Royal Ascot

Daryl Carter's Tips: 4/1 Elmalka the NAP but 66/1 price is wrong

Daryl Carter.
Daryl Carter likes Elmalka to prove the Guineas was no fluke

Daryl Carter heads into Day 4 at Royal Ascot and looks to the 1,000 Guineas winner as his NAP plus selections up to 66/167.00...

Day Four Royal Ascot 2024 Superboost

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14:30 Ascot - No Bet

Fairy Godmother derives from a race that has thrown up the last two Albany winners, and she was impressive with her finishing effort and could have lots more to offer. I felt Mountain Breeze was overpriced, having done everything correctly in two outings to date and looking a little faster than the O'Brien filly. She is the way I am leaning, but there are many unknowns down the field, and I would only be tempted at a ludicrous 4/15.00 about the Charlie Appleby.

15:05 Ascot - Back Jasour @ 5/16.00 2pt

Today's test will confirm whether Inisherin is a true sprinter or not. I am yet to be convinced, given that his sectional times have yet to dip below 11 seconds, and today, he takes on horses that have easily surpassed those numbers on several occasions.

Using that angle and the form of the favourite's soft ground Haydock Group 2 victory as an easy stick to bash him, I must take him on.

Jasour - 5/16.00 on the Betfair Sportsbook - will be waited with. Still, he made a very encouraging seasonal debut over course and distance on unfavoured ground and is entitled to improve significantly on that effort.

The form of that race looks as good as Elite Status' Newbury victory despite not having the same swagger. Still, the performance was worth an upgrade, having come from off a steady gallop to circle the field and easily dispatch of an in-form filly who boosted the form next time by finishing third to Elite Status and winning a Sandown Listed event.

His performance last year in the July Stakes was exceptional from a sectional time point of view - nothing in the race clocked a quicker furlong at any stage than Jasour. The comparative numbers with the 114-rated Millstream (now an open Group 2 winner and favourite for the Jubilee on Saturday) and smart Quinault were excellent. He was considerably faster than both through the final three furlongs.

On that basis, I have Jasour clear on his two-year-old form, and today, I expect further improvement now that he is race-fit and kept fresh for this assignment, moved back to a fast surface, and given a strong gallop to aim at.

He offers fair value at 4/15.00 or bigger.

15:45 Ascot - Back Elmalka @ 4/15.00 2pt

Elmalka - 4/15.00 on the Betfair Sportsbook - has been underestimated on the back of an excellent 1,000 Guineas victory, and a deep dive into that performance suggests she is worth keeping on the right side of.

Roger Varian's well-bred runner was less favoured by racing at the rear of the field despite what the visual impression at the time suggested. The sectional times show that those toward the fore of the racing group, including Ramatuelle, went quick early before slowing the pace inside the fourth and fifth furlong before quickening again.

This is evident by Ramatuelle only being quicker than Elmalka at two points in the race - the first and fifth furlongs (only narrowly by 0.6). In the fifth furlong, those towards the fore got a breather and kicked for home. The evidence of this slump in pace is comparable to the rest of the card and the 2,000 Guineas.

However, despite being at the rear of the field, Elmalka was faster than Ramatuelle through the second, third (clocked the fastest in the field), fourth, sixth (fastest in the field), seventh (fastest in the field), and eighth furlongs and unable to get a breather in almost going hell for leather from the off. As for Porta Fortuna - who was also better positioned than the selection, she was only faster during the fourth and fifth furlongs, where the pace slackened.

Comparing the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas side-by-side further enhances Elmalka's claims (considering the drying ground). Elmalka was quicker than Notable Speech and Rosallion through every furlong other than the first, where she broke slowly, fourth, and fifth, highlighting the reduction in pace during the mid-section of the race.

Based on this evidence, there is little doubt that the 1,000 Guineas form should stand up strong. The 11th went close in Listed company next time, the ninth was second in the Oaks, the eighth (perhaps didn't give her running) won the Irish 1,000 Guineas, and the fourth was narrowly beaten in the Prix de Diane Longines in France.

While sectional times are great, they are never the sole basis of any selection. When looking closely at the 1,000 Guineas, Elmalka deserves a further upgrade. She failed to handle the undulating track and looked very inexperienced in the dip. She rolled from side to side at a crucial point in the race, where she recorded her fastest furlong.

Coming to a flatter track will suit her greatly and she has the speed and stamina to land this race from a fair draw in stall seven. James Doyle will likely ride her a little more forward than De Sousa did at Newmarket, and she can come down the outside of the field and prove the stronger stayer at this 1m. The half-sister to the smart Benbatl has a bright future.

She is a bet at 4/15.00 or bigger.

16:25 Ascot - Back Mandoob @ 66/167.00 0.5pt e/w (5 places)

I mentioned in a previous copy that Ethical Diamond is a horse to keep on the side for this race, and that is certainly the case, but I didn't expect him to be as short as 9/43.25 with the Betfair Sportsbook.

He is very much respected and is likely thrown in off this mark, but this is a deep race, and I wouldn't want to get involved with him at any point after 4/15.00.

