Royal Ascot

Daryl Carter's Tips: Middle Earth to thrive on final day at Royal Ascot

Daryl Carter.
Daryl Carter likes Middle Earth at Royal Ascot on Day Five

Following a 28/129.00 winner on Friday, Daryl Carter heads to Royal Ascot on Saturday and looks to score on the final day with selections from 9/43.25 up to 12/113.00...

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!

14:30 Ascot - No Bet

One final crack at the Royal Ascot meeting on Saturday and one final opportunity to steer clear of a two-year-old race. There's not enough evidence to get involved in this.

For what it's worth, I am not convinced about the short price of Bedtime Story. The form is hardly conclusive, and any amount is open to improvement here--including her. So, it's a race I will steer clear of entirely.

15:05 Ascot - Back Middle Earth @ 9/43.25 2.5pt win

I want to get involved with the second race on the card. I was initially very keen on Desert Hero as he dislikes Newbury, and I felt that was an angle for us to get a good price for him. He is unbeaten at this 1m4f trip if you are happy to forgive his two Newbury efforts. The big concern is whether he wants rattling-fast ground - I don't think he does. You can argue he is an each-way bet to nothing here, but there is a stronger candidate for winning purposes.

Middle Earth - 9/43.25 on the Betfair Sportsbook - is a fast-improving horse, and he made a sensational return to action when getting up late to deny a subsequent winner in King Of Conquest. He looks like a horse to keep on the right side of this season.

I like him for a Melbourne Cup down the line, but he takes in this target first and looks like the one to beat in this contest, with the much-respected favourite Continuous making his seasonal debut.

Continuous has bigger targets ahead, and I think he has a tough task on his hands: conceding race fitness to the improving unexposed Melrose winner, Middle Earth.

Middle Earth, Continuous, and Desert Hero met in the St Leger last term, and I felt we didn't get to see Middle Earth anywhere near to the best effect. He made his move as the pack was slowing up the inside rail and was never allowed to stride out following that. I suspect Oisin Murphy would take that ride back if he could, but it did come on unfavoured ground.

Cases can be made for Missed The Cut, a revelation in the US and held a Golden Gates win at this venue a few years ago. It is disappointing that the Golden Gates has failed to produce any Pattern winners, though.

Isle Of Jura and Candleford are others with a shout, but Middle Earth should be spot on for this, and he rates a confident bet going up in grade. 9/43.25 or bigger is acceptable, although money must come for Desert Hero, and 3/14.00 will likely be available.

15:45 Ascot - Back Mitbaahy @ 13/27.50 1pt

Mitbaahy - 13/27.50 on the Betfair Sportsbook - has always been a horse with plenty of promise, and he looked better than ever when getting up late at the Curragh last time to deny the subsequent Kings Stand runner-up, Regional. He visually looked as though he passed those horses inside the half furlong with ultimate ease, and he now arrives here with a clear career-best performance.

He and Jamie Spencer get along well, and he remains entirely unexposed at this six-furlong distance. Watching any of his races with his former handler Roger Varian, it was clear he was crying out for further, and a quiet ride from Spencer each time this season has gradually brought the best out of him.

He has serious potential to win a Group 1 when things fall correct, and that day could be today on his favoured fast ground. The Wizard Of Eye is interesting down in trip. He never quite got the 1m for former connections, but he may lack the gears down this far to six.

15:45 Ascot - Back Quinault @ 18/119.00 0.5pt e/w (4 places)

We have seen all season that these sprint races are wide open and that anyone can win, so while I do fancy Mitbaahy to come from the rear of the field, I think there's good value in Quinault - 18/119.00 at the time of writing on the Betfair Sportsbook - who is surely going to appreciate coming back to six furlongs for the first time since August last year when third to Dark Trooper.

Quinault's penultimate start at six furlongs saw him have the beating of Mill Stream at Newmarket - admittedly, he is now much worse off at the weights with that rival. However, he showed an excellent attitude and is improving, but he hasn't had the opportunity to show that by being campaigned over seven furlongs on his last four outings (winning one of those here.

The interesting angle is the removal of the hood, which could prompt further improvement, but there was enough promise in his Haydock Group 3 7f effort last time to think that coming back in trip will suit and that he is in career-best form.

He could be hard to peg back, and he should be claiming some place money at the very least. Back him at 18/119.00 or bigger.

This morning at 08:30, I decided to have a small bet on Quinault at 18/119.00 despite saying I wanted 25/126.00 or bigger yesterday. However, the completion of the place market has now changed with the withdrawal of Kinross, who looked certain to be in the frame.

18/119.00 is now a much better price than it was with Kinross in the race, so I am happy to advise a small each-way bet. I think you will get bigger throughout the day--no doubt five minutes after this edit is published--but time is of the essence.

17:40 Ascot - Back Portsmouth @ 15/28.50 1pt e/w (5 places)

I gave both Approval and Portsmouth - 15/28.50 on the Betfair Sportsbook - a good mention on the podcast, and I hope the same thing doesn't happen as it did with Going The Distance earlier in the week with the opposite one winning. Approval has dropped right down the pecking order for this race since I have had more time to take a deep dive.

