Royal Ascot – Day 1

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The rain has played havoc with the cards and a number of fancied horses won’t be taking part this week due to the soft, or worse, going.

Tepin won the Breeders’ Cup Mile last season, however in England she’s unable to run with the aid of a breathing strip and lasix. She has breathing issues and with the lack of help and a strong straight mile I have to oppose her. I think Belardo won a weak Locking last time out and bar finishing a runner-up to Solow on Champions Day his form looks weak.

My preference is for ERVEDYA, she won the Coronation Stakes last year with Found back in second and Lucida in third. I have that down a a very strong form line, with Found being a genuine Group One horse as shown when she won The Breeders’ Cup Turf and Lucida was three-quarters of a length second to Legatissimo in last seasons 1000 Guineas. The soft ground won’t be an inconvenience to her and may actually bring about improvement from last years Royal Ascot performance. She finished second in a Group Two on her seasonal re-appearance, however she wasn’t given a great ride out the back and was never really asked to quicken towards the end of the race.

I think the main danger to the selection is Esoterique, she loves a straight mile and the ground will cause no issues. I was however disappointed with her season re-appearance ten days ago where she had every chance to win the Group Three Prix Du Palais-Royal, but faded in the final furlong. She will come on for that run, however I think the younger horse of Ervedya, may be open to more improvement.

BACK ERVEDYA at 5.00 (General)

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Caravaggio has two odds-on wins in his career so far and has looked very impressive. However 3.00 (2/1) seems short in the betting and for that reason I have to oppose him and I think that MEHMAS is the horse to do that with. He was beaten over five furlongs at Sandown last time out by a horse I rate highly, Global Applause. Things didn’t go his way that day as the winner got the run of the race after grabbing the rail. Mehmas couldn’t find the gaps, however when he did he was always closing. The step back up to six furlongs will suit, as will being drawn right next to the pace horse Medieval, with Yalta also on that side of the track. This should give him a nice toe into the race and at 8.50 (15/2) I think he’s worth a bet.

BACK MEHMAS at 8.50 (Coral, Bet Victor)

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This race has been ruined by the rain, so I don’t think there’s much point in looking for something to oppose MECCA’S ANGEL with. She won the Nunthorpe last year and that’s the best bit of form on offer, she loves the mud and has had  a got a run under her belt this season to get her fit.

BACK MECCA’S ANGEL at 2.88 (Betfair, Paddy Power)

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This may be the race of the meeting, we have the winners of the English, French and Irish 2000 Guineas and I want to take all of them on. Galileo Gold won The English Guineas and was impressive in doing do, however I think that may have been one of the weakest renewals for a while. The fancied horses didn’t run their race, there were no strong staying types and the race basically fell apart. He was then beaten in Ireland by Awtaad, who I expect to confirm that form again today with conditions the way they are. Then comes the winner of The French Guineas, The Gurkha, who won well but again the race fell in his lap and with English 2000 Guineas sixth First Selection in second I again have to question the form of the race. Of the three my preference would be for Awtaad, however I’m going to oppose them all with EMOTIONLESS.

The Godolphin three-year old couldn’t have been more impressive in The Champagne Stakes last year, a win which put him at the top of the betting for the 2000 Guineas. He was founded to have chipped knees after a disappointing on his final start of last season in The Dewhurst. He subsequently missed his chance at running in The Classic but now gets the opportunity to show the promise from last year. He may not be good enough, he may not have retained his ability or the ground may not suit, but if he still has that class from Doncaster he could go very close at a big price.

BACK EMOTIONLESS at 13.00 (General)

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