Royal Ascot Reflections – Part 2 + Newbury Selections

Morning all,

A good day was had by all at Southwell on Monday. The torrential rain stayed away which was a bonus. Unlike last years gathering when I won the Betting School top tipster competition alongside Carl Nicholson. This time I ended up with the wooden spoon.

My present form is a dreadful. and I really couldn’t pick my nose. Yesterday selection ran well but could only finish third at Windsor last evening. Yesterday’s selection Louie De Palma ran well but could only finish third at Windsor.

Anyway, as promised, its another look back to Royal Ascot today. You will find all this plus some Newbury selections inside.

Royal Ascot Review – Part 2

In Monday’s post I looked at the headline makers and the star performers. Today I’m looking at some of the stats and the less familiar names who excelled last week. Here are some of the more interesting stats.

Trainers Stats:

The top three trainers at this year's Royal Ascot were.

Aidan O’Brien – 5 winners from 53 runners – 5.62 15 placed

Roger Varian – 3 winners from 11 runners +2.25 4 placed

Charlie Appleby – 3 winners from 22 runners -12 4 placed

Also, a mention for William Haggas who had 2 winners from 13 runners +3 6 placed.

Summary: Another solid performance from Aidan O’Brien, not as good as 2016 when he had 7 winners from 26 runners +42.15 16 placed or 2015 when he had 5 winners from 18 runners +17.03 10 placed 56%. However, still a very solid one.

Recent Royal Ascot's hadn’t proved a happy hunting ground for either Roger Varian or William Haggas.  Indeed from 2014 to 2018 the pair saddled just 1 winner from 113 runners -98 18 placed, when they could have been expected to have had 9 winners during the period.

Jockey Stats

The top three jockeys at this year’s meeting were:

Frankie Dettori – 7 winners from 27 rides 26% +25.5 12 placed

Ryan Moore – 5 winners from 29 rides 17% -0.12 15 placed

Danny Tudhope – 4 winners from 10 rides 40% +47 7 placed 70%

Summary: Frankie Dettori was champion jockey at this Royal Ascot. The track and the meeting just seems to bring out the very best in the biggest name in world horse racing.

Frankie grabbed most of the jockey plaudits and rightly so. However, we shouldn’t overlook the performance of Danny Tudhope.

Prior to this year the Yorkshire based jockey was 2 winners from 42 rides 8 placed. Which puts into perspective how well he was riding last week. Two of his four winners were provided by William Haggas. It’s a partnership that has really taken off in 2019, with trainer and jockey producing 15 winners from 23 runners 65 +31.85. They team up with one at Beverley today.

General Stats

1. The top two in the betting:

16 winners from 67 runners 24% +0.63 40 placed 60%

Non-handicaps produced 14 winners from 51 runners 27% +7.63 32 placed 63% in the process performing 13% better than market expectations over the five-days.

Summary: The market was a good guide to winner finding at this year’s Royal Ascot in particular in non-handicap races.

2. Handicaps – Top Weight or within 1lb of the top-weight:

3 winners from 14 runners 21% +8 6 placed 43%

Summary: Class was once again a good guide to the handicaps last week. Sometimes it can pay to keep it simple and go for the higher weighted runners at these big festivals.

3. Previous Ascot Winners:

9 winners from 58 runners 16% -11.5 23 placed 40%

Summary: Whilst you would have lost backing all previous course winners. They still performed 42% better than market expectations.

In tomorrow’s, third installment of my Royal Ascot debrief, I will give you some of my favourite equine performances of the five days, they don’t include any horses I mentioned on Monday. And on Thursday, I will share with you my five Royal Ascot eyecatchers.

Tuesday Racing:

As I mentioned at the beginning, I’m struggling for form at present. I have had a look at this evenings Newbury card and there are a couple that can go well.

Newbury

7:10 – Western Duke – The 5-year-old has yet to win since moving to the Ian Williams yard. But he wasn’t disgraced when 5th of 10 Kempton last month and is well handicapped on the very best of form for his previous trainer.  Decent each-way claims, if the reapplied cheekpieces bring out the desired improvement.

