- Retained rider to top trainer Aidan O’Brien and Betfair Ambassador runs through his rides on day one of Royal Ascot
- Ryan Moore is the 4/9 favourite to be the top jockey at Royal Ascot, ahead of 3/1 shot Frankie Dettori in his final ever appearance at the royal meeting
Ahead of Tuesday’s (20th June) Royal Ascot, Betfair Ambassador Ryan Moore runs through the first days’ racecard allowing his thoughts and tips on each race.
Queen Anne Stakes, Lusail at 14:30
I think the betting has this right, with Lockinge winner Modern Games having very solid claims – it is very hard to see him not being involved – and Inspiral is clearly right up there at her best, which came first time up at this meeting last season. I’d marginally favour Inspiral of that pair, but they don’t set that high a bar in Group 1 terms, and that gives us all a chance of sorts.
My colt clearly has a fair bit to find in this grade, but he was only just touched off in the St James Palace here last year and quick ground suits him best, so the less rain from here the better for him. You can give him an each-way chance at a price on his run here last year and his Prix Jean Prat third, but he clearly has a very tough task.
Coventry Stakes, River Tiber at 15:05
He was clearly very impressive when winning on his debut by 10 lengths on soft ground at Navan and I was again very taken with him when scoring under a 3lb penalty at Naas last time. Clearly, the manner in which he finished off his race over 5f would have given you plenty of encouragement that this extra furlong will bring out a lot of improvement in him. In fact, I think he would probably get 7f already.The form of that Naas win has been franked since too, so we are obviously very hopeful of a big run.
Confidence is not a word I would use with so many similarly unexposed promising 2yos in here, but I’ll just say he is in very good shape for this. We will see how being drawn six of 22 unfolds.
King’s Stand Stakes, Twilight Calls at 15:40
Again, it looks like the betting has called this correctly; for all, it is obviously a pretty big deep field. Coolangatta sets the standard on his Group 1-winning form in Australia and Highfield Princess holds the strongest form claims of the home team.
My mount Twilight Calls has underperformed in both starts this term, but maybe the testing ground was against him the first time up in the Palace House, and he was not ideally drawn at Haydock last time. If he is back in the same form as when second to Nature Strip in this race last season, then of course, he has an outside, each way chance, but he needs to step up a good deal on what we have seen of him this term.
I would also give a good word for Manaccan in this, as he clearly ran a huge race when third from a terrible draw in the Palace House.
St James Palace Stakes, Paddington at 16:20
You can obviously make a case for at least five of these. And we are only a short neck away from having the winners of the English, Irish and French Guineas in here. No one horse has posted a stand-out, scary figure as yet though, so the up-and-comers like Mostabshir and Cicero’s Gift are right in the mix, too.
I do like my colt, however. The manner in which he has gone from handicap to Listed to Classic success this season speaks for itself and he was dominant and powerful through the line at the Curragh. He will need to step up again to win this, but you have to love his progression and he is another who comes into this race in a very good place at home. His draw in eight is possibly not ideal but we can’t change that.
Ascot Stakes, Bring On The Night at 17:00
We haven’t seen him since he finished a ¾ length second to Coltrane in this race last season. At the moment, I couldn’t tell you the exact reason for the absence, though he is obviously a very-lightly raced 6yo who has had his setbacks in the past.
The trainer is a master in the staying contests at this meeting, so, if he is here, then he is primed to excel. He is 3lb higher than last year but Coltrane was running off 98 there and is now rated 117, so we will be unlucky to bump into another one like that. Quite obviously though, it’s a very competitive and open handicap.
Wolferton Stakes, Bolshoi Ballet at 17:35
We also had him in the Prince Of Wales Stakes at this meeting but this looks the best spot for him at the moment. He is on his way back to his Grade 1-winning best on the evidence of his Newbury third for me last time, and we know he has the pace to handle this step down to 1m2f. It looks like a ridiculously competitive race, with little covering a dozen or so of these on ratings, but I’d like to think Bolshoi Ballet is peaking at the right time for this challenge.
Copper Horse Handicap, Vauban at 18:10
He is of obvious interest off 101 here, given his hurdling form. He is a Grade 1-winning, 160-rated hurdler, from the Willie Mullins camp, so what is there not to like? Maybe his record so far would tell you a bit of ease in the ground would be preferable, but his chance is obvious off this weight, and you also have to remember he was also progressive in France on the Flat before going to Willie’s.
He doesn’t lack pace, so I like the 1m6f trip for him, but you will need luck from your draw – and a decent start – in this as the bend comes at you very quickly here. His draw in seven could have been worse.
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