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Matthew Sutcliffe’s Royal Ascot Value Punts – Day 4 Selections for the Royal Meeting

Friday is the fourth day of action at Royal Ascot. Though he paid for the week with his 80/1 winner on Tuesday, Matty Sutcliffe continues to seek more value with six more selections on day four of the meeting.

Published: 12.53pm, Wednesday, 19th June (Prices correct at time of publishing)

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2:30 Royal Ascot – Albany Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies) (Class 1) (2yo) – Jayvee 100/1 1pt EW 4 places 

The Albany often throws up a smart sort for the future and it can pay to follow those toward the fore of the market, but there has been some nice priced winners of this contest in the last decade, a 14/1 winner, two at 16/1 and one at 20/1 in 2017, lowering the colours of the excellent Alpha Centauri. Aidan O’Brien and Charlie Appleby could hold the key to this, but I’m happy enough to veer further down the market and side with Brian Ellison’s JAYVEE

Brian Ellison is having a fantastic season, and sprung a huge shock when winning the Hilary Needler with Perfect Part on debut at a whopping 125/1 SP. I had initially thought that C&D winner Jayvee would’ve gone there, but her new connections have opted to wait for the Albany which is telling in itself given some of the owners won it with Porta Fortuna last season. 

She had two subsequent winners in behind her on debut, and though the RPR’s suggest otherwise, I thought she bettered that effort in abundance at York in the Listed Marygate Stakes when unable to quicken at the start after breaking slowly. She was detached by some way, but Danny Tudhope seemed comfortable enough to let her continue in her own rhythm and did remarkably well to be beaten just three lengths. We can upgrade her effort further given the action unfolded down the far-side and the near-side was riding dead for the meeting, and she clocked the quickest two final furlongs with a 102.70 finishing speed percentage. 

A combination of both the visual aspect of her run and the figures suggest she’ll have no issue coping with this step up to a stiff six furlongs, and should she happen to break slowly again then she should at least be able to latch on to them in rear and fare well off a pace collapse. 

She’s bred to be suited by this step up in trip being a half-sister to winners over 6F and 7F, and perhaps most interesting of all is the booking of Chris Hayes, whose all time record for the yard is 36-5-7 (£49+ to a £1 stake). 

Albany Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies)

3:05 Royal Ascot – Commonwealth Cup (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (No Geldings) (Class 1) (3yo) – Pandora’s Gift 25/1 1pt EW 4 places 

This race has somewhat been marred by high profile absences such as Vandeek and Bucanero Fuerte, but I wouldn’t be all that sure that Inisherin will be able to dominate this field in the same manner in which he did in the Sandy Lane Stakes. Six furlongs on soft ground on a flat track like Haydock is completely different than a quick ground Commonwealth Cup, and for all there aren’t many other standout talents in this field, he definitely looks worth taking on at the top of the market. 

Elite Status and Jasour are entitled to be of worthy consideration after their impressive trials wins, but I’d be a touch concerned whether they both want this firmer surface and whether they’ll be seen to best effect. I toyed with the chance of Starlust who ran away with a 0-105 at York off top weight last month, but he has to step up markedly to take this as well as proving his ability back over six furlongs. In truth, I’ve struggled to strongly nail my colours to the mast with anything in this renewal, but I’ve eventually sided with the progressive PANDORA’S GIFT in the hope her supposed strong work on grass will come to fruition. 

She was pulled from her turf debut in the Sandy Lane Stakes last month on account of soft ground so this sounder surface will prove no barrier, and while this is obviously a huge step up in grade, it’s not out of the realms of possibility she’s up to the task. Her latest win in a valuable listed race at Chelmsford has worked out well too with the third (smart 2yo) taking a listed contest by two lengths next time out (RPR 102), and the fourth taking a listed contest in Italy next time out. While I’m not suggesting that form rates her a strong contender here, on a direct line through Queen Of Mougins she doesn’t have much at all to find with Elite Status. 

This is a huge roll of the dice by connections, but it’s far from a vintage renewal and she’s such an uncomplicated sort who certainly hasn’t reached her ceiling yet, and if she improves for turf then there’s every chance she’ll at least sneak into the frame. 

