The Rest of The Royal Ascot Card – Thursday

2.30pm

We start the day with the Norfolk stakes over a fast five furlongs (if the opening days are anything to go by), and with 13 two-year-olds, six of them unbeaten and a further four a winner last time out. We cannot second guess who will improve and by how much which is what makes this tougher to call, with the form in the book and past statistics all we have to rely on. We haven’t seen a winning favourite in the last 10 years (at least) with a 150/1 winner last year and a 50/1 winner in 2022 so all things seem possible, and if you have your own fancy, don’t let me put you off!  Whether Whistlejacket’s form was franked or not is open to question with the horse who beat him on debut seventh in the Coventry Stakes on Tuesday, but less than two lengths off the winner, and he heads the market at a very short price. He did stroll home on his next start at The Curragh in Listed class and is clearly the one to beat, but 5/4 as I write is a stinking price in such a competitive race on paper. Saturday Flirt for Wesley Ward could be the each way call if he doesn’t fluff the start over this trip, but the formbook does at least suggest we ought to see a winning favourite for a change.

Whistlejacket to Win 5/4 most bookmakers

3.05pm

Chantilly heads the betting for the Aiden O’Brien team but he does have the best of records in this race and may be worth opposing with a bigger priced each way option. Candle Of Dubai would be my pick if Charlie Johnston’s filly gets in (she is first reserve at this moment in time) and she does look well handicapped off an opening mark of 81, but if she doesn’t get in, then Naval Force looks a massive price in the circumstances. Trained by Donnacha O’Brien, the son of Churchill won last time out at Roscommon by half a length despite giving lengths away at every bend, but if he keeps a straighter path here he could go well with the step up in trip, faster ground, and second race of the season all very much in his favour.

Candle Of Diva each way 25/1 each way, if a non-runner, Naval Force each way 33/1 Bet365

3.45pm

After the disappointment of Notable Speech on Tuesday, backing unbeaten Charlie Appleby horses comes with a wealth warning, but it is hard to see past Diamond Rain here, whatever the price. The daughter of Shamardal started off with a head win here over a mile, but showed plenty of improvement to run away with a Listed race at Newbury last time out, winning by over two lengths over the mile and a quarter, and pulling away late on. She steps up to a mile and a half here which is the only concern, but if she stays, she has a touch of class about her, though it is interesting to see that Siyola, third that day, reopposes here for the Gosdens, and she could be an each way alternative.

Diamond Rain to Win 13/8 Bet365 and Betfred

4.25pm

Kyprios won this in 2022 and missed last year, but he has looked as good as ever with two odds-on wins this season and arrives the odds-on favourite – which won’t make us rich. Of course he ought to win, and probably will, but if you fancy an each way alternative, you could do a lot worse than Coltrane who will be carrying my money, though not too much of it. 14/1 looks big for a horse who has won over course and distance, won’t mind the faster ground (unlike Trawlerman who was third at Meydan where his jockey reported he hated the firm ground) ), and is officially on a par with the favourite according to current ratings. A winner last time out here, he will be spot on, and with Oisin Murphy in the saddle, I am hopeful if not confidence of a bold showing.

Coltrane each way 14/1 bet365, Bet Victor, and Corals

5.05pm

Trying to find the winner of a 30 runner handicap is akin to solving a Rubiks cube in the dark wearing boxing gloves, but we will give it a go regardless. I suspect Mickley would be a shorter price were he handled by a “famous name” trainer and he can go well for Ed Bethell, as can Jane Chapple-Hyam’s Son Of Man, but much as I hate picking favourites without good reason, Quirat will do for me. Ralph Beckett’s son of Showcasing was short of room at Goodwood on his return to action but ran on well to win over seven furlongs by a length and a quarter, and a 4lb rise from the handicapper doesn’t look too punitive. It seems reasonable to assume he can improve for his first start since early October, and even if he heads the markets, 10/1 is a stonking each way price.

Quirat each way 10/1 Corals

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