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Matthew Sutcliffe’s Royal Ascot Value Punts – Day 5 Tips for the Royal Meeting

With an 80/1 winner on day one and a 3-point NAP winner on day two, Matty Sutcliffe has already enjoyed a sensation Royal Ascot. He attempts to end the week on a high note too, with six final day selections at the meeting.

Published: 12.10pm, Thursday, 20th June (Prices correct at time of publishing)

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2:30 – Royal Ascot – Chesham Stakes (Listed Race) (Class 1) (2yo) Seaplane 14/1 1pt EW 3 places 

It was no surprise to see SEAPLANE outpaced over six furlongs at Leicester, being by Golden Horn and a half-brother to connections’ Sumo Sam who won multiple group races over 1m6f last season. However, Sumo Sam was a seven furlong winner on debut, so there’s reason to believe this step up to seven furlongs will suit Seaplane and be the right trip for him at this stage in his career. 

That was a promising debut, and while there’s not much in the way of form to go on, the third was previously three lengths behind the ante-post Coventry favourite Andesite at York on debut, and the 5th won gamely at Chepstow earlier this week. Interestingly, that race at Leicester has thrown up a good Ascot run before, Golden Mind won it last season and was close up in last years Chesham, the penultimate winner Show Respect wasn’t disgraced in the 2022 Coventry, nor was the 2021 winner Dhabi when beaten two lengths, and the second in that renewal was owned by Seaplane’s connections, and was subsequently beaten four lengths in the 2021 Chesham. 

Given Paul and Oliver Cole started Seaplane in that race at Leicester, the Chesham was likely on their agenda prior to it which can only bode well for a yard who won this in 2013, 1997, 1994 and 1991. This quicker ground poses a question, but he looked to have a low action suited to a sounder surface and progeny of Golden Horn rarely have an issue with firmer conditions. 

Chesham Stakes (Listed Race)

3:05 Royal Ascot – Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (4yo+) – Elegant Man 40/1 0.5pt EW 3 places 

On all known form, Continuous should easily dispatch of these, but that’s reflected in his price toward the top of the market and given the majority of O’Brien’s mounts have needed the run this season, it may be wise to look elsewhere particularly given he needed the run in the Dante last term. The Hardwicke has been won by some of the smartest stayers around in recent seasons, but the quality has dropped off a touch and this renewal looks a moderate affair, and it could be worth siding with the unexposed ELEGANT MAN, who produced a monstrous RPR of 119 on handicap debut when taking the All-Weather Easter Classic Middle Distance Handicap off top weight at Newcastle in March. 

It was slightly concerning to see him well beaten in the Tattersalls Gold Cup on turf debut, but his USA-bred pedigree suggests he’ll struggle on any form of going containing soft/yielding in the description, and the front pair were of a different calibre that he’d face in here (Auguste Rodin in second). He’s worth another go on turf with firmer conditions to suit, and while he’s not necessarily bred for 1m4f, he posted an RPR of 112 on his second lifetime start when second to the 120 rated Rebel’s Romance over 1m4f at Kempton in December, who’s since took his form to another level recording a hat trick of Graded victories overseas, including the coveted Sheema Classic. 

He’s entitled to be bang there on official ratings and looks a shade overpriced with adequate excuses for that run last time out, and should be much happier in this company on this firmer going. 

Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2)

3:45 Royal Ascot – Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (4yo+) – Jumby 50/1 0.5pt EW 3 places 

You’ll struggle to see a QEII weaker than this one, and it looks ripe for an upset. I’d initially earmarked JUMBY for another tilt toward the Wokingham after Haydock, given the handicapper dropped him 3lbs to a mark of 102, 3lbs lower than when an unlucky third in the race in 2022. 

I know he’s becoming seemingly regressive and a frustrating sort, but I can’t envisage why they wouldn’t chance him in the Wokingham off that mark, so I’m willing to believe that he’s showing promising signs in blinkers at home, and they’ll sharpen him up on back on track. He’s not been suited by being slowly away recently, but perhaps more importantly, he’s rarely been granted the blistering conditions required to unearth the best of his capabilities. He shaped like this drop back to six furlongs would suit when weakening in the John Of Gaunt Stake at Haydock last time out, and now his yard’s hit some form, this course winner could spring a surprise with favourable conditions should the leaders go too hard in front in what looks a terrible, terrible group one sprint. 

Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series)
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4:25 Royal Ascot – Jersey Stakes (Group 3) (Class 1) (3yo) – Task Force 14/1 1pt EW 3 places 

TASK FORCE was a bet for the column in the 2000 Guineas last time out, and though beaten six lengths, I wasn’t entirely disappointed with his effort and this drop back to seven furlongs on a stiff track will aid his cause, particularly if keen again. 

