The Mailbag: Royal Ascot 2019

The Mailbag team are mounting yard and form analysts experts. Using a sectional times database, they are providing their best selections over the Royal Ascot 2019 Carnival.

Go where the value is for Royal Ascot and head to the Betfair Exchange.

Race 2 – Jersey Stakes – Group 3 – 1400m

Happy Power won well in a five horse listed race at York last start and has progressed impressively in all three runs this preparation. He looks a nice type that can measure up here, but there is a query on whether he has any further improvement this preparation to come.

Space Blues took out the Investec Surrey Stakes at Epsom Downs coming off a strong win at York earlier last month. He has improved ratings wise all four runs this preparation and looks well suited in these conditions from back in the field.

Urban Icon pushed Space Blues last start all the way down the straight and a bump at the 2 furlong marker may have cost him the win. From the barrier, he will have clear passage throughout and be suited by a strong tempo.

So Perfect won a Group 3 last start at Naas but that race didn’t measure up ratings wise to be anything special. She has been supported here but will need to reach a new level again third up today to get the win.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN)  Space Blues

 BACK (WIN)  Urban Icon

Race 3 – Hardwicke Stakes – Group 2 – 2400m

Defoe went to a new level last start winning the Group 1 Investec Coronation Cup at Epsom Downs a few weeks ago and stays at the 2400m on a similar surface where he looks ideally treated. This is a big step down in grade with the likes of Old Persian, Marmelo and Kew Gardens not dropping back in class from the Coronation Cup to contest here.

With Communique expected to push the tempo similar to he did last start in Defoe’s cup win, Defoe will get the race run to suit.

Masar scored an upset in the Group 1 Investec Derby last start over the well fancied Roaring Lion and Saxon Warrior; as well as Dee Ex Bee that ran a respectable second to Stradivarius in the Gold Cup on day 3 of the Ascot Carnival this year. Made a big jump form wise this preparation and can go on with it here.

Morando’s owners are praying for rain that doesn’t look to be on the radar after beating Kew Gardens by 8 lengths two starts back on a Heavy track at Chester to run a new career peak. Needs a wet track to measure up here.

Lah Ti Dar scored a quality win first up at York in a Group 2 before failing to fire as favourite last start at Epsom in the Group 1 Coronation Cup. A return to best form will have her right in this.

Southern France ran Stradivarius to under a length in the Yorkshire Cup last start and steps slightly back in distance here. He hasn’t won in his past six attempts and this looks harder than any of those fields.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (EW) Defoe

Race 4 – Diamond Jubilee Stakes – Group 1 – 1200m

Blue Point recorded a new personal best winning the King’s Stand Stakes on Day 1 of the carnival and steps up to 1200m from a perfectly suited middle barrier. A repeat rating of his last four runs would win this race.

Invincible Army made his claims known last start with a 2.25 length victory at York in the Group 2 Duke of York with the likes of Limato, Major Jumbo and Yafta behind him on that day. Expected to sit mid-field throughout and should be in the right ground from a stands side barrier. Will need to improve to beat Blue Point but is open to further improvement.

Kachy was disappointing in the Temple Stakes at Haydock last start and steps up in distance. Best runs would measure up to being a chance here.

Sand of Mali last prep won at course and distance in a Group 1 on a good to soft track, but has failed to come back with the same level of form. Vast improvement is required for him to win here.

The Tin Man is a Group 1 winner from last preparation on soft ground. His first up run in the Hamilton Stakes rated well enough to suggest he can win here.

City Light ran a close second in this race last year and is looking to go one place better today. Hasn’t won since that race last year is the concern along with the effort first up at Maisons-Laffitte when City Light could only manage second in Listed grade.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Blue Point

 BACK (WIN) Invincible Army

Race 2 – King Edward VII Stakes – Group 2 – 2400m

Japan comes back from a close third in the Group 1 Investec Derby having run a rating that would win this race the past five runnings. Ryan Moore jumps back aboard here and he looks the best chance on this card.

