Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot Tips for Saturday: Tony Calvin's best bets for Day Five

Betfair racing tipster Tony Calvin
TC has four bets for the final day of Royal Ascot 2024

It's the finale of Royal Ascot 2024 on Saturday and Tony Calvin has picked a fab four for you to back as he bids to end the festival with a bang...

Ryan Moore Superboost

It's been a great week for Ryan Moore at Royal Ascot as he surpassed Frankie Dettori as the winning most jockey at the Royal meeting among those still riding as well as bagging some big-race victories.

Ryan has another strong book of rides today including one on last year's St Leger winner Continuous in the 15:05, and if you fancy the combination to finish in the top two in that race then you can back it now at 1/12.00, boosted from 4/71.57!

Those who like to back the favourites in juvenile races at this meeting were last seen going for dinner at Ascot's soup kitchen on Thursday night and I am not talking about a bowl of Miso at the Japanese on the High Street.

Royal Ascot - 14:30: No bet

The latest shortie on the chopping block is Bedtime Story at 7/42.75 with the Sportsbook in the Chesham Stakes at 14:30 - though she is 9/43.25 elsewhere and trading around that price on the Betfair Exchange - after she made an impressive winning debut at Leopardstown.

Betfair Ambassador Ryan Moore wasn't on board that day but he rode in the race - the 8/111.73 stablemate in second - and he was suitably impressed, adding that it felt like a good contest with a strong tempo. The time backs that up, as does the fact that the fourth came out and bolted up by 5 ½ lengths (the third was beaten on her following start but she ran well in defeat).

It all points to a filly with a good chance, but surely we have to get in the real world here.

She faces 17 rivals, none of whom have run more than twice, with three newcomers to boot (one a recent 260,000 guineas Breeze Up purchase among them) and who knows whether her draw in three will be a help or a hindrance?

You are braver than me if getting involved at a short price with so many unknowns.

Royal Ascot - 15:05: Back Desert Hero

Talking of Moore, check out his Day Five column, as he warns that while Continuous is the best horse in the Hardwicke at 15:05, and has done plenty of work, he will improve for his first start of the campaign.

Of course, that could just be a case of getting your excuses in early but the ratings tell you that if he is around 7lb off his Leger-winning and Arc fifth performances then all of his eight rivals are immediately drawn right into the mix.

The most likely beneficiary of a below-par favourite, who trades at 6/42.50 with the Sportsbook and not much bigger on the exchange currently, is obviously Middle Earth, a course winner who made a successful return at Newbury last month.

The narrow runner-up King Of Conquest came out and won well at Goodwood, but his winning potential has been factored into the market at around 5/23.50 on the Exchange.

On paper, this has a decent each-way feel to it, with two horses taking a massive chunk out of the market, and nine runners (gives us wriggle room if there is a withdrawal), and surely Desert Hero fits the bill at 7/18.00. The 15/28.50 disappeared early on Friday, but 7s is plenty big enough.

Now, you have to forgive him a poor run at Newbury last time - he went off at evens to beat Middle Earth and King Of Conquest there - and I have no idea why he ran so badly.

Something may have come to light subsequently why he underperformed there but that was the second time he had blown out at that track and he is a big price if you are of a forgiving nature.

He had previously run well over an inadequate 1m2f in the Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown on his return, and last year's King George V Handicap winner here and St Leger third (3 ¼ lengths behind Continuous, with Middle Earth in behind) is getting my tentative vote.

Of course, there are doubts after the last run but William Haggas won't want to be embarrassed here, given the horse is owned by Chuck and Cammy, and 7/18.00 looks worthy of an each-way bet with the Sportsbook. He is 9s+win-only on the Exchange but I want the safety net of the places.

There is plenty of pace in here, and that should suit his run-style.

I am bit worried that some of these prices won't survive the period between filing and publishing, but we will have to play it by ear, as usual.

Luckily - or I think it was lucky, anyway - three of my four selections have already shortened this morning, so hopefully there will be no more nasty surprises before the final sign-off.

Royal Ascot - 15:45: Back Quinault

It is currently 6.86/1 the field on the Exchange for the 6f Jubilee Stakes at 15:45, and little wonder. It is a difficult race to call.

I can see why the Sportsbook want to keep Believing onside at 6s (9s elsewhere) as she may well have won over 5f here on Tuesday given another 100 yards or so. The obvious concern here is that she has had two quick runs but I wouldn't lay the 9s myself. She trades around that price on the Exchange and that's fair.

It's a tricky old race - and a very winnable one too, with no stand-out performer - but I thought Quinault was too big at the Sportsbook's 35/136.00. Back him each way, four places. He was 40s on Friday morning (and he is still that price in a place) but the current odds are fine, as would 28s or bigger.

The negatives are that he is rated a mere 102 and Stuart Williams has had a torrid time of it since March (only six winners) but the price is adequate compensation and I can see a forcing ride over 6f here maybe leading to a shock.

He probably went a touch too hard over 7f at Haydock last time but it still wasn't far off a career-best, and this course winner may be ready to blossom given a stiff 6f on a track he knows well.

