“He loves quick ground and could run better than his price suggests”

14:30 Queen Anne Stakes

It looks a wide-open renewal of the Queen Anne and I like the chances of Facteur Cheval. His performance in winning the Dubai Turf was very good and should be ready to handle the quick conditions. I don’t think the Lockinge form stacks up very well and I don’t like that it was run on slow ground. If the French raider can reproduce what he did in Dubai, he’d be the one I’d like to ride.

15:05 Coventry Stakes

In my riding days I always liked being on Ascot two-year-olds who’d had more than one run, so they’d bring more experience to the table. However, this year I’m going to go against that with my pick Cowardofthecounty. He looked really smart on debut and the horse he beat that day, Whistlejacket, is well-touted for the Norfolk later in the week. I think it’ll be Joseph O’Brien to land the first juvenile race of the meeting.

15:45 King Charles III Stakes

It’s hard to get away from Big Evs in the King Charles III Stakes. He was a proper two-year-old last year, winning at Royal Ascot and finishing up with Breeders’ Cup glory over in America. He showed at York that he’s trained on well and I think they’ll struggle to beat him. If you’re looking for one at a slightly bigger price, I wouldn’t put you off Kerdos for Clive Cox. He beat the Nunthorpe winner Live In The Dream in his prep for this, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ran into a place here.

16:25 St James’s Palace Stakes

This looks one of the races of the meeting and I think the Guineas winner Notable Speech is clearly the one they have to beat. He showed bundles of class and stamina to win at Newmarket after he’d never even run on turf before, and he looks set to step up again for the Godolphin team. Rosallion demands respect too, having won the Irish 2000 Guineas, but Notable Speech is the one for me.

17:05 Ascot Stakes

The Ascot Stakes is a tricky puzzle to unpick but I think it will pay to stick with the National Hunt trainers here. You’ve always got to respect Willie Mullins’ runners at this meeting, and I am siding with My Lyka. He’s a lightly raced horse who could be anything for the Closutton team, and it’s even more encouraging to see Ryan Moore on board. I also wouldn’t rule out The Very Man for Jessica Harrington. He’s got a touch of class and is guaranteed to stay the marathon trip, so he could outrun his odds.

17:40 Wolferton Stakes

It’s eye-catching to see how well-backed Torito has been in the Wolferton. He’s clearly a horse with lots of ability, and while you’d like John and Thady Gosden’s stable to be in better form, you’d expect their horses are hitting their strides at just the right time for this meeting. I would also give a mention to Ouzo. He loves quick ground and has been on the up for Jamie Osborne. I think he could run better than his price suggests.

18:15 Copper Horse Handicap

It looks like Willie Mullins has another strongly fancied runner here in the shape of Belloccio. Willie obviously won the race last year with Vauban, and his contender this year clearly has a good chance, but I’m drawn to the fact that Ryan Moore has stayed loyal to Sir Michael Stoute with Fox Journey. This horse has a few nice pieces of form to his name, and his 11-length win last time out showed he’s a real talent. Maybe Ryan’s decision to ride for his old boss rather than Mullins is an indication of how much he likes this horse’s chances? We’ll see!

Best of luck,









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