Connections noted afterwards that he was still a tad weak in himself and not tuned up for the Guineas, perhaps unsurprisingly given was the only May Foal in the lineup, so mightn’t have been as forward as the others. I don’t think the mile trip posed a problem, but he’s still very much a raw model and perhaps just lacked the physicality of some, but considering he ran toward the line and didn’t look out of place in that company, I’m more than happy to side with him again. 

The form of the race could hardly have worked out any better either. Rosallion and Haatem finished 1st/2nd in the Irish Guineas, with the former taking the St James Palace earlier this week with Alyanaabi not far behind. Ghostwriter ran to a similar rating when beaten three lengths in the French Derby, Inisherin won the Sandy Lane Stakes, Ten Bob Tony was beaten a length in the German Guineas, and City Of Troy (though didn’t give his true running) won the Derby. So what we have is a horse who was far from tuned up for the contest, yet still finished in and around some of the top graded level of horses we’ve seen this season. Obviously they’ve all come on for the run too, but it’s hard not to envisage this regally bred son of Frankel won’t take a step forward here with these conditions to suit. 

Jersey Stakes (Group 3)

5:05 Royal Ascot – Wokingham Stakes (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2) (3yo+ 0-110) – Saint Lawrence 12/1 1pt WIN + Rumstar 12/1 0.5pt EW 4 places 

SAINT LAWRENCE somewhat saved my Ascot last season with a 22/1 victory, and while there’s naturally a tiny bit of sentiment attached to this selection, I assure you that’s not the sole reason. He looked thrown in off a mark of 100 when winning this a shade cosily, a posted a career best RPR next time out when beaten half a length in theG1 Prix Maurice De Gheest next time out on unfavourable soft going. He was far from disgraced when a drifter in the Sprint Cup at Haydock, though his form tailed off there onwards. 

He’s shaped with some promise in three runs this season which have likely been blowouts for this contest, signalled by the fact his blinkers were missing the last twice over a trip a furlong too far. His five length 10th in a strong handicap at Newmarket last time out can be upgraded given he raced unfavourably down the centre/farside, finishing 2nd in his group of three off top-weight. 

He’s still 3lbs above that Wokingham winning mark, but he’d have likely won off this mark anyways and looks set for a repeat victory back on favourable firmer going and the reapplied blinkers. The other I’d like to side with is Jonathan Portman’s RUMSTAR, who has the ability to take a race of this nature now granted prime conditions. The son of Havana Grey took his form to new heights last season, posting a career best when beaten a two lengths fifth over C&D in the Commonwealth Cup before backing that up when a one length 6th in the G3 Hackwood Stakes. His form slightly tailed off, but he was gelded in March and came on from his seasonal debut on unfavourable heavy going when beaten a length by a well handicapped sort rejuvenated by blinkers, posting a career best RPR of 111 in the process (time was excellent). With that run behind him, any natural progress will see him go well here from a handy high draw with conditions to suit.

Wokingham Stakes (Heritage Handicap)

Added: 10am, Saturday, 22nd June (Prices correct at time of publishing)

5:40 Golden Gates Stakes (Handicap) (Class 2) (3yo 0-105) Dambuster 12/1 1pt EW 4 places

I found this a trappy renewal to decipher, for reasons such as Portsmouth and Palace Green – the two I originally had on my radar – are both drawn low, but there’s also not many, if any, you could suggest are thrown in off their mark. 

Held up from a wide draw is where you’d ideally like to be positioned in this contest, at the leaders can often go hard enough out in front and there’s a plethora of space to come travelling down the outside, which will play into the hands of DAMBUSTER, whose both wins so far have come when pulling out for a run from rear/midfield on right handed tracks. 

Dambuster is one of several that has something to prove on a sounder surface, but Andrew Balding won this three years ago and this son of Kingman has seemingly been saved for this contest having won a shade cosily under a penalty at Beverley in April. That was on soft ground, but his full brother Boomer won/placed on firmer conditions including in group company, as did their half brother Uncle Bryn and their dam Wall Of Sound was a smart mare in quicker conditions. 

If the pedigree manifests the notion on track that this quicker going will aid the cause of Dambuster, then he’s entitled to improve past his mark of 90 and go on to be a smart middle distance type. The race should be ran at a good clip with multiple sorts who made all last time out, which will suit as he seemed to need every yard of this distance at Beverley, which is by no means an easy track to take an unexposed one.

Golden Gates Stakes (Handicap)
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