There's a few things missing from Royal Ascot in 2020 - mostly people - but one constant can always be relied on whatever the circumstances and that is hugely competitive racing. As is usually the case, Tuesday's opening card offers everything, from the fastest horses around blazing up the Ascot straight in the King's Stand Stakes to one of the toughest long-distance handicaps of the season in the Ascot Stakes.
For the Tote punter there is a similar variety of opportunity. We'll start with a stab a the placepot - just the one handicap in the first six races makes this a tempting prospect - but there are also exotic options later on the card and a chance to support one of the Royal Meeting's equine regulars in the closing race.
TUESDAY'S PLACEPOT PERM
Identifying the banker or bankers is one of the keys to the Placepot, to allow a more scattergun approach for the races that need it, and the middle legs on the Tuesday look pretty much safe havens, with FRANKLY DARLING and MOGUL hot favourites with good reason for their assignments. It would be easy to include BATTAASH in that category, too, but the fact he sometimes bombs out makes it wise to take out some insurance with his stable-companion EQUILATERAL. I’ll play percentages in the opening handicap with a course specialist (KAESO) and an up-and-comer (MUTAMAASIK), hoping two will do, as it should for the final leg with solid options JUBILOSO and LAVENDER’S BLUE. All fairly defensive stuff by and large, bar the one attacking move against Circus Maximus, who’ll have a lot of the pool riding on him in the Queen Anne, when I wouldn’t be surprised if several surpassed him, FOX CHAIRMAN and SKARDU topping my list in that regard.
LEG 1: 8, 12
LEG 2: 6, 12
LEG 3: 5
LEG 4: 2
LEG 5: 1, 2
LEG 6: 5, 6
16 lines in total
TUESDAY'S EXOTIC BETS
The same-stable Exacta will be popular in the King Edward VII, courtesy of the Ballydoyle brace, but how about Charles Hills’s dynamic duo in the King’s Stand? Now this is obviously fraught with danger because both have a touch of the Jekyll and Hydes about them, but let’s plan for the best and not hope for the worst, because BATTAASH’s best makes him untouchable, and I’ve a feeling that EQUILATERAL’s best is when fresh, like he is here. And just in case Battaash falls short on the uphill finish once again, I’m reversing the Exacta as well. .
3.00: Exacta (2 Bets): 2-1, 1-2
The Swinger involves getting two horses in the first three places, and I like the look of JUBILOSO and LAVENDER’S BLUE for this ticket, in a Duke of Cambridge Stakes where around half of the field seem overmatched. Prior to her final flop, in a race won by Lavender’s Blue, Jubiloso looked to be on the march to the top table, including finishing third in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at this meeting last year. It’s significant that she’s being kept in training, for a stable which has started the delayed season so meaningfully. An added thing in Lavender’s Blue favour is her excellent record when fresh, her two wins in her three-year-old campaign coming first time out and aftwer a three-month break.
4.10: Swinger (1 Bet): 5-6
PLACE ONLY BET
The Ascot Stakes is one of a niche series of marathon races on the Flat, and it’s the specialist subject of COEUR DE LION传奇sf, who has finished first and second in the 18f consolation Chester Cup, as well as coming home in sixth and fifth in the last two editions of the Ascot Stakes, not having the rub of the green either time. He looked in top form the last time we saw him, over hurdles in March, and he has sterner headgear on here (visor instead of cheekpieces) to help get that little extra out of him. .
4.40: Place Only: 14 (Coeur De Lion)