Only days after the Epsom Derby success of Ruler Of The World, punters’ thoughts are now on the most prestigious five-day Festival in the entire racing calendar – Royal Ascot.
With the help of William Hill, The Stable View blog have three antepost tips for a selection of races to ensure that you will ahead of the rest when the meeting takes place in just under three weeks time.
To visit William Hill’s website click the link: http://sports.williamhill.com/bet/en-gb
Animal Kingdom (5-2) – Queen Anne Stakes
Frankel, Canford Cliffs and Goldikova are the last three winners of the Queen Anne Stakes, so the victor in the 2013 renewal will be in good company on the roll of honour.
Despite the likes of Aidan O’Brien-trained Declaration Of War and Most Improved prominent in the betting, it seems that this could be a contest between Goldophin’s Farrh (11-4) and the 2013 Dubai World Cup champion ANIMAL KINGDOM.
Although, Farrh’s performance on his seasonal reappearance was taking, it seemed, to me at least, that he only ran to form. The one horse that ran disappointingly below his rating in the JLT Lockinge Stakes was Cityscape.
Animal Kingdom, on the other hand, has excellent form from all corners of the globe.
Graham Motion’s five-year-old won the prestigious Kentucky Derby in 2011, before cruising to a two-length victory this March in Meydan.
It is also worth noting that Animal Kingdom was only narrowly beaten in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Mile by American Horse of the Year winner, Wise Dan.
Normally, for a foreign-based Royal Ascot participant, 5-2 favouritism would worry me as sometimes a horse can have a lot of their performance taken out of them by jetlag and acclimatising to their new surroundings.
However, because Animal Kingdom has been in the United Kingdom since his exploits in Dubai three months ago, it should pose no problem.
He is the classiest horse in this race and should prove it in the Queen Anne Stakes before heading off in to retirement as a stallion to keep an eye on in the future.
Sole Power (10-1) – King’s Stand Stakes
A lot of punters will have been disappointed and put off by SOLE POWER’s performance in the Haydock Temple Stakes, but he most certainly is worth keeping with – for the sake of value at the very least.
A lot of negatives can be turned in to positives for the Eddie Lynam-trained colt’s next run. Firstly, Johnny Murtagh will be expected to take over the ride of Fran Berry.
Although Berry is a talented enough jockey, when Murtagh steers Sole Power, he is in sync with him and normally produces winning results.
Secondly, at the Royal meeting there will be a lot of pace in the early stages of the race and this will play to the strengths of the son of Kyllachy.
Sole Power is available at 10-1 and is a good each-way bet, but he will come under pressure from his market rivals in the form of South African-based Shea Shea (11-4), three-year-old sprinting star Reckless Abandon (8-1) and Haydock Group 2 winner Kingsgate Native (14-1).
Naturally, backing against the antepost favourite will be difficult, as the Mike De Koch-trained colt has built such a reputation over the Dubai Carnival, but I have reservations over a short-priced favourite maintaining performance levels when travelling nearly 9,000 miles to race in Britain.
As I feel Sole Power will be more of himself at Royal Ascot, the 10-1 about him at William Hill looks good value.
Society Rock (7-1) – Diamond Jubilee Stakes
The antepost market for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes would make you believe that this is a fiercely competitive race. But, half of the market are believed to be running in the 5f King’s Stand Stakes earlier in the Royal meeting instead.
This means that the realistic challengers are SOCIETY ROCK, Soft Falling Rain (8-1), Deacon Blues (8-1) and Gordon Lord Byron (14-1) amongst others.
Soft Falling Rain has similar travel issues to Shea Shea so I am discarding his chances of winning based on my theory.
Gordon Lord Byron has very good form in the top 5f sprints, but has never found a way to beat Society Rock. It is unlikely he will be able to find a way at Ascot. Despite this, if you fancy placing an exacta or trifecta on the day of the race, the five-year-old would be included in mine.
As for the talented Deacon Blues, he will have to be in pretty outstanding order to win this, after being off the track injured for 20 months. There are no guarantees that he will make it to the stalls this month, so the 8-1 about him looks very skinny and does not tempt.
The antepost bet, though, does come from James Fanshawe’s Pegasus Stable in the form of Society Rock.
In my opinion, the son of Rock Of Gibraltar is the best 6f sprinter in Europe.
The six-year-old won this race two years ago at huge odds of 25-1 and was incredibly unlucky last year not to push Australian supermare Black Caviar closer. He failed in that renewal because of his poor start, which is one worry when backing this horse.
However, the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Against the anticipated weak field, he could rout this – even with a substandard start.
At 7-1, Society Rock is the website’s NAP bet. On the day, he could be closer to 4-1 favourite with the omission of Shea Shea. Therefore, I am all aboard Rocky to rock ‘n’ roll to the winners’ enclosure.
Comments welcome. Follow me on twitter @JamesYellen. Special thanks to William Hill for assisting with this article.