Saturday’s Royal Ascot Predictions: Course specialist shouldn’t be overlooked for each-way purposes
23 June 2023
Okita Soushi provided a much-needed winner for the column this week, and we’re just on the wrong side of breakeven to level stakes going into the final day.
It’s been a tough Royal Ascot, but a single winner on Saturday would remarkably guarantee profit. As a result, I’ve pinpointed my two best bets at decent prices rather than going for a more spread-eagled approach. Let’s get into them.
3.05 Ascot, Group 3 Jersey Stakes
John Gosden has had nine horses sent off 9/1 or shorter in the Jersey since 2014 - none of them have won. Among those defeated were Muwaary (9/2JF in 2014), Storm Soldier (5/1F in 2016), Emaraaty (4/1F in 2018) and King Leonidas (9/4F in 2020), yet the punters are likely to come for another of his with a similar profile this time around.
Juddmonte-owned Covey is the horse in question, and he’s a skinny price after recording three consecutive victories. I’m not completely against the idea that he could develop into the best horse in here and his sire, Frankel, has had a phenomenal week with his progeny. But the highest-rated rival he beat on his first three starts is just 83 and you shouldn’t forget that he got the run of the race last time out.
Covey quickened off the front at Haydock after setting slow fractions, but he didn’t exactly power to the line - he actually posted just the third-fastest closing three-furlong split despite being in the most beneficial position. Perhaps he will win the Jersey, but he doesn’t deserve such market dominance.
A horse with similar upside is the unbeaten Enfjaar, yet he’s almost three times the price. Roger Varian’s three-year-old beat six subsequent winners on debut at Newmarket last year before clocking a fast time (over two seconds quicker than the second division) on his reappearance at Chelmsford. Fast ground and turf should bring about improvement and he stays further than this.
Selection: Enfjaar @ 8.6
3.40 Ascot, Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes
Last year’s third, Artorius, and Hong Kong challenger, Wellington, give Saturday’s featured sprint an international feel. The former is clearly very talented and perhaps didn’t get the best passage through in this event 12 months ago when partnered by Jamie Spencer. Aussie rider James McDonald takes over this time and there’s every chance that he makes amends.
I know less about Wellington, but he’s an extremely consistent performer and has been bumping into one of the best Hong Kong sprinters on his last few starts. The booking of Ryan Moore, who is in a different gear to anyone else around Ascot, is obviously a bonus. However, it’s a bit of a guessing game in regards to how he will handle this track given he’s only ever run around Sha Tin.
With Highfield Princess, Art Power and Cannonball all in the field helping to push the pace along, there’s a good chance that this might set up for a closer and I just can’t ignore an each-way bet on Rohaan due to his record at Ascot.
Dave Evans’ lovable sprinter boasts a high cruising speed and will get an ideal trail into the race. Whether he’s good enough to sprint clear in the closing stage is a different matter, but he is 4/6 at Ascot and 2/2 at the Royal meeting courtesy of 2021 and 2022 victories in the Wokingham. He might not be the sexiest horse in the line-up, but he has every chance of hitting the frame.
Selection: Rohaan @ 14 each-way
Saturday’s Royal Ascot Predictions
23 June 2023