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Sir Busker
Racecard

There’s no getting away from the fact that Palace Pier is clear of his rivals here and will prove very tricky to stop, but he’s unlikely to offer much value in the Win pool. Instead, with five horses finishing in the frame at 20/1 or bigger in the last four years, taking a pop at one in the Place pool looks ideal. Sir Busker’s four runs over Ascot’s straight mile have seen him record Racing Post Ratings that slot in the top six of his entire career. A winner of the Silver Hunt Cup last season, William Knight’s gelding improved nicely over the last 12 months, developing into a Group-class performer. He wasn’t beaten far for this in a trial over track and trip, with the winner landing the Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom recently, and with the ground coming up fast, another bold run on the Berkshire course could be in store.


Ebro River
Racecard

Anything that Wesley Ward or Aidan O’Brien run in this race has to be taken seriously, so neither Kaufymaker or The Acropolis are passed over lightly, but there is surely more to come from Ebro River. Despite clearly learning as he went, Hugo Palmer’s Galileo Gold colt has been very impressive in two wins to date, latterly seeing off a smart field in the National Stake at Sandown. The winning margin that day was 3l, despite James Doyle’s mount veering off to the left once in front. He’ll surely need to get some cover from stall 1 here, but if his rider is able to keep him smuggled up until late, he’s got the turn of foot to do some damage in this first juvenile race of the week. Pulling further clear at the end of 5f at Sandown last time, there’s plenty of hope at 6f for this exciting 2yo.


Battaash
Racecard

The stand-out 5f horse of his generation, Battaash, arrives at Royal Ascot without the benefit of a prep run, but his record first time out (five wins), relieves any of that worry. In fact, Charlie Hills’ speedster landed this race on seasonal debut last season, in what was probably no weaker than the 2021 renewal. Drawn somewhere in between Ornate and Liberty Beach and Maven and Winter Power, all horses who like to get on with things, he should get a decent toe into a race that should be run at a good click. Of those name, Winter Power could be the spoiler to the 7yo, having shown dramatic improvement in her last couple of runs, latterly running away with a Listed contest at York, beating Saturday’s Scurry winner Atalis Bay by 3l. This is a whole new ball game though, and there’s little to suggest that the elder statesman of the sprinting division is ready to relinquish his crown just yet.


Thunder Moon
Racecard

Punters will need to put a line through Thunder Moon’s 2000 Guineas run which was simply too bad to be true to side with him here. However, on 2yo form, Joseph O’Brien’s colt has a real chance in this. He had Poetic Flare and Chindit in behind when third in the Dewhurst on ground softer than ideal, and had Lucky Vega, Wembley, Irish Guineas winner Mac Swiney and dual Group 1 winner St Mark’s Basilica trailing in his wake before that in the Phoenix Stakes. That was on a surface closer to what he’ll get at Ascot, and while he’s yet to prove he stays a mile, the round course at this venue will give him as good a chance of getting it as anywhere. Frankie Dettori has been on board three of the last five winners of this race so the colt has the best partner he could wish for.


Postileo
Racecard

The Ascot Stakes has often been farmed by jumps trainers, older horses and a combination of the two, but this year, there’s a (relatively) younger charge who is of appeal. The ground is set to be nothing like the softer conditions many of the jumps brigade will have tackled before, but Postileo coped with the quick ground just fine last season when third in a Sandown handicap. That came at a point when he was making his way through the ranks and has shown this season that he’s still on the up. A good second over 2m at Kempton preceded another runners-up performance in the consolation race for the Chester Cup, finishing very strongly after the bird, and winner, had flown. Heavy ground next time at Haydock can be offered as an excuse subsequently for all that it was a fair run. He looks tailor made for this extreme stamina test and could be a rare one for the flat brigade in this race.


Felix
Racecard

In recent years, it’s paid to be drawn somewhere near the middle of the field in the Wolferton, with a profit of £42.50 when blindly backing horses drawn in stalls five to eight. That quartet of berths has been home to seven of the last 10 winners. Coming out of eight this year is Felix. Marco Botti's 5yo has progressed from a decent handicapper to a real Listed and Group-level performer. A win and a second at the hands of Bangkok, a decent yardstick, kicked off 2021, before getting to within a length of Forest Of Dean in the Winter Derby, having been slightly slower away. He showed that he's equally effective on turf, when only beaten 4l by Lord North when third in a Group 1 in Dubai last time out. One suspects we've not see the best of him just yet.


Arthurian Fable
Racecard

A return to faster ground could see Brian Meehan’s charge bounce back to the form he showed this time last year. Just denied in a Newmarket handicap over 10f on seasonal debut last term on good ground, he got to within 2l of Hukum in the King George V Stakes at this meeting, finishing well, before scoring over today’s distance on his only previous outing on Good to Firm ground. The gelding’s return this year was decent enough, finishing 2½l behind the winner at HQ, with his rider looking after him once his chance had been and gone. His current mark of 96 still asks for more of him, but this quick surface could just unlock that in the finale on day one at Royal Ascot. 


Placepot

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Leg 1
Lord Glitters
Sir Busker
Leg 2
Ebro River
Kaufymaker
Leg 3
Battaash
Leg 4
Mostahdaf
Thunder Moon
Leg 5
Postileo
Elysian Flame
Leg 6
Juan Elcano
Felix

About Ascot Racecourse

About Ascot Racecourse

For five days in June, Ascot is the focus of the racing world as Royal Ascot takes centre stage. First hosting racing in 1711, Ascot is one of the country's premier flat and jumps meetings, providing a home to calendar highlights such as the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the flat, and the Grade 1 Ascot Chase over obstacles.

From Frankel and Enable to Desert Orchid and Sprinter Sacre, some of racing’s biggest names have recorded major victories at the Berkshire course. Ascot is a galloping right-handed track, with a one mile straight track attached on the grandstand side. It provides a unique test for both flat and jumps horses, at a variety of different trips.


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