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Neil Morrice Tips

Neil Morrice best bets and tips – Royal Ascot 2024 – Day 2

Neil Morrice shares all of his best bets and tips for Day 2 of Royal Ascot 2024.

Neil Morrice Wednesday v2

Neil Morrice shares all of his best bets and tips for Day 2 of Royal Ascot 2024.

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Race 1 QUEEN MARY STAKES (Group 2)

No17 MISS RASCAL (Each Way)
Trainer: Paul Cole – Jockey: Tom Marquand

As long as low numbers are favoured on the straight course, MISS RASCAL has a good chance of repeating her course and distance triumph of last month and helping to take octogenarian Paul Cole and his son Ollie back into the big time. The Havana Gold filly was most unlucky not to claim a decent cheque on debut at Newmarket when it took too long for the penny to drop, but she proved a different entity when making all last time and coming home unchallenged. The level of her subsequent work makes her one to take seriously.

MAKE HASTE is a fascinating contender that could start favourite after coming home unchallenged for Brazilian trainer Diego Dias at Naas. It was a visually stunning display and suggests the daughter of Blue Point could be anything.

Coolmore unusually has just one arrow to fire, but that filly TRULY ENCHANTING created a favourable impression on her Tipperary introduction and just needs to demonstrate that she’s as equally happy on this drying ground as the soft to get involved. LEOVANNI is another to bear in mind, taking stock of how easily she delivered after being well supported at Nottingham.

Prediction: 1st MISS RASCAL, 2nd Make Haste, 3rd Truly Enchanting, 4th Leovanni

Race 2 QUEEN’S VASE (Group 2)

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien – Jockey: Ryan Moore

Aidan O’Brien is three-handed in a race he has won on seven occasions. HIGHBURY dominated a strongly contested Leopardstown maiden on only a second career start and has scope for bags of improvement. He could easily head the market even though Ryan Moore has elected to ride ILLINOIS, who chased home Ambient Friendly in the Lingfield Derby Trial and looks sure to benefit from this move up to a mile and three-quarters. That form was heavily boosted when Ambiente Friendly finished runner-up to City Of Troy in the Betfred Derby, giving O’Brien the luxury of knowing where he stands with Illinois.

BIRDMAN is very much the joker in the pack and can assist in giving Ireland a 1-2-3. He had Highbury in his wake when scoring first time out at Cork before making no mistake on a second outing for Jessie Harrington at Navan.

Andrew Balding has a soft spot for this race, and if there was to be an upset his MINA RASHID could be the one to provide it.

Prediction: 1st ILLINOIS, 2nd Birdman, 3rd Highbury, 4th Mina Rashid, 5th Meydaan


Trainer: Joseph O’Brien – Jockey: William Buick

All eyes will be on LAUREL, whose return to action at the age of 5 suggests her connections think they have something special on their hands. The Kingman mare has had issues since an underwhelming run in last year’s Lockinge Stakes, but an examination of her other form stamps her as potentially high class.

BREEGE is an interesting runner from the North and showed battling qualities to carry the day in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom. Having been narrowly denied in a Goodwood Listed race before her Group 3 triumph John Quinn’s filly looks to have improved from three to four, while her trainer is adept at getting the best out of fillies of her ilk.

GREGARINA has the widest draw and if that’s the place to be has a good chance of taking this over the Irish Sea for Joseph O’Brien. The five-year-old responded positively when hooded on her first run for O’Brien at the Curragh, having been Group placed and won a Listed when trained in France. Her overall form is very appealing, but she needs to show she is as effective on this drying ground as she is on the soft.

Prediction: 1st GREGARINA, 2nd Laurel, 3rd Breege


Trainer: John Gosden – Jockey: Kieran Shoemark

John Gosden has never been one to shirk a battle, and in bringing INSPIRAL to this mile-and-a-quarter race instead of the Queen Anne he’s laid down the gauntlet to Coolmore’s 2023 Derby winner and Breeders’ Cup Turf hero AUGUSTE RODIN. When winning at Santa Anita the selection showed that going further is in fact a source of inspiration to her, and all the vibes I’m getting from Newmarket are that the Frankel mare is in the form of her life. Auguste Rodin has raced with mixed fortunes in two outings this year, underwhelming in Dubai before a much better effort in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh. The Deep Impact colt’s clash with my selection provides one of the highlights of the week.