7:40 – Corrida De Toros – Given the form of the Ed De Giles stable it maybe worth chancing his runner in this 1m handicap. The 3-year-old makes his handicap debut here and should be suited by the extra furlong he races over today. He finished a couple of places ahead of the Andrew Balding trained Strict who should also be suited by today on his handicap debut.

8:15 – Keeper’s Choice is 1 win from 4 runs 2 placed at the track. He returned from a 203-day break to finish 3rd of 15 here over a mile, 39-days ago. He should have come on for that seasonal reappearance and Osin Murphy who has won the horse in the past returns in the saddle. The 5-year-old is 1lb higher than when winning at Sandown last September and looks capable of a good show.

Monday Tip:

Newbury

7:10 – Western Duke – each way

Until tomorrow

Royal Ascot Reflections – Part 1 & Windsor Tip

Morning all,

There are no bad Royal Ascot’s just stellar ones or varying degrees of good. Racing wise 2019 wasn’t in the stellar category. However, it will be hard to beat for drama and for fun, the latter a rare commodity in professional sport.

At a time when British Horse Racing is at a crossroads, a Royal Ascot came along that showcased just why this sport is so brilliant and why its popularity doesn’t have to wane.

In this week’s post I’m going to look at my five highlights of this year’s Royal Ascot. Oh, and there’s also a Monday tip inside.

1. Frankie Fever

No jockey is as synonymous with Ascot as Frankie Dettori. It’s now 23 years since Frankie’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ at Ascot. On Wednesday it looked like we could see something similar. The first four races of day two went to the most famous personality in the sport of horse racing.

The real possibility of Frankie going through the card had become a clear and present danger to the bookmakers.

By the time of race five Frankie’s mount Turgenev was as short as 7/2, almost four times its true odds. It looked a crazy price but not so crazy when Frankie pushed the 3-year-old into a three-length lead at the furlong point.

He couldn’t, could he? With the crowd roaring Frankie on the script was being written. Unfortunately, jockey Harry Bentley hadn’t read the script. He became the ultimate party pooper as he galvanised his mount Biometric to overhaul Frankie’s in the final 50yds or so.

A win that delighted bookmakers across the land who could breathe a collective sigh of relief

2. The Cream Always Rises To The Top

It’s been a tough few weeks for Ryan Moore but at Royal Ascot the cream always rises to the top. It did with Frankie and so it did with Ryan. He rode five winners over the five days. Now he’s had better Royal Ascot’s in terms of number of winners. In 2015 he rode nine winners and on three other occasions he’s ridden six winners. However, two of his winning rides last week were of the highest class.

Both rides came in the rain on the Tuesday. The first was Arizona in the Coventry Stakes. The early pace was strong, and the colt looked in a bit of trouble three furlongs out but under a strong ride he made headway a furlong out and eventually prevailed at the line.

The time of the race suggests the form is reliable and the winner raced like he needs 7f. He should be a player in all the top juvenile races later in the season.

If Arizona showcased Ryan Moore’s strength in the saddle, his ride on Circus Maximus in the St James’s Palace Stakes was a tactical masterclass. Supplemented for the race after failing to stay in the Derby the colt was a shade keen in the first-time blinkers and the early pace was slow but, Moore had him in the perfect position chasing the early leader. He pushed the horse into the lead coming to the final furlong and then battled on to hold off Phoenix Of Spain, then Too Darn Hot and the late thrust of King Of Comedy.

The rain that fell was in the horse’s favour, but he also got the most efficient ride too.

3. Hayley’s Ascot Heaven

Horse racing is one of the few sports where men and women compete together on level terms. On Friday a small bit of history was made as Hayley Turner became the first women jockey to win at Royal Ascot since Gay Kelleway way back in 1987.

Hayley’s win on Thanks Be is as Gay Kelleway said “A really important moment for the sport.” As Turner showed on the biggest stage of all, that if the horse is good enough a woman jockey can get the job done as well as a any male jockey.

Let us not forget Hayley was a Group 1 winning jockey a few years back. She’s has had more than her fair share of injuries in recent years which stalled her career when she was at her peak.  Her success in the sport is surely one of main reasons that the likes of Hollie Doyle, Josephine Gordon and Nicola Currie took up the sport.

There was an unfortunate postscript to her win, as Hayley received a nine-day ban and a fine of £1,600 for excessive use of the whip inside the final one & half furlongs.

