It’s the first day of Posh-Fest 2011 and I’ll be here all day to keep you up to date with all the going-ons on at Royal Ascot. They’re won’t be a Ferrero Rocher munched, a flute of Moet necked or a disparaging comment made about the working classes made without me reporting it.
Feel free to add your own contributions or if you’re so inclined, why not follow me on twitter where I’m known as @AidanWaffles_PP. Ted Walsh is considered far too rugged to be allowed into Royal Ascot so there’s going to be no ‘Hell Of A Horse’ count, but instead, there will be a ‘Someone’s Stolen The Box Willie Carson Stands On To Look Taller Beside Clare Balding’ count.
Feel free to leave your comments, Royal Ascot Tips or general ponderings on life in the comments section.
Someone’s Stolen The Box Willie Carson Stands On To Look Taller Beside Clare Balding = 1
5.42pm: Another bad one for us as the favourite wins but such is life. Right that’s your lot from me, hopefully I managed to bumble my way through those last few races without showing myself up as a complete racing ignoramous. Aidan will be back tomorrow to expertly guide you through day 2 of Royal Ascot. Laters.
1st Frederick Engels 9/4
2nd Stonefield Flyer
3rd Caspar Netscher
5.37pm: My money’s on Lupo Doro in this one because it’s the only horse that sounds vaguely like my second name. In this kind of race that’s as good a system as any. A lot of runners means there’s potential for things to get a little messy. They’re going in to the stalls.
5.30pm: We can only hope that Bear Behind doesn’t win so we don’t have to suffer through another interminably dull Michael Owen interview.
5.26pm: It’s been a better day for the punters than the bookies. How will the last race of the day pan out. Frederick Engels is a clear favourite in the Windsor Castle Stakes.
5.19pm: Even John McCririck’s hat is annoying. He does it on purpose doesn’t he?
5.17pm: The live BBC coverage is over and someone’s changed the channel over to Judge Judy so I’m switching to ATR for the last race.
5.12pm: Suzie and her scruffy friend fawn over a home-made hat. I hope someone gives her a loan of a hair-brush before she turns up tomorrow. You’re not on the radio, this is fashion central. Make an effort.
1st Veiled 11/2
2nd Ermyn Lodge
3rd Phoenix Flight
5.07pm: Junior tried too much too soon and drops out of the running….Veiled takes it.
5.05pm: Junior takes the early lead but there’s a long way to go in this one.
5.00pm: The horses are going in to the stalls, Zigato is still the favourite but only just ahead of last year’s winner Junior.
4.58pm: Willie tries to get a little saucy as he discusses the length of the race but it comes across as kind of creepy, like a porno version of Darby O’Gill.
4.53pm: The Ascot Stakes is up next and there’s little between Zigato and Junior in the betting.
4.50pm: Holy crap that guy is huge!!!! Clare Balding interviews Peter Crouch’s big brother… she knows how Willie feels now.
4.46pm: Willie and Rishi do some complicated racing maths after one of the jockeys is found to have carried two extra pounds. I don’t understand it.
4.43pm: Fashion montage on the BBC…whatever…
4.39pm In the steward’s room George Baker has a bit of a moan about Power bumping in to Roman Soldier, Ryan Moore replies by saying Power took the first few hits and continued straight but turned unexpectedly on the fourth whack of the whip. The result is unaffected.
4.31pm: There’s a steward’s enquiry after a slight bump between Power and Roman Soldier but it’s unlikely to change the result. A slap on the wrist more than likely.
1st Power 4/1
2nd Roman Soldier
3rd St Barths
4.25pm: They’re going in the stalls now. This one should go off on time or as close as damnit…scratch that, Jack Who’s He is being difficult and the hood is going on to get him in the stall.
4.23pm: Power is coming in and is now the 4/1 favourite. Fullbright at 14/1 is well fancied to do something here. If you’ve backed him you’ll be hoping that something will be winning.
4.20pm: Mr Owen gives a typically bland interview and Clare wraps it up as quickly as possible.
4.16pm: Michael Owen spot!!! No doubt he’ll be claiming his share of the glory of victory simply by being there.
4.13pm: The horses are led around the parade ring as a bunch of slightly sozzled toffs stand around pretending to be interested. If they’re such racing fans, where they the rest of the year?
