Wednesday at Royal Ascot: Garrity picks the Queen Mary, Queen's Vase, Duke of Cambridge, and Prince of Wales
Wednesday is Day 2 at the Royal Ascot meeting, and once again, there’s an excellent lineup of world-class stakes racing. The weather is supposed to be ideal, warm, sunny, and dry, and the Ascot turf course good to firm. There’s fun to be had, and money to be made, so let’s go.
Royal Ascot, Race 1, 9:30 am ET
Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes, 5 furlongs, Turf, 2-Year-Old Fillies
A mammoth field of 22 lines up for the Queen Mary. We’ve not been overly fond of late of trainer Wesley Ward’s Ascot runners, but he has one here we quite fancy: it’s 19-Twilight Gleaming, an Irish-bred filly who broke her maiden at Belmont Park on May 9. She did so in eye-popping fashion, running a very quick time and winning by an easy 7 ½ lengths; we like the way she looked in that race, and we also like that the going at Ascot will be very similar to the Belmont turf course over which she ran so well last out. We will bet her to win at 3-1. The bet: Ascot, Race 1, $40 to win on 19-Twilight Gleaming.
Royal Ascot, Race 2, 10:05 am ET
Group 2 Queen’s Vase Stakes, 1 ¾ miles, Turf, 3-Year-Olds
The Queen’s Vase is for 3-year-old stayers, and it drew fourteen who will line up to traverse the mile and three-quarters distance. We like 3-Dancing King, who has won four in a row, the last two on turf, and who showed in the grass races that he likes firmer going, and that he can more than handle this marathon distance. He should be in the middle of the pack early, moving into contention nearing the final turn, and be closing very strongly in the race’s latter stages. We will bet him to win at 10-1. The bet: Ascot, Race 2, $35 to win on 3-Dancing King.
Royal Ascot, Race 3, 10:40 am ET
Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
Female turf milers, thirteen of them, take the stage in the Duke of Cambridge. We like 6-Double or Bubble, who has just four career starts, but she’s won the last three of them, including her last at Newmarket, when she was extremely impressive winning a handicap race (the rough equivalent to an American allowance race) by nearly four lengths and in very fast time. She’s a lightly raced 4-year-old filly; she seems to be rounding into top form; she will thrive on the firm turf; and though she’s stretching out from the 7 furlongs of her last start to a mile here, we think the additional distance will not be a problem. We will bet her to win at 12-1. The bet: Ascot, Race 3, $35 to win on 6-Double or Bubble.
Royal Ascot, Race 4, 11:20 am ET
Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes, 1 ¼ miles, Turf, 4 & Up
The highlight of the day, and one of the highlights of the meet, is the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, one of the top races all year in Europe. The entry sheet for the 2021 edition might seem a little bit disappointing at first glance, as only six line up, but the quality of the field more than makes up for the smallish size. An indication of that is the fact that 5-Audarya, who won the Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Keeneland in November, is an outsider at 12-1 on the morning line.
We think the biggest impact that field size will have on the race is pace: with a field this size, the early fractions have a tendency to be slow, and that trend will be exacerbated by the fact that most of the runners prefer to come from well behind. We see the early pace being so soft that it will favor the horses on or near it, and compromise the chances of the closers. That makes the pick 1-Armory, a 4-year-old Irish-bred Coolmore colt, trained by Aidan O’Brien, who will either make the early lead or sit just off it, and who from that tactically advantageous position should be very, very tough. He comes into this in good form, having won a Group 2 at Chester in his seasonal debut a month ago, and seems to stamp himself a world-class 10 furlong grass horse. We will bet him to win at 3-1, and we will do so enthusiastically. The bet: Ascot, Race 4, $50 to win on 1-Armory.
That’s all for Day 2 at Royal Ascot. We will be back tomorrow, so in the meantime, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.