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Royal Ascot Thursday

 Wednesday regressed to the norm but today looks a much nicer betting card.

R1 14.30 Norfolk Stakes

Another exciting 2yo race, this time over the five furlongs. Another Amo Racing flyer heads the market, this time Walbank, who destroyed a small field at York last time. He looked great but I'm not sure what he beat. The runner-up was a distant second behind Miami Girl at his previous start and that horse only ran fifth in the Queen Mary yesterday. On debut he ran second to the highly promising Noble Style here. He deserves to be high in the market but 7/4? Leave me out of that.

Aidan O'Brien's team have not been firing this week (cue them to land with all five entries today!), and the heavily-punted Little Big Bear only scraped in yesterday when a very strong fav. Might have to swerve The Antarctic as well.

One I did the like the look of was Brave Nation. He won eased down by 6L at Doncaster on debut, there's more up his sleeve for sure. Pillow Talk is another of the Clipper Logistics-owned juveniles (Dramatised won yesterday), I assume Shoemark takes the ride as it is slightly under Danny Tudhope's weight range (hasn't ridden below 9-2 for past fortnight), while Tudhope is flying this week and might sneak a place on Thunder Moor at big odds.

Brave Nation, Pillow Talk, Thunder Moor. Swerving the favourites.

R2 15.05 King George V Stakes

This is a hot 3yo handicap. The favourite Post Impressionist ran second to Queen's Vase winner Eldar Eldarov last time, and the follow-up form is mighty strong. Of the first 10 in the race, five have run again since, four have run and the other one ran second. You don't see stronger next run form than that. Whether the rest of them beat much is another story. Tudhope aboard.

Tying in with that form is Secret State who beat Honiton by 3.75L at level weights, while Post Impressionist beat the same horse by a short head (conceding 7lbs). The Godolphin colt looks a very good type, with a slight query on the trip (full sister Onassis never went past a mile) but he hasn't looked like stopping in his latest wins (1m2.5f and 1m0.5f).

The London Cup is traditionally a strong form race but the winner Israr recorded the lowest RPR figure in years for that race. 

Flying Dolphin looks a nice type for Johnny Murtagh, winning well last time in first time cheekpieces. 

Newfoundland is a full brother to dominant Oaks winner Snowfall who took several runs before she really found her feet. He looked impressive at Navan last time, overcoming a bit of trouble before accelerating clear to win comfortably (runner-up runs at Leopardstown tonight if you fancy a double). I queried the stable form in the earlier race, there's more allowance for that in the price here.

Keep an eye on Inverness at a big price. He didn't enjoy the undulations of Epsom in April but ran on towards the end, and has since been fancied in the London Gold Cup and Cocked Hat Stakes but has been withdrawn each time due to ground concerns. If he runs today, have a nibble. He needs to find a bit on ratings but they've been entering him in decent races, he's obviously showing a bit at home.

Tricky race. Will back my top pick and throw the longer shots in exotics.

Newfoundland, Secret State, Post Impressionist, Inverness, Flying Dolphin

R3 15.40 Ribblesdale

Market seems pretty focused on Magical Lagoon and Sea Silk Road, who I was initially going for, but Life Of Dreams looks to have the biggest upside. She was well beaten by Emily Upjohn (5.5L) last time at York and most conceded that horse should have won the Oaks comfortably, if not for the stumble at the start. She's on the improve, her mum won the Lancashire Oaks and the Lillie Langtry so there's no concern at all on her stamina.

Don't rule out Mystic Wells either, could throw value into the exotics.

Life Of Dreams, Mystic Wells.

R4 16.20 Ascot Gold Cup

This should be Stradivarius vs Kyprios with the others running for place money, and I don't really want to cheer one way or the other. Can make cases for both, and also attempt to pick holes in them. 

One at big odds for EW betting is the French horse Bubble Smart. How she'll handle the going I don't know but she did run third behind Trueshan & Stradivarius in the Prix du Cadran over this distance on Arc weekend. Perhaps she was in better form leading in there, perhaps she wants the longer trip. Worth a nibble at 40/1 EW.

R5 17.00 The Britannia

Potentially an absolute bloody raffle but here's a handful I've picked out in a fairly quick skim

Whoputfiftyinyou - very impressive at Haydock, ahead of Mighty Ulysses who went close in the St James's Palace and 6L clear of Outgate who crosses a lot of formlines here.

Ribhi - shock value for exotics, first run since being gelded.

Spinaround - fancied him at Goodwood two starts back, liked him in the parade ring, but Dettori apparently had a badly bruised hand and couldn't use the whip properly. Won nicely on AW last time, has gone up in rating but is a massive price. Assume Frankie will always ride for the Queen first at this meeting rather than preference.

Amortentia won effortlessly at Naas last start, look at the replay. 7lbs might not be enough to stop him. Money has come for him already.

Jimi Hendrix won a Haydock handicap carrying topweight and swaps to the other end of the scale here. Love the New Bay breed.

Amortentia, Jimi Hendrix, Spinaround, Whoputfiftyinyou 

17.35 R6 Hampton Court

This should be a procession for Her Maj's Reach For The Moon, as a son of Sea The Stars, the step up in trip should only be in his favour. However I like what I've seen from Maksud so far. As a gelding there was never a need to rush him this season, being ineligible for all the Classics, There was money for him at Goodwood last start and I expect him to keep improving.


18.10 R7 Buckingham Palace

There's only so much confidence you can have in a Royal Ascot handicap but there's one here I saw recently and just want to be on every time. Montassib is a giant of a horse, he brained them at Goodwood, Tom Marquand barely touched him and it just screamed big handicap to me. It was soft that day, but he won on good-to-firm the previous run and being by Exceed And Excel, should love the Ascot straight. This is a Group horse in a handicap.



Montassib - Best of the day

Life Of Dreams - next best
Brave Nation

and small EW plays on

Bubble Smart
Jimi Hendrix and Spinaround

Plenty of exotics and picking out the overs on some of the outsiders on the Tote World Pool as well.


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