4.10pm: Someone’s returned Willie’s box…or Clare is sitting down
4.09pm: Suzie and her unkempt friend are back on BBC. She must hve known she was going to be on tv.
4.05pm: The Coventry Stakes is up next and thankfully the race isn’t as depressing as its namesake. It’s the first sight of the two-year olds and Aidan O’Brien will be feeling confident of a winner with the first two in the betting. Power is the current favourite at 9/2
3.56pm: Frankel is a fantastic horse and from Clare’s introduction there he may have a chance of turning her.
1st Frankel 3/10
3.49pm: Frankel wins it but he was starting to fade at the end there. Still unbeaten but another furlong and he’d have been in trouble.
3.48pm: And they’re off!
3.46pm The horses are going in to the stalls as the Frankel love-fest continues. Could we be in for a massive shock?
3.42pm: Someone has placed a massive bet on the odds-on favourite!!!! Not exactly news from John Parrot’s mate, Mr Wiltshire.
3.38pm: As the horses are led around the parade ring a debate has started up in the offices about whether or not horses yawn. On BBC Willie Carson sounds like he wants to spend a little time alone in the stall with Frankel. Calm down there wee man or the authorities will be checking your laptop for equine porn.
3.34pm: Clare Balding claims Frankel is so relaxed she’s seen him yawning. Do horses yawn?
3.28pm: The 3.45 St James Palace Stakes is up next and the superstar Frankel is the one all the money’s on.
3.27pm: You’d think Suzie’s friend would have brushed her hair before going on live tv.
3.24pm: Aidan has been called away so I, Rob, am taking over. I don’t really know an awful lot about horse racing to be honest so I’ll have to substitute useful information with some general abuse.
3.11pm: No pocket money for Paddy this week! Paddy’s mum’s Sole Power can only manage a creditable 8th in the King’s Stand Stakes. Prohibit takes the honours with Star Witness, Sweet Sanette and Overdose ensuring that the international brigade fill out the places.
1st Prohibit 7/1
2nd Star Witness
3rd Sweet Sanette
Super Extra Bonus Place 4th Overdose
3.08pm: After a bit of a delay, they’re going into the stalls – shouldn’t be long before the Kings Stand …
2.58pm: Right, that’s quite enough fashion bollocks for the moment, BBC. Now let’s see some racing. Kingsgate Native now favourite for the Kings Stand Stakes.
2.47pm: Clare Balding takes double edged compliments to new levels by describing Sir Henry Cecil as a ‘foppish dandy’. Is she perhaps getting him confused with Russell Brand?
It’s still pretty sedate in the Kings Stand Stakes Betting. Favourite, Star Wintess has drfited from 11/2 out to 6/1 and there’s been money for Group Therapy who’s in to 20/1 from 25/1
2.38pm: Oh James Sherwood may have been given the axe, but Peter has been in touch to provide the bitchy fashion comments:
Oh Clare, it may be recycled but it looks like my bathroom mat
2.32pm: It’s Canford Cliffs who prevails in the head-to-head battle. He comfortably holds off the challange of Goldikova with some of the also-rans probably getting closer than a lot of people had been expecting.
1st Canford Cliffs 11/8
2.30pm: They’re all in the stalls and away for the Queen Anne Stakes …
2.22pm: They’re parading before the first. Cityscape looks about as comfortable as Ryan Giggs at a family reunion.
2.15pm: Not long before they go down for the first race. Canford Cliffs now 11/8 for the Queen Anne Stakes with Goldikova steady at 6/4.
2.12pm: He’s not talking to Clare Balding, but Willie Carson is standing box-less beside John Parrott and that other fella. Hard to be sure, but he looks about 2 foot 9. That’s counting towards the ‘stolen box’ count.
2.03pm: The Queen looks to be in good form. She’s smiling and waving about as animatedly as a member of the Royal Family gets. Prince Phillip is less smiley. Has a look on his face that says ‘why couldn’t we take the car?’
1.58pm: The Queen is wearing what is commonly known as Hazelbrook Farm mint ice-cream green.
1.55pm: The jockeys are being paraded to a soundtrack of what sounds like a remix of the A-Team music.
1.45pm: Wow – those BBC opening credits are extra wanky.