However, there is no way on gods green should Brian Meehan's Mandoob - 66/167.00 on the Betfair Sportsbook - be the price he is. Granted he has been off the track for 714 days, but it must be significant that connections want to make his return to action at this meeting. I doubt he will be left short of fitness, and he holds the single best piece of form in the race, which came over course and distance off the back of a 218-day break when chasing home Al Asay in May 2022.

As a three-year-old, he relished fast ground and looked like a very smart horse when second to Yibir in the Bahrain Trophy. Lots of water has passed under the bridge since those two efforts, but it is positive to see his regular rider, Sean Levey, in the saddle, and all looks set for a big effort. For one, at such a big price, he has all the conditions to play a part if connections have him ripe.

He is a risky bet but i'd have him more like 20/121.00 and any bigger than 33/134.00 is acceptable.

17:05 Ascot - Back Soprano @ 28/129.00 0.5pt e/w (6 places)

Two horses have taken my eye for this assignment, but Soprano - 25/126.00 on the Betfair Sportsbook - has been crying out for a move up to 1m, fast ground, and a straight track. Today, she is given the correct criteria to make a positive impact from a fair mark of 100 on her handicap debut.

George Boughey's filly had some outstanding form as a two-year-old, including an excellent third to Porta Fortuna in the Albany Stakes at last year's meeting in a race that has worked out exceptionally well. There's lots of other evidence that suggests she could be ahead of the
handicapper including a good second to Fallen Angel in the Sweet Solera at Newmarket last August.

However, the angle in backing her is the move up in distance. She was doing her best work at the finish in most of her races last term and her Dam is by the high-class miler Excelebration. Not much fell right for her but she is worth chancing at big odds to come good. She would be a win-only bet at 20/121.00 or bigger.

The other to consider is Forever Blue, who arrives entirely unexposed but returns to action having taken care of some promising rivals at Haydock, and she could yet fulfil the potential she offered now tackling handicaps.

17:40 Ascot - Back Space Legend @ 4/15.00 1pt

Space Legend - 4/15.00 on the Betfair Sportsbook - is open to any improvement, and he should be arriving here on the back of an emphatic Goodwood victory but for being denied a clear run.

The William Haggas runner is entirely unexposed, but his form has already hit a high level in just three starts, with the latest run at Goodwood easily the pick. The winner, Meydan, had featured in the Lingfield Derby trial behind the smart Ambiente Friendly when not disgraced, beaten just seven lengths, and he gave the form a solid look when finishing fourth in the Queen's Vase on Day 2 of this meeting.

It was impressive how he went from more than a length behind the third inside the final half-furlong to one length ahead and going away at the line. That was his first start on a sounder surface, and he relished it.

Surprisingly, Ryan Moore has chosen Diego Velazquez over Agenda, considering he found only Hidden Law too good at Chester last time. Still, perhaps the trip is a concern for that one.

The selection needs to improve, but the move up in trip and the unexposed nature of his profile suggests that's a distinct possibility.

7/24.50 or bigger is acceptable.

18:15 Ascot - Back Shagraan @ BSP 0.5pt

Shagraan has been chipped away at since the markets opened on the Sportsbook, and he is double the price elsewhere, but I am sure that will catch up. He is now joint-favourite, which is a little frustrating, but this is his ideal setup, and I'd be surprised if this wasn't in the back of his trainer Mick Appleby's mind from the start of the season.

The three-year-old was very unlucky not to win first time out at Sandown, reportedly working exceptionally well at home. However, the key to him is the drop in trip to five furlongs, for which he is entirely unexposed.

Shagraan relishes quick ground, and he was knocking on the door in some strong contests last term as a two-year-old but never had his optimal conditions for Clive Cox, which are fast ground and five furlongs - preferably a stiff five.

Today, he has everything in his favour, and he is only 1 lb higher than when he finished on the bridle on his handicap debut at Sandown. He ran with credit over the wrong trip last time out over six furlongs but bumped into James's Delight, now rated 13 lb higher, having demolished a field at York.

He looks well handicapped and unexposed but holds that all-important experience for a race of this nature. Stall 19 should be ideal. Let's back him at BSP for the column, but 12/113.00 or bigger is acceptable.

18:15 Ascot - Back Sommelier @ 12/113.00 0.5pt e/w

Sommelier - 12/113.00 on the Betfair Sportsbook - arguably holds the strongest form line with his run behind Big Evs at York, and this stiffer five furlong looks right up his street. The handicapper may have underestimated that effort with just a one pound in the weights now under the handling of Ryan Moore.

The three-year-old was impressive in two outings last November on the AW but bettered that on his turf debut in first-time cheek-pieces, and he is entirely unexposed. Connections landed this a few years ago with Art Power, and they may have another very smart prospect in their hands.

Dangers are aplenty.

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2024 P/L = Next update (monthly) JULY 1st

2024 P/L = +59.85.43 ROI 12.67%

BSP P/L = +64.5 ROI 13.66%

2024 P/L Ante-post = -1


2021 P/L = +187pts 12% ROI

2022 P/L = + 137.1pts ROI 8.72% +22.7pts BSP 1.44% ROI

2023 P/L = +112.63pts ROI 8.86% +99.4pts BSP 7.84% ROI

2023 P/L (Incl ante) Total = +146.63 ROI 11.5%


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Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.