If the remaining eight runners are playing for minor places it wouldn’t be a total surprise to see Gosden’s LORD NORTH raise his game, while HORIZON DORE can prove the pick of a quartet of French challengers and get into the shake-up.

Prediction: 1st INSPIRAL, 2nd Auguste Rodin, 3rd Lord North, 4th Horizon Dore


Trainer: Jack Channon – Jockey: David Probert

Chelsea Thoroughbreds were responsible for the one-two in this race 12 months ago when Jimi Hendrix outpointed SONNY LISTON. There’s no doubt that had the latter been drawn on his rival’s side of the track he would have prevailed, and it was a surprise that not until beating METAL MERCHANT in the Newbury Hunt Cup did Sonny Liston gain what was just a second career success. On that occasion, he benefitted from a very good ride but he’s meeting Metal Merchant on 5lbs worse terms and finds himself carrying top weight.

AERION POWER had been in the wilderness before his recent Nottingham success and its net resting that Ryan Moore takes the reins on Sir Michael Stoute’s contender, leaving Rossa Ryan to partner Sonny Liston. The six-year-old has to be considered under a 5lb penalty from stall 1, though most of the fancied horses are drawn high.

BLESS HIM could never lay a glove on his foes when tried in Pattern company at Haydock but the veteran finished fifth in this race last year and seventh in 2022 making him hard to rule out. Jamie Spencer can more easily employ his exaggerated waiting tactics on the ten-year-old in this situation. WILD TIGER is the overnight favourite in some lists and after proving with back-to-back wins that he’s recaptured his old ability needs taking seriously for trainer Saeed Bin Suroor. PEROTTO is another to include in exotic perms for this betting extravaganza of the day.

Prediction: 1st METAL MERCHANT, 2nd Sonny Liston, 3rd Aerion Power, 4th Bless Him, 5th Wild Tiger, 6th Perotto


No11 SUMMER OF LOVE (Each Way)
Trainer: Saeed Bin Suroor – Jockey: Christophe Soumillon

Soumillon’s engagement for SUMMER OF LOVE takes my eye in this distaffers’ race on the straight course. The selection engages in just a fourth career start and is on the cusp of completing a hat-trick for a trainer that over the years has landed a bunch of successes at this meeting and still needs respecting.

DOHA went down in a photo on her return for Ralph Beckett at Haydock and brings strong form to the table, but she needs to show she is as effective on faster ground.

HOPEFUL is similarly solid and can earn for Andrew Balding, whose booking of Mickael Barzalona takes the eye. At a much bigger price, I would include ELIM, who ran well when needing the race on her reappearance and needs respecting.

Prediction: 1st SUMMER OF LOVE, 2nd Doha, 3rd Hopeful, 4th Fakhama, 5th Elim, 6th Back See Daa


No22 SHADOW ARMY (Each Way)
Trainer: Richard Fahey – Jockey: James Doyle

This has to be the toughest Listed race in the calendar for a juvenile to win but a couple of the 28 acceptors stand out this year. TREASURE ISLE Aran into the smart Midnight Strike on debut at the Curragh but made no mistake on his next and latest start at Naas. The son of No Nay Never enjoys a middle gate which gives his rider options over which side of the track to race.

One that might have even more to offer is SHADOW ARMY who overcame greenness to score on his York introduction. Owned by the emerging Wathnan Racing, he’s well-regarded by his trainer and has apparently made great strides since that trip to the Knavesmire.

CELTIC CHIEFTAIN is another name to conjure with for Coolmore and has a similar profile to Treasure Isle as an unbeaten in one No Nay Never colt. GABALDON is among four American challengers and if his first offering at Gulfstream was no fluke has a major chance of lighting up the board though he’s drawn a long way apart from some of the main protagonists.

Prediction: 1st SHADOW ARMY, 2nd Treasure Isle, 3rd Celtic Chieftain, 4th Gabaldon

Place Accumulator Perm (Races 1-7)

17, 13, 23 x 4, 1 x 4, 6, 2 x 10 x 23, 1, 16 x 11, 16, 18 x 22, 24

R324 (take percentage)

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