Berkshire Shadow (advised at 18-1) and Kemari (advised at 8-1) were both tipped up by Andy Stephens at Royal Ascot and our in-form tipster has some more big-priced fancies for Thursday.
Stradivarius has provided many memorable moments during his wonderful career and his bulging fan club will be with him every step of the way when he seeks to gain a record-equalling fourth Gold Cup triumph at Royal Ascot on Thursday.
His connections will probably bemoan the rain forecast overnight into tomorrow but he cruised home by ten lengths in last year’s renewal when the ground was soft and, quite simply, if all his powers remain intact then he should win.
The form of the seven-year-old’s reappearance win in the Sagaro Stakes has taken some knocks but, more important, the fluent manner of that success indicated his enthusiasm for the game remains undimmed.
At about Evens on the betting exchanges, you have a straight choice of being either with or against him. I’m in the former camp, although Trueshan and Princess Zoe will ensure he does not have things all his own way if underfoot conditions do deteriorate.
My bets for the day are in the supporting races.
2.30 Royal Ascot: Project Dante at 11-1 with bet365
It was no doubt mission accomplished for his connections when he won on his debut at the Dante meeting last month but the style of that success promise plenty more happy chapters in his story.
The Showcasing colt clearly knew his job and after moving with purpose showed a willing attitude to take command in the closing stages.
He was up against only six rivals but the time was respectable and the form could hardly have worked out better with the next four home gaining subsequent wins. This is tougher and he’s up against six others with unblemished records but he will do for me at 11-1.
I’d be confident he will handle quicker conditions but, equally, don’t fret is the ground does ease. It was officially good to soft at York, although Timeform assessed it as good.
3.40 Royal Ascot: Dubai Fountain at 10-1 with BetVictor and William Hill
The Mark Johnston-trained filly came in for sustained support in the final minutes before the Oaks – she ended up going off at 4-1 – but completely bombed out in a race turned into an exhibition by Snowfall.
I can only presume she didn’t handle the track but she would be far from the first Johnston runner to quickly bounce back to form and, at double-figure digits without Snowfall to worry about, she looks well worth risking.
Her juvenile form was up there among the best staying fillies and she showed she had trained on when landing the Cheshire Oaks on her reappearance. A big girl, it’s unlikely that course was ideal, either.
Others are probably less exposed but the official ratings suggests she’s got 7lb up her sleeve and the return to this more conventional track must help. She’s also one of the few in the field usually ridden forward and so, tactically, the cards could also fall in her favour.
5.00 Royal Ascot: Dubai Honour each-way at 25-1 with Betfred
I cannot remember ever backing the Britannia winner but there’s a first time for everything and Dubai Honour fits the bill.
He looked a work in progress last season when, in summary, he had a quiet debut; should have won second time; won third time; then had one pop in handicap company at York when he was a close fourth after not getting the rub of the green.
From a good family and in excellent hands, he looks the sort to do much better this year having been gelded over the winter. William Haggas is also putting a first-time tongue-tie on him and the fact he’s having his first run of the year is of no concern. On the contrary, if you’ve got a well-handicapped horse and have designs on winning one of the toughest three-year-old handicaps in the calendar then why show your hand to the assessor beforehand?
5.35 Royal Ascot: Sir Lamorak at 9-2 with bet365
I tipped Sir Lamorak ante-post to win the Derby in a column last month. He was among the five-day entries but Aidan O’Brien and Coolmore then decided Bolshoi Ballet could handle the gig on his own.
Sir Lamorak stayed at home. I lost my money. I sulked for a bit. I got over it. Bolshoi Ballet was well beaten.
I assumed Sir Lamorak would instead run in the King Edward VII Stakes but instead he turns up here in a handicap off a mark of 100. I won't bore you again by writing realms about him, but it goes without saying that I believe he has got plenty in hand. After all, he would have won the Derby!
6.10 Royal Ascot: Danyah at 18-1 with Coral
Last but definitely not least. Danyah has been rejected by Jim Crowley and will be wearing the second colours of the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum in this seven-furlong cavalry charge but that just means we get a bigger price about him.
Crowley has some unfinished business on Aldaary, who got caught out of his ground a bit when losing his unbeaten record at Goodwood last time, but Danyah has the stronger overall form credentials and promises to relish an end-to-end gallop over this trip.
A progressive two-year-old, Danyah finished fourth in the Lincoln on his return before beating all bar Nugget in the Spring Cup at Newbury. That form is rock-solid with Nugget subsequently most unlucky not to land the Thirsk Hunt Cup off a 5lb higher mark.
Danyah has been nudged up 3lb himself but that is offset by the drop back to 7f, which promises to suit him even better than a mile given the way he tanks through his races. I’ll probably end up having a little saver on Bielsa, even if the Wokingham looked a better fit for him.
How to bet £20 on the third day of Royal Ascot
2.30 Royal Ascot: Project Dante £2 win at 11-1 with bet365
3.40 Royal Ascot: Dubai Fountain £3 win at 10-1 with BetVictor and William Hill
5.00 Royal Ascot: Dubai Honour £1 win and £1 each-way at 25-1 with Betfred
5.35 Royal Ascot: Sir Lamorak £4 win at 9-2 with bet365
6.10 Royal Ascot: Danyah £4 win and £2 each-way at 18-1 with Coral
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