Private Secretary has been well supported into second favourite coming out of a listed grade win at Goodwood. A big ratings jump is required here to measure up. Humanitarian was a good run for 7th in the Investec Derby behind Japan and a change of pace here could see him settle midfield and finish off strongly

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN)  Japan

Race 3 – Commonwealth Cup – Group 1 – 1200m

Ten Sovereigns won the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes in Group 1 company back in September over this distance running a rating that would measure up in most renditions of this race on past results.

First up, he went around as the favourite at Newmarket over 1600m in the 2000 Guineas Stakes but was in the wrong ground for the day and failed to see out the final furlong. The step back here is ideal and he will be the one to run down at the furlong pole.

Jash ran 2nd behind Ten Sovereigns last year in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes and won in reasonable fashion first up this preparation at Newmarket over 1400m. Steps back to best distance range and can improve here.

Khaadem is a horse on the up who won last start in listed grade at Newbury on a good surface. He will need to run well above his best ratings to be in the finish here.

Hello Youmzain is a multiple Group 2 winner including his second up win at Haydock last start by 3.25 lengths in the Sandy Lane Stakes. Goes as well on soft surfaces as he does good and looks a main contender.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN)  Ten Sovereigns

Race 4 – Coronation Stakes – Group 1 – 1600m

Castle Lady is undefeated from three runs and scored a win in the Group 1 Poule D’Essai Des Pouliches at Longchamp. She got all the favours in that win and will need a similar ride to get the win here.

Watch Me was a strong Group 3 winner in the Prix Imprudence two runs back and then was unlucky not to be in the finish last start behind Castle Lady at Longchamp when switched for runs three times in the straight.

Pretty Pollyanna looked a potential world beater this time last year over shorter distances, but a year down the track and she has gone backwards over this distance ratings wise. Last start at The Curragh she was beaten 4 lengths by Hermosa and it’s hard to see her turning the tables here.

Jubiloso is given a good chance here coming off a Nice Stakes win by 7 lengths that rated highly. A progressive type that has a load of improvement to still come.

Hermosa ran a new impressive personal best last start at The Curragh when defeating Pretty Pollyanna, but even so, that rating wouldn’t have won this race the past four years. Has claims to clearly be favourite here but is beatable.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (EW) Watch Me

Race 1 – Norfolk Stakes – Group 2 – 1000m

Wesley Ward won this race last year with Shang Shang Shang and stable runner Kimari just missed in the 2YO race yesterday beaten in a tight finish. Maven is a horse with a burst of early speed so is expected to lead them up. His win at Aqueduct in America saw him lead all the way over 900 metres to record a half length victory, with a large gap to third. He will need to make a similar ratings jump to what Shang Shang Shang made last year.

A’Ali was beaten a neck at Ripon last start by a smart type in Spartan Fighter with a 9 length gap to third. The race recorded a rating just below what has been required to win this race the past five years on average, so slight improvement would have A’Ali well in the finish.

Mount Fuji didn’t beat much in a maiden at Cork on the lead in to a run here, but Ryan Moore takes this ride over the higher rating King Neptune which has to be respected. The horse would need to improve sharply to win this. Ventura Rebel won last start at course and distance in early May and looks to still have improvement to come. A switch from a firm track to softer is the only query on this horse being competitive.

Sunday Sovereign has been well backed as favourite after a 7 length demolition job at Tipperary last start coming off a 3 length win at the Curragh prior to that where he beat Day 1 Royal Ascot winner Arizona. He will enjoy the soft ground and can improve again from the right barrier.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN)  Sunday Sovereign

Day 2 – Ribblesdale Stakes – Group 2 – 2400m

Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore have each won this race three of the past five runnings, combining last year with Magic Wand to take out the race.

Fleeting drops back in class after a bold third in the Investec Oaks behind Anapurna and Pink Dogwood when held up for runs at critical stages ridden for luck. Her win at Doncaster in the May Hill Stakes gives us two strong form lines to respect with the only query being the softer ground. Ryan Moore onboard today is a massive jockey upgrade.