1.42pm: The BBC Regional News is still on so I don’t have much news from Royal Ascot. I can however tell you that public housing schemes in Northern Ireland are something something.
1.37pm: So to recap – today’s outlandish tips are:
2.30 Ascot: Goldikova
3.05 Ascot: War Artist
3.45 Ascot: Frankel
4.25 Ascot: Fulbright
5.00 Ascot: Desert Sea
5.35 Ascot: Worthington
At current prices, that 6 fold comes in at 279204/1. Now all you need to worry about is how to spend the moolah.
1.30pm: Windsor Castle Stakes Preview
A 27 runner 2 year old 5f sprint brings the curtain down on Day 1 of Royal Ascot so you’ll forgive me if I don’t spend too long studying the form in this one. There are a whole heap of horses who’ve got a chance in this one and although I’ve got nothing against Federick Engels, the Windsor Castle Stakes is an absolute graveyard for favourites and second favourites. It’s worth looking at some of the options at bigger prices. I’m going to go for Worthington because I think he can improve enough to win this and it’s really a lottery.
1.17pm: It looks like Elton John has arrived good and early at the race-course:
There are rumours doing the rounds at Ascot that trying on this hat is how Kieron Fallon hurt his neck earlier.
1.15pm: Fancy watching some mid-level evening horse racing followed by hearing Teenage Kicks played seven times? It’s not really Royal Ascot related, but why not enter this competition for tickets to Thursday night at Leopardstown?
1.05pm: Ascot Stakes Preview
Junior was mightily impressive when winning the Kim Muir at Cheltenham last March and although he’ll need to carry 10 pounds more than he did when winning this race last year if he wants to defend his title, he’s showing the type of progression that suggests he can handle it. He handles the course, he has the stamina – he’s a worthy favourite for the Ascot Stakes and the lack of opponents with proven stamina only strengthens his cause. It’s a marathon trip and with the summer finally resembling something like a summer, staying the distance is going to be extra tough. I’m looking for a horse with pure stamina and a certain amount of ability and Desert Sea fits the bill for me.
12.48pm: Royal Ascot is so posh, it makes golf look like shoplifting from Lidl, but that’s no reason not to have a go at our Weekly Blog Competition for your chance to win a Free €/£59 Bet.
12.31pm: Trainer of Dream Ahead and potential NetNanny alert, David Simcock is on At The Races and he gives a glowing report on his horse which rather sensibly falls short of saying he’s going to beat Frankel in the St. James Palace Stakes. ‘His mentality is good’ is the pick of the intangible claims he makes of his horse.
12.20pm: Coventry Stakes Preview
We’ve been doing a lot of Shameless Plugs lately, but that’s only because Paddy Power is so awesome and my job description says I have to keep telling you how awesome. We’re also paying 1/4 Odds 1-2-3-4 Places in this race, which should make it easier to land a winner in the race. [Subliminal message: Paddy Power = awesome] Next year’s Classic generation do battle in a wide open race and most of them have some decent form in the book, making it a difficult one to solve. I can’t see too many reasons not to back the likes of Mezmaar, Gatepost and Power towards the head of the market, but based on the fact that he seems to be improving and I enjoy being a little off-centre, I think Fulbright offers at bit of value in the Coventry Palace Stakes Betting. Again though, it’s wide open and I’ll cover my ass by saying it’s hard to definitively rule most of the runners out.
Just because it coincides with the Shameless Plug on At The Races right now, it’s time to be all corporate and tell you you can now watch all the racing from Royal Ascot on your iPhone or iPad. Simply place a £/€1 Bet and you’ll be able to watch the race. Hooray for technology and people who understand technology!
12.06pm: I know the dress code for Royal Ascot is strict, but wearing top and tails in the At The Races studio is following it a little too rigourously.
11.59am: Racing enthusiast and sitting on a bench getting paid loads of money enthusiast, themichaelowen reckons Canford Cliffs will beat Goldikova. But then again, he thought he could make it at Real Madrid, so maybe don’t put too much faith in his opinions.
