Fresh after riding RISING STAR to victory on Wednesday, 888sport ambassador Neil Callan (@neilcallan78) gives his Day 3 tips and best bets at Royal Ascot...
The Main Event
LADIES Day is the biggest day of the week. It adds that extra bit of class and it’s just a really special day for the ladies to come out and enjoy themselves.
The weather looks like it will be nice again and hopefully everyone will have a great day.
Norfolk Stakes – 2:30
As with all these two-year-old races, we have very little to go on.
Walbank bolted up by seven lengths at York last time and we all saw what happened in the Coventry on Tuesday when Bradsell won well having also dotted up at York on debut.
The Antarctic has won both his starts, and you always have to respect Ballydoyle, but I thought Brave Nation was hugely impressive when winning at Doncaster in April. I loved the way he did it and he could be a bit special.
King George V Stakes – 3:05
This is always a very strong handicap and it often goes to those drawn on the outside. When you’re drawn low you sometimes have to go too fast as you don’t want to get caught on the inside where it’s hard to find a gap.
If you come down the outside, you can get a drag into the race and then try to get a clear passage to the line.
Mandobi has won his last two starts and he’s a good horse. Secret State looks well-handicapped for Godolphin, but after finishing second to Eldar Eldarov last time, and off a mark of just 89, Post Impressionist has to be very interesting.
Ribblesdale Stakes – 3:40
It’s a disappointing field for the Ribblesdale without Emily Upjohn. Sea Silk Road has won her last two and Magical Lagoon was only just beaten by Concert Hall on her reappearance.
Life Of Dreams was second to Emily Upjohn in the Musidora and given how well she ran in the Oaks, maybe the Godolphin filly can take this.
Ascot Gold Cup – 4:20
The place will erupt if Stradivarius can make history by joining Yeats with four Gold Cups. It’s amazing how John & Thady Gosden have kept him coming back season after season.
Stayers don’t have easy races over those distances. To keep him fit and healthy, and his mind right, is an achievement in itself.
His owner Bjorn Nielsen should also be given a great deal of credit for keeping him in training. It’s very easy when horses are winning Group 1s to send them off to the breeding sheds, but racing needs horses like him.
Kyprios is the up and comer who has looked very good on his last two starts. You’d think he would stay, but he’s never been over this sort of distance and a real test would ask him a question.
Princess Zoe has been very good for connections, and I also wouldn’t be surprised if Alignak outruns his massive odds as he will like the track.
It would be a real fairytale if Stradivarius wins, though – Frankie will be jumping higher than he ever has done!
Britannia Stakes – 5:00
This is always one of the top handicaps. Both Godolphin horses, King Of Time and Tranquil Night, look strong.
I also really like Clive Cox’s Whoputfiftyinyou who beat Mighty Ulysses at Haydock last time and is unbeaten. There are lots of unexposed horses in there and plenty in with chances.
Hampton Court Stakes – 5:35
This is another disappointing turnout, but no-one will be complaining if The Queen’s Reach For The Moon wins it.
He was a very good two-year-old and it looks like it’s his race to lose. It was a very good run behind My Prospero at Sandown and he finished third in Tuesday’s St James’s Palace Stakes.
It would be very fitting for Her Majesty to have a winner at the meeting and he looks to be her best chance of the week.
Buckingham Palace Stakes – 6:10
This has been a very lucky race for me, I’ve won it three times and got beaten a neck once.
I gave Roger Varian his first Royal Ascot winner with Eton Forever in 2012 which was very nice, and I then won it the following year with Lightning Cloud for Kevin Ryan.
It’s always very open but it’s normally the younger horses that come to the fore. William Haggas’ unbeaten Montassib could be a Group horse in a handicap. I know he’s drawn one, but it won’t matter if he’s a Group horse.
Vafortino won the Victoria Cup and he’s definitely in the mix again, but you could give chances to loads of them.
*Prices accurate at the time of publication*