Queen Power saluted at Newbury in the Fillies’ Trial Stakes beating home Star Catcher when not suited by the race shape. The horse has a load of improvement to still come based on that run and looks ideally suited on softer conditions again. Frankellina made a strong run from worse than midfield in the Investec Oaks behind Fleeting but peaked on her run two furlongs out. Would need to find another gear here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN)  Fleeting

Race 4 – Ascot Gold Cup – Group 1 – 4000m

Stradivarius won this race last year in arguably a significantly better rendition with the likes of Vazirabad, Torcedor and Order of St George in the race. Stradivarius has gone on and won four times since and is undefeated in his last 6 races. His win first up last month in the Yorkshire Cup rated higher than any other horse in this race has ever run and he will improve up in distance second up today.

Cross Counter won the Melbourne Cup in sensational fashion and has since gone onto win the Dubai Gold Cup beating his stablemate Ispolini. There was a real query over just how well Cross Counter had come back in Dubai with this race the main aim of the preparation – expect improvement and he looks the main danger to Stradivarius today

Magic Circle won the Chester Cup Handicap and Henry II Stakes last May recording ratings that would measure up in this race. He skipped the Ascot Carnival last year and went straight to Flemington where he failed to acclimatise and ran poorly in the Cup. He returned first up in the Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes at Chester where he could only manage third over an unsuitable distance. His best is good enough to figure.

Flag of Honour is the most interesting runner in the race from the Aidan O’Brien yard. The stable decided to skip the Melbourne Cup with this horse last year and have been taking this horse to races over shorter distances than this. A big step up to the 4000m today and on previous runs the horse wants distance.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Stradivarius

Race 1 – Queen Mary Stakes – Group 2 – 1000m

History says this is a race where unexposed formlines generally triumph with improvement required from runners to match the previous historical race ratings. 3 of the past 5 winners have had their 2nd ever run in the race, while another winner was coming out of a maiden win the previous start. Last year was the lowest rating for this race in the past five years, with an exposed form horse winning the race at odds.

Wesley Ward has won 2 of the past 4 editions of this race with Acapulco and Lady Aurelia. Kimari couldn’t have been more impressive for the Ward stable when winning her maiden at Keenland on the all-weather surface by 15 lengths. She was slow out that day so can improve, but there is a query over the switch to turf today.

A repeat of her maiden win ratings wise would see her in the finish of this race last year. Anna’s Fast is another fancied runner for the Ward stable having won her maiden by 5.5 lengths at Keenland over 1100m and untouched by her jockey on that occasion. Has a load of improvement to come.

Final Song won her maiden at the course and distance by 5 lengths in impressive fashion last month and looks to be a high-level front-running 2YO.

Divine Spirit recorded an eye-catching win at Windsor last start showing a finishing burst required to win at this Ascot track. Settled well in her race last start and looks a likely improver.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN)  Kimari

 BACK (WIN) Anna’s Fast

Race 2 – Queen’s Vase – Group 2 – 2850m

Aidan O’Brien has had a stranglehold on this race having won 3 of the last 4 editions; star stayer Stradivarius won the other edition for John Gosden in 2017.

Western Australia comes into this race as favourite after winning the Yeats Stakes at Navan recording a Timeform rating which would win 4 of the past 5 editions of this race. It’s easy to record such a performance in a 5 horse race but there is little doubt that this horse can repeat that rating for a third time.

Norway steps well back in class and up in distance off an 8th in the Group 1 Investec Derby, settling on-speed in a race run for those out the back. Kew Gardens won this race last year for the stable coming off a 9th in the Investec Derby with a better ride. Stable top jockey Ryan Moore takes the ride on Norway over Western Australia here.

Nayef Road comes out of a high-rating class 2 event at Epsom Downs but has failed to go close in similar types of races in the past while Eminent Authority for Joseph O’Brien wasn’t suited by the tempo run last start in the King George V Cup at Leopardstown and was clearly going the best through the line. Expecting big improvement in a faster run race here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Norway

 BACK (WIN) Eminent Authority

Race 3 – Prince of Wales’s Stakes – Group 1 – 2000m

This contest looms as the race of the Royal Ascot carnival.

Sea Of Class ended last prep just missing the win in the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe behind Enable when running a new personal best rating. Ideally she performs best deeper into preps and over slightly further so there are a few queries today.

