The wait is finally over – the five-day Royal Ascot meeting starts today in what is one of the most intriguing five days in the racing calendar.
There are plenty of big races throughout the week and it all kickstarts with three Group One races tomorrow, before some fiercely-anticipated handicaps on day two.
Our horse racing expert previews the pick of the big races on both days and gives you the best bets to look out for.
Queen Anne Stakes
Aidan O’Brien’s Le Brivido heads the market for one of the feature races on day one.
Although he may not have won the Lockinge last time out, his finish was particularly eye-catching as he stormed through to finish a close fifth, and if he can avoid trouble early on then the O’Brien-trained horse is the one to beat.
Mutashry won that race well by over two lengths and is another who has a leading chance, however he will be hoping there is as little rain as possible.
Others who deserve respect include Sharja Bridge who will run well on any ground, but the most eye-catching inclusion is that of HAZAPOUR.
He is a class horse and bounced back to form in some style when winning the Amethyst Stakes last time out and is unexposed over the mile. With the great Frankie Dettori on board also, he looks a good bet at 9/1 with Grosvenorsport.com.
King’s Stand Stakes
Battaash heads to Royal Ascot as favourite following his strong run on his seasonal reappearance in the Temple Stakes.
Despite that good form, his run in the same last year tends to suggest he doesn’t like the uphill finish, but one who certainly does is BLUE POINT.
He produced the goods 12 months ago, and his record over course and distance is three from four starts and I fancy him to repeat his run of last year to take the honours at 11/4 with Grosvenorsport.com.
Equilateral pushed Mabs Cross all the way at Newmarket last time out, and at 16/1 he looks like the each-way value.
Queen Mary Stakes
Wesley Ward’s Kimari is likely to go off favourite and having won this race on three previous occasions a lot of money is likely to come in for her, given an impressive 15 length win on debut in April at Keeneland.
He also saddles another strong contender, Anna’s Fast who also won on debut, however, the home brigade have strong chances with Final Song and Good Vibes in particular
The former, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, has form over course and distance and obliterated her rivals back in a maiden event in May.
However, my pick is GOOD VIBES at 8/1 given her impressive run last time out at York. She scorched her way to victory that day and trainer David Evans rates her as the best filly he has ever trained.
Her performance at York fills me with a lot of confidence as she recovered from a slow start to power home.
Prince of Wales’s Stakes
This race looks set to be a cracking encounter with several runners having a good chance of taking home the victory.
Magical and Sea of Class are likely to dominate the betting with the former three from three this year, though it will be the latter’s seasonal reappearance.
Out of those two I would favour Magical, following her win at this track on Champions Day, however my selection is CRYSTAL OCEAN.
He may not have won in Group One company before, but has been working his way into some good form having picked up a Group Three win earlier this term.
He has won seven times from 15 runs and I feel his proven stamina could be a massive plus, and at 4/1 with Grosvenorsport.com, I am prepared to side with him.