Apparently, he has come on a lot for the Haydock run - it sounds like he had a small setback in the spring, so they may have been playing catch-up with him - and this could be his time to shine.

Now, he is not the only pace angle in here (see below) so Richard Kingscote may have to pick his battles but last year's massive improver (when he was beating the likes of Washington Heights and Mill Stream, off admittedly low marks) could well stamp himself in the highest grade, as unlikely as that seems for a horse rated just 59 at the start of last term.

Though we have trodden that rags-to-riches Group 1-winning path recently with Highfield Princess.

Royal Ascot - 16:25: Back Task Force

It is 14/115.00 bar River Tiber and Haatem (who carries a 3lb penalty) if you shop around in the Jersey Stakes at 16:25, and little wonder why, as that duo bring a possibly overwhelming level of Classic form to this Group 3.

I know 7f may be both of their optimum trips but it is a touch curious why you would be running horses of their calibre in this grade, instead of aiming for Group 1 honours with potential stallions.

Of course, they are the most likely 1-2, but Task Force looks the best of the rest in here and he looks a fair each way bet at 11s, four places.

The 14s about him went on Friday morning, as did the 12s (very annoyingly), but the current 11s is big enough me for. I probably wouldn't lay him at double figures, with the extra place. There is still some 12s out there, so do what you have to do.

In fact, even with the Irish Guineas-placed horses in the field, I think he is probably the bet of the day at the current price-places combo.

Runner-up to Vandeek in the Middle Park on fast ground, he may not have been at his best in his Guineas - he had a wind op beforehand, which no-one seemed to press connections on - but he certainly didn't run badly in seventh and you can certainly see the drop down to 7f suiting him.

The stable is in good form (which wasn't the case at the time of the Classic) and on official ratings he is actually only 2lb shy of River Tiber, and 1lb off the penalised Haatem, so I think he is a very fair bet, four places.

Royal Ascot - 17:05: No bet

Saint Lawrence has been the most obvious tee-up job for a repeat job in the Wokingham at 17:05 all season, and connections have got him down to a mark just 3lb higher than when gagging up in the race last year.

An opening run at Newmarket was needed, and they have tried him over 7f on his last two starts, and further signalled their intent by even leaving off the headgear last time.

With the blinkers back on (he wore them when winning last year), he probably has as good a chance as any, but you just wonder whether a Sportsbook price of 12s (they are paying six places) fully factors in the "plot" narrative.

Hang on, just off to give myself 40 lashes with the cat-o-nine-tails I keep in the shed for special occasions for ever mentioning narrative.

The danger for me is I may be seeing something that isn't there. He hasn't got within five lengths of the winner this season, for all he has shaped with a modicum of promise on each occasion.

I'll probably chuck a few quid on him win-only on the Betfair Exchange just in case, if he drifts - he currently trades at 16.015/1 there - but I decided 12s in a 28-runner sprint handicap at Ascot was a touch on the low side.

I am surprised the assessor dropped him 6lb for those three runs this season but it hasn't lured last year's winning jockey Hollie Doyle in, as she is on the stablemate Albasheer (not that would bother me in the slightest).

Anyway, big betting race of the day or not, I am very happy to sit this one tipping-wise.

I also thought Coachello was interesting on his first start for Mark Loughnane, and with first-time cheekpieces on, but the Sportsbook think likewise, going 20s when he is 33s elsewhere. No dice there, then.

Royal Ascot - 17:40: Back Black Run

King's Gambit ran as if I tipped him on Thursday (the perils of taking short prices, I guess) and Harry Charlton and William Buick will be looking to sing the redemption song in the 17:40 as Hand Of God trades as the 5/23.50 favourite in the 3yo 1m2f handicap. He is a point bigger elsewhere.

This horse has a fair reputation by all accounts and is thought better than his current mark of 91, but he is a skinny price, all the same.

The bare form of his narrow Sandown win in a five-runner race in April is mixed - the third finished second in the Italian Derby (who knows what that equates to, however) but the others have done nothing to advertise its merit - but this horse is all about potential, allied to the step up to 1m2f. His pedigree suggests he will thrive over the extra two furlongs.

He could well sluice in but, again, it is all about price and it just isn't there in a 16-runner handicap at the most competitive of meetings.

I thought Black Run was the most interesting at the current prices at the Sportsbook's 33/134.00. They are paying five places, by the way.

Again, a touch of forgiveness is needed.

He went off at 9/110.00 for the ultra-competitive London Gold Cup last time - he was actually shorter on the exchange , going off a Betfair SP of just 9.26 - but he didn't really fire in ninth, and the handicapper only dropped him 1lb for that.

That could be seen as being a touch harsh, given he shunted him up 7lb for winning a Newmarket handicap by ½ length previously, but he may have resented the waiting tactics at Newbury, having previously made the running.

Now, it could well be that Jamie Spencer doesn't go forward here either - the horse is one of nine in here that I have as possible pace angles - but I think he could be worth chancing at the price, each-way, five places.

