A P O'Brien has a strong chance with Order of St George in the Gold Cup.

Order of St George to Take Gold at Royal Ascot

A P O'Brien has a strong chance with Order of St George in the Gold Cup.

Just 1 winner from 6 selections yesterday, but that 2-year-old speedball Heartache was a juicy price and as such, we walked away with a healthy 25% profit for the day. Thursday’s action at Ascot promises to be full of drama, and there are some fascinating races. Let’s get stuck in.

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2.30 – Norfolk Stakes (Group 2) 5 Furlongs

The Norfolk Stakes is the race for the fastest early season juveniles, and this year’s contest looks wide open on paper, as most of the protagonists have run to a fairly similar level of form. The majority of contestants come into this race with a win last time out, and with young horses prone to improve leaps and bounds from one run to a next, this race is a bit of a puzzle.

As always, everything comes down to price. Havana Grey is the horse in the race who represents the best value, and Karl Burke’s runner is available at generous odds of +800  with Bet365 and Ladbrokes. On paper, the son of Havana Gold has the best form in the book, as he was successful at Sandown in the National Stakes last time out. Fast out of the stalls, Burke’s runner made all and held on tenaciously from his highly regarded rivals. The race has worked out well, as Sound And Silence who was down the field, won the Windsor Castle Stakes earlier this week. With three runs under his belt, Havana Grey is also one of the most experienced young horses in the line up. He is likely to bounce out and sit handy early and should give backers a run for their money.

3.05 – Hampton Court Stakes (Group 3) 10 Furlongs

The Hampton Court Stakes provides an opportunity for those middle distance runners who fall just shy of the Group 1 standard to get their day of glory. This year’s renewal represents another wide open contest and there are several possible contenders. Although he is yet to run to the level of form of some of his rivals, Mirage Dancer from the Sir Michael Stoute yard looks like he could be a significant improver and he can be supported at odds of +400 .

Mirage Dancer won his maiden last October at Doncaster, scoring by a narrow margin without having the hardest of races. He was given the winter off and then returned at Chester in the Derby trial. The horse was keen early and then didn’t get the clearest of passages. Still looked green but stayed on well at the end of the race and could be marked down as a definite improver. That first start back was most certainly a pipe opener and although connections initially had the Derby in mind, they switched plans and decided to come for this race, which is easier. With the benefit of a run under his belt and the more conventional track, Mirage Dancer should be able to step up on his form and justify connection’s lofty opinion of the horse.

3.40 – Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2) 12 Furlongs

The Ribblesdale Stakes has a not too dissimilar look to the previous race on the card, and we are selecting another Sir Michael Stoute runner who is yet to hit the heights of her rivals in terms of form, but who is a horse who has bundles of potential. Stoute is represented by Mori, who is a 3-year-old daughter of the mighty Frankel. She can be backed at +250 . Rated 91, she has won her last two starts and is bidding for the hat trick. Although Frankel was himself a miler, Mori has stamina on the dam’s side of her pedigree and her running style suggests that she will appreciate the step up from 10 to 12 furlongs. She isn’t the flashiest, but has class and a seemingly willing attitude. Her market rivals Alluringly and Coronet are rated 105 and 103 respectively, and it would be disappointing if this beautifully bred filly could not produce a figure in excess of those mentioned.

4.20 – Gold Cup (Group 1) 2Miles 4Furlongs

It is very difficult to look past the market leader Order Of St George in the Ascot Gold Cup. The A P O’Brien trained 5-year-old hacked up in this race last year and despite a few sceptics questioning his attitude (been beaten at odds on in a few of his recent starts), he looks the standout runner in the contest. Bettors who wager on the son of Galileo can double their money if they back the horse at +100  with Bet365 and Coral, and that seems a good deal to us.

Order Of St George bolted up in this race last year and he is a versatile performer, finishing third in the Arc in France. Was beaten on seasonal reappearance but then followed that up with a facile success at Leopardstown over 14 furlongs, recording an RPR of 120 in the process. That figure would be good enough to win this contest, but there is likely to be more improvement now the horse has been stepped back up in trip by 6 furlongs. There main market rival is Big Orange. Michael Bell’s runner is fans favourite and runs from the front. He won easily last time out and steps up in trip which could unlock further improvement. He will however have to be on the top of his game to beat our selection.

5.00 – Brittania Stakes (Class 2) 8 Furlongs

The Brittania is another big field handicap with the market leader available at odds of +750 . We look a little further down the field and an interesting horse is Maths Prize. Owned by the Queen, this horse has been overlooked by the market due to his moderate seasonal reappearance, but there is cause to believe that the horse is a really talented performer and race conditions will suit. He can be supported at odds of +2000 .

Roger Charlton normally leaves a bit to work on with his horses. The horse came back over 10 furlongs at Newbury and was weak in the market. Finished fifth of six and recorded an RPR of 99. A drop back in trip is likely to suit and the big field and fast pace should benefit the horse as he likes to be held up. As a strong stayer, Maths Prize is likely to be finishing past rivals in the latter stages. Charlton runners off for 120+ days last time out and then off for 3+ weeks next time do very well; 42/171 (25%) for £26 LSP, with the horses winning 56% more often than they are entitled to based on odds. He is a long shot, but is worth a few sheckles.

5.35 – King George V Stakes (Class 2) 12 Furlongs

Mark Johnston has a good chance in the finale on Thursday, as his runner Sofia’s Rock comes into the race in fine form. This front running colt by Rock Of Gibraltar won last time out on very fast ground at Haydock, and he is still a relatively unexposed performer. Odds of  +800  are worth taking.

As is typical for a Mark Johnston horse, Sofia’s Rock has improved with racing and as he has been stepped up in trip. He is going to be ridden by Jim Crowley, who is likely to try and bag the early advantage before kicking off the home bend. The horse has a great attitude and plenty of ability and he may not have finished improving.

Tips Summary

14:30 Ascot – Havana Grey to win
Thursday 22nd June
Odds:  +800

15:05 Ascot – Mirage Dancer to win
Thursday 22nd June
Odds:  +400

15:40 Ascot – Mori to win
Thursday 22nd June
Odds:  +250

16:20 Ascot – Order of St George to win
Thursday 22nd June
Odds:  +100

17:00 Ascot – Maths Prize to win
Thursday 22nd June
Odds:  +2000

17:35 Ascot – Sofia’s Rock to win
Thursday 22nd June
Odds:  +800

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