Punters Guide To Royal Ascot 2014 - Day One

Horse racing analyst Alan Kelly gives his views and betting tips on day one of the 2014 Royal Ascot meeting in this punters guide.

2.30 QUEEN ANNE STAKES – The Richard Hannon-trained TORONADO is sure to go off a very warm favourite for this one mile Group 1 contest and the mount of Richard Hughes will surely win this if reproducing his best form of last season which included a half length victory over Dawn Approach in Goodwood’s Qipco Sussex Stakes but the son of High Chaparral is hardly a betting proposition ( best price evens with Stan James ) on his seasonal reappearance. Second favourite VERRAZANO is certain to build on his first run for Aidan O’Brien when third in Newbury’s Lockinge Stakes, a fact which is represented in his odds of 7-2, therefore it could pay to have an each-way interest in TULLIUS at the 12-1 available with SKYBET who are refunding win stakes if the race is won by the unnamed favourite. One place in front of Verrazano at Newbury Andrew Balding’s gelding has done nothing but improve this season and while lacking the class of the market leader is guaranteed to run his race. ADVICE – 1 POINT E.W TULLIUS – 12-1 SKYBET ( Win stake refunded if fav wins race )

3.05 COVENTRY STAKES – Favourite at 9-2 ( Stan James ) is the Ballydoyle representative WAR ENVOY but that is more to do with his powerful stable rather than the son of War Fronts’ form to date. Beaten by fellow rival KOOL KOMPANY at Naas last time hardly entitles the mount of Joseph O’Brien to head the betting and stronger cases can be made for both ADAAY and THE WOW SIGNAL. The former is unbeaten in two starts and after impressing on his debut victory at Newbury Paul Hanagan’s mount went on to beat the well-regarded Mind Of Madness at Yarmouth. The latter ( a son of the champion sprinter Starspangledbanner ) only has an AYR maiden win to his name but John Quinn’s colt could hardly have won more easily and with both the second and third going on to win next time out the form has a solid look to it. ADVICE – 1 POINT WIN ADAAY – 5-1 BETFRED or BETVICTOR

3.45 KING’S STAND STAKES – This 5f Group 1 speed test revolves around last year’s 1-2 SOLE POWER and SHEA SHEA together with the new kid on the block, the impressive Temple Stakes winner HOT STREAK who created such a huge impression when running out a five length winner of the Cornwallis Stakes over course and distance last October. Recent rain will not have been welcomed by connections of the firm ground loving Sole Power who, together with Shea Shea, failed to get the better of Jwala in last year’s Nunthorpe Stakes at York and both will need to be at their very best to trouble Kevin Ryan’s speedster, who is confidently expected to set the sprinting division alight with another exciting display. If the winner is to come from outside of the ‘ big three ‘ it is likely to be the lightly-raced GUERRE who beat the Group 1 winner Maarek last time on only his third start. ADVICE – 2 POINTS WIN HOT STREAK – 4-1 BET365, SKYBET, BETVICTOR Or PADDY POWER.

4.25 – ST JAMES’S PALACE STAKES – Only 7 runners but one of the highlights of the week in which the QIPCO 2000 Guineas 1-2 NIGHT OF THUNDER and KINGMAN renew rivalry once again together with TOORMORE and WAR COMMAND, both out to regain their reputations after disappointing at Newmarket when strongly fancied. While the Richard Hannon-trained colt looked the winner on merit at headquarters it is more than possible that Kingman wasn’t at his best that day and is better judged on his easy victory over Night Of Thunder in Newbury’s Greenham Stakes together with a wide-margin win in the Irish 2000 Guineas. In such a small field it is possible that tactics could play a major role but with ground conditions likely to be perfect for John Gosden’s charge the mount of James Doyle is taken to gain revenge on this occasion. ADVICE – 2 POINTS WIN KINGMAN – 11-10 BETVICTOR or STAN JAMES

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5.00 ASCOT STAKES – Only 8lb between all 20 runners in this 2m 4f handicap which lacks the class of many previous renewals but ultra-competitive all the same. Last year’s third LIEUTENANT MILLER tries again but off a 7lb higher mark although the consistent dual-purpose 8-year-old does have the valuable services of Ryan Moore in the saddle. The improving PERFECT HEART and BALLINDERRY BOY will both have their supporters but are untested over this marathon trip and in an open contest another Nicky Henderson inmate in SURAJ is the selection after a promising reappearance at York last month when a staying on sixth behind fellow rival Villa Royale ( 5lb worse off ). Dropped to a lenient rating of 90 the mount of Jamie Spencer has threatened to win a decent staying handicap for some time and off a 5lb lower mark than when eleventh in this race 12 months ago should go close providing he can settle better than last year when failing to get home after pulling hard in the early stages. ADVICE – 1 POINT E.W. SURAJ – 11-1 BETVICTOR or STAN JAMES

5.35 WINDSOR CASTLE STAKES – An impossible-looking 5f contest for 2-year-olds in which worthwhile form is thin on the ground. A victory for our selection Adaay in the earlier ( and stronger ) Coventry Stakes could see a gamble take place on MIND OR MADNESS who gave William Haggas’s colt a race at Yarmouth last time after winning impressively at Newmarket on his debut. That trainer could supply one of the main dangers in MUBTAGHAA who improved from a promising debut at Ascot to easily land the odds in a Nottingham maiden although the form is probably only fair. HOOTENANNY is an interesting runner from the US but a recent third of four at Pimlico hardly inspires confidence and at a bigger price the Godolphin runner FOUR SEASONS could go well at decent odds. Last of 8 on his debut the mount of William Buick improved dramatically with that run under his belt to take what looked a decent Leicester maiden despite being slowly away and looks certain to improve once again. ADVICE – 1 POINT E.W. FOUR SEASONS – 14-1 SKYBET or PADDY POWER.