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Dave Nevison's top tips for day one of Royal Ascot: Brook looks value at 20-1

By Dave Nevison@nevisondave
Tue 16 Jun 2020

It won’t be the pomp and ceremony that it should be, but this year’s Royal Ascot will definitely be the best lockdown race meeting of the year and I am looking forward to enjoying it on the TV for the first time in a long while.

The extra races are going to give us a few more betting opportunities in the handicaps this week, so I am rising to the challenge and definitely going to make use of all of the extra place offers I can accesss with my Ascot bets this week.

1.15 Ascot: War Glory each-way at a general 25-1

This might not be the most attractive selection in a competitive handicap, but I think he has a great chance of hitting the frame at least.

He recorded plenty of victories last season, admittedly on the All-weather, but there definitely is a correlation between horses doing well on artificial surfaces and winning at Ascot.

However, War Glory did also run some very good races at Sandown, Epsom and twice here at Ascot where a mile on soft ground in the Hunt Cup stretched his stamina.

He is 3lb lower here and down a furlong, so if the improvement he showed on the All-weather is carried over to turf, then he is very well handicapped indeed.

He was pulled out of a race last week, presumably when it became apparent he would get a run here and with extra places on offer, I am happy to get involved.

1.50 Ascot: Billesdon Brook at a general 20-1

Watch how Billesdon Brook fared on her seasonal debut

This Classic-winning mare has a terrific record in Group One races but is invariably overlooked in the market and I believe she definitely represents value again here in a race some bookmakers are paying five places in.

It is possible that, despite the field size, this race may not be the strongest renewal as several runners at the head of the market match brilliance with fragility and I am pretty certain that not all of them will perform to their best, leaving the way clear for this consistent mare to get into the frame.

Billesdon Brook usually takes a run to hit form, but she was backed on her reappearance and time may tell that she had a seriously tough task giving weight to a rapidly-improving filly trained by John Gosden.

I think a good run is a certainty and I am hoping this proves to be a very good hour’s work for Sean Levey, a jockey who has definitely started the season in very good form.

3.35 Ascot: Battaash at a genera 8-11

With Blue Point retired, Battaash should win this race and break his Ascot duck.

He has been runner-up in this contest for the past two years and I believe he handles this course perfectly well plus his rivals will have to break through the ranks to trouble him.

That seems unlikely to me, especially as his trainer is in very good form and Battaash is probably the horse that is best suited to the fact that there will be a calm quiet atmosphere at the meeting this week.

Battaash is, I hope, a good thing, even if he is priced accordingly.

4.40 Ascot: Coeur De Lion at 16-1 with William Hill who are paying five places

Coeur De Lion was fifth in this contest last year under this jockey and I believe he has at least the same chance again this year.

It was a 50-50 call, but young Thore Hammer Hansen was brave last year as he went up the inner, only to hit more than the odd road block.

A horse as slow as Coeur De Lion does not have the gear changes to get through and regain momentum when he hits a wall of horses. I believe if presented with that choice again, his jockey will play safe and I really cannot see him failing to pick up some place money if so.

He will certainly be staying on when some of these are running out of stamina and the slight change in severity of headgear might bring about a bit of extra focus as well.

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