Usually by this point you’d expect the three previous days of action, betting and rapaciousness in the stands would lead the atmosphere flagging, but not a bit of it.
Two more Group 1 races and two very competitive handicaps on day four mean that wagering continues apace with the Coronation Stakes, a top fillies’ event, the highlight of the afternoon.
Day 4 Schedule
|14:30||Albany Stakes (Group 3)|
|15:05||King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2)|
|15:40||Commonwealth Cup (Group 1)|
|16:20||Coronation Stakes (Group 1)|
|17:00||Sandringham Stakes (Handicap)|
|17:35||Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (Handicap)|
Albany Stakes – 14:30
Although not afforded the same Group 2 status, the Albany is to the juvenile fillies what the opening day Coventry Stakes is to the colts.
So far the race hasn’t really bred a host of future classic winners, despite the victor often being given shortish quotes for the following year’s 1000 Guineas. There has been just one non-British or Irish winner of the Albany since its inception in 2002, though that could change this year.
Albany 2019 Favourite
Bookmakers have been rather running scared of Wesley Ward’s young speedsters and so his 4½ furlong Keeneland winner Nayibeth is the one shortest in the betting, but all will change when the final runners are declared just in advance of the event.
King Edward VII Stakes – 15:05
The unofficial ‘Ascot Derby’, this Group 2 is run over the same mile-and-a-half trip as the Blue Riband itself at Epsom but given that the main contenders there have had a hard race and then are aimed at events such as the Eclipse and the King George, the quality of the field often takes a downturn.
This year though one or two have been kept fresh for the race which makes them very tempting. Ela-Mana-Mou and Nathaniel are two standout past winners of this event.
King Edward VII 2019 Favourites
Underprepared for the Dante and a very good close third in the Derby, Aidan O’Brien’s horse is the ante-post favourite at a best-priced 3/1 and is a worthy favourite on form.
Just two short-heads behind Japan at Epsom was Sir Dragonet, another who if allowed to take his chance will be a serious contender.
3 from 3 this year, John Gosden’s son of Kingman took a handicap at Sandown before being considered for the Derby, though in the end he ran in a Listed event instead and took it in easy fashion before being allowed to stay fresh for this race. At around 6/1 he seems fair value given that he will improve more than the others.
Commonwealth Cup – 15:40
Inaugurated in 2015, this race has been a very welcome addition to the calendar given the previous fascination with getting three-year-olds up to the Guineas trip. This race is a six-furlong dash which can suit those climbing the sprinting ranks, as well as those former Guineas contenders who appeared not to stay the mile.
Ratings-wise it hasn’t always taken a lot of winning for a Group 1, but this year’s event looks pretty hot even without ante-post favourite Calyx who has another injury problem.
Commonwealth Cup 2019 Favourites
Beat Calyx last time at Haydock making him a popular 6/1 shot going into this, but Calyx was injured that day which now casts a shadow over the true value of the form.
Second to Ten Sovereigns in the Middle Park last season (see below), Simon Crisford’s colt just about got home over 7 furlongs on his reappearance and would enjoy this sort of test much more. 6/1.
Fifth in the 2000 Guineas from the wrong side of the track, last season’s Middle Park Stakes winner is all speed and is the rightful 6/4 favourite going into the week.
Coronation Stakes – 16:20
One of the key races of the whole week; this one-mile £500,000 Group 1 event for three-year-old fillies often brings together the best English, Irish and French form from the various versions of the 1000 Guineas as well as offering a chance to those who weren’t ready to hit the top level by early May.
Some genuine superstars have won this, including Al Bahathri, Russian Rhythm, Attraction and Alpha Centauri.
Coronation Stakes 2019 Favourites
Winner of both the English and Irish 1000 Guineas, Aidan O’Brien’s lovely filly is tip-top in terms of ability so the only question that remains is “does she have the energy reserves to do it all again so quickly?” She’s a best-priced 5/4 favourite ante-post.
Sir Michael Stoute has been at pains to say that he does not know whether his novice winner has the ability to beat Hermosa, but as second-favourite she is in with a shout and she is clearly a very good filly.
The French 1000 Guineas winner looks to be a shade behind the others on form, but she is unbeaten and no chances have been taken by the bookies on this general 6/1 chance.
Sandringham Stakes – 17:00
Just as the three-year-old colts take part in a very competitive one-mile handicap in the shape of the Britannia Stakes, so do the fillies in this £90,000 event. The race will be well over-subscribed in terms of entries making it a confused market, so watch out for the final declarations and don’t make a decision until then.
Duke of Edinburgh Stakes – 17:35
Although three-year-olds can take part with an allowance, four and five-year-olds have won this 1½ mile handicap in all of its last 21 renewals, making those types the ones to concentrate on.
Familiar names such as Sir Michael Stoute and Mark Johnston have appeared on this trophy multiple times and they once again will be among the trainers looking to land this race, no doubt with improving 4yo’s who have yet to reach their peak.
Betting on Day 4 of Royal Ascot
Classic form is well represented on Friday with Derby, 2000 Guineas, 1000 Guineas and Poule d’Essai des Pouliches runners returning to the track but, while we can’t say with confidence they’ll all get beaten, they often come to this meeting having had hard races and so the value could lie elsewhere.
Alternatives such as Jash, Jubiloso and Private Secretary will be popular in the betting ring for their respective assignments so listen carefully to what their trainers have to say and grab a good Royal Ascot betting offer where possible.
A day of high quality with two Group 1 races on the card, the tactic here needs to be to carefully weigh-up provable form with potential for improvement and then getting value for you bets, i.e. if you can’t separate a classic horse from a Listed winner but the latter is 6/1, take the value bet.