ROYAL ASCOT DAY ONE
GO big on Ben in the Queen Anne Stakes. The older milers don’t look a vintage bunch and it’s ripe for BENBATL to arrive from Dubai to upset their party.
PA:Press Association Benbatl can take control of the Queen Anne Stakes
He won the Hampton Court Stakes over 1m2f at Royal Ascot last year. Although that contest is only a Group 3 it does show he’s got a liking for this track.
Saeed bin Suroor’s Goldolphin hope hit form in some order in Dubai in the winter. He easily won a Group 1 on World Cup night having been unlucky three weeks earlier.
I’m rarely one to take Meydan form at face value but I reckon it’s worth chancing Benbatl. If he does run to his smart Dubai form he would have to have a great chance in an open race.
Rhododendron is the obvious danger. She won at the highest level as a juvenile, last year as a three-year-old and she completed an impressive treble when narrowly getting the better of Lightning Spear to win the Lockinge on her return to action last month.
She sets the standard but I would be surprised if she was anywhere near a superstar.
Deauville is likely to set a decent pace for strong-stayer Rhododendron. That will also suit Lord Glitters. He looked good when winning a red-hot handicap on Champions Day at this track in October.
His Lincoln second to Addeybb has worked out really well and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him go well.
The worry is the ground might be a bit on the fast side for David O’Meara’s hope. Beat The Bank, French raider Recoletos and Century Dream are others who would have liked to see a bit of rain.
Zonderland is the one I like at a massive price. He probably needed his comeback run when well held in the Lockinge but he twice ran Lightning Spear close last season and that gives him a shout.
BANKER OR BLOWOUT Who will win and who will wilt on the opening day of Royal Ascot?
IT should pay to ADVERTISE in the Coventry Stakes.
Martyn Meade’s youngster looked really smart when making a winning debut at Newbury last month when Burj and Alfie Solomons were in behind.
The form has worked out really nicely and there’s no doubt he’s a nice prospect.
Stall one might not be perfect but there is lots of early pace over on the far side and that should help him move into the race before unleashing his impressive turn of foot.
Aidan O’Brien has won this Group 2 prize three times in the last seven years and he’s predictably got two decent chances.
The Irish Rover had excuses before breaking his duck at Newbury last time but the form of that race, despite containing a stack of previous winners, doesn’t look all that strong.
I’d be surprised if he was anywhere near stablemate Sergei Prokofiev. He has bolted up in his last two races and there’s no reason why he won’t be just as good over today’s extra furlong.
The other one I fear the most is Calyx. He could have not been more impressive on his Newmarket debut when he saw off previous winner Octave by five lengths.
It’s hard to imagine he was fully wound up for that race and he could easily be top class.
O’Brien’s son Joseph runs No Needs Never. He was beaten just half a length by more experienced Invasion Day on his debut and he could take a giant leap forward at a big price.
Woodcote hero Cosmic Law, Godolphin’s Dubai Legacy and Curragh winner Indigo Balance are others to keep an eye on.
PA:Press Association Battaash can get the better of Lady Aurelia in a thrilling clash
ROYAL ASCOT is more Mozart than Meat Loaf but I reckon the place will be rocking to a Bat out of hell.
I’ve seen few better 5f sprinters than BATTAASH – if any. His clash with American speedster Lady Aurelia is the race of the meeting for me.
My fancy was awesome when thrashing Nunthorpe heroine Marsha in the Abbaye at Chantilly last October and he made a winning return in the Temple Stakes at Haydock.
He looked sure to improve for that run and my only concern is if he gets worked up before the race.
That’s what cost him when only fourth behind Marsha and Lady Aurelia in the Nunthorpe last season but he was better behaved at Haydock. Perhaps he’s growing up.
Lady Aurelia has been devastating at this meeting in each of the last two years. She blitzed the Queen Mary field by a whopping seven lengths in 2016 and again bolted up in this race last season.
It’s going to be some head-to-head.
Blue Point beat Harry Angel first time up last season but that was as good as it got. He’s been to Dubai and Hong Kong already this year and he needs to prove he’s fast enough for 5f.
Kachy certainly has the speed. He was only beaten a neck when nailed close home by Battaash and Washington DC at Haydock.
That was probably his best chance as he was race-fit and he’s now 5lbs worse off with the winner.
Mabs Cross was only another neck back in fourth despite a slow start and she’ll certainly get the fast pace she likes.
Getty Images – Getty Tip Two Win can upset the big boys
BACK my TIP TWO WIN the St James’s Palace Stakes.
The last five winners of this race had finished in the first two in the 2000 Guineas so that’s a strong pointer to Roger Teal’s ace.
If he was trained at one of the big yards I have no doubt he would be favourite. His form is the best on offer.
The Guineas might not have been the strongest Classic ever run with most of those around Tip Two Win improving for longer trips but it was still a cracking effort. A repeat should see him home.
Without Parole is the horse with potential. He burst on to the scene with a stunning six-length Yarmouth novice win on his second start in April.
John Gosden’s hope was forced to miss the Guineas and he probably wasn’t at his best on easy ground when stretching his unbeaten run to three with a defeat of Gabr at Sandown last month.
There’s a decent chance he could be top class but he still needs to prove it.
Romanised saw off U S Navy Flag and Gustav Klimt to win the Irish 2000 Guineas.
They went a crazy pace at the Curragh and there’s no doubt he was helped by sitting in the rear early on. I can’t imagine he’ll be as good around a bend today.
U S Navy Flag was the one setting the hot pace. He’s unlikely to go off as fast today but last year’s Dewhurst hero does have to prove he truly stays a mile.
Gustav Klimt was beaten in both Guineas and he’s needs to show he’s up to this class.
Templegate’s top tips for Royal Ascot
2.30 Ascot – Benbatl: ‘If he runs to his Meydan form he has a great chance’ (add to your betslip)
3.05 Ascot – Advertise: ‘Looked smart at Newbury and the form is working out well’ (add to your betslip)
3.40 Ascot – Battaash: ‘I’ve seen few better five furlong sprinters than him – he is class’ (add to your betslip)
4.20 Ascot – Tip Two Win: ‘Has the best form on offer by a mile in this race’ (add to your betslip)
5.00 Ascot – Lagostovegas: ‘Ran a cracker in the Cesarewitch last season, talented’ (add to your betslip)
5.35 Ascot – Sharja Bridge: ‘Progressive and should relish this trip’ (add to your betslip)
JUMPS king Willie Mullins has an exceptional record in the Ascot Stakes. His three wins have all come in the last six years and this time he fires five arrows at it.
Ryan Moore has been in the saddle for Mullins’ trio of wins in this race. He’s on French import Chelkar this time but I prefer LAGOSTOVEGAS.
She ran a cracker to be third in last season’s Cesarewitch when racing on the other side from the two horses to finish in front of her.
Her fifth in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham was a sound effort especially considering 2m is too sharp for her.
I’m sure today’s marathon 2m4f trip will bring out the best in her and it’s interesting she’s got a hood on for the first time.
Chelkar has to be respected with Moore on top. He was snapped up after winning at Chantilly in 2016 but hasn’t raced for Mullins. Backing him would be solely on the basis of the trainer and jockey combination.
Coeur De Lion stormed home when beaten a neck by Look My Way at Chester last month. He won’t fail through lack of stamina and his light weight won’t do him any harm.
Dubawi Fifty was fourth in the Chester Cup from a tricky draw. He knows how to win but softer ground would have probably been ideal.
Cleonte is another who could have done with a drop of rain.