Looking back at the Newmarket handicap, he showed a good attitude to win there. The second hasn't been seen since but the 6 ½-length third is now 2lb higher after a good subsequent run and the time of the race was decent.

I was tempted to finish the meeting my shortest-priced selection of the week, and it is probably the minimum price I would play at.

But, then, I reined myself in.

I was toying with making an exception for Queenstown at 10/34.33 - clipped in from 7/24.50 on Friday morning - in the Queen Alexandra because I thought he shaped very well behind Kyprios at Leopardstown last time and there seemed a lot of untapped potential in there.

But he has a further 7f to travel here, so it's a big guessing game as regards his stamina, and Tashkhan probably makes as much appeal at double-figure odds on the Exchange, given his course form and the fact that the Brian Ellison stable is going so well. And the horse has gone well fresh in the past.

However, I'll sit this one out, as I wanted to play each-way and the Sportsbook 9s wasn't quite big enough to tempt me in, plus there is a suspicion that he ideally needs a bit of dig to be seen at his best (though there are some light showers around)

I hope you had an enjoyable week, and thank you for reading.

Ground and weather

Good to firm - Watering has been taking place each evening (5mm again on Thursday evening) but showers around on Friday night into Saturday (just 2.5mm)

Balloted out

ante-post punters are entitled to their money back


Reserves: Roman Dragon, King's Lynn, Aberama Gold (likely to be balloted out)

Balloted out: Dandyville,. Wiltshire Dream Composer, Pinafore, Summerghand, Billyjoh, Bosh, Get It, Wallop, Intrinsic Bond, Lir Speciale, Prince of Zenda Laoisman, Londoner, Executive Decision, Abduction Many A Star, Shagraan Secret Gues, Darkness, Kiwano, Woolhampton, Lucky Man, Two Tribes, Almarada Prince , Cross The Tracks, The Waiting Game, Watchya


Reserves: Bubbles Wonky, Redhot Whisper, The Ice Phoenix (likely to be balloted out)

Balloted out: Lord of Love, Mo Ghille Mar, Midnite Storm , Prince Eric, True Wisdom, Sun God, Can-dle of Dubai , Going Remote, Von Baer

First time headgear

Eve Johnson Houghton - blinkers 11-113 (since 2009)

Eve Johnson Houghton - hood 3-39 (2013)

Mark Loughnane - cheekpieces 5-63 (2016)

Ralph Beckett - cheekpieces 6-35 (2016)

Pace maps (manually done)

2.30pm (very little form to go on): Brian, Lazy Griff, Moon Sniper, Expensive Rose

3.05pm: Candleford, Crypto Force. Elegant Man, Goliath

3.45pm: Art Power, Quinault, Swingalong, Washington Heights?

4.25pm: Haatem, Night Raider, Son, Take Me To Church

5.05pm: Lethal Levi, The Bell Conductor, Gorak, Warrior Brave

5.40pm: Hand Of God, Approval, Cambridge, Palace Green, Miletus, Nerano, Balmacara, Grey Cuban, Black Run?

6.15pm: Queenstown, Trueshan?, Uxmal, Maxident

Trainer form

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

Excellent: George Boughey, Aidan O'Brien, Brian Ellison, Paul Nicholls

Good: Roger Varian, William Haggas, Ralph Beckett, Charlie Appleby (not a great week here so far, though a 5-4 winner at Wolverhampton on Thursday night), Jack Davison, William Muir and Chris Grassick, Charlie Johnston, Hugo Palmer, Clive Cox, Kevin Ryan, Sylvester Kirk (few runners but three out of four ran well), Sir Mark Prescott, E J O'Neill (only two runners), Sheila Lavery, Sir Michael Stoute, Jack Channon, Ross O'Sullivan, Charles Byrnes, Craig Lidster

Fair: Karl Burke (borderline good), Richard Hannon, Andrew Balding, Eve Johnson Houghton, Gary and Josh Moore, Johnny Murtagh, John and Thady Gosden, Adrian Murray, Archie Watson, F-H Graffard. Tim Easterby, Jane Chapple-Hyam, James Horton (very few runners), Richard Fahey, Jonathan Portman, Michael Dods, Ben Brookhouse (though winnerless), Alan King, Richard Hughes, Paul and Oliver Cole (borderline good)

Moderate: Joseph O'Brien, Richard Spencer, Kevin Philippart De Foy, George Scott (11-8 winner on Thursday night), Emmet Mullins, Stuart Williams, Jamie Osborne (though he had a very welcome 12-1 winner on Tuesday night), , David Evans, Simon and Ed Crisford, Charles Hills, Charlie Fellowes, Harry Charlton, Alice Haynes, Mark Loughnane, Mick Appleby, Roger Teal, Dominic Ffrench-Davis, Gordon Elliott

Who knows? Raphael Freire, Peter Chapple Hyam, John Sadler, A De Mieulle, Charalambous/Clutterbuck

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

Now check out our Euro 2024 HUB

Recommended bets


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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