888sport ambassador Neil Callan (@neilcallan78) gives his Day 2 tips and best bets ahead of the first day at Royal Ascot...
Royal Ascot Ground
We’ve had some hot days and it looked pretty quick at Ascot on Tuesday, so with no rain due until later in the week it’s going to be quick again on Wednesday.
People talk a lot about the draw at Ascot and how important it is on different types of ground. My view is there is nothing you can do about it.
I always like to keep things simple, let the horses find their feet, where they’re comfortable and then ride the race from there.
You can go out with a set of instructions from the trainer, but the race might be run completely differently to what everyone expected.
Queen Mary Stakes – 2:30
Dramatised is owned by a good friend of mine, Steve Parkin of Clipper Logistics. She was very impressive at Newmarket and Karl Burke does very well with his fillies.
Wesley Ward has a great record in this race and Love Reigns has to be feared.
I remember finishing second to one of Wesley’s on a Clive Brittain filly back in the day. I thought I was coming there to pick her up, but she was gone. They just hammer you into the ground, they’re so fast.
Steve is also involved in the Bronte Collection syndicate which owns Maria Branwell. She did well to win the Listed race at Sandown against the boys after winning her debut at Thirsk.
James Garfield is having a good first season with his two-year-olds and the syndicate has been flying.
Queen’s Vase – 3:05
This looks quite an open race, but you couldn’t fail to be impressed by Eldar Eldarov who has won both his starts very well. He’s an expensive horse who is beautifully bred and should have no problems stepping up to 1m6f.
Nahanni ran well in the Derby after a slow start, but it’s a quick turnaround from Epsom.
Prince Of Wales’s Stakes – 3:40
I think this race will become tactical. Lord North won it a couple of years ago and he loves to track the pace. He’s in decent form, dead heating in the Dubai Turf and then not running too badly in the Tattersalls Gold Cup.
You can’t rule him out and the same is definitely true with State Of Rest, who won the Cox Plate, and Grand Glory who was fifth in the Japan Cup.
Bay Bridge was very good at Sandown and he’s a beautiful looking horse, but the Japanese won’t be coming over here for a day out. They have to be feared wherever they go and for me this is between Shahryar and Bay Bridge.
Duke Of Cambridge Stakes – 4:20
This looks another open contest. Mother Earth won well first time up but was lacklustre last time so Aidan [O’Brien] is putting the cheekpieces on.
Bashkirova won well at Epsom but will need to step up again, while Saffron Beach is very tough and Jane [Chapple-Hyam] has done a great job with her.
Royal Hunt Cup – 5:00
This is always a lottery and you need to have your fair share of luck. Sometimes you get an unexposed young horse who who could be a Group horse running in a handicap, but I’m not sure if there’s one of them in the field this year.
Dark Shift ran below par in the Victoria Cup but won well at Nottingham last time. He’s one for the shortlist.
Legend Of Dubai is very well bred and has had big breaks before his runs. Roger [Varian] has done a great job spacing out his wins and it looks like he’s primed him to come here for a big run.
Windsor Castle Stakes – 5:35
This is another complete lottery where you can give chances to loads. I don’t have a big view to be honest, but Bolt Action beat me at Leicester and did it very well.
Kensington Palace Stakes – 6:10
My first ride of the meeting is RISING STAR for Marco [Botti]. She’s been a consistent filly at a lower level than this and has to take a step forward.
I think the track, trip and ground will suit her, but she’s got a wide draw which you can’t say is an advantage over a mile on the round course.
*Prices accurate at the time of publication*