Day one of the Royal Meeting sees Ryan Moore have a full book of six rides, including one on warm favourite Churchill in the St James's Palace Stakes. Here you can read the Betfair Ambassador's exclusive views on them all...
"He is one of those horses that just makes it easy for a jockey, and I am hoping it will be the same again here."
14:30 - Deauville
Ribchester is obviously by far the most likely winner of this race, and he will need to run some way below his best to get beaten. But plenty have come to Royal Ascot with similarly strong credentials, and have failed in the past, so the rest of us aren't giving up just yet. And his draw in one could make it interesting.
He is the stand-out in this race on what we know, though. He won the Jersey under a 5lb penalty last season and got to within ½ length of Minding in the QEII here, handles fast ground, and he looked as good as ever when winning the Lockinge from the front last time. He beat Lightning Spear on all the occasions they met last season, and he is a deserved odds-on chance.
Lightning Spear and Mutakayyef are his main form rivals - the latter looked very good when beating Dutch Connection in the Summer Mile and when third in the Juddmonte - but my colt is a Grade 1 winner. That came over 1m2f in the Belmont Derby and his excellent form this season has come around that distance too, so the drop down in trip is an obvious issue against proven milers. But he showed he didn't lack pace when making all in the Huxley Stakes and we put the cheekpieces back on him for the first time since the Racing Post Trophy a couple of seasons ago to help him travel into the race better than he did at the Curragh last time, and quick ground isn't an issue for him.
Outside of Ribchester, this is an open contest and everyone will be hoping that they are the beneficiary if he disappoints. Hopefully, I will be first in the queue if he does.
15:05 - Murillo
Things obviously didn't go to plan for him on his debut but he was very impressive when winning a 5f Tipperary maiden on fast ground last time. He obviously needs to improve a good deal to beat the principals here but he is a big, scopey Scat Daddy and Aidan knows what he is doing in this race.
I rode De Bruyne Horse to win the Woodcote at Epsom and he is clearly going the right way, quickly - I also rode him when he beat only one home on his debut - but I think Brother Bear is the one to beat in here. He has been very impressive when winning his two starts in Ireland, and I had a rear view of him at the Curragh last time when he won well.
I think Wesley Ward could have a good week so I think you have to respect the claims of his Belmont winner Arawak.
15:40 - Washington DC
Now, I am not saying that Marsha isn't the one to beat here - I think she is - but if you fancy her at 7-2 then you have to give my horse a good each-way shout at 16/1. Yes, Marsha was carrying a 7lb penalty when beating us a neck in the Palace House and could be a much-improved horse this season. But don't forget that we were only beaten ¾ length by her in the Abbaye, and we had her behind us when just touched off in the King George at Goodwood.
My horse ran one of his lesser races at Haydock but he is normally as consistent as you find in these races and one day it will all fall right for him. I am hoping this is the day. And being drawn next to Lady Aurelia could help. As I said, though, I think Marsha is the one to beat on what we saw at Newmarket and to win that race under that penalty - with plenty of these in behind - marks her out as the form horse coming into the race.
Obviously, you have to greatly respect Lady Aurelia. We all saw what she could do when winning the Queen Mary here last season and she reappeared to win the Giant's Causeway at Keeneland in April. I rode her in a piece of work at Ascot last week. It wasn't a strong piece but she was relaxed and felt in good order.
Of the others, you have to respect the likes of Goldream, who won this in 2015 and who will get his ground, and Signs Of Blessing.
16:20 - Churchill
Probably one of my highest profile rides of the week, but one for whom there is nothing new to say really. I know I always say that, but there is a good reason. Namely, it is true. Well, maybe it isn't totally because he did surprise me a bit by the manner in which he clicked into top gear when beating Thunder Snow in soft ground at the Curragh last time.
He is one of those horses that just makes it easy for a jockey, and I am hoping it will be the same again here.
I can certainly see why connections of Barney Roy are fancying their chances in the re-match, though. He looked very impressive in the Greenham and Newmarket may not have suited him last time. So, with just a length to find with Churchill and coming here a fresh horse, then of course you have to respect him. He could be a top-notch miler, too.
All the others are good horses in their own right, too, with Group 1 credentials like Rivet and Lancaster Bomber, but I am on the best horse going into the race and I hope I still am coming out of it.
17:00 - Thomas Hobson
I don't know much about him to be honest but I have been luckily enough to win this race twice for Willie in recent seasons, with Simenon and Clondaw Warrior, and the trainer is a master at preparing his horses for the big prizes. So the fact that he hasn't raced on the Flat for over four years - and never for Willie - doesn't bother me one bit.
He looks to have been running well over hurdles, has winning form on good ground (if not fast) and over 2m5f in that sphere, and hopefully a mark of 100 makes him competitive in this big-field handicap.
17:35 - Declarationofpeace
Luck in running, and being drawn in the right place at the right time, is a big factor in this 5f charge. I haven't ridden him in any of his two starts to date but he looked pretty speedy when winning over 5f by 6 lengths at Dundalk last month.
He needs to step up a bit to be winning this but the runner-up there won his maiden well next time out, so that Dundalk form does have some substance. We won this race with Washington DC a couple of years ago.
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