The greatest equine show on earth comes to town today and not a moment too soon. True, the ground could be better to see these stars of today and the future at their best but by and large really good horses go on any ground and some better for it. So lets not panic too much about that and let’s find a way to make some money on Day 1 so we can play the rest of the week with house money. These are our selections having watched a topsy turvy season unfold.
The Queen Anne Stakes 2.30 1 mile Group 1
This is one of the best renewals in terms of competitiveness, that we have had in recent years. It’s possible to make a case for no fewer than 8 horses and whilst you may think that makes betting difficult, my view is that we just might have an angle in to this that gives us the edge in the opener. There has been money for Ervedya because of the soft ground and its true she does go best on this ground. The problem is her best is only as good as a couple who are still unexposed so I think she is a lay for a place in this race. Smart people like Esoterique but her best even on rain softened ground cant produce the figure you need to win this race. Kodi Bear could surprise a few and is capable of a place on this ground and his trainer Clive Cox has no glass ceiling for his horses but we may have seen the best of him already and that doesn’t get it done either. Belardo won in laboured fashion in the Lockhinge and is ok on the ground . His trainer said he has come on for that and clearly he can run a number that you need to win this race. He is the right age too and will be in the places. That leaves me with my two fancies and you have to back both. Endless Drama who will relish the ground, strip fitter for being just behind Belardo and has the profile to run a big number, as does the American Tepin who spends most of her time running on good ground and faster but has put in some great numbers on soft ground as well.
The Coventry Stakes 15.05 Group 2 6f
I wont waste too long on this race simply because we don’t know enough about all the horses on this ground and so you could have a winner run to a mark it will never hit again at 33/1 because it loves the ground and we cant know that yet. So stakes to a minimum but I have to be with Mehmas. He will love the soft ground and more importantly 6 furlongs. 5 was too short last time out. Aiden O’brien and Ryan Moore were all the rage last year and Caravaggio is definitely capable of putting up a big number but as usual you are being asked to take a short price about potential because of the connections. Sometimes that’s good sometimes not. Psychedelic Funk for Ger Lyons is appealing at 6/1 but I just haven’t seen enough to wade in and Yalta could do the job for Mark Johnston. I will stick with Richard Hannon’s horse with Frankie on board.
The Kings Stand 3.40 5f Group 1.
A great race of flying machines and sadly the standing dish in sprints, Sole Power is out due to the ground. However I think we can concentrate on three horses who all go on the ground and a previous race that shows how this could end up. Meccas Angel, Profitable and Waady filled the first three places at Haydock on rain softened ground and I think they will do so again but with a slightly different outcome.
I think Meccas Angel will triumph this time and might have done last time but for being intimidated and without the benefit of a run which Profitable did have. I also think given the proximity of Waady in that race, that his price is simply too big and he has to be backed.
The St James Palace 16.20 1 mile Group 1
What a great race. The 3 best European mile winners from Ireland, UK and France all line up on ground they are proven on, if not preferred but with no excuses. I can’t see the winner coming from outside the first 3 in the betting. I am going to take on The Ghurka, for all that he has put the best in France to the sword on this type of ground I think 11/8 is just too short for a horse that has to improve again to beat the other two. Clearly Galileo Gold is top draw but I think we are in danger of believing that our Guineas was a good renewal and he was awarded a figure based on what you need to win the race normally and not what he actually achieved. That leaves us with Awtaad, who on this ground is the real deal and has loads more to come.
He has to be backed to win this race:
The Ascot Stakes 5.00 Class 2 2 mile 4f
I wanted to be with Galizzi in this race. he had no right to win at Kempton having tanked around and then found more which was amazing, however I cant find him having run anywhere near his best on rain softened ground. He could still win but I wont be on. Penglai Pavilion has real class but a draw of 20 makes it tough. Sempre Medici has to be respected with Willie Mullins having won 50% of the last 4 renewals and the enigmatic Silver Concorde features heavily in a lot of people’s reckoning. Have I named the winner here? You coudn’t be certain but at good odds Charlie Appelby’s runner is the selection as he has real class and has won a graded race over this far over the sticks and is simply too big in the betting..
The Windsor Castle 17.35 5f Listed
We wont be giving anything back in this race but if you need to have a bet back Kananee and Tomily. They both look the type capable of winning this race and could have been tried in other more adventurous races.