Royal Ascot Preview - Goldikova Can Take Advantage If Opener Turns Into Tactical Affair

Royal Ascot opens tomorrow with the Queen Anne Stakes, a race that has courted controversy in it's history and if this years' race turns into a tactical affair bookmakers' 13/8 favourite Goldikova could be the one to take advantage.

The Queen Anne Stakes, first run in 1840, and the traditional opener to the Royal Ascot festival, was upgraded to Group 1 status in 2003, and 2010 boasts one of the strongest fields in the long history of the race.

Three outstanding milers’, in the shape of Goldikova, Paco Boy and Rip Van Winkle will head a strong field of 10 in the 1m contest, the result of which may be decided by the best tactical ride.

The race has a history of controversy, and hard luck stories abound. The most dramatic renewal took place in 1974 when the first three horses home ( Confusion, Gloss and Royal Prerogative ) were all disqualified for causing interference, and the race was awarded to the fourth home Brook.

With no guaranteed pace in the race it is possible that the contest could develop into a sprint, which is unlikely to favour hold up horses Paco Boy and Rip Van Winkle.

The French trained Goldikova usually races in a prominent position and may gain a decisive advantage over her chief rivals, and is the most likely winner at the 13/8 available with Betfred, Stan James and Coral.

Second race on the card, and another Group 1, the King’s Stand Stakes, is the British Leg of The Global Sprint Challange and with two Australian entries, the form of the race is difficult to interpret.

Favourite at 3/1 is Nicconi, winner of the Grade 1 Lightning Stakes at Flemington, and unbeaten in four races over the minimum trip.

Aussie spinters have won four of the last eight runnings of the race and main danger could turn out to be old rival Gold Train who shows tremendous early pace, and Ascot’s 5f trip could be ideal for the six year-old, who is a 10/1 shot with most firms.

The St James’s Palace Stakes completes a trio of Group 1s and although only nine go to post the contest looks an outstanding renewal of the race, first run in 1834.

The first three home in the 2000 Guineas renew rivalry, but after an impressive victory in the Irish equivalent, Canford Cliffs ( third at Newmarket ) is favourite at a best price 2/1 with Bet365 and Betfred.

Newmarket winner Makfi is a general 11/4 shot but the value may lie with the trainer who has saddled the last three winners of the race, namely Aidan O’Brien.

O’Brien has sang the praises of Steinbeck for some time now and his opinion that this is an outstanding colt can be vindicated tuesday, by beating a field full of quality.

Encompassing is likely to act as pacemaker to ensure a true run race, and in what looks a race to savour, Steinbeck is value at the 13/2 available with Bet365.