Royal Ascot is underway and after the first day of action on Tuesday John Gosden and Frankie Dettori were celebrating big after landing three winners in the opening six races. Their run of success began in the Coventry Stakes when the 2/1 favourite Calyx won the race and then in the fourth race of the day, the prestigious St James’s Palace Stakes, the 9/4 favourite Without Parole took home the top prize in some style.
Gosden was then celebrating a nice double win and things got even better in the final race of the day the Wolferton Stakes, when Dettori rode the 8/1 shot Monarch’s Glen home first, with Gosden’s other runner in the race, Muntahaa earning third at 33/1.
So it’s been a fabulous start for the Irish based Gosden and his famous Italian jockey, and their winning run could well continue into Wednesday with them the favourite for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes on Wednesday on Cracksman.
Wednesday’s schedule boasts just one Group 1 race, but a trio of Group Two races:
Royal Ascot – Wednesday 20th June
- 30 – Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2)
- 05 – Queen’s Vase (Group 2)
- 40 – Duke of Cambridge Stakes (Group 2)
- 20 – Prince of Wales’s Stakes (Group 1)
- 00 – Royal Hunt Cup (Handicap)
- 35 – Jersey Stakes (Group 3)
However, for this article, we are going to focus on the six races that will be run on Thursday at Royal Ascot. This is the famous Ladies Day, when fashion and racing collide and where what the fillies and stallions at the course are wearing is as important as how the horses perform on the day.
Before we look ahead to Ladies Day, let’s remember that to enjoy all the action at Royal Ascot to the full, you’ll need the services of a quality online bookmaker. One such option is bet365, who offer excellent betting options across Royal Ascot and plenty of other horse racing meets each year.
Let’s now take a look at the Ladies Day schedule on Thursday and bring you our tips for the winner of each of the six races on the schedule.
Royal Ascot – Ladies Day – Thursday 21st June
- 2.30 – Norfolk Stakes (Group 2)
This promises to be an interesting race with a number of talented horses standing a decent chance of a win. This five-furlong sprint features some of the fastest two-year-olds and last year was won by the talented Sioux Falls, ridden by Ryan Moore and trained by Aidan O’Brien.
The class act in this year’s field according to the racing experts is Shang Shang Shang from the USA, which won its first race earlier in April and looked in great shape doing so. The Wesley Ward yard has a good record at Ascot and he should go well here, though you can expect the likes of Vintage Brut and Konchek to push him hard.
Our Tip – Shang Shang Shang – Currently 9/4 with bet365.
- 3.05 – The Hampton Court Stakes (Group 3)
Last year, Benbatl was the victor in this race for Saeed bin Suroor, ridden by Oisin Murphy and this years race looks like being an equally competitive affair in this 1 mile 1 furlong 212 yard race for three-year-olds.
This is another race with a relatively open field with Key Victory the 9/2 favourite, Hunting Horn a 5/1 chance and a selection of fourhorses all rated as 10/1 shots with bet365, Fajjaj, Vintager, Wadilsafa and Zaaki. My pick here however is Hunting Horn, currently at 5/1, with Ryan Moore as the jockey for Aidan O’Brien, who is looking for his first win in this race since Indigo Cat won back in 2005. Although finishing sixth in the French Derby, the horse looked strong and this drop in class will suit him.
Our Tip – Hunting Horn – Currently 5/1 with bet365
- 3.40 – The Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2)
This Group 2 race is run over 1 mile, 3 furlongs and 211 yards and has been a fixture at Royal Ascot since 1980. Last year Coronet took the win for John Gosden with Olivier Peslier on board and that result ended a winning streak of two for jockey Ryan Moore who won on Even Song in 2016 and Curvy in 2015.
There’s two big contenders for this race this year with Sun Maiden and Wild Illusion the 5/2 favourites with bet365 in the antepost betting. After finishing 4th in the 1,000 Guineas and then second in the Oaks, Charlie Appleby’s Wild Illusion has the pedigree to go well here, but Sir Michael Stoute’s Sun Maiden was hugely impressive on her winning debut at Salisbury and has a real chance of improving here. This could be a real battle between the two but I think Wild Illusion just edges it.
Our Tip – Wild Illusion – Currently 5/2 with bet365
- 4.20 – Ascot Gold Cup (Group 1)
This 2 mile 3 furlong, 210 yard race is one of the biggest Group 1 races at the entire Royal Ascot meeting and is a perfect choice to be run on Ladies Day. Last year Big Orange held off a challenge from Order of St George (a winner back in 2016) to claim victory in the 2017 race and the big news ia that Aidan O’Briens winner of 2016 and runner up last year is back to try and win his second Ascot Derby.
As the highest rated stayer in Europe over the past season, Order of St George will be the one to beat and he is duly rated as the strong 15/8 favourite. Stradivarius and Vazirabad are rated as being the closest challengers, but in truth, it would be a surprise if Aidan O’Brien’s charge didn’t land a second victory in the Gold Cup here.
Our Tip – Order of St George – Currently 15/8 with bet365
- 5.00 – The Britannia Stakes (Handicap)
This mile race is open to three-year-old colts and geldings and has been a part of Royal Ascot since 1988. Jamie Spencer has won the racefour times in total including both the previous two years, in 2017 on Bless Him and prior to that in 2016 on Defrocked.
The 2018 race looks like being a very open one with a number of runners in with a chance and no clear favourite. Crack On Crack On is the current 8/1 favourite with bet365 in the antepost betting, but I am expecting the favourite to change a great deal in the lead up to the race. Literally any of the runners could be a winner in what is traditionally an open race and 2018’s version looks like being no different.
Our Tip – First Contact – Currently 14/1 with bet365
- 5.30 – King George V Stakes (Handicap)
The final race of the day is another handicap, the King George V stakes and it is run over 1 mile, 3 furlongs and 211 yards and is open to three-year olds. It was won last year by the Roger Charlton trained and Kieran Shoemark ridden Atty Persse.
Traditionally an open race, this years race looks like being the same with a number of horses in contention including Baghdad, First Eleven, Cross Counter, Dubhe, Baileys Excelerate and Communique. However I’ve gone for the current 12/1 shot Cassini here.
Our Tip – Cassini – Currently 12/1 with bet365
Royal Ascot runs through until Saturday 23rd June with six races each on Friday and Saturday as outlined below.
Royal Ascot – Friday 22nd June
- 2.30 – Albany Stakes (Group 3)
- 3.05 – King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2)
- 3.40 – Commonwealth Cup (Group 1)
- 4.20 – Coronation Stakes (Group 1)
- 5.00 – Sandringham Stakes (Handicap)
- 5.30 – Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (Handicap)
Royal Ascot – Saturday 23rd June
- 2.30 – Chesham Stakes (Listed)
- 3.05 – Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2)
- 3.40 – Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed)
- 4.20 – Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Group 1)
- 5.00 – Wokingham Stakes (Handicap)
- 5.30 – Queen Alexandra Stakes (Conditions)
Here’s hoping that you can pick a winner out of these key races at one of the biggest race meetings of the year.