Saturday is always the busiest day of the week at Royal Ascot. Thousands upon thousands of racing fans will flock through the gates this weekend looking to enjoy both the hot and sunny weather and one of the best days of Flat racing of the entire season.
At the end of a long hot week there will be some tired jockeys, trainers and stable staff but the chance to get a Royal Ascot winner is more than enough to motivate everyone involved. We have some truly excellent racing ahead of us and plenty of betting opportunities in this week’s Saturday Racing Tips.
2:30 Chesham Stakes
The Chesham Stakes is often the place for the best two year olds in training to show off. The last three years saw Point Lonsdale, Battleground and Pinatubo lay down a marker with highly impressive performances. Pinatubo is the only one of that trio who was not sent off as favourite on the day but by the end of the season he was clearly the best juvenile colt and connections of Alfred Munnings will be confident that their charge can have a similar career trajectory.
Ryan Moore had a very good day out when he travelled to Leopardstown to ride Alfred Munnings on his racecourse debut. After tracking the pace with ease, Moore sent Alfred Munnings on for his run around the final bend and it was over within seconds. He got stronger the longer the race went on as was expected given the amount of stamina in his pedigree. That is very good news for favourite backers as Alfred Munnings tackles a stiff seven furlongs at Ascot but it could be bad news for the rest of the field.
3:05 Jersey Stakes
Group 3, 7f
The Jersey Stakes is at once an excellent, high-quality contest and a bit of an odd race. It tends to feature horses who are either stepping up from the sprint trips or who failed to make as big an impression as hoped for over longer. Whichever route they have taken, winners of this Group 3 often go on to bigger and better things and we will hopefully unearth a star in the 2022 renewal.
Find is an interesting option at a price for John and Thady Gosden. He was much better going back to seven furlongs last time out and can take advantage of a nice draw to land a place at a nice price of 25/1. Bookies’ favourite Noble Truth may find Ascot too stiff for him over this trip so the one to back to win is Star Girls Aalmal for Henry De Bromhead. This trip at Ascot should be just right for this progressive filly who is relatively short of racecourse experience but is very much going the right way and could be a very good miler at four. A price of 8/1 and a nice high draw make Star Girls Aalmal stand out as the value option.
3:40 Hardwicke Stakes
Group 2, 1m4f
Four year olds have won nine of the last 10 editions of the Hardwicke Stakes. Usually, the winner failed to hit the heights expected of them in the Derby or the Oaks in the previous season but has trained on nicely and is a better, stronger four year old. It’s a little different with this year’s favourite, Hurricane Lane, as he was third in the Epsom Derby and then took the Irish Derby beforre winning the Grand Prix de Paris, the St Leger and finishing third in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
That is a much stronger level of form then is usually represented in the Hardwicke Stakes but the question is whether or not he has trained on at four. We have no evidence to go on as Hurricane Lane has not been seen on course so far this season. If the favourite doesn’t fire then Broome, a hard-as-nails six year old for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore, can take advantage but it is hard to be against such an excellent performer as he drops down to Group 2 level.
4:20 Platinum Jubilee Stakes
Group 1, 6f
The Platinum Jubilee Stakes is a hugely prestigious sprint open to horses aged four years or older. That is, unless the horse comes from the Southern Hemisphere. Special dispensation is given to horses from Australia to run in the race at three and the connections of Home Affairs have taken advantage to enter their hugely talented bull of a horse into the 2022 race.
Victory in the Platinum Jubilee Stakes would secure a remarkable double for the trainer/jockey partnership of Chris Waller and James McDonald. They were right to be confident about the chances of Nature Strip who blitzed the field in the King’s Stand Stakes on Tuesday and they have plenty to be confident about with regards Home Affairs. The quality of sprinters in Australia is unmatched so providing Home Affairs break well enough out of stall 17 (a decent draw) he should be able to track the early pace before putting the race to bed and scoring at odds of 7/4.
5:00 Wokingham Stakes
Class 2, 6f
The Wokingham Stakes is a sight to behold. A field of 28 sprinters give everything they have from the second they burst out of the stalls until they cross the line in one of the most entertaining and manic handicaps of the year. As you might expect, this is a difficult race to call. Everything from favourites carrying top weight to long shots who have been smuggled into the race have won in recent years but generally it is a race on which to have an each way bet.
Among several tempting options it’s Bielsa who stands out for each way support at odds of 20/1. Kevin Ryan’s seven year old has form in this sort of race having won the Ayr Gold Cup late last season. His rating has been steadily declining since that win but performances this season are encouraging and suggest that he is right where his trainer wants him to be heading into the Wokingham. A high draw is good news as is the fact that he can track the pace of Mr Wagyu and Blackrod so expect Bielsa to be right in the mix come the frantic final furlong.
5:35 Golden Gates Stakes
Class 2, 1m2f
The Golden Gates Stakes is one of the races which were introduced in 2020 as compensation for a lack of opportunities when racing was shut down temporarily earlier that year. The first two editions don’t give punters much to go on other than it appears that a higher draw is favoured. Ideally, you’d want to be on a real improver rather than a three year old who has failed to make it at a higher level and Falling Shadow might fit the bill nicely at odds of 11/2.
William Buick has, predictably, had an excellent week at Royal Ascot and he partnered Falling Shadow to victory at Newbury last month. That win saw him bounce back having been disqualified at Wolverhampton and suggested he has plenty more to give. Falling Shadow is a strong traveller so Buick should be able to keep him out of trouble in running. He also has a real finishing kick and that could be what settles matters.
6:10 Queen Alexandra Stakes
Class 2, 2m5½f
Trueshan was forced to miss his planned engagement in the Gold Cup on Thursday due to unsuitably firm ground. He’s been kept in the field for the Queen Alexandra Stakes and is the clear favourite with the bookies but he may well be pulled from the running once again as even with watering the ground will be on the firm side after a long, hot afternoon in Berkshire.
Even if Trueshan does run, the unsuitable ground could well do for his chances which makes Wordsworth seem very good value at 11/4. He is not a top-level stayer but is the best horse in the field apart from Trueshan. Wordsworth is also a reliable performer who will give his running on firm ground so he’s the one to support.