I've looked at this race in multiple ways and keep returning to Portsmouth as the best-handicapped horse in the race. He was given a quiet time in Maiden and Novice company over trips shy of what he wants, but since sent handicapping, he has improved leaps and bounds, and the handicapper hasn't caught up with him.

He bolted up at Epsom on his only attempt on a sound surface, and the form worked out well. The second runs on Friday at Goodwood (20:00), and the fourth won at Kempton next time before going close at Goodwood behind Queen's Reign in a strong contest with lots of useful collateral lines. The fifth found only a handicap blot too goot at Nottingham (runs Friday 18:35 Newmarket), and the seventh is twice a winner since.

He ran exceptionally well at Goodwood on heavy ground, considering how keen he was early in the race, and was only picked off late by Lavender Hill Mob. The selection gave four pounds to the winner, now rated 20 lb higher in the handicap, and 23 to the subsequent winner in third (the selection just seven higher). The winner was much better than the bare result in Listed company next time at the same venue when denied a clear run behind Meydaan and Space Legend.

He wouldn't have won but was value for more than the three-length beaten distance before being a non-staying 7th in the Queen's Vase in this meeting.

His latest run at Epsom saw him bump into our selection Persica, who had the run of the race and kicked away from Portsmouth, who had made up significant ground to chase the winner through the line, pulling well clear of the remainder in the process. Persica ran a scorcher from a bad draw in the King George and was denied a clear run continuously but did well to finish fifth off nine pounds higher - his best runs have come when making the running.

Down the field in the Epsom race was Blake in fourth, and he had previously been a winner on his last start, and on his penultimate start, touched off by Lava Stream - a subsequent Listed winner and the Ribblesdale runner-up.

Based on that evidence, I refuse to believe he is not at least a mid-90s-rated performer, leaving him with plenty in hand off this rating of 87.

However, while the case is strong on handicapping terms, he likely has a limit to his potential. He doesn't fit the profile of the typical winner of this race. Given his keen nature, I want to tread carefully. Maybe his claims will be stronger in a lesser event in time. Tread lightly.

17:40 Ascot - Back Arabic Legend @ 12/113.00 1.5pt e/w (5 places)

The horse I can't believe is as big a price as he is (and bigger in places) is Arabic Legend - 12/113.00 on the Betfair Sportsbook - who has been completely overlooked and is the class angle in the race now dropping into a handicap for the first time.

All of the last four winners of this race went on to run in Group company on their next outings, and Arabic Legend is a colt with the correct profile for this race.

He needs forgiveness for being well beaten in the Lingfield Derby Trial, but most of these would not have even been considered for such a race. He made a beeline from the gates to try and get the lead but was forced wide around the bend and then, having travelled well, looked like a non-stayer on his first attempt at the distance.

I am happy to put a line through that no tackling lesser company, and he is better judged on his Epsom two-length fourth to Bellum Justum, who went narrowly close to scoring in the Hampton Court on Wednesday. He got no run against the rail and finished his race off strongly. The third is a subsequent Group 3 winner and lines up in the Group 2 King Edward at Ascot on Friday (only 9/110.00).

With that Epsom effort coming on his stable/seasonal debut, he is certainly entitled to improve today faced with a more conventional track back down in trip. His two-year-old form is very strong, notably his excellent second to Arabian Crown at Salisbury in a Listed event last term - some of these wouldn't get within a furlong.

He ticks all the boxes for this race and has the class to go on to better things for Karl Burke this season. He holds the strongest form in the book with his debut Newmarket victory, which ties in with one or two of these. He should not be out of the first five if he gives his true running.

Back him at 10/111.00 or bigger.

18:15 Ascot - Back Uxmal @ 11/112.00 0.5pt e/w

I am very surprised that Uxmal - 11/112.00 on the Betfair Sportsbook (expected R4) - is as big a price as he is, considering he is the least exposed in this field and he holds by far the strongest, most recent form in the book.

His entire profile is stacked full of useful form. His debut saw him a strong finisher behind the now 111-rated Sissoko, and the pick of last year's form is his excellent run in Saint Cloud in September when beaten a neck. The winner, Al Nayyir, has since finished second to Siskany in Meyday by a short head, fourth in Saudi to Tower Of London, and second in the Dubai Gold Cup to Tower Of London. The third was Caius Chorister, who bolted up next time and has mixed it with Sweet William and Coltrane this season.

That is some of the strongest form on offer, and his seasonal return was a very encouraging dominant performance at Killarney. He should relish this quicker surface today, which he has only had on three occasions. Outside of the expected absentees Trueshan and Tashkhan, he is the second-highest rated in the field.

He offers good value with the promise of more to come at 7/18.00 or bigger.

Now Read: Ryan Moore's thoughts on his Royal Ascot rides

Listen to Racing Only Bettor's Day Five 2024 Royal Ascot Preview...

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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.