The wonderful thing about the British flat racing season is that whatever highlight we may have just witnessed, there is always more excellence on the horizon. In terms of flat racing festivals, it is the five days of Royal Ascot which put everything else in the shade, and it all kicks off on the 14th June. With many of the heroes from last year having made their racecourse reappearances and new stars emerging amongst the classic crop, the likely make up of Royal Ascot’s major Group 1 contests is beginning to take shape, with some great betting opportunities (for which you can check the latest live betting odds right here!).
The absence of last year’s winner from the Queen Anne field on the opening day has lent the betting odds for the race a far more open look. Solow may be absent, but his loss looks all set to be made up for by a first Royal Ascot appearance of another international star. Tepin will jet over from the United Statses looking to land a magnificent seven, having taken six Graded contests on the bounce back home. America’s most popular mare heads the betting at odds of 4/1 with Sky Bet. Belardo will certainly give her something to think about though, having been cut to 10/1 with Bet365 following an excellent win in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
The second Group 1 of the opening day is a regular port of call for the season’s top three year old colts. The St James’ Palace Stakes once again looks set to be fought out between a number of runners to have fared well in the English, Irish and French 2000 Guineas. Galileo Gold is joint favourite at 9/4 with Bet365 as he bids to follow in the footsteps of Gleneagles, who backed up his Newmarket triumph with success here last year. Galileo Gold is joined by The Gurkha at the head of the market following a scintillating display by the Coolmore Colt in the French Guineas.
The Kings Stand Stakes is the big sprint contest on day one and looks to have as international a flavour as ever, with raiders from the USA, Australia, France and Singapore. Muthmir is current favourite with most firms in our live odds comparison tables but may be threatened by Wesley Wards Acapulco on the day. The flying filly took the Queen Mary Stakes at the meeting last year and looked in rude health when easily taking a Listed sprint at Churchill Downs in May. The best odds available about the American star are 8/1 with Betfair.
Wednesday’s highlight of the Prince Of Wales Stakes is one of the pre-eminent 1m2f contests of the season and is building up into real cracker. Aidan O’Brien’s Found was one of just two horses to master Golden Horn in his career, coming out on top in their Breeders’ Cup turf duel. Having demonstrated her wellbeing last time out at The Curragh, she heads into the race as the 3/1 favourite with Coral. There are no shortage of high class opponents here, with the winners of last year’s French Derby, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Champion Stakes all amongst the opposition.
Aidan O’Brien has dominated the Ascot Gold Cup over the past decade, largely thanks to the legendary Yeats. He saddles the favourite for the season’s major staying contest once again with Order Of St George. The four year old hasn’t made it to the track yet in the current campaign, but such was the impression he created in last season’s Irish St Leger, that he was immediately installed as a 5/1 shot for this after the race. That price has only hardened over the winter with the 5/2 with 888sport being the best odds now available. The likes of Flying Officer, Mizzou and Clever Cookie have posted solid enough runs this season without having any great impact on the betting odds. Bondi Beach could well prove a threat having won first time out at Navan. With the prices available on the odds comparison sites ranging from 5/1 to 9/1 for last year’s St Leger runner up.
The Commonwealth Cup proved a popular addition to the meeting last year and is one of two Group 1 contests on the Friday. The big mover in this three year olds only contest is the Hugo Palmer trained Gifted Master. A prolific run of form has seen the son of Kodiac record five wins on the spin, culminating in a Group 3 success at this track. His price for this contest has understandably shortened to 6/1 from 20/1 with Bet365.
The classic crop of fillies are given their chance to shine in the Coronation Stakes. The Aidan O’Brien duo of the brilliant Minding and Ballydoyle currently vie for favouritism in our live odds comparison at around the 2/1 mark. Not far behind at 7/2 is Jeremy Noseda’s Nemoralia who created quite an impression when landing a Listed contest at York last time out. Recent French 1000 Guineas winner La Cressionniere has entered the betting at 6/1 with Sky Bet having been previously unconsidered for the race and looks to have plenty more to offer.
One of the most anticipated sprint contests of the season takes centre stage on the fifth and final day. Undrafted took the Diamond Jubilee Stakes for America in 2015 and looks set to defend his crown. Betfair and Bet365 are amongst the firms offering 10/1 about the Wesley Ward runner who warmed up with a smooth success at Keeneland. It isn’t all that long ago that Magical Memory was considered a 16/1 shot for this. Charles Hills handsome grey isn’t that price anymore though following back to back Group successes to open the current campaign. His effort last time in the Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes was enough to see him assume outright favouritism in most lists. Coral are amongst the firms offering 6/1 which is the best price now available.