Commonwealth Cup (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (No Geldings)

3:45 Royal Ascot – Coronation Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Fillies) (Class 1) (3yo) – Ramatuelle 9/2 2pt WIN 

The ‘Justify’s don’t train on’ brigade (including me…) were out in full force toward the start of this season when both City Of Troy and RAMATUELLE were beaten at odds-on, but both of them have ridiculed those claims with the former taking the Derby, and the latter shaping an unlucky loser in the English 1000 Guineas. Lemaitre got his fractions awfully wrong in the final quarter of the contest, but the Rowley Mile is a notoriously tricky track to judge even for our best jockeys, so we can marginally upgrade the performance of Ramatuelle as I think with a more Rowley Mile nuanced jockey on board, she’d have just got up.

However, horses beaten in a classic have an excellent record in winning the Coronation Cup, and Ramatuelle can seek revenge with Oisin Murphy getting the leg up, who won this in 2021 with Alcohol Free. She’ll encounter much quicker ground than she’s used to, but her best efforts in France came on a sounder surface which she’s bred to revel in, being by Justify out of a Raven’s Pass mare. The French have taken three of the last nine renewals of the Coronation Stakes, and it would be a welcome winner for the Head family who won this with Gold Splash in 1993. 

Coronation Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Fillies)
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4:25 Royal Ascot – Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (Class 2) (3yo+ 0-105) – Sheer Rocks 16/1 1pt EW 6 places + Mandoob 33/1 0.5pt EW 6 places 

Three of the last ten winners of this contest have been won by horses on seasonal reappearance, which has allowed me to put faith in both SHEER ROCKS and MANDOOB. The former is well suited to a firmer surface and his course and distance record reads 31, only beaten half a length the first time behind two progressive/smart sorts. The latter effort came on seasonal debut last term, and he posted a career best effort next time out pulling two lengths clear of Cauis Chorister at Epsom, who’s now rated 10lbs higher having been beaten a head in G3 company the last twice. The Eve Houghton yard are no strangers to success at this meeting and now they’re picking up some form, it’ll be no shock should this previously progressive sort show up strongly on seasonal return at a track he enjoys. 

The other I’d like to chance is Mandoob, who’s been pitched in deep for his return from a 714 day layoff. I half thought this could be a prep run for something like the Ebor later on, but I’m willing to take the chance that connections have him primed here and they’re already on the board with 80/1 winner Rashabar. 

He’s proven himself to go well fresh having won on debut before finishing a two length second to Al Aasy in listed company (RPR 112) over C&D two years ago, and that form alone suggests he’s well treated off a mark of 104 if returning in the same form. He’s evidently a tricky sort to keep fit at home, gelded before debut as a three year old and having had his second wind surgery in 2022, but the fact they start him off here must suggest he’s ripe enough for it and if he returns to his progressive ways then this son of Farhh is entitled to outrun his odds with the inform Sean Levey in the saddle. 

Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (Handicap)

5:05 Royal Ascot – Sandringham Stakes (Fillies’ Handicap) (Class 2) (3yo 0-105) – Arisaig 33/1 1pt EW 7 places 

It’s a sight to behold watching Jamie Spencer (when he times it right!) cajole one from rear to get up close to home on this straight track at Ascot, and the fact the Johnston yard – who won this in 2014 – have booked him on their progressive daughter of Harry Angel tells you exactly what the plan will be for a man who’s won this twice in recent renewals. 

ARISAIG was unsuited by her track position on handicap/seasonal debut at Newmarket in April, when absolutely nothing got in to it from rear, but fared best of all from off the pace to finish 4th, with the 3rd/1st both winning since (latter now rated 12lbs higher). She was backed into joint favouritism in a six runner field at Newmarket next time out, but her keen exertions prevented her from a true showing, though the pair in front of her are progressive sorts who both hold good chances at Ascot this week. 

She regained the winning thread down in trip at Lingfield, settling much better in rear and quickening up from last to first in the manner of a well handicapped filly destined for bigger things. I still don’t think that small field brought of the best in her there, and this 30-runner contest on a wide open straight with plenty of room for cover will suit her to a tee.

Sandringham Stakes (Fillies’ Handicap)
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