How To Bet £20 at Royal Ascot on Saturday: Flora can bloom in Hardwicke

By Tom Thurgood@tdthurgood
Sat 19 Jun 2021

Tom Thurgood gives you some contenders at fair prices who are fancied to go well on the final day at Royal Ascot, as well as two decent fancies on the valuable card at Down Royal live on Racing TV.

The overnight deluge certanly had a big impact at Ascot on Friday and it’s likely the uncertainty will continue on Saturday with further showers possible and fancied runners not certain to take up their engagements – with the subsequent ramifications on the betting markets that punters have to contend with.

Although the opening race at Ascot on Friday was run on soft ground according to Timeform, that changed to heavy for the rest of the meeting. The track will have a chance to dry out somewhat overnight, but runners with an aptitude for handling testing conditions as well as proven stamina at the trip will clearly be advantageous on Saturday.

Good luck with all your fancies.

3.05 Ascot: Light Refrain at 12/1 with bet365, Unibet and Paddy Power

Soft ground could have a big bearing on the Jersey, with long-time market principals Naval Crown and Mutasaabeq showing their best on quicker ground.

While the Jersey winner's profile is usually a horse dropping back from a mile, I like the angle of an improving horse with potentially more to offer going up in distance and Light Refrain fits the bill after two very decent runs over six furlongs this season.

She looked good on her return at Listed level at Nottingham against proven soft-ground performers for the grade, sluicing through from the back of the field before promptly not doing a tap in front, masking her true superiroty there.

Jumping up to Group Two company next time, the modest early gallop didn’t suit in the Sandy Lane but she made nice progress from the rear to only be beaten a length at the line, looking better the further she travelled. That Haydock contest was won by big Wokingham fancy Rohaan, while runner-up Dragon Symbol was first past the post on Friday’s Commonwealth Cup.

By Frankel, stepping back up to seven furlongs is fancied to suit Light Refrain now that she’s a better article than when first contesting that trip early in her juvenbile campaign last year and she is fancied to do good work at the finish against rivals who mostly don't look to have ideal conditions. She makes each-way appeal.

3.40 Ascot: Albaflora at 7/1 with Boylesports

This looked an especially appealing market earlier on Friday as both Broome and Hukum looked opposable at the top of the betting, but while the rain has probably had more of a correcting influence on their prices Albaflora still looks underestimated for Ralph Beckett and Kirsten Rausing - trainer and owner having both been among the winners this week.

Albaflora goes partoicularly well at Ascot and shaped well off a modest ace from a disadvantageous position in the Listed Noel Murless Stakes over 1m6f at this track at the back-end of last season, while she looked very good - and better the further she went - when strolling clear in the Buckhounds Stakes last month over the Hardwicke course and distance.

Albaflora is a keen-going filly and, while she settled well at Ascot last month, she was too free and trapped wide throughout in the small-field Coronation Cup last time. In any event, there was credit to that run given she was eased two furlongs from home but still ran on to good effect, just denied for third in the end and at a track which probably isn't ideal for her.

This race looks interesting, but it doesn't look forbidding for the grade and this filly has plenty going for her - she is race-fit, in receipt of the sex allowance, handles these conditions and stays further in what could be a well-run race. If she settles early - her draw in stall two isn't too bad - she can have a say at the finish.

4.20 Ascot: Dream Of Dreams at 3/1 with bet365, Ladbrokes and Coral

Second in the Diamond Jubilee for the past two seasons, the seven-year-old has enjoyed a lovely preparation this time with a good reappearance at Windsor and he can make it third time lucky now on a favoured softer surface.

Dream Of Dreams looked better than ever last season, impressing over seven furlongs in the Hungerford at Newbury before a cosy success in the Sprint Cup against the re-opposing Glen Shiel, Art Power and more at Haydock. While he disappointed on Champions Day on his final start of last season, he was very free from a wide draw and shaped better than result, travelling with menace and much the best two furlongs from home before stopping fairly quickly. Given Dream Of Dreams is generally a strong finisher, that was not his true running.

He is drawn in stall three here, with Emaraaty Ana likely to go off in front from stall two next-door. Dream Of Dreams can race keenly early in his races but, with the potential of a nice tow into the race on the far rail, he should have a good platform for a belated Royal Ascot success.

3:25 Down Royal: King Of The Castle at 8/1 with Paddy Power and bet365

King Of The Castle is a four-race maiden, but things haven’t quite panned out for this beautifully-bred Galileo colt so far and he can break his duck in this valuable prize.

A big eye-catcher on debut at Gowran, he has run with credit the last twice at Leopardstown and has seemingly improved for better ground on both starts at that track. However, given his lack of early speed, the strong suspicion is that Leopardstown is not his ideal venue and, in addition, he's been drawn badly there on both starts. Plenty of use was made of him on both occasions to get a prominent early position and he shaped better than the result both times.

The likes of Hell Bent and Safari Quest come out better at the weights here strictly on maiden form, but the switch to this course is fancied to make a difference for King Of The Castle and he's actually got a decent draw for the first time in his life, racing from stall four over a course and distance that significantly favours lower numbers near the far-side rail.

Perhaps surprisingly, following Aidan O’Brien handicap debutants is not a bad stategy, the whole set performing 19% above market expectation since the start of 2016 with similar statistics for horses going up in trip on handicap debut.

King Of The Castle still rates a nice prospect and should be hard to keep out of the frame here. Despite other unexposed sorts here, he certainly looks overpriced.

4.00 Down Royal: Solene Lilyette at 5/1 with Betfair and Paddy Power

I was impressed with Martinique last time and stepping up two and half furlongs in trip will really suit, but she looks a short price on the early showing in comparison with Solene Lilyette, who has plenty to recommend her.

The Pivotal filly has an excellent Moyglare pedigee and has looked good on both starts so far this season, winning both for new trainer Andrew Slattery in easy style from the front.

Three-year-olds have held the edge in this handicap in recent years and Martinique does get plenty of weight as a result, but good pilot Andrew Slattery claims 3lb for his father here on Solene Lilyette and she is drawn quite nicely in stall four to adopt successful front-running tactics once again.

Martinique was riddern more forcefully when impressing at Listowel last time, but on her first two starts she fell back through the field when initially asked for her effort. She will have to get across quickly from stall eight and will initially have to be reactive to the likely proactive Solene Lilyette. The selection could feasibly pinch an unassailable advantage, but the prices don't reflect this.

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