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Royal Ascot tips: Dave Nevison marks your card for day one

By Dave Nevison@nevisondave
Tue 15 Jun 2021

Our website tipster Dave Nevison takes aim at the opening day of Royal Ascot with some big-priced handicap selections.

We bring you 29 races from four live meetings on Tuesday, with dedicated coverage from Thirsk, Stratfird, Sligo and Beverley available on our Racing TV Extra service.

Day one at Royal Ascot is one of the best afternoons of Flat racing of the year, and with the likes of Palace Pier and Battaash seeking to confirm they are the best in the world at their distances it will be great viewing.

My bets are in the impossible races at the end of the card, and I will be scouring the bookies for the extra places to hopefully get a multiple up on the week.

5.00 Ascot: Rayapour

I had a good result with Coeur De Lion in this race last year when Irish runners weren’t able to take part, but that horse is 3lb higher now from a tougher mark of 94. With Willie Mullins and others now back over in force, normal service looks set to be resumed.

It’s a tough call for me between the two Mullins contenders, but I just feel Rayapour might have a little more improvement than the Ryan Moore-ridden M C Muldoon.

Jockey of the moment Adam Kirby has been called up for Rayapour, who was beaten at odds-on in a hot summer novice hurdle on stable debut last month. He didn’t jump well enough to win and will sort that out in time I am sure.

His form in France suggested an improving young stayer and he ran well in a Listed race on his final start there. He has bags of stamina in his pedigree and, though this extreme trip is a step into the unknown, I would be pretty confident. Hopefully the first-time cheekpieces will help him focus.

5.35 Ascot: Felix

He is definitely worth chancing given how well he ran in the Dubai Turf last time, beaten four lengths in third on his first start on grass in a long time. Felix drops down to Listed level here from Group One company, while his Meydan conqueror Lord North is favourite for the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes on Wednesday.

Felix has done nothing but improve since joining Marco Botti, despite seemingly being difficult to train with a few breaks on his card. However, he has run some of his best races after time off and I’m hoping this three-month break may well prove to be a positive.

Felix looks certain to get the fast-run race on decent ground that he enjoys and champion jockey Oisin Murphy is on board again.

6.10 Ascot: Hyanna

Hyanna has not won here from four starts but has run some very good races in defeat. She should be able to settle early in a competitive big-field handicap such as this and this set-up could bring out the best in her.

Hyanna ran well enough last time when staying on for third in a small-field race at Goodwood, but me eye is drawn to her runner-up effort at this track in August last year from a 1lb higher mark. That race was over two furlongs shorter than this and that contest wasn’t a true-enough test for her, but surely this one will be.

Dangers abound here, but most are exposed types with the obvious exception of favourite Saldier. He was backed into even money before hosing up on his first Flat start for ages at Listowel eight days ago, but he’s back out again quickly and he has struggled to string performances together in his career. He may be a handicap blot, but I can’t see him being value. It may be he was just delighted to see stalls and not hurdles and could be a ‘good thing’, but I would rather let him make the market and try to get one in the frame.

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