Royal Ascot 2021 begins tomorrow, and in anticipation of a fine week's racing top tipster Andrew Mount has identified his five horses to follow at the meeting. Check out his thoughts below, which come alongside an exclusive SBK offer, which provides new customers with a risk-free £20 bet.
LUCKY VEGA – St James’s Palace Stakes (Tuesday, 4.20pm)
LUCKY VEGA was beaten by just half a length when third in the 2000 Guineas and started as the favourite for the Irish equivalent. He could only finish fourth at the Curragh but his patient running style was at a huge disadvantage that day and his five-length defeat can be upgraded.
ROYAL ILLUSION – Ascot Stakes (Tuesday, 5.00pm)
Trainer Willie Mullins has form figures of 261017701153042 (4-15) in the 2m4f Ascot Stakes and backing his runners blind would have returned a profit of £16.00 to a £1 level stake at SP. Those who ran over hurdles last time were four from 11 (+£20.00), with three of his four entries – M C Muldoon, Rayapour and ROYAL ILLUSION - all qualifying on this angle.
His four mares to run in this race have produced a 10-1 winner and two seconds, so perhaps Royal Illusion could prove best of the trio. She fell in a Grade 1 hurdle at Fairyhouse last time but will appreciate the drying ground and is attractively priced.
FELIX – Wolferton Stakes (Tuesday, 5.35pm)
Nine of the last ten winners of the Listed Wolferton Stakes were ridden patiently, with those who led or raced prominently scoring just once from 47 qualifiers. That winner was a 7-4 favourite – Mahsoob in 2015 - who landed this off 106 when it was still a Listed handicap before going on to score in Group company and earn a mark of 116.
At the time of writing the first three in the betting were front-runners or prominent racers, suggesting there could be plenty of value elsewhere. Marco Botti’s FELIX was placed behind Lord North in a Meydan Group 1 when last seen, tends to come from off the pace, and has plenty of winning form on a sound surface.
UMM KULTHUM – Commonwealth Cup (Friday, 3.40pm)
UMM KULTHUM was my pick for the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock last time – a key pointer to Royal Ascot - and his third-place can be upgraded as he was poorly drawn towards the far side (first four drawn 9, 10, 2 and 7 of 10). His sprint record now reads 13133 (2-5), improving to 11 (2-2) in big fields and he looks generously priced at around the 25-1 mark.
FRESH – Wokingham Stakes (Saturday, 5.00pm)
FRESH’s come-from-behind style is idea for Ascot’s straight course and his two runs here have produced a win from 17 rivals and a short-head second. His record since qualified for handicaps, aside from seasonal debuts reads 14221 (2-5) and the faster they go, the better.
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