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2017 Royal Ascot tips - Race-by-race selections for Tuesday's opening day of the Royal Meeting at Ascot

Racingbase Staff in UK Racing 19 Jun 2017
Royal Ascot gets underway on Tuesday with a top-class six-race fixture which features three Group One contests.

Brian Healy gives his race-by-race selections for the opening day of the Royal Meeting at Ascot.

The first day of the top-class 2017 Royal Ascot Festival kicks off on Tuesday, and the fantastic showpiece of the flat-racing season will be covered in its’ entirety on ITV Racing from day one on Tuesday through the fifth and final day on Saturday.

Boasting six cracking races to kick off Tuesday’s proceedings, the action gets underway at 2.30pm with the Group One Queen Anne Stakes, while two further Group One contests in the shape of the St James’s Palace Stakes and the King’s Stand Stakes add further spice to a top-class afternoon.

2:30 - Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m ITV
3:05 - Coventry Stakes (Group 2) Cl1 (2yo) 6f ITV
3:40 - King's Stand Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series And Global Sprint Challenge) Cl1 (3yo+) 5f ITV
4:20 - St James's Palace Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Entire Colts) Cl1 (3yo) 7f213y ITV
5:00 - Ascot Stakes (A Handicap) Cl2 (4yo+ 0-100) 2m3f210y ITV
5:35 - Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed Race) Cl1 (2yo) 5f ITV

All six races will be shown live on ITV Racing with Ed Chamberlain and the team giving their expert insights, tips and analysis of the day’