After a blisteringly hot start to Royal Ascot, the heavy rains have caused havoc with the royal meeting. Hopefully, everything will be safe to proceed on Saturday as the ITV Racing cameras are ready to cover what should be an excellent day of racing. Every single race will be broadcast live in a bumper day of action and we’ve gone through the card to pick out our best bets in this week’s Saturday Racing Tips.
2:30 Chesham Stakes
Aidan O’Brien has a superb record in more than one race at Royal Ascot and he has a particular fondness for the Chesham Stakes. Over the years we have been treated to some very taking performances from Ballydoyle-owned two year olds and the market fancies Point Lonsdale to be O’Brien’s sixth winner of this Listed contest.
The immaculately well-bred son of Australia didn’t always travel with supreme fluency on his debut at the Curragh but he steadily grew into things and got stronger the longer the race went on. He looked a horse who will get better if stepped up in trip but staying at seven furlongs with the ground likely to ease from the good to firm of earlier at Royal Ascot due to the amount of rainfall in the forecast could be enough of a test of stamina for Point Lonsdale to come on again and win the Chesham Stakes at 5/4.
3:05 Jersey Stakes
Group 3, 7f
Creative Force made it three wins from three starts for the season when he stepped up in class to win a Listed contest over six furlongs last time out. Connections were unable to enter him in the Commonwealth Cup as he is a gelding but stepping up to seven furlongs could well bring even more out of him. The bookies’ favourite certainly has the look of a Jersey Stakes winner as he loves to stalk the leaders and many recent winners of this race have come from slightly off the pace to close when sent for their final effort.
The other key for Creative Force is that he has run well on ground that is either side of good. His pedigree suggests that soft ground is preferred but he should be able to deal with whatever he faces at Ascot on Saturday. The main danger could be Tactical who has gone from a classy looking sprinter as a juvenile to a horse with real potential over seven furlongs. Beating Creative Force may be a step too far at this stage but he too is versatile in terms of the ground and offers each way appeal at 12/1.
3:40 Hardwicke Stakes
Group 2, 1m4f
The Hardwicke Stakes is usually one of the most exciting contests of the final day at Royal Ascot and we have an open looking renewal this year. The market is headed by Broome. Aidan O’Brien is very happy with his work so far this season and expects more from him stepped up to 1m4f. He certainly has the ability to win this but 3/1 just looks a little short given the makeup of the race. The same is true of Hukum who is a reliable type and will run a good race but you’d have to be very confident to take 9/2.
The best value in the 2021 Hardwicke Stakes could be Japan at 14/1. After a very good three-year-old campaign the Ballydoyle charge was unable to win last year. He was kept in training though and rewarded connections with victory in his first outing of the season before a decent third at Epsom on Derby weekend. Good to soft ground should be just what he wants so Japan’s class and experience make him a sound each way bet.
4:20 Diamond Jubilee Stakes
Group 1, 6f
Starman is aptly named for a day in which he is the main attraction for the feature race of the day, the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. Ed Walker has a very good sprinter on his hands and he was delighted with the way that Starman bounced back on his seasonal reappearance having lost his unbeaten record on his final run of the last campaign. That defeat on soft ground at Ascot could be the key bit of form here though as Starman could well encounter ground that’s even softer than in October and he is very much a horse who is suited to a sound surface.
The concern about the ground opens the door for Dream Of Dreams for Sir Michael Stoute. This experienced, hardy seven-year-old is capable of going well on all sorts of different ground so he can be relied on to run a good race and, unlike some in the betting, there is no doubt about his participation. He’s been knocking on the door of a Group 1 for some time and finally made that breakthrough at the Sprint Cup and any horse who can at the top level on soft ground at Haydock has to be seriously considered for a boggy Ascot at 7/2.
5:00 Wokingham Stakes
Class 2, 6f
The rain that came overnight on Thursday into Friday has changed the shape of almost all of the races on the final two days of Royal Ascot. Earlier in the week, it was clear that a high draw was preferable but even that may have changed with the rain which makes a race like the 28-runner Wokingham Stakes all the more difficult to work out.
As ever, the flip side of that is that there are some great bets waiting to be found. In that hunt, the first place to land is Chil Chil. The five year old has made big strides forward in his two runs this season and there is a quiet confidence around the Andrew Balding yard that he could be up to taking his chance in a Group level race soon. The handicapper knows all about his quality but the second top weight has the class to at least go close at 12/1. Then, at a bigger price, Danzeno could be a danger at 33/1. He is an ultra experienced, reliable type who won’t be put off by the size of the field, the crowd or the conditions and is well worth having onside.
5:35 Golden Gates Stakes
Class 2, 1m2f
The Golden Gates Stakes was initially introduced as an extra for just one year as a way of helping trainers and owners who were finding it tough to find enough places for their horses to run during the curtailed season. However, it was something of a hit with a 20/1 winner in Highland Chief and it’s great to see that the race has remained on the card.
Mark Johnson doesn’t tend to struggle to place his horses and Frankie Dettori is certainly never short of a ride and those two pair up with King Frankel. There is a strong suspicion that he could be better than a handicapper given a bit more time to grow and mature but for now, he is working his way up the rankings. A mark of 91 shouldn’t prove too onerous for him and his stamina reserves will come in handy on the softer ground so back King Frankel to win at 5/1.
6:10 Queen Alexandra Stakes
Class 2, 2m5½f
The final race of Royal Ascot is well worth waiting for. The Queen Alexandra Stakes is the longest race of the entire Flat season at 2m5½f and features entries from National Hunt trainers such as Paul Nicholls and Willie Mullins.
Alan King used to be thought of as a jumps trainer but he is now very much a dual code trainer with an emphasis on the Flat as time goes on. He knows how to get the best out of strong stayers on the level and his runner, Who Dares Wins, could be going under the radar at 12/1. That price suggests that last year’s winner of the Queen Alexandra Stakes has lost his form completely but his luckless run last time out suggests otherwise and given how much he loves some cut in the ground, Who Dares Wins is the each way angle against the better fancied Falcon Eight and Stratum.