Before I start, I am happy to say I’m feeling a bit better this evening. I have to be so careful when I get ill as we don’t want to cause a relapse of my kidney condition which can happen when I continue working too hard despite feeling unwell.
I asked on twitter, what a big price at Royal Ascot is (in numerical terms). You could perceive a 4/1 shot to be a big price if you think that horse should be even money. In numerical terms however a rough 16/1+ seemed to be the average that people were expecting. All of these listed below are 20/1+ including one that we hope Anne B is still involved in!
The Grand Visir @ 33/1
The Grand Visir has been to Royal Ascot 3 times. He won this race in 2019 off a mark of 100 and yet could run this year (4 years later) off a mark of 95. This race is a 0-100 so in 2020 and 2021 when rated 104 & 105 respectively he had to contest the Queen Alexandra Stakes. He ran 2 more stormers finishing 2nd in 2020 beaten a neck by Who Dares Wins and 3rd in 2021 behind Stratum (won in 2022) and Calling The Wind (3rd in 2022). The Grand Visir last 2 runs have been moderate efforts in the Chester Cup in 2022 and 2023 but has dropped from 101 to 95 because of these. He will definitely stay this trip and can be given a positive ride by David Egan who has been provisionally booked to ride.
Alright Sunshine @ 50/1
Alright Sunshine finished a never nearer 4th in this race in 2023 beaten just 2 ½ lengths off a mark of 99. The winner won the Old Newton Cup on his next run, the runner up needed further and did finish 2nd in a subsequent Group 3 and the 3rd is 12/1 this year and has won a couple of races on the AW since. Turning into the straight last year Alright Sunshine was arguably going as well as any but didn’t get the clearest of runs and then didn’t initially pick up when asked for his effort. He was coming with Okita Soushi when again he ran into the back of Stowell who drifted badly under pressure and that probably cost Alright Sunshine 3rd. Last season Alright Sunshine did win the Bell Ringer at Ripon after disappointing in the Northumberland Plate. This season could he win the Copper Horse Handicap after disappointing at Newcastle on his previous run?
Balance Play @ 25/1
Balance Play started life out over 1m suggesting he was going to be a stayer of the future before being dropped to 7f and then again to 6f. Over 6f he ran a cracker beaten a neck by Quddwah (won again since in a Novice Stakes race). It looked like a plan when Balance Play was stepped up to 1m2f at Epsom but the combination of the very quick ground and even this sharp trip meant this wasn’t far enough. He stayed on well again in the final furlong for 3rd despite being one of the first off the bridle. He steps up again to 1m4f here and on a more conventional track, I fully expect him to go very well here off a mark of 83 if he gets in.
Rhoscolyn @ 50/1
Rhoscolyn finished 3rd in this race last year when not getting a clear run. That came off a mark of 103 and he’s since run well at Goodwood off a mark of 101 when only beaten a head back in 3rd. He’s incredibly dropped to a mark of 93 (they’ll be gutted if he doesn’t get in) and it’s encouraging to see Danny Tudhope provisionally booked, suggesting he will run if he gets in. So in summary he would be 10lb lower than when 3rd last year. 50/1 could be enormous.
Tactical @ 50/1
Tactical used to be owned by the Queen/King and was sent off 17/2 last year when ridden by Ryan Moore off a mark of 105. He ran well for 6th place when ‘winning’ his side. He travelled well towards the nearside of the group and all the action and speed was over the far side. Getting stuck behind Snazzy Jazzy and Total Commitment whilst the developed over the far side meant he ended up being too far back. He arguably finished best of all and could have been counted as unlucky. Now down to a mark of 99, he is surely going to step back to 7f (his last run over 7f for Andrew Balding was over CD where he finished ¾ lengths behind the winner in 6th off 103). He clearly acts well at Ascot and has also won a Windsor Castle in 2020 & 7th in the Group 3 Jersey in 2021.
First Folio @ 20/1
First Folio was drawn in the middle last year (stall 15) and Daniel Muscutt kept him pretty much in the same line for most of the race. At the half way point there were only 7 horses further towards the centre of the track than he was and they finished 11th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 22nd, 23rd with the front 5 all being down on the inside rail. This was really good form with the likes of Fresh (9th) , Summerghand (5th) & Mr Wagyu (4th) all winning feature handicaps subsequently. Jumby who was 3rd has subsequently won 2 Group races. On this type of form line there wouldn’t be much between First Folio and Mr Wagyu but the latter was right up against this nearside and might not have as much chance of improving his position compared to First Folio.