BetVictor.com’s Charlie McCann with his views on Thursday’s Ascot card
Ladies Day at Royal Ascot begins with the Norfolk Stakes and the American juvenile McErin represents the yard of Wesley Ward who won this corresponding race back in 2013 courtesy of No Nay Never. The handler had a winner courtesy of Lady Aurelia on the opening day of the meeting but their juveniles ran moderately.
Their main 2-y-old fancy for the week is reportedly Happy Like A Fool and if that filly wins the Queen Mary on Wednesday then you would imagine there would be plenty of support for McErin – although he was beaten last time out at Churchill Downs when last seen on dirt back in May. The each way recommendation, however, is Santry (2.30) who represents the Malton yard of Declan Carroll and is unbeaten in two starts. The selection has not raced on fast ground but was impressive at York when giving weight and a beating to his seven rivals last time and at 6/1 with BetVictor he can keep the prize in Britain.
The Gp 3 Hampton Court Stakes has been won by the favourite in three of the last four years and BetVictor’s 4/1 market leader Mirage Dancer ran an eye-catching race when fourth to the subsequent Derby runner up Cliffs Of Moher. A son of Frankel he is open to considerable improvement for Sir Michael Stoute but I just favour Irishcorrespondent (3.05) who finished third in the Irish 2000 Guineas last time but is bred to appreciate today’s step up in trip for trainer Michael Halford. The selection, unraced at two, won his two previous starts over a mile and today’s fast ground really should suit. The colt is 11/2 at BetVictor and gets the each way vote.
The beautifully bred Mori is a fascinating contender in the Ribblesdale but I am not convinced she will stay 12 furlongs and I think Coronet (3.40) is better than she showed at Epsom last time and can reverse Oaks form with Alluringly. The selection failed to come down the hill at Epsom and this more traditional track ought to suit. At 13/2 with BetVictor I would be disappointed if she didn’t make the frame.
The Gold Cup is the highlight of the meeting for many and last year’s winner Order Of St George is the one to beat and would be a confident selection had it not been for the fact that a couple of the high-profile Aidan O’Brien-trained horses ran below par on the opening day. With that in mind, the market leader is reluctantly overlooked and an each way alternative is Sheikhzayedroad (4.20) who finished third in the corresponding race twelve months ago and can reward each way support at 11/1 with BetVictor.
The Britannia Stakes is a 32-runner cavalry charge and yesterday’s Hunt Cup might throw up some valuable clues as to whether there is any advantage in the draw. Hugo Palmer saddles Colibri (5.00) from stall 32 and in these big-field handicap’s I like to back two from different sides of the track. The selection is drawn next to the stands’ rail and ran an eye-catching race when beaten less than a length at Sandown back in April at a time when the yard were going through a quiet spell. At 20/1, he can reward each way support with BetVictor who are betting five places on the race. On the far side, I think Afaak will go well for Charlie Hills – this lightly-raced colt won a Doncaster handicap over their straight mile on soft ground last time but his breeding suggests he will be an even better colt on fast ground.
The draw for the 12f King George V Stakes has not been kind to a number of the market leaders -including Atty Persse who is fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time this afternoon. The speculative each way selection is Never Surrender (5.35) who landed his maiden at Chester last time over an extended ten furlongs and promises to appreciate this step up to a mile-and-a-half for the first time. At 16/1 with BetVictor he is another each way selection.
For all your racing needs check out BetVictor.com