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Neil Morrice – Royal Ascot Day 1 – Best Bets Tuesday 15 June 2021

Neil Morrice gives us his best bets and tips for Day 1 of the Royal Ascot festival.

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Neil Morrice gives us his best bets and tips for Day 1 of the Royal Ascot festival.

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Race 1 QUEEN ANNE STAKES (Group 1)
No6 PALACE PIER
Trainer: John Gosden – Jockey: Frankie Dettori

As the winner of all but one of his eight career starts PALACE PIER is a standout favourite for the traditional opener and should oblige. While his one defeat happened at this course, it was on soft ground at the end of a long season and can be forgiven. This year he’s won a Group 2 and a Group 1 with plenty up his sleeve, in spite of hitting a flat spot on each occasion. REGAL REALITY has changed ownership and has it in him to be competitive if on one of his going days. Veteran LORD GLITTERS is taking his racing well, and though facing an impossible task against the selection could easily run into the money.

Prediction: 1st PALACE PIER, 2nd Regal Reality, 3rd Lord Glitters

Race 2 COVENTRY STAKES (Group 2)
No17 KAUFYMAKER
Trainer: Wesley Ward – Jockey: John Velazquez

How to equate American form against our own is open to debate, but easily the best news I have to hand for the Coventry is for unbeaten Keeneland scorer KAUFYMAKER. Ever since taking out her maiden in April the daughter of Jimmy Creed has had her eye on this prize. Connections are confident of success, and she’s given the vote over Kingman colt TOLSTOY, who impressed on debut at Yarmouth and has learned much from that. GISBURN beat another son of Kingman, Kingmax, by six and a half lengths at Newbury and looks smart. He’s definitely on the include in all exotics.

Prediction: 1st KAUFYMAKER, 2nd Tolstoy, 3rd Gisburn

Race 3 KING’S STAND STAKES (Group 1)
No16 WINTER POWER
Trainer: Tim Easterby – Jockey: Silvestre De Sousa

Easterby isn’t a man to call his geese swans, and his open confidence in WINTER POWER bolsters my view that the Bungle Inthejungle filly can take down last year’s winner and automatic favourite BATTAASH. The selection has looked a different horse in her last three starts, completing a fine hat-trick in a Listed race at York on seasonal return. With her sex allowance she’s getting 10lbs from the seven-year-old Battaash who is almost invincible first time out. However he’s a year older and will need to be right on his game to go back-to-back. At longer odds, American challenger MAVEN can get into the shake-up. The son of American Pharoah has delighted Wesley Ward in his training and showed he’d gone the right way with an impressive comeback success at Keeneland in April.

Prediction: 1st WINTER POWER, 2nd Battaash, 3rd Maven

Race 4 ST JAMES’S PALACE STAKES (Group 1)
No7 MAXIMAL
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute – Jockey: Colin Keane

In an open betting race, MAXIMAL represents good each way value at a big double figure price. The Galileo colt has done very little wrong, and though beaten in both 2021 starts at Newbury and Chester is going to enjoy the fast underfoot conditions under an eye taking jockey booking. It’s a shame he had to miss an engagement owing to soft ground, as that could have served as a confidence boost, but he certainly has the ability to figure. The undoubted joker in the pack is MOSTAHDAF, a Frankel colt who in completing a hat-trick has impressed in his knowledge how to win. He handled the Sandown turf course beautifully when beating HIGHLAND AVENUE by half a length in a Listed race last time, and there shouldn’t be much to choose between the pair again.

Prediction: 1st MAXIMAL, 2nd Mostahdaf, 3rd Highland Avenue

Race 5 ASCOT STAKES HANDICAP
No11 LOSTWITHIEL
Trainer: George Boughey – Jockey: Hollie Doyle

The least experienced pair in this are LOSTWITHIEL and UNTOLD STORY, who should play their part in the outcome of one of the best betting mediums of the week. Preference is for Lostwithiel, who after a couple of eye taking successes at small tracks raised his game to chase home Hochfeld at Nottingham and Global Storm at Newmarket. He’s going the right way and should greatly appreciate a big step up in trip today. Untold Story met Torcello on a rare going day at Newmarket but had scored cosily the time before at Lingfield. His trainer is perfectly capable of pulling a rabbit out of the hat at this meeting. Of the seasoned handicappers in the 20-runner field Coeur De Lion has much to offer, and looked to be coming to himself when fourth in the Chester Cup last month.

Prediction: 1st LOSTWITHIEL, 2nd Coeur De Lion, 3rd Untold Story

Race 6 WOLFERTON STAKES (Listed)
No4 SOLID STONE
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute – Jockey: Ryan Moore

Moore gave SOLID STONE a masterful tactical ride to score in Listed company at Windsor, a run that is thought to have done wonders for the gelding’s confidence. He’s shown a liking for this course, and with his liking for being prominent could be in a good spot to avoid trouble, which can be half the battle in big fields here. The class of FOREST OF DEAN can carry him into the money for the Gosden/Dettori combination, while improving handicapper BLUE CUP rocketed home in a first time hood at Epsom to suggest he’s ready for a move up the class ladder.

Prediction: 1st SOLID STONE, 2nd Forest Of Dean, 3rd Blue Cup

Race 7 COPPER HORSE HANDICAP
No1 ON TO VICTORY (Nap)
Trainer: Alan King – Jockey: Tom Marquand

Dual purpose performer ON TO VICTORY has to be of serious interest in the nightcap. The top weight stepped out of a successful hurdling campaign to finish second to Hukum in a Listed race at Goodwood. It showed that he’s going to do well in the big staying handicaps this summer and autumn, and with his ability to travel easily into the race I expect him to arrive late on the scene. SALDIER scored impressively at Listowel, and is granted respect as the chosen representative of Willie Mullins. But equally dangerous is SLEEPING LION who was tenacious at the business end when scoring on debut at Roger Charlton at Kempton.

Prediction: 1st ON TO VICTORY, 2nd Saldier, 3rd Sleeping Lion

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