The second day of the Royal Ascot horse racing action will be on us before we know it. As part of our ante-post preview series, I’ll take a look at the early betting to see which horses are standing out from the crowd in a selection of markets for this second day of racing at the iconic festival. Read on to see my free horse racing tips for these races.
DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE STAKES – 1 MILE (GROUP 2)
First run in 2004, the Duke of Cambridge Stakes is a fairly recent addition to the Royal Ascot card. The race is a Group 2 race open to both fillies and mares aged four years or older and is run over the straight mile at Ascot.
The race was originally known as the Windsor Forest Stakes but was changed to its current name for the 2013 renewal in honour of Prince William.
Favourites have a reasonably decent record in this race and have won three of the last six renewals, although it can throw up the odd surprise result as it did with Indie Angel in 2021 and Amazing Maria in 2015 (both priced at 20/1+)
Saffron Beach won this on her seasonal reappearance for Jane Chapple-Hyam last season and only one five-year-old has landed one of the last ten renewals of the race.
The fillies at the top of the market, Inspiral and Spendarella faced off against one another last season in the Coronation Stakes with four-and-a-half lengths separating the pair on that occasion. This time I imagine it will be a lot closer and at the prices, it is the American raider taken to come out on top. Spendarella made her seasonal reappearance at Churchill Downs following a 250-day layoff. Beaten only a length by Fluffy Socks on that occasion, she is taken to leave that run well and truly behind.
Her English-born, American trainer H Graham Motion has numerous big race successes over in the States and he would love nothing more than to secure a first Royal Ascot winner. Spendarella loves a firm surface and has secured four wins from just six career starts.
Inspiral was good enough to win on her seasonal debut at this meeting last year and she was good value for that. This time her rival has a fitness edge over her and that could allow her to claw back some of the deficit and perhaps reverse it.
Joseph O’Brien is really struggling to get winners on the board of late, so despite the chances of Above The Curve she looks far too short, whilst the Gosden second string, Laurel, folded tamely over a straight mile at Newbury last time and is also overlooked.
William Buick rode Spendarella in the Coronation Stakes last season and it will be interesting to see if he is asked to ride again. He has won this race three times in the last twelve years and has a better record in it than the likes of Ryan Moore and Frankie Dettori.
1PT E/W Spendarella @ 8/1 with Bet365 bonus code
PRINCE OF WALES’S STAKES – 1 MILE 2 FURLONGS (GROUP 1)
The Prince Of Wales’s Stakes betting has changed slightly through the years. Originally open to three-year-olds only and run over one mile and five furlongs, the race was disbanded after World War 2.
It returned in 1968, a year before the investiture of Prince Charles. When returning, the distance was changed to one mile and two furlongs and since the year 2000, the race has been opened up even further to include four-year-olds and older.
The leading trainer in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes over the last 20 renewals is Aidan O’Brien who has won the race 4 times. Those 4 winners came from Duke Of Marmalade (2008), So You Think (2012), Highland Reel (2017) and Love (2021). Other trainers who have recorded multiple wins in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes include Sir Michael Stoute (2 wins), John Gosden (2 wins) & Andre Fabre (2 wins).
The team at Ballydoyle have sparked back to life in recent weeks and they are likely to be all out to try and land themselves a fifth winner of this race. Luxembourg got the better of leading market rival Bay Bridge in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh just last month. The four-year-old son of Camelot jumped out and made all on that occasion, dismissing his challengers one by one. He is only likely to have improved for that effort and he can confirm the form here.
There have been clouds over Charlie Appleby’s yard for a while now but Adayar has been one that has been running well. He landed a soft Group 3 at Newmarket last time, but he needs to step another gear up here. Only three female runners have landed this race from seventeen representatives, so whilst Emily Upjohn is particularly smart, she will need to improve yet again.
Horses that raced at the Curragh prior to coming into this race have won the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes on no fewer than five previous occasions. For that reason, Luxembourg looks decent value and is the selection.
1PT WIN Luxembourg @ 3/1 with Bet365
THE ROYAL HUNT CUP (HERITAGE HANDICAP) – 1 MILE (CLASS 2)
The Royal Hunt Cup carries class 2 status. The heritage handicap race is run over a straight one mile and is open to runners who are aged three and older.
It is one of the most competitive handicap races of the season with 20+ runners often spread right across the track over Ascot’s straight mile, it’s no surprise the draw can be a key factor.
Where the pacesetters are drawn is equally important in deciphering where the race is likely to unfold and I will take a look at the pace angle in greater detail when the final declarations and confirmed.
Due to the nature of the race, there is quite often a notable gamble on a runner which takes place on race day in the Royal Hunt Cup odds so keeping an eye on the betting market moves in the build-up may pinpoint this before gathering pace.
There are multiple leading trainers in the Royal Hunt Cup over the last 20 renewals with all of John Gosden, Saeed bin Suroor, Charles Hills and James Fanshawe having won the race 2 times each. John Gosden winners have been with Royal Oath (2007) and GM Hopkins (2015). Saeed bin Suroor winners have been with Invisible Man (2010) and Real World (2021).
Charles Hills winners have been with Afaak (2019) and Dark Shift (2022). James Fanshawe winners have been with Macadamia (2003) and Cesare (2006). There are multiple big race trainers who have not even had a sniff at landing this valuable heritage handicap including Andrew Balding (0-21), Richard Fahey (0-16), Richard Hannon (0-15), David O’Meara (0-14), William Haggas (0-11) and Brian Meehan (0-10) have all failed to produce a single winner despite sending multiple runners to the Ascot races.
One horse who is entered here is Biggles. He was doing all of his best work in the closing stages over seven furlongs in the Victoria Cup back here in May. He chased Rebel Territories all the way to the line looking as though he would thrive from a step up to a mile. Provided he gets a decent draw and a furious pace to gallop at he may will cut them all down in the dying strides. It looked to be a perfect trial for this race so my advice is to back each way at a lovely price
1PT E/W Biggles @ 33/1 with Bet365
All prices are correct at the time of writing.
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