Friday at Royal Ascot: Garrity picks the Albany, King Edward VII, Commonwealth Cup, and Coronation Cup
The racing has been terrific at Royal Ascot meeting so far this week, and while winners have been hard to come by, at least for us, there have been enough near-misses that we think that it’s just a matter of time until things start to click.
And Friday, the penultimate day of the meeting, is a good place for that to happen, as the races themselves are superb, a great lineup of top-notch stakes. And conditions will be slightly different, as well, as some rain fell in England Thursday, and more, perhaps quite a bit more, may fall on Friday. It shouldn't be enough to cause a drastic change to the Ascot turf course, but the grass should be just a bit less firm, should have just a bit more cut to it, than it has so far this week. We’re expecting the turf to be something like good, rather than the good to firm of the last few days. And with that out of the way, let’s go.
Royal Ascot, Race 1, 9:30 am ET
Group 3 Albany Stakes, 6 furlongs, Turf, 2-Year-Old Fillies
A field of 15 juvenile fillies lines to dash six furlongs in the Albany. We’ve been paying close attention to the post positions in these straightaway races, the ones that are not run around a turn, as in the first three days the inside has seemingly been a very slightly better place to be. When fields split into two packs in these races, as they frequently do, the horses on the inside group, the one farther away from the grandstand, seem to do a bit better than the group on the outside.
We mention that because we like a filly here, 3-Elliptic, who has drawn inside. She has run twice, both times in her native Ireland, and the way that she ran those races, particularly her last, which was just two weeks ago, makes us think that she is poised for a big jump forward. She will be helped by running on the better part of the track, and at 12-1, that makes her an attractive wagering candidate. We will bet her to win. The bet: Ascot, Race 1, $30 to win on 3-Elliptic.
Royal Ascot, Race 2, 10:05 am ET
Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes, 1 ½ miles, Turf, 3-Year-Olds
Eight go in the King Edward VII. The hot favorite is 2-Alenquer, a William Haggas trainee, who won his seasonal debut at Sandown in April. He’s favored on merit, and could certainly win, but at 3/2 on the morning line, and probably a shorter price when the gates open, he looks like an underlay, and a bet-against.
We like 8-Yibir. His form is a mixed bag, with some races better than others, but one common thread in nearly all his starts is a tendency to be headstrong, an inability to relax, especially during a race’s early stages. Trainer Charlie Appleby has addressed that by gelding him since he last ran, and we think that he will run much better as a result. That makes him very dangerous, as he was good before, and we think he will be even better in his first start after the ultimate equipment change. We will bet him to win at 6-1. The bet: Ascot, Race 2, $35 to win on 8-Yibir.
Royal Ascot, Race 3, 10:40 am ET
Group 1 Commonwealth Cup Stakes, 6 furlongs, Turf, 3-Year-Olds
Twenty 3-year-old colts look to line up for the Commonwealth Cup. We like 3-Dragon Symbol, who is just a nose away from being undefeated in five career starts. He is fast; he is in good form, and he should relish the going, as two starts back, he won over ground similar to what he should see today. We will bet him to win at 6-1. The bet: Ascot, Race 3, $40 to win on 3-Dragon Symbol.
Royal Ascot, Race 4, 11:20 am ET
Group 1 Coronation Cup, 1 mile, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies
The headliner for the Friday card at Ascot is the Coronation Cup, which drew a field of thirteen. We can’t get past favored 6-Mother Earth, who comes from the powerful Aidan O’Brien barn, and who won the 1,000 Guineas two starts back, and was a very good second in a Group 1 race at Longchamps in Paris last month. O’Brien has had a quiet Ascot meet so far, but Mother Earth seems likely to change that, as she looks to be absolutely world-class, especially at this mile distance and over this kind of ground, and she comes into this race in superb form. She simply looks the best; we will bet her to win at 7/2. The bet: Ascot, Race 4, $50 to win on 6-Mother Earth.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.