Our regular racing tipster Alan Marron is on hand once again to preview a big day of racing, which this time is the final day of Royal Ascot.
Check out our extra-place races, which are listed within the piece.
12.40 SILVER WOKINGHAM HANDICAP
We start the final day of Royal Ascot as we started the meeting, with a very tricky handicap. Plenty of horses have chances in this and the forecast ground conditions could make things a little tougher. Tim Easterby has his team in excellent form and I will make a small each-way play with HYPERFOCUS.
This horse would have no issues with softer ground conditions as he showed at York back in October when he was beaten a neck off the same handicap mark as he races off here in a big field. He is only four-pounds higher than his last winning mark and, while others might get bogged down in the ground, this horse should relish it.
The draw will again play its part. I have gone for a high draw as he might be able to track some of the more-fancied horses and come with a late run. Small each-way chance at a big price.
1.15 QUEEN MARY STAKES (GROUP 2)
The Ballydoyle battalion have had quite an in and out week but could finish off the week very strongly with their juveniles. MORE BEAUTIFUL impressed me with the manner of her victory at Naas when she left the well-fancied Roses Blue, trained by Jessica Harrington, well behind to win by over three lengths.
The thing that impressed me most is that Seamie Heffernan kicked her clear and kept her up to her work all the way to the line. She will most definitely improve off the back of that run and it will take a decent performance from some of the opposition to beat her here. Solid chance.
1.50 COVENTRY STAKES (GROUP 2)
It could be a quick double for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore as ADMIRAL NELSON takes his place in another strong renewal of the Coventry.
This horse devoured the ground on debut after being slowly away to get up and beat his stablemate Merchants Quay under hands and heels riding. I have watched the race back on numerous occasions and this horse looks like a tank compared to many other two year-olds that I have seen so far this season. He looks as though he could be a very good sprinter or maybe go a little further in trip once he grows into his frame.
He was putting in two strides to every one stride of the other horses at The Curragh on his debut and was very impressive. He will undoubtedly have improved off the back of that and he looks one of the most exciting runners on the final day of Royal Ascot. He has been well backed through the course of the week and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him much shorter than he is if the O’Brien filly is successful in the previous race.
Will be extremely hard to beat.
2.25 CORONATION STAKES (GROUP 1)
Jessica Harrington is a dab hand with getting fillies ready for the big day and ALPINE STAR is a very interesting runner here with Frankie Dettori on board.
This filly finished third on her debut behind the subsequent English 1000 Guineas winner Love and she was extremely green that day and looked like she would improve plenty for the run. She showed the improvement when she broke her maiden in Galway in impressive fashion and then improved again to beat Petite Mystique in the Group Two Debutante Stakes at The Curragh. She battled on well that day and showed she had plenty of ability.
We haven’t seen her since that but, to be honest, it wouldn’t overly worry me. Her half-sister Alpha Centauri won this race back in 2018 and while much of her form was on better ground she was impressive in Deauville in the Prix Jacques Le Marois on softer ground so the progeny do handle it.
Alpine Star will have to improve again to contend here but that is not beyond the realms of possibility and I would be happy to back her at the prices.
3.30 ST JAMES’S PALACE STTAKES (GROUP ONE)
There may be question marks over the ground conditions for PINATUBO but he is by Shamardal, who handled the conditions, and I would be happy to give Pinatubo a chance to redeem himself following his third in the English 2000 Guineas behind Kameko and on of today’s opponents Wichita.
He just didn’t travel with the usual zest he normally does and then when William Buick asked him to quicken the response wasn’t there. On his two year-old form he was head and shoulders above anything in the field. He was the highest-rated two year-old last season and, when the bubble burst at Newmarket, this horse will have attracted some doubters here.
Charlie Appleby will be looking for a solid run and I just think the ground conditions might suit him better here. He won the Dewhurst at Newmarket on softer ground, so that would increase the confidence here with rain forecast.
Palace Pier would be the one that I would be very afraid of as he showed an electric turn of foot to win at Newcastle last time out. I would be happy to play Pinatubo as a win bet but a forecast with Palace Pier might also be the way to go. They could fight it out in what could be a classic renewal of the race.
3.35 DIAMOND JUBILEE STAKES (GROUP ONE)
The story around Sceptical is quite an endearing one and it would be some feat for him to cost so little and end up being a Royal Ascot winner. I doubted him at Naas and he proved me wrong with a quite scintillating performance. I am going to take him on again here based on the fact that he is too short in the market and, also, the fact he has never run on any ground conditions with soft in it.
The William Haggas-trained ONE MASTER really stands out for me in this race and looks a solid option if you are looking to oppose Sceptical. She will relish the ground conditions as she showed when she was successful in the Prix de la Foret under Pierre-Charles Boudot at ParisLongchamp back in October to land a Group One. She is rated a pound inferior to Sceptical and gets a three-pound mares allowance here and on the prices she looks the value.
Anyone who follows my previews will know that I try and take on the favourites if I can and get a bit of a price in terms of form. Sceptical has a few question marks against him as he steps up in grade and, yes, he may answer them but One Master has proven form in the book and looks a solid play.
4.10 WOKINGHAM STAKES
Another competitive handicap to try and find some value in and the Peter Hedger-trained SILENT ECHO could be the one at a double-figure price. He was fifth in this race in 2018 and eighth in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood the same season so he has proven ability to handle big fields and his handicap mark looks like he could contend here.
He is two-pounds lower than when fifth in 2018 and looks like he has strengthened up based on his win at Newmarket first time out this season. While there may be question marks over ground conditions he has placed form on good to soft over the course and distance and that could stand him in good stead.
These handicaps have been very tricky through the week as the draw bias and luck in running are needed. A small each-way place suggested here but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him running on at the death.
4.40 QUEEN ALEXANDRA STAKES
It’s the final race of this year’s meeting and, in terms of the form shown by many of the runners, it looks like a very tricky race. WHO DARES WINS could be another winner for Alan King this week after Couer De Lion was successful under Thore Hammer Hansen. With no stamina or ground doubts about this horse he looks the main protagonist and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him maybe become the favourite for this race closer to the off.
He was last seen on the flat in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket where he finished seventh. He had a jumps campaign in the meantime and finished down the field in the Ultima at the Cheltenham Festival on his most recent run. His fourth in the Prix du Cadran with the enigmatic Dee Ex Bee finishing third looks form that should hold too many guns for this field here.
He is a former Northumberland Plate winner and also finished second in a Chester Cup. He probably rates as one of the better bets on the card and, with stamina key here, he could leave them for dead turning for home.