PT Fornatale's TwinSpires.com Royal Ascot Preview
(Press Association Images)
The top hats have been rented and the Pimms is chilling. . .it's Royal Ascot Eve. Last year I had the pleasure of attending a couple of days in person; this year I'll be covering all the races from the Brooklyn Bunker, both in this space, on Twitter (@loomsboldly), and over at my Unbearable Lightness of Betting blog. Many thanks in advance to the great Robert Dove for his assistance in putting together this material.
With Dove's help, I did video previews for the Queen Anne (older
milers) and The St. James Palace (3yo milers), races that feature our old friends Goldikova and Frankel (pictured above), respectively. You can click the links at the bottom of this post if you want to check those out.
Meanwhile, I wanted to share thoughts on a couple of other races:
THE KING'S STAND (10:05 a.m. eastern)
This is a 5 furlong sprint for older horses and there's lots of international intrigue.
My pick is #14 ASTROPHYSICAL JET, a 4 year old filly who impressed a lot last year. Her comeback run was terrible but she had a virus that day so I think it's a safe toss. She should be suited by these conditions and the price looks right as well.
#2 BRIDGETOWN is a horse I've always liked, and some smart people have made the case that he'll appreciate running on a straight course.
Personally, I have no idea how he'll handle it, but I have to root for him, and it's cool to see Johnny V showing up at Royal Ascot as well.
This seems a big ask, but at double digit odds, he's another I'll use.
#19 HOLIDAY KITTEN is notable if only because she's a 3-year old filly sent out by Mr. Europe himself, Wesley Ward. She doesn't necessarily look good enough on paper but if she's a big enough number (25-1), I think you kind of have to toss her in your exotics or save with her.
A few others who don't qualify as selections are worth mentioning.
#11 STAR WITNESS is a crack Australian sprinter and Australian turf sprinters are the best in the world. However, he is not the best of them, was 7 lengths behind the mighty Black Caviar last time (if you haven't seen her races, google her). STAR WITNESS is a closer and 5f may be a bit short. He's still a worthy favorite, just no value in a tough race.
#5 KINGSGATE NATIVE usually finds one or two too good but certainly fits. Another to toss in your exotics if you're inclined to play that way, but not likely to be any great value.
#8 OVERDOSE, aka The Budapest Bullet, is a great story. He won 15 of his first 16 career starts on the continent, in frontrunning fashion, and even won the prestigious Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamps, only to see the race voided. He bombed in his first UK start and it's hard to escape the conclusion that he's not as good as he used to be. Amazing story if he pulls it off though.
COVENTRY (11:25 a.m. eastern)
This is obviously a super tricky race with 23 2-year olds lining up for a 6F sprint but all American eyes will be on Wesley Ward's ITALO.
He won impressively at Longchamps in his career debut and what really gives Ward's charges an advantage in Europe isn't just their early speed but their precocity. I am very intrigued at anything north of 10-1.
ASCOT STAKES (1 p.m. eastern)
Many thanks to my friend Steven Bonnick for his help on gathering thoughts for this race. The selection is #12 ZIGATO, who should get a lively pace to run into and should have conditions in his favor. I am a HUGE fan of the #1 here, JUNIOR. I saw him win a race at Royal Ascot last year and then win again over hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival last time (my twitter followers might recall). I don't think this sets up great for him. He's up in the weights and there's plenty of pace, but I might play around a little with him if the opportunity arises.
OK, here are those links I promised:
QUEEN ANNE STAKES (9:30 a.m. eastern)
Queen Anne Vidcast
ST JAMES PALACE (10:45 a.m. eastern)
St James Palace Vidcast