4. Blue Point Sprints Into History

For some reason I hadn’t really warmed to Blue Point. Well not until Saturday anyway.

On Tuesday he won the Group 1 King Stand Stakes for the second year running. Like last year he just outstayed Battaash. The 5-year-old has already had a tremendous 2019, winning three times at Meydan before landing the King Stand Stakes.

On Saturday he raced into sprint history, to become the first horse since Choisir in 2003 to win the King Stand Stakes & Diamond Jubilee in the same year. Sent off the 6/4 favourite it looked like he would win easily when taking up the lead a furlong from home. But his stride started to shorten in the final 100yds, and he just held off the strong finishing Dream Of Dreams.

He’s got better and better with racing and has to be ranked as one of the best sprinters produced in the British Isles of recent years.

You would think that next month’s July Cup would be a target for Blue Point. However, there a chance he could head to stud sooner than the end of the season. Whether he heads off to stud in the next month or the end of the season he doesn’t have anything more to prove and will be a excellent addition to the Godolphin list of stallions.

5. Stradivarius Pulls The Strings

I find it hard to choose between Blue Point’s Royal Ascot sprint double and Stradivarius back to back wins in the Gold Cup. If I had to choose, I would have to go with the stayer. The 5-year-old isn’t the biggest horse you'll ever see but there isn’t a horse with a bigger heart.

He’s now unbeaten in his last seven races and there’s no reason why he can’t remain unbeaten during 2019. The Million Pound stayer bonus that he won last year looks well within reach again.

There were plenty of people who thought Stradivarius was vulnerable this year. This year’s race looked stronger than last years, and he was also racing on soft ground. Still he came through the test passing it with flying colours.

He’s always been one of those horses who only does whats required to win. I would love to see him have a crack at the Arc later in the season. A fast run Arc, would really suit the horse who has more speed than some people give him credit for. He reminds me a bit of Ardross who won the Gold Cup in 1981/82 and ended his career when finishing runner up in the 1982 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Whatever happens over the rest of the season Stradivarius must go down as one of the great stayers the last 20 years.

Monday Racing:

Plenty of racing on Monday but most of it is moderate. There’s a decent Class 3 handicap at Windsor but apart from that nothing appeals on the flat.

I’m off to Southwell today for a day at the races with guys from Betting School. Can’t say summer jumping is something I go for.

There’s no lack of runners at the meeting that’s for sure and it looks competitive albeit at a moderate level.

Windsor

7:10 – Oeil De Tigre is a well handicapped horse on his best form of last summer, with the 8-year-old being 6lb lower than when beaten less than a length into second in the Goodwood Stewards Cup consolation race. He might be a better horse at the Sussex track though and hasn’t run to form on either start this season.

Open Wide, a previous C&D winner needs quick ground and a strong pace. If he gets it is handicapped to go well. Not the easiest to win with but if all the cards are right the ability is there. The 5-year-old wasn’t beaten that far in the Epsom ‘Dash’ on his last start and is better over today’s trip.

Louie De Palma has been in great form this season. A winner at Ascot two starts back. He then went on to run Flavius Titus to a neck at Newmarket 16 days ago. Up a further 3lb demands more from the 7-year-old but he can still race in Class 3 company. Likely to go off favourite, so not the most imaginative of selections but he will do for me at around 7/2.

Louie De Palma – 7/2

Dave is away on holiday this week, which means you’ll have to put up with me for the next three days. I will be continuing the Royal Ascot theme looking at some more highlights and of course those all-important eyecatchers.

Until tomorrow

Royal Ascot – Day 5

Good morning all,

Miraculously the wifi in the hotel has held up and I've been able to do a video, although given the frankly awful form I've been in this week, it's debatable what that's worth! These things happen, just a shame it's come Ascot week. Here's hoping for better today.

You'll be hearing from John Burke more next week as I'm on holiday with the good lady, so next time I'll be posting will be a week Tuesday. Have a good weekend everyone!

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Royal Ascot – Day 4

Good morning all,

It's a real struggle this week, couldn't get anything close yesterday and given I thought this it was even harder today, I'm not exactly full of confidence at the moment!

Anyway, at least it stayed dry yesterday and hopefully it'll be the same today. Here goes…

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