Ryan Moore Day 1 Preview: The exclusive thoughts on all my Tuesday rides at Royal Ascot
Ryan Moore has a busy first day at Royal Ascot with six booked rides. Here is the Betfair Ambassador's verdict on the chances of each as well as his thoughts on the key runners in the big races...
"I thought he ran a hell of a race in the Irish 2,000 Guineas last time, and I can see him coming forward again from that run."
Rhododendron is the rightful Queen Anne favourite
14:30 - Rhododendron
She is obviously a high-class and versatile filly, and I think she is fully entitled to be favourite here. Okay, she only just beat Lightning Spear in the Lockinge last time and doesn't have much in hand of these on official figures - nothing in the case of the 123-rated Benbatl - but that was her first run over a mile for a while and I think you will see an even better filly today.
The track will suit. She beat a fair few of these at Newbury - and the third, Lancaster Bomber, did the form no harm when winning the Tattersalls Gold Cup next time - and it would be reasonable to expect her to do the same here. I think they all have her to beat. Having said that, you have to give Benbatl a very good chance if he can reproduce the form of his clear-cut Dubai Turf win last time. He won the Hampton Court at the meeting last year and he probably does have the pace to be effective at this trip.
You obviously have to be respect Recoletos too, but I think he has to up his game a fair amount here. Nothing really stands out among the opposition - Lightning Spear is very solid and Deauville would have chances at a price on his third in this race last year - but I would put in a good word for Yoshida. He impressed me when winning at Churchill last time, beating a proven Grade 1 horse in Beach Patrol, and I wouldn't underestimate him.
Sergei has every chance but Calyx is seriously impressive
15:05 - Sergei Prokofiev
He is a beautiful, strong, very exciting two-year-old. He has been very impressive with wide-margin wins at Naas and Navan and, being a Scat Daddy, you have to think he will love the fast ground and Ascot.
Mind you, he is up against another good one in Calyx. I was seriously impressed by what he did at Newmarket. I rode the second that day and Calyx looked an absolute aeroplane. You have to give him the utmost respect.
There are obviously numerous others here in with chances. I don't think it was a good race but Cosmic Law could do no more than he did when easily winning the Woodcote, and the likes of Advertise and Indigo Balance are once-raced winners with place chances. I rode in the latter's maiden win at the Curragh, and I thought it was a decent race.
But I think the betting has this right with my horse and Calyx well clear of the rest.
Mine could step up but this is between Battaash and Lady Aurelia
15:40 - Different League
She has come on steadily this season for Aidan, and ran well at Haydock last time, That form is clearly some way detached from the big two here, but maybe the quicker ground and the return to Ascot - she beat Alpha Centauri in the Albany here last season - will see her step up a good deal. And she was a very good two-year-old, also finishing second to Clemmie in the Cheveley Park.
Elsewhere, we all know what you get with Washington DC, and that is a series of good efforts in the top sprints, and he likes Ascot, having won a Windsor Castle and finished third in a Commonwealth Cup here. And he clearly ran another high-class race when splitting Battaash and Kachy in the Temple Stakes last time.
But, let's be honest, it's clear that this is between Battaash and Lady Aurelia if they bring their best form to the table. Battaash is a seriously good horse on his day, as he showed in the l'Abbaye, but I think Lady Aurelia wins if in the same form as when winning this race last year.
Mine should improve on Irish Guineas run but Wootton the one to beat
16:20 - US Navy Flag
I thought he ran a hell of a race in the Irish 2,000 Guineas last time, and I can see him coming forward again from that run. He probably hasn't reproduced the form of his Dewhurst win this season and is not ideally drawn in 10 here, but he is a horse that thrives on his racing and I can see improving from that Curragh run on this quick ground. He will need to though, as he was beaten over two lengths last time, and I was impressed by the winner.
Romanised is a horse that I have always had a lot of time for, and you certainly wouldn't be in a rush to downplay his claims. Without Parole may be the one to beat, though. I rode in the Sandown race that he beat Gabr last time, and he did well to win. Beforehand, it looked as though as he would improve a lot for the race, so I think you have to bear that in mind when assessing the merit of his win there. It was a good effort in the circumstances and improvement looks likely, if necessary.
You can't fault what Tip To Win did in splitting Saxon Warrior and Masar in the Guineas, and clearly that form puts him right up there, but I horse that I really do like in here is Wootton. He did very well to get so close in the French 2,000 Guineas considering a lot went wrong for him there, and he had earlier beaten the winner in his prep race. I think he is a lot better than he was able to show at Longchamp - he had a nightmare trip - and he looks a very good colt to me.
Happy to take the ride on Chelkar
17:00 - Chelkar
I don't know a lot about him. He is obviously a hard horse to get a handle on, as he hasn't raced since the back-end of 2016, and is having his first start for Willie. He only raced up to 1m2f in France, so the trip is clearly an unknown, too. But the trainer knows what he is doing, and I am happy to be riding him.
Hopeful Yucatan can bounce back
17:35 - Yucatan
This is obviously a race in which you can make a case for a few. I think Mirage Dancer will go well but hopefully Yucatan can bounce back to form. He was one of the horses that simply didn't run his race in the Coronation Cup at Epsom last time, but we know he is a very good horse, with form on quick ground, his best efforts have been over this trip, and I can see this track suiting him. He wears first-time cheekpieces and hopefully they will help him, too. It's a tough race to call, though.
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