Royal Ascot tips: Palace Pier and Battaash the headline acts on day one
Palace Pier and Battaash will be the star attractions when Royal Ascot starts on Tuesday.
The meeting was held behind closed doors last year but this time around is a government pilot event with 12,000 racegoers at the track every day.
We have previewed the racing with our race-by-race guide.
2.30pm Group One Queen Anne Stakes (1m). Selection: Palace Pier 4/9
It’s hard to look past Palace Pier for Frankie Dettori and the Gosdens. The four-year-old capped an excellent season last term with victory in the Group One St James’s Palace Stakes at the Royal Meeting and has oozed class in two starts this term. The son of Kingman backed up victory at Sandown with a third top-level success when capturing the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. He should relish ground conditions and is taken to get favourite backers off to the perfect start. Breeders’ Cup mile hero Order Of Australia looks the pick of the remainder for Aidan O’Brien, ahead of stablemate Lope Y Fernandez.
3.05pm Group Two Coventry Stakes (6f). Selection: Gisburn 6/1
A brilliant renewal. American interest is highlighted by Wesley Ward saddling the exciting Kaufymaker who switches to turf having bolted up on her debut at Keeneland in April. However, Gisburn was seriously impressive on his second start, when opening his account at Newbury. He quickened away in fine style and looks a serious prospect. The Acropolis was a smooth winner on his second start at Ascot last time out and looks another interesting runner.
3.40pm Group One King’s Stand Stakes (5f). Selection: Battaash 15/8
Battaash chases successive wins in the King’s Stand Stakes as the seven-year-old returns for another year of action. The fastest horse in training was sensational in the 2020 renewal and it will be interesting to see how he copes with a crowd back on a racecourse. He has also been off the track for 298 days, but connections feel he goes well fresh. He is clearly the one to beat, but the list of dangers are headed by Winter Power who was sensational at York last time out and recent Haydock scorer Liberty Beach. Her Majesty The Queen also has a runner with recent Haydock scorer King’s Lynn and his trainer Betway ambassador Andrew Balding added: "He is a horse who is lightly-raced and I feel there is plenty more improvement in him."
4.20pm Group One St James’s Palace Stakes (1m). Selections: Battleground 11/2 and Chindit (E/W) 10/1
A fascinating event with 2000 Guineas hero Poetic Flare heading the betting for Jim Bolger. He has been kept busy, but clearly is a live candidate if in the same form. Mostahdaf is completely unexposed having won his first three starts, but impressed in Listed company when beating Highland Avenue last time out and is another leading player. However, former Royal Meeting winner Battleground cannot be overlooked. He ran no sort of race in the 2000 Guineas, but if forgiven that effort, he looks a danger along Chindit who boasts winning form at Royal Ascot and was a good fifth in the 2000 Guineas on his latest start.
5.00pm Ascot Stakes (2m 4f). Selections: Rayapour 6/1 and Untold Story (E/W) 20/1
A typically competitive event. Rayapour has not run on the Flat for 697 days, but was smart in that sphere when trained in Ireland. He returned from a long layoff to finish third over timber at Kilbeggan in May and it looks telling that Adam Kirby will be aboard. Ryan Moore partners Mullins’ other leading hope M C Muldoon and he has to be respected, along with Mullins’ final runner Royal Illusion. At a bigger price, Untold Story is thoroughly unexposed having finished a good second at Newmarket in a handicap last time out and looks an interesting each-way player.
5.35pm Listed Wolferton Stakes (1m 1f). Selection: Patrick Sarsfield 10/3
Patrick Sarsfield progressed rapidly through the ranks last season and he shaped with plenty of promise on his return to action when second at the Curragh on his latest run. He can get the better of recent Listed winner Solid Stone and Brigadier Gerard hero Euchen Glen in a fascinating event.
6.10pm Copper Horse Stakes (1m 6f). Selection: Saldier 9/4
It looks notable that Willie Mullins got a run into Saldier when he won at Listowel last week. He was impressive on that occasion and this dual Grade One winning hurdler can take out the finale.
Royal Ascot odds via Betway