, but I think he will be running under his own steam and will set the pace to suit him, and not others.

I hope so, anyway.

This is Chief Little Rock's first attempt at 1m4f and it will be the quickest ground he has raced on, but he is by Galileo and he is a full brother to Okita Soushi, who won the 1m4f Duke Of Edinburgh on fast ground here last year, and who also won over 2m.

Royal Ascot - 18:15: Back Mon Na Slieve

I appreciate it is a 28-runner 5f handicap but I don't think I ever seen so much pace on paper than is the case in the 18:15.

Good luck if you are betting here, and I didn't think I would be of much assistance, given my earlier comments about having to get a acca up.

But then one caught my eye at 33/134.00 each-way, five places (there are more enhanced place terms elsewhere but that is top price), and I was willing to take the chance,

Actually, he was 50s when he caught my eye but I am still willing to play at 33s.

Kevin Ryan and Jamie Spencer, successful with Ain't Nobody in the Windsor Castle on Wednesday, team up again with Mon Na Slieve and he was the one I landed on.

He ran a pretty good race in the Norfolk here last season, and I liked the way he travelled into his race at York on his return behind Big Evs. He only finished fifth but you can mark up that run as he was disadvantaged by racing on his own on the near side.

A 190,000 guineas breeze-up purchase, he is a lightly-raced and well-bred colt (he is by Exceed And Excel out of a 104-rated Godolphin mare), there is hopefully some upside from an opening handicap mark of 91.

I have no idea if stall 10 is good, bad or indifferent, but it is not going to worry me at 50s.

Good luck.

Ground and weather

Good to firm - forecast is dry, so watering taking place each evening. 5mm put on whole track on Wednesday evening..

Balloted out

Ante-post punters are entitled to their money back.


Reserves: Ziggy, Tony Montana and Ndaawi (so likely to be balloted out)

Balloted out: Belhaven, Simply Sondheim, Two Brothers, Knightswood, Mysterious Love, Maghlaak, Al Anoud, Defence of Fort, Intellotto, Sanitiser


Reserves: Shin Jidai, Queen Of Atlantis, Mercury Day (so likely to be balloted out)

Balloted out: Surveyor, Secret World, Winterfair, Cheshire Dancer


Reserves: Kendall Roy, Myconian, Completely Random (so likely to be balloted out)

Balloted out: Sergeant Wilko, Reveiller, Equity Law, Harvanna, Ziggy's Missile, Due For Luck, Goal Exceeded, Irish Nectar, Trefor, Curious Rover, Media Shooter, Grandlad, The Coffee Pod, Split The Profit

First time headgear

Joseph O'Brien - blinkers 10-114 (since 2016)

Geoff Oldroyd - visor 2-17 (2009)

Ralph Beckett - blinkers 36-234 (2009)

Aidan O'Brien - visor 11-48 (2009)

Ralph Beckett - cheekpieces 6-35 (2016)

No reliable headgear stats for Christophe Ferland

Pace maps (manually done)

2.30pm (very little evidence to go on): Burning Pine, Cradle Of Love, Heavens Gate, Peregrine Falcon, Twafeeg

3.05pm: Givemethebeatboys, Inisherin, Orne, Pandora's Gift

3.45pm: Opera Singer, Content? Ramatuelle?

4.25pm: Kolossal, Mandoob, Cumulonimbus, Sea King, Fairbanks, Struth

5.05pm: Kitty Rose (prominent), Everlasting, Hard To Resist, Fair Angelica? , Flight Of Fancy, Sattwa, Cat Ninja, My Margie, Mrs Morrell, Viennoise, Raknah, Strutting, Flawless, Battle Queen

5.40pm: Agenda? , Chief Little Rock, Space Legend?

6.15pm: Toca Madera, Woodhay Wonder?, Got To Love A Grey, Jubilee Walk. Majestic Beauty (prom), Matters Most, Tazara, Shagraan, Pilgrim, Mukafaah, Mon Na Slieve?, Dyrholaey, Dorny Lake, Hedge Fund, No Half Measures, Thunder Blue, Vantheman (prom)

Trainer form

For all with entries in Friday's races (does not include Thursday's results, but all recent runners assessed individually):

Excellent: George Boughey (going great guns),, Aidan O'Brien, Willie Mullins, Brian Ellison, Patrice Cottier, James Ferguson

Good: Roger Varian, David O'Meara (given number of runners), William Haggas (improving), Ralph Beckett, James Fanshawe, Charlie Appleby, Jack Davison, William Muir and Chris Grassick, Geoff Oldroyd (only one recent runner; 2024 as a whole), Charlie Johnston, Hugo Palmer, Clive Cox, Gemma Tutty, David and Nicola Barron, Kevin Ryan

Fair: Ed Walker, Karl Burke, Richard Hannon, Andrew Balding, Jessie Harrington, Owen Burrows (very few runners, as usual and arguably more moderate), Eve Johnson Houghton, Ollie Sangster, Gary and Josh Moore, Donnacha O'Brien (very few runners), Harry Eustace, Johnny Murtagh, Adrian Murray, John and Thady Gosden, Richard Fahey, Christopher Head, George Baker (two recent winners), Sir Mark Prescott, Eve Johnson Houghton, Kevin Ryan, P & J Brandt, Adrian Murray, Archie Watson

Moderate: Joseph O'Brien, Richard Spencer, Mick Appleby, Richard Hughes,, Marco Botti,, Kevin Philippart De Foy, Amy Murphy, George Scott, Brian Meehan (though a 80-1 winner of Coventry helped), Emmet Mullins, Stuart Williams, Jamie Osborne (though he had a very welcome 12-1 winner on Tuesday night), Gerard Keane, Christophe Ferland, Grant Tuer, Gordon Elliott, Tom Ward, Ollie Sangster, John and Sean Quinn, F-H Graffard, Gay Kelleway

Who knows? Wesley Ward, Mick Price and Michael Kent Jr

Head to our Royal Ascot 2024 HUB for more tips and insight

Now check out our Euro 2024 HUB

Euro 2024 Day Eight Cheat Sheet: Best tips, Euros podcast and more

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2024 Flat season (day-of-race; Apr 26 onwards; will update after Royal Ascot)


RETURN: 109.75

P/L: +43.55


2023-24 NH season (Nov 1-Apr 25)


RETURN: 143.4

P/L: +16.4

April 16-Oct 31; 2023 Flat season


RETURNS: 168.9

P/L: -33.1

March 26 2022 -April 15 2023

Staked: 436

Returns: 643.6

P/L: +207.6

April 14 2021 to March 25 2022: +183.1


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