A very warm welcome to the Royal Ascot Q & A. We're here for the next hour to try to sort you out with a few winners. Just the 30 races to deal with. Here's hoping we can all have a profitable week.
I'm beginning to think it might be Another Batt in the Windsor Castle tomorrow. Good maiden form in Ireland against some very useful sorts and won as he liked on first start for new yard. Beginning to really like him
Uh oh...me and Keals going head-to-head already! Roussel has been on mind mind for the Windsor Castle ever since I saw him win on debut at Leicester last month. Asfurah in 1997 was the last time Godolphin won it but Roussel obviously impressed in his breeze ups and I liked the manner of victory at Leicester where he was value for more than the winning margin. That was not a bad maiden either, the third was narrowly denied next time and the seventh and eighth home both ran really well last time. I think he's very fast and 12-1 will do me just fine.
Has to be Outback Traveller winning the Wokingham last year. In 30 years of trying that was the first one I managed to back
Mine is without doubt Samitar winning the Albany in 2011. I was only a pup and new in the RP. I was trying to convince people I knew something about racing (still am...unsuccessfully) and her win at 16-1 won me the in-house tipping comp! I got a grand sterling out of it! Happy days...
For me it has to be Decorated Knight in the Prince of Wales's Stakes on Wednesday. I know the race has become harder with Highland Reel entered but he's just a winner and he hacked up in the Tattersalls Gold Cup last time on ground he's not supposed to like. He'll love the surface now
Mamba Noire in the Queen Mary. I managed to snap up some 33s last week. Maybe Happy Like A Fool is another Lady Aurelia, but Ken Condon's filly is blessed with scorching speed as well and you can most certainly forget her recent Naas defeat. Nothing went to plan there. She will be held up with cover this time and Condon, who sent out Newsletter to finished a close-up third to Anthem Alexander in the same race in 2014, says she is even speedier than her.
I will be taking on Brother Bear with Murillo in the Coventry. It might sound strange to fancy a colt in the Coventry who finished last on his debut and was beaten 15 lengths, but put a line through that as the ground was horrible and focus on his silky smooth Tipperary triumph instead. He destroyed a rival with experience there and this imposing colt could be a bit special. The fact that Declarationofpeace goes for the Windsor Castle must be a ringing endorsement too. Rumour has it Murillo is working really well.
That's an easy one - Connonwealth Cup. Three incredibly fast colts locking horns. I've fallen in love with Harry Angel. He's a headbanger but I love headbangers.
Has to be the Commonwealth Cup. We have three sprinters in Ireland who could all be top drawer. Most expect Caravaggio to do the business, and I can't say I'd argue, but on value terms Blue Point looks good each-way to me. After all, he did break the course record last time and his weakness in the betting since is baffling. Have to say the talk is that Wesley Ward is also keen on Bound For Nowhere
For me it is Ribchester. He obviously deserves to be favourite and the Queen Anne has been a punters paradise in the last decade but, given his draw, I'd rather back Mutakayyef each-way at 8s. He won the Ganton Stakes at York on his first start of 2016 and seems to go really well fresh. He remains something of an unknown quantity over a mile.
I have a feeling it might be Ribchester tomorrow. Drawn one in 16-runner field on fast ground (he does handle it, mind). It's worth pointing out four of the five shortest prices runners at the meeting last year lost, while in the last ten years there have been five 1m Group 1s in Britain with more than 11 runners and a favourite at evens or shorter and only one of those won.
It has to be interesting he has been supplemented when he already had two other entries at the meeting. A strong-run 1m might just suit him, but overall I think the the big dangers to Ribchester are Lightning Spear (loves Ascot and fast ground) and Mutakayyef for all the reasons David has outlined.
He has a shout, but probably not a great one. Mutakayyef is the interesting one for me and 8s is very fair. Oh This Is Us might be worth a small investment at a huge price as well. I thought he was the best horse in the Diomed at Epsom and very, very unlucky.
It is unoriginal but I think Mori will probably win. She has been more workmanlike than impressive so far but I have a feeling there is more to come.
Only that the Oaks form is poor once you take Enable and Rhododendron out. I'll be backing something that didn't run at Epsom for sure. A bit boringly the markets may have landed on the right one in Mori
I would hold fire. Do you really think he will be at his best on lightning-fast ground? It actually surprised me a bit he is running. I don't see him being anywhere near as good on Wednesday's surface as he looked in Dubai.
oooooo....cocky! I like it! Ground must be a massive worry, though.
My banker is The Tin Man in the Diamond Jubilee. The top jockey/trainer races look over already if you ask me. O'Brien and Moore.
I really think Marsha should be 2-1 or shorter for the King's Stand. If she runs another career best tomorrow - and she has done so on her last two starts - that will surely put her out of reach of the colt and geldings who have to give her weight this time and I'll need some convincing that Lady Aurelia is as good as she looked last year. O'Brien/Moore looks the obvious combination, though don't be surprised if Frankie makes an early run as he did last year before Moore collared him
Well, the one thing I do know is that he shouldn't be 25-1. I'm convinced that 7f on quick ground are his terms and conditions and apparently he works the house down at Ger Lyons' place. Colin Keane adores him. A straight track might be of benefit to him as well as he didn't handle the bend too well at Leopardstown on his return. He has a squeak and he is a better horse than we have seen so far but it is a red-hot Jersey and Dream Castle and Daban set the bar pretty high, especially the filly who could be so good over 7f.
I'll bow to David on that one, but has tons to find on bare form
I'm a huge fan of Alpha Centauri, but the key word is "huge". She's very big and whether she will be risked on very fast ground at this level has to be open to question. The vibes for Fairyland have been nowhere near as strong as they are for Happy Like A Fool and it's worth remembering Wesley Ward has yet to win a 2yo race over further than 5f at the meeting. There has been a strong word for Black Sails at a couple of previews I attended and she did make short work of Another Batt on her debut, so keep an eye on what he does in the Windsor Castle. I quite like him too.
I am petrified about the ground for Alpha Centauri if it doesn't rain before Friday. She's bigger than Keals and needs some cut. Black Sails would be interesting if she showed up here. She's got loads of ability.
Winter will win. She's probably the really banker of the meeting. Absolutely top class. Sea Of Grace surely wants ease in the ground.
I stupidly took Winter on in the Irish Guineas. That went well! I was all over Sea Of Grace in France and she was a bit unlucky as she made her challenge so far away from the winner. She is no Winter, though, so second is the best she can hope for.
If you take the 2,000 Guineas at face value he surely is a danger as he didn't handle the track. The suspicion was that Churchill had a bit up his sleeve, though, and he showed even more next time at the Curragh. Aidan O'Brien's 2,000 Guineas winners have a tendency to keep on improving and Coolmore will be able to control the pace of the race too.
Sure he is definitely a danger and it is hard to crab that he was unlucky at Newmarket. But Churchill is a bit like Harry Kane. He never looks like he is doing anything, then he pounces at the perfect time. I think Churchill will win again, in his usual workmanlike way by about a length.