888sport ambassador Neil Callan (@neilcallan78) gives his Day 1 tips and best bets ahead of the first day at Royal Ascot...
A Word On Royal Aclaim
It was a pretty good week last week with a few nice winners and Royal Aclaim won very well at Bath on Saturday.
She feels like a nice filly and she’s got plenty of speed. Obviously, we’ll learn a lot more when James [Tate] steps her up into better company next time.
Royal Ascot 2022
For me Royal Ascot is the best week’s racing anywhere in the world. It’s absolutely brilliant and it trumps everything else.
I don’t have a ride on Tuesday, but I do have one for Marco [Botti] on Wednesday and I’m really looking forward to being back there to take it all in.
It’s been a long time since I’ve ridden at the meeting. I’ve had six winners there so not a bad return seeing as I was over in Hong Kong a decade.
The atmosphere will be fantastic this year with it being the first time a capacity crowd has been allowed in since Covid.
Queen Anne Stakes – 2:30
As always, Royal Ascot starts with a bang with three Group 1s in the first four races. First up is the brilliant Baaeed who tries to maintain his unbeaten record for William Haggas and Jim Crowley.
It’s a small, select field, but it should be pretty straightforward for him really. He’s top class and one of the best horses in the world at the moment according to ratings.
Real World is a nice horse, but I’d be very surprised if Baaeed was to get beat.
Coventry Stakes – 3:05
The Coventry is always a difficult race to get a handle on as most of these juveniles are meeting each other for the first time.
Aidan O’Brien has a very good record in the race and Blackbeard has looked pretty good so far so he’s one who has to be high on the shortlist.
That said, it’s the kind of race where something can come out of the woodwork. They may have only won a maiden but then they step up massively here. They’re all pretty unknown which is what makes it exciting.
King’s Stand Stakes – 3:40
This looks like a bit of a match between the far east and the far west, with the Europeans stuck in the middle.
If I had the option, I’d be picking Nature Strip from Australia. He’s a big powerful horse with plenty of speed but he also stays well.
Golden Pal has really improved as a four-year-old. I know he’s been beaten over here a couple of times before, but he looks a different horse now. They’re drawn close to each other and it will be a really interesting race to watch.
I don’t think the Europeans are up to their level, but Man Of Promise is a decent horse and he could be the best each-way option.
St James’s Palace Stakes – 4:20
If Coroebus runs like he did at Newmarket he’s going to be very hard to beat in this – it doesn’t look the strongest of runnings.
He’s a big, free-going, athletic type and he was very impressive in the Guineas.
Mighty Ulysses could be the one to chase him home for the Gosdens and Frankie [Dettori], while you certainly couldn’t rule out the two Haggas runners, but it’s Coroebus for me.
Ascot Stakes – 5:00
The National Hunt trainers tend to do well in this race because they bring their horses fit and battle hardened after the jumps season. And crucially their horses stay.
Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott both have runners at the head of the market with Bring On The Night and Pied Piper.
I wouldn’t have too much of a view to be honest, but I certainly wouldn’t be writing either of these two off.
Wolferton Stakes – 5:35
I won this race back in 2010 for Michael Jarvis on Rainbow Peak. I thought he was an absolute certainty that day.
It’s not often you travel to Ascot so confident, but I couldn’t have him beat and he won very impressively. It’s nice when it works out like that.
This year’s race looks wide open, you’d struggle to rule any of them out. Juan Elcano won it 12 months ago and he’s coming here on the back of a good run at Group 3 level first time up at Sandown.
There’s no reason why he can’t run very well again.
Copper Horse Stakes – 6:10
Cleveland did well to win the Chester Cup last time where he got a very good ride from Ryan [Moore].
He’s only four and has got loads of improvement in him, but it’s not as straightforward as you might think going from a Chester Cup to this.
He’s the one they all have to beat, but you always need a lot of luck in these Ascot handicaps.
Juan De Montalban won well over a mile and a half here last month and it looked that day that going up another couple of furlongs won’t be a problem, so he must have a good chance.
*Prices accurate at the time of publication*