11.45am: St. James’s Palace Stakes Preview
Going against Frankel in this race is pretty much banking on him completely blowing up and never being remotely as good as he was in the 2,000 Guineas. From time to time, seemingly talented horses do perform excellently in one race before going on to achieve little, but that’s normally confined to Derby winners and already Frankel seems to have the consistency not to fall into that trap. It’s interesting to see that on official ratings, he’s only 4 pounds ahead of Dream Ahead. That seems to be based mainly on finishing a not terrible 7 lengths behind the favourite in last year’s Dewhurst Stakes. Depending on how he’s wintered, he’s an interesting bet, but mainly for a place or in the Betting Without Frankel (click on the tab beside the price to see the Betting Without). This is Frankel’s to lose and I can’t see that happening.
11.31am: If you’re looking for more by way of actual Royal Ascot news, you could do worse than follow Paddy Power’s own RuaTrindade on twitter who’s said all the right things to blag a trip to Royal Ascot. He’ll bring you all the news his dodgy 3G signal will allow and I’ll be stealing his news and passing it off as my own throughout the day.
11.25am: In a break with the time-honoured tradition of this blog, here’s some useful news about Royal Ascot. Kieron Fallon will miss his rides today and this time not because he foolishly gave his word to an owner without thinking of the consequences. He has hurt his neck and has been advised to rest up, meaning he’ll miss the rides on Veiled in the Ascot Stakes and Caledonian Spring (I thought that was a type of bottled water) in the Windsor Castle Stakes
11.18am: Kings Stand Stakes Preview
We’re paying 1/4 Odds 1-2-3-4 Places on this race, which is handy because it absolutely wide open. If the first race of the day is a 2 horse race, then the second race makes up for it by being a 19 horse race. The market leaders are there for a reason, but it’s hard to rule out pretty much any of the runners, no matter how big the prices beside their names. I’m contractually obliged to say nice things about Sole Power because it’s Paddy’s mum’s horse, but the noises coming from the camp about ground concerns would be a worry. I’m going to go for War Artist, mainly because he’s had to come all the way from Germany and having sat in the back of a car travelling from Germany to England listening to Dire Straits playing incessantly, I have nothing but sympathy for him.
– now with bonus Shameless Plug!
It’s pretty much as you were at the head of the markets for today’s races at Royal Ascot, but the exception to that generic rule comes in the Coventry Palace Stakes Betting. There’s been money for Roman Soldier who’s now 12/1 after being 16/1 earlier this morning and perhaps even more dramatically, Brocklebank has been trimmed to 14/1 from 20/1 after a minor plunge. We’re paying 1/4 ODDS 1-2-3-4 Places in this race, so that ticks the corporate plug box.
10.50am: 98% of people who read our made-up Royal Ascot By Numbers piece said they found it immensely amusing and informative.
10.35am: Queen Anne Stakes Preview
There’s not a lot happening just yet and none have the bosses have ordered me to make them some tea, so what better time for one of my ill-formed previews? Royal Ascot kicks off with a cracker in the shape of the Queen Anne Stakes. I’ve been trying hard to sound all wise and alternative by searching for a different angle to this race, but there really isn’t one. Everything suggests it a straight fight between Canford Cliffs and Goldikova. Cape Blanco is exactly the type of horse I’d normally plump with just to be different, but aside from his win in the Dante Stakes last year, we don’t tend to see the best of him on his travels. I’m going to go with Goldikova, mainly out of fond sentiment than actual form and just by way of having an obligatory alternative viewpoint, I’ll say that global warming isn’t caused by human activity; it’s caused by the fact the earth is actually one giant Thermos flask.
10.20am: Using 140 characters or less, @DavidPipeRacing has told us he’s heading to Royal Ascot today – and not just because he’s got a load of free tickets. He’s got a rare runner on the flat going for him – namely Junior (won the Kim Muir in such impressive style at the Cheltenham Festival) in the Ascot Stakes at 5.00
10.01am: In today’s daily dose of saving you the price of the Racing Post, Pricewise has plumped for Monsieur Chevalier in the Kings Stand Stakes.
9.35am: The news of the good weather has played havoc with our betting market. We’ve had a flood of bets on what the Queen’s going to be wearing on the opening day. It’s now just 7/1 she goes for the one-piece bikini, 12/1 she plumps for the 2 piece and only 20/1 that she gives a Borat-style mankini an unexpected run-out.
9.30am: First things first – according to Cornelius Lysaght of the BBC, the going at Royal Ascot is “good to soft, good in places & turf ‘like a carpet'”. The weather is going to be good with a high of 21 celsius expected.