Article written

  • on 14.06.2011
  • at 09:20 AM
  • by KT

Royal Ascot 2011 – Day 1 Preview

The opening day of the Royal Ascot meeting is easily the best in terms of racing quality, with no fewer than three Group 1 races.

Race 1 (2:30) – The Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1)

Run over a mile, the Queen Anne Stakes always gets Royal Ascot off to a flyer. The race is open to horses of either gender aged 4 years or older.

Last year’s race was dominated by three-time Breeders’ Cup Mile winning mare, Goldikova and she sets the standards here once again.

She has already won an amazing thirteen Group 1 wins and connections will be looking to add another here (currently 13/8 with bet365).

That said she is not the favourite this time around. Canford Cliffs (6/4 with bet365) is on a run of Group one victories and will be looking for the 5-timer in the Queen Anne Stakes after destroying the field in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

It’s unlikely that the winner will come from outside the top two in the betting and with the bookies paying only 2 places (just 7 runners go to post) it is difficult to find any each-way value in this race. Cityscape may well be ‘best of the rest’ and can be backed at 16/1 if you can find a single reason not to back wither Goldikova or Canford Cliffs.

Selection: GOLDIKOVA to win (13/8 with bet365)

Race 2 (3:05) – The King’s Stand Stakes (Group 1)

The second race on the card is a five furlong sprint for 3 year olds or over of either sex.

We have a much bigger field to get stuck into here with 19 runners set to go to post. Be sure to look out for the online bookmakers paying 4 places here (including bet365, Skybet, Sporting Bet and Paddy Power) as it’s sure to be a wide open race.

The Australian runner Star Witness is favourite (11/2 with Paddy Power) and sets the standard, particularly as Aussie runners have an excellent record in this race.

Sole Power looks a decent bet (8/1 with bet365) and is best coming off the pace as he did to land the Temple Stakes at Haydock back in May. His biggest win to date was when landing the Nunthorpe last year at a shock 100/1 but he will have to go even better if he is to win here.

American runner Bridgetown (12/1 with bet365) is sure to set the pace under John Velazquez and could make a bold show if given too much room out front.

Trends are key when narrowing down a field such as this and the King’s Stand is no different. Although the race is run over five furlongs, Ascot is a stiff track so form over six furlongs is equally important. Nine of the last ten King’s Stand winners had won over six furlongs at least once in their career prior to their Royal Ascot victory.

Race sharpness is important too, as nine of the last ten King’s Stand winners had run at least twice in the season before running at Royal Ascot.

BRIDGETOWN each-way (12/1 with bet365)

Race 3 (3:45) – The St. James’s Palace Stakes (Group 1)

The third race of the day completes the hat-trick of Group Ones and sees the best 3 year old colts run over a mile.

Frankel is a superstar in the making and a very short 2/5 here after his impressive win in the 2,000 Guineas. He will certainly be difficult to beat if that form is anything to go by.

There are some interesting trends to take note of in the St James’s Palace Stakes; eight of the last ten winners had previously won a Group 1 or 2 race as a two year old, while six of the last ten had won the 2,000 Guineas (or French/Irish equivalent).

Although Frankel’s form matches the trends we are not going to get rich by backing him at 2/5, so might be best to look for some each-way value given the bookmakers are playing 3 places in the 9 runner field.

The 2 each-way bets that stand out are Excelebration (11/1 with Sporting Bet) and Grand Prix Boss (22/1 with bet365).

Excelebration destroyed the field in the German 2,000 Guineas on soft ground so trainer Marco Botti and connections will be doing the rain-dance down in Berkshire today!

Japanese runner Grand Prix Boss was the champion two year old in his homeland and has done nothing wrong so far this year. Trainer Yoshito Yahagi is said to be confident here and may well run a place at a big price.

EXCELEBRATION each-way (11/1 with Sporting Bet)
GRAND PRIX BOSS each-way (22/1 with bet365)
Small stakes combination Tricast: Frankel / Excelebration / Grand Prix Boss

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