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June 20: Royal Ascot Recap

by Dustin Fabian

June 20, 2017

Xpressbet is proud to be the Preferred US Betting Site of Royal Ascot.  Bet the races with us to receive 0% Takeout on Exactas – check out www.xpressbet.com/royal-ascot for more information.  And to help you handicap, you can download our free Tip Sheet from handicapper, Brian Nadeau, and watch the races live at www.XBTV.com every morning at 9AM ET. 

 How did the races go Tuesday?  Here’s a quick recap:

 Race 1 – Queen Anne Stakes (Gr I)

Royal Ascot isn’t like your typical US track.  They don’t ease into their big days with a couple of maiden or allowance races to kick off the card.  No sir.  They jump right into the deep end.  Tuesday’s meet opener was the Group 1, $842,500 Queen Anne Stakes, a one-mile turf event that attracted 16 runners, including a duo of Americans, Miss Temple City (Motion/Prado) and American Patriot (Pletcher/Velazquez), as well as Godolphin’s, Ribchester (Fahey/Buick), who was sent postward as the heavy favorite.  The punters’ money was the smart money, as Ribchester hit the lead and held off Mutakayyef (Haggas/Crowley), despite bearing out near the finish.  Ribchester paid $4.80 to Win and the Exacta paid $17.00.  American Patriot (11th) and Miss Temple City (13th) never threatened or factored. 

 Race 2 – Coventry Stakes (Gr II)

The stakes action continued into Race 2, the Group 2 Coventry, a $184,500 stakes race for two-year-olds.  American eyes were on Arawak (Ward/Velazquez), while the locals went all-in on Brother Bear (Harrington/O’Donoghue) and De Bruyne Horse (Hannon/Levey).  That trio went postward at odds of 6/1, 7/2 and 5/1, respectively, in the 18-horse field.  As expected, Arawak tore out to the lead with company from De Bruyne Horse’s stablemate, Denaar (Hannon/Smullen).  Neither could carry their speed, however, and they quickly succumbed to the pack.  Brother Bear rallied well into contention but flattened late to finish 4th, while a pair of longshots – Rajasinghe (Spencer/Donohoe) and Headway (Haggas/Cosgrove) – battled to the wire.  Ultimately, Rajasinghe got the best of the field by a neck, keying a $29.20 Win payout and a gigantic $923.20 Exacta.  De Bruyne Horse finished 8th, with Arawak a non-threatening 12th.

 Race 3 – King’s Stand Stakes (Gr I)

Arguably the best US chance at Royal Ascot was Lady Aurelia (Ward/Velazquez) in the Group 1, $492,000 King’s Stand…and she did nothing to disappoint.  Dispatched from the far outside post beneath Johnny Velazquez, Lady Aurelia was prominent throughout and kicked clear late for a 3-length victory.  This was her second career score at Royal Ascot, having won last year’s Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes by 7-lengths.  It was more of the same this year, with outsider Profitable (Cox/Doyle) running on well to finish second.  Lady Aurelia paid $6.00 for the Win, and the Exacta returned a healthy $102.60.  Velazquez picked up the mount on Lady Aurelia from Frankie Dettori, who is battling an arm injury and will not ride at the meet.   

 Race 4 – St. James’s Palace Stakes (Gr I)

A race anticipated to be yet another coronation for Coolmore’s Churchill (O’Brien/Moore) turned into anything but, as the winner of three consecutive Group 1 races could do no better than 4th as the overwhelming 2/5 favorite in the $492,000 Group 1 St. James’s Palace.  Instead, it was Barney Roy (Hannon/Doyle) who got to the wire first, rewarding Godolphin with its second Group 1 win of the afternoon.  Churchill’s stablemate, Lancaster Bomber (O’Brien/O’Brien) held on very well to finish second, while Thunder Snow (bin Suroor/Soumillon), most famous in the US for his antics in the Kentucky Derby, nabbed third.  Barney Roy paid $7.80 to Win and the Exacta over Lancaster Bomber paid $82.00. 

 Race 5 – Ascot Stakes (Handicap)

The graded stakes action was in the books for the day, but with 19 runners going to post for the 2 ½-mile, $98,500 Ascot Stakes, the great betting was just getting underway.  In fact, our Tip Sheet guru, Brian Nadeau, made this race his Exacta Best Bet of the Day, with a $30 ticket – 4, 11, 18 / 4, 5, 11, 12, 14, 18.  And the horse that Nadeau called ‘scary,’ Thomas Hobson (Mullins/Moore) proved to be just that as he powered down the stretch to give Ryan Moore his first win of the meet.  And the horse that Nadeau tabbed as his upset special, Endless Acres (Fellowes/Donohoe), ran on late to finish 2nd at odds of 11/1.  That result keyed a $113.80 Exacta, with Thomas Hobson paying $9.00 to Win.

 Race 6 – Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed)

Ascot’s Opening Day nightcap was the $98,500 Windsor Castle Stakes for two-year-olds.  And with 22 runners signed on for the five-furlong dash, this one was sure to bring plenty of fireworks.  The US was represented by two runners from the Wesley Ward barn, Nootka Sound (Ward/Velazquez) and Elizabeth Darcy (Ward/Prado).  Both had broken their maiden at first asking in the States, but neither was the race favorite.  That honor went to Coolmore’s Declarationofpeace (O’Brien/Moore), who was sent postward at odds of 7/5.  He didn’t factor, though, because it was Godolphin’s day.  They sent out two runners in the Windsor Castle – Sound and Silence (Appleby/Buick) and Roussel (Appleby/Doyle) and they came home 1-2, keying a $416.20 Exacta.  Sound and Silence paid $39.00 to Win.  Elizabeth Darcy checked in 6th after attending to the early pace, while Nootka Sound never threatened and finished 17th.  Declarationofpeace finished last. 

Join us Wednesday for more action at Royal Ascot, headlined by the four graded races - the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes (featuring Breeders’ Cup winners Highland Reel and Queen’s Trust), Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes, Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes (featuring Wesley Ward’s Happy Like a Fool) and the Group 3 Jersey Stakes.