Magical is 4th up and won last start by over 7 lengths in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh. She handles soft or dry tracks equally well and is perfectly placed again today over 2000m.

Waldgeist commanded a dominant victory in the Group 1 Prix Ganay in late April running a personal best worthy of respect here today, but note the horse performs best on firmer surfaces.

Zabeel Prince won a lesser grade Group 1 race last start in the Prix D’Ispahan and is going the right way ratings wise. This is a big step up in class again, but the extra furlong and conditions will suit.

Crystal Ocean notched up two respectable wins in Group 3 races in April and May and has measured up to this level in the past. Comes into the race with the third highest peak Timeform rating and hasn’t finished worse than 3rd in a race, ever!

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Magical

Race 1 – The Queen Anne Stakes – Group 1 – 1600m

Accidental Agent hasn’t won a race since a knockout win in this race last year at a Betfair SP of $60 recording the lowest rating win in this race of the past five years. The first up run at Newbury in the Lockinge Stakes behind Mustashry was good enough to suggest he can perform well here if others don’t live up to their best ratings.

Mustashry ran a career peak defeating Accidental Agent and Laurens at Newbury last start, recording a Timeform rating that would have won the past five editions of this race. He exploded away from his rivals in the final 2 furlongs over the mile last start and looks a key contender on any surface condition.

Barney Roy brings different formlines to the race, having won at Longchamp last start in a significantly easier race. There is a query over Barney Roy finding his very best form over the 1600m.

Laurens is a horse that consistently runs well at the top level and was only beaten 2.5L last start behind Mustashry. Only start at Ascot was a failure which is a concern, but the yard expect her to improve significantly off the first up run.

Le Brivido was held up and sandwiched behind runners as Mustashry started his run in the Lockinge Stakes last start and finally got clear 1 and a half furlongs out to rattle home for 5th. Will be very competitive here with more luck in running.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN)  Mustashry

 BACK (WIN) Le Brivido

Race 3 – King’s Stand Stakes – Group 1 – 1000m

Blue Point won this race last year upsetting Battaash and has since won well several times in Dubai including an easy victory in the Al Quoz Sprint. He ran a 139 Timeform rating first up over the 1000m and repeated that rating last start over the 1200m. This has him at the top of his game.

Battaash is a horse that can run his race in the mounting yard and on the way to the stalls and it’s very evident as was demonstrated in this race last year.

If backing him pay close attention to the pre-race commentary as they will alert you to the fact and watch the Feature Race Replay to see how relaxed he was at Haydock. Battaash came back from an extended lay-off at the end of 2018 and a breathing operation to run a 142 Timeform rating first up at Haydock destroying a qualify field. His highest ever rating run was over this distance on a soft track and similar ground would be suitable .

Mabs Cross won well first up at Newmarket in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes defeating the likes of Equilateral and Major Jumbo. He ran a respectable third behind Battaash last start in the Temple Stakes and looks to be the horse that could take advantage if Blue Point and Battaash are off their game.

Houtzen’s best runs back in Australia have been at the 1000m distance and gets into this race with a fighting chance. Her only run down the Flemington straight saw her beaten 4.2 lengths which is of concern.

Houtzen is yet to win a Group 1 race and faces two of the world’s best 1000m distance horses. The 4-place betting market appeals for the patriotic punter.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) Battaash

 BACK (WIN) Blue Point

Race 4 – St James’s Palace Stakes – Group 1 – 1600m

Surprise winner of the Irish 2000 Guineas last start, Phoenix of Spain, beat home Too Darn Hot by 3 lengths on a firming track at the Curragh. He showed ability last prep, but has significantly improved between preps and ran a figure last start that would measure up in this race the past five years.

Too Darn Hot looked the real deal last year when winning the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes, but ratings wise has come back a few points lower in his two defeats last month. His final 100m in the Irish 2000 Guineas compared with the winner Phoenix of Spain is a massive concern in turning the tables in this race.

King of Comedy was impressive winning the Heron Stakes at Sandown last month and is still a horse on the up. Possesses an impressive tactical 200m burst of speed when asked which will be required to go past the favourites here in the final furlongs.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) King of Comedy

 BACK (PLACE) King of Comedy

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