Ascot Opening Day

"Everyone who should be here is here" and this year's opening day of Royal Ascot looks like being fantastic.

Ascot Opening Day

"Everyone who should be here is here" and this year's opening day of Royal Ascot looks like being fantastic.

Not only is England enjoying a heatwave (for them 30+ is almost off the Richter scale if you can mix measurement systems) but the fields for the four group stakes on Day 1 are superb.

Quite a lot in the Aussie press about the absence of Australian runners but at least we can come up with a jockey and a Melbourne Cup winning one at that: Michelle Payne will ride the Jane Chapple-Hyam trained Kaspersky, a group winner in Italy. He's quoted at 50/1 but a little each way could be interesting.

The top two fancies for this Queen Anne down the 1600m straight fought out the Lockinge recently at Newbury and are expected to finish in the same order with Ribche and the same for Deauville 12/1 but we are saving a bit of our e/w money for the American raider Miss Temple City who is great value at 25/1. 16 runners should make it interesting.

The Coventry Stakes is G2 over 1200m with 18 to run and it is a very open race. Jessica Harrington's Brother Bear is on 9/2, American raider Arawak, while owned by Coolmore is trained in the US by Wesley Ward and will be ridden by John Velazquez, is on 5/1. De Bruyne Horse is 6/1, Denaar also on that quote but we like two 10/1 shots - Murillo (AP O'Brien - Ryan Moore) and Rajasinghe who impressed on debut.

The King's Stand G1 over the 1000m straight has 18 runners. Wesley Ward's raider Lady Aurelia was stunning last year - this is a different trip but she is a flying machine. Sir Mark Prescott's Marsha proved her Abbaye win was no fluke and is well in here on 10/3. French raider Signs Of Blessing is on 6/1, Prriceless 10/1 and we also like Goldream on 12/1.

The St James Palace Stakes G1 is over 1600m and it looks like a re-run of the 2000 Guineas with Churchill, unbeaten in 6 outings on 4/6 and Barney Roy 9/4. Thunder Snow is 8/1 and he seems to be getting back to top form after his antics in the Kentucky Derby and this certainly will not be a wet sloppy dirt track, and Lancaster Bomber is not the worst of the rest and 25/1 tempting as he should like the going.

For the Queen's hat we are going for pink today. It is amusing to ponder if the cancellation of the Queen's Speech originally schedule for Monday and then moved to Wednesday came about because The Queen was otherwise occupied on Wednesday!

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