Royal Ascot opens Tuesday for its 5-day run.
Royal Ascot opens Tuesday for its 5-day run.@Ascot on Twitter

Garrity's Tuesday Stakes from Royal Ascot picks the Queen Anne, Coventry, King's Stand, and St. James's Palace

First post of the meet is Tuesday at 9:30 am EDT.

We are back with a rare mid-week appearance, but it’s for a very good reason: Tuesday is the first installment of the five-day Royal Ascot meeting in England, and the racing, as it is here every year, will be absolutely world-class. We are old enough to remember when it was impossible to watch, let alone bet, on European racing, so we will note that it is an unmitigated improvement that is is now possible to watch these races live, in high definition, and that having a flutter on them is as easy as betting on a $5,000 claiming race at your local track.

Ascot today has four Group races, which are the Euro equivalent to graded stakes on this side of the pond, and they go off as the first four heats on the card. These are the races we will play. All of them are on grass, as is the norm in Europe, and we’re expecting the turf to be a bit firmer than normal for British racing: the ground at Ascot was rated good to firm on Monday morning, and with no rain in the forecast until midweek, it should stay that way. Let’s go.

Royal Ascot, Race 1, 9:30 am ET

Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 4 & Up

The hot favorite in the Queen Anne, among the eleven older horses lining up, is 6-Palace Pier, who has won seven of eight career starts, including this race last year, when he was a 3-year-old. It is just about impossible to find fault with his form, as he’s won both of his 2021 starts in dominating fashion, and he’s probably at his best on turf just like that which he will see here.

But while Palace Pier is overwhelmingly the likeliest winner, this is a gambling game, and there is nothing wrong with betting against a 2/5 shot, especially when there is a field this big. We will do so with 9-Regal Reality, a 6-year-old gelding whose form going back to 2019 is a mixed bag, but whose results have been much better over firmer rather than softer ground. We move him up in a big way due to the condition of the Ascot turf course, and we think that he just may have a puncher’s chance to spring an upset at a big number. He is trained by Sir Michael Stoute, one of the top conditioners in Europe, which is another plus. We will bet him to win at 20-1. The bet: Ascot, Race 1, $25 to win on 9-Regal Reality.

Royal Ascot, Race 2, 10:05 am ET

Grade 2 Coventry Stakes, 6 furlongs, Turf, 2-Year-Olds

The Coventry is a major stakes for juveniles, one of the earliest of the year, and it usually has a big field, as it does this year, with seventeen going to the post. Wesley Ward, an American trainer who has made a trip to Royal Ascot an annual tradition, is back with favored 17-Kaufymaker, a filly who won her lone start at Keeneland on April 15 in very impressive fashion. While she may win, for no other reason than Ward’s singular skill with 2-year-olds, we think she’s a play against, as her maiden win was on dirt, she has a pedigree that seems more oriented toward dirt than turf, and she will be taking on the boys here. Add it all up, and taking the relatively short price of 5/2 on her, in a field this size, is thoroughly unappealing. If Kaufymaker wins, we will tip our hat to her and to Wesley Ward, but our wagering dollars will be elsewhere.

We like 5-Dhabab. He has run only once, but it was a good one, a strong win in a maiden race at Leicester. It was run over a good to firm course that was very similar to what he will face here, and while the quicker turnaround might be a concern with another trainer -- Dhabab’s debut was just two weeks ago -- he is conditioned by John Gosden, who is as good a horseman as there is anywhere in the world. If Gosden thinks he’s ready for this spot, that’s good enough for us, and at 12-1, that makes Dhabab a very appealing play. We will bet him to win. The bet: Ascot, Race 2, $30 to win on 5-Dhabab.

Royal Ascot, Race 3, 10:40 am ET

Grade 1 King’s Stand Stakes, 5 furlongs, Turf, 3 & Up

In the King’s Sand, a field of sixteen will sprint a straightaway (no turns) five furlongs. Favored 2-Battaash is the pick, and a quite strong one: He is a 7-year-old gelding who finished second in this race last year, but has racked up five wins in six starts since, all of them Group races, with his only loss in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamps in Paris, where he foundered over boggy turf. The firmer going here will be absolutely perfect for him, and he consequently looks better than the rest of the field. We will bet him to win at 9/5. The bet: Ascot, Race 3, $40 to win on 2-Battaash.

Royal Ascot, Race 4, 11:20 am ET

Group 1 St. James’s Palace Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 3-Year-Olds

Thirteen sophomore colts line up for the St. James’s Palace, a cracking good race from both a wagering and sporting standpoint. The pick is 11-Poetic Flare, who won the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket last month, then finished sixth and second in Group 1 races at Longchamps and the Curragh in Ireland. Those two were both run over boggy ground, and coming back to the firmer turf that he prefers, Poetic Flare should be poised for a top effort. And as he showed at Newmarket, his top effort is very, very good. We will bet him to win at 4-1. The bet: Ascot, Race 4, $40 to win on 11-Poetic Flare.

That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.

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