Matt Chapman | Royal Ascot betting day one
Imagine walking into a club, meeting the perfect woman and then having to sit around and chat for hours before being able to head off home. That’s what Day 1 of Royal Ascot is like with all the top class action taking place in the first three events – not, though, that the other races on the card are to be sniffed at.
The St James’s Palace Stakes is the feature race, but, of course, with both the Queen Anne and King’s Stand carrying Group 1 status they can often overshadow the leading contest.
The Queen Anne is at the mercy of Animal Kingdom, who has 10lb in hand on official ratings. No, he has never run on a straight grass mile before, but he had never run on dirt before the Kentucky Derby, and he won that, and he had never run on Tapeta prior to the Dubai World Cup – and he won that. A second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile was no mean performance on turf either, especially as he may well have won with a clear passage. Quite simply he is the best horse. I like the best horse in a race.
Shea Shea is the outstanding sprinter in the King’s Stand, and if he repeats his Dubai form he is by far the best. Sole Power has a devastating turn of speed when on song and Johnny Murtagh is back on board. Paddy will be pleased to hear a positive mention for him – hear me, Paddy? That said, I expect Shea Shea to win.
So, to the so-called main event, the St James’s Palace Stakes. Obviously if Dawn Approach is in the form of his success in the 2,000 Guineas he will win, but there is an ‘if’ there after the frightening Derby effort.
The problem for his two big dangers is a setback – Magician is still only just a runner, while Toronado has had a breathing operation.
I thought Magician was brilliant in the Irish 2,000, and it will take a serious performance to beat him if he’s in the same form today. He’s got proven stamina after Chester, travels well and has a turn of foot. In many ways he seems a Ballydoyle surprise package this season, but he’s a surprise package Dawn Approach has never tackled and he’s the one for me in the hope his iffy moments over the last few days have not hindered him. Have a brilliant week. Enjoy. This is the best of the best. Yeeehaaa!
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