Royal Ascot selections – Thursday 20th June

Bee prepared for a Gold Cup shock

Steve Hughes looks ahead to the middle day of Royal Ascot

Another cracking day’s racing at Ascot, although once again the ground will be on the soft side after all the rain of the first two days. There are a good mix of high class group races and big field handicaps to get stuck into. We had a second consecutive winning nap on Wednesday through Crystal Ocean (advised 9/2) with Raising Sand placing for the each-way bet (advised 8/1).


Ascot 3.05: Fox Chairman

Despite being the least experienced colt in the line up, Fox Chairman can fulfil the real promise of his first two career runs this spring.

He was a wide margin winner on racecourse debut at Newbury in April, acting well on slowish conditions. The tight track at Chester was then all against him when only third in the listed Dee Stakes. However the form of that race has been boosted this week by Circus Maximus’ win in the Group 1 on Tuesday.

His ability to cope with testing conditions will come in useful here,


Ascot 4.20: Dee Ex Bee & Magic Circle

I wonder whether soft ground will compromise the chances of the otherwise outstanding favourite Stradivarius. As such I have two value alternatives.

Dee Ex Bee tried his hand in two classics last season, finishing a fine second in the Derby and fourth in the Leger. At times though he looked lazy and a candidate for headgear. On this season’s evidence though he is simply a thorough stayer who should relish this marathon trip. He won impressively over 2m here last month, before making all in another Group 3 at Sandown. He looks worth trying at 2m4f and has winning form on soft ground.

Magic Circle is worth a small each-way bet. Last season’s Chester Cup winner has not quite come up to scratch at this track in the past, but he is now with the master trainer Ian Williams and he ran well enough on his comeback at Chester over an inadequate 13f to suggest he retains all his old ability. Soft ground is a benefit to him too.


Ascot 5.00: Tulfarris, Aweedram & Migration

In such a cavalry charge, there is no shame in having three goes.

First choice is definitely Aweedram. All season long he has looked like the perfect sort for this race. He is ideally suited by a straight mile, as confirmed by his wins here and at Newmarket. He got going all too late at Haydock last time, having had to negotiate the tight early bend. All ground seems to come alike to him and he is drawn twenty which looks like being the favoured side of the track.

Tulfarris looks overpriced considering his consistent form on soft. He displayed good form in France as a juvenile, including a win over a mile on soft. His British debut at Newbury in April over 7f was full of promise, especially as it looked like an extra furlong that day would have suited him much better. He stayed every yard of the mile when narrowly beaten at Doncaster last time – but the going was much quicker that day. Back on a testing surface he could have more to offer from a mark of 93.

Migration should be followed too having sneaked in at the bottom of the handicap. He showed little form in two starts in 2018 (stable out of form) but improved massively on that when second to my earlier selection Fox Chairman at Newbury. He has since proved well handicapped with a narrow defeat at Sandown, followed by an easy win at Newmarket last time. There is enough soft ground form in his pedigree to suggest today’s conditions should not be a problem and he is another likely to have a favourable draw.


Ascot 5.35: Sinjaari

I am happy to go with just the bet in the finale as Sinjaari has looked a progressive type all spring.

It is fair to say he was not given a hard time when narrowly defeated by a more experienced rival on his comeback at Redcar in April. He built massively on that when coming home a convincing winner at Windsor next time. He was probably unlucky at Newbury last time over 10f when allowing Headman to get first run – but he would have got up in another couple of strides. He ought to improve again for another 2f and I am hopeful he will handle softer ground that what he has been used to.

You would expect stall 22 ie the wide outside, to be a negative, but in fact wide draws have a great record at Ascot, especially so on soft ground where there is some cover from the trees on the outside of the track.


Recommended bets:

1pt win – Fox Chairman – 3.05 Ascot – 4/1 general

1.5pts win – Dee Ex Bee – 4.20 Ascot – 7/1 Paddy Power

0.5pts each-way – Magic Circle – 4.20 Ascot – 22/1 William Hill, BetVictor

0.5pts each-way – Tulfarris – 5.00 Ascot – 28/1 general (Boylesports 1/5 odds 1st 6)

1pt each-way – Aweedram – 5.00 Ascot – 22/1 Bet365 (¼ odds 1st 5)

1pt win – Migration – 5.00 Ascot – 7/1 Paddy Power, Boylesports

1pt each-way – Sinjaari – 5.35 Ascot – 6/1 general (1/5 odds 1st 5)


Next column – Friday 21st June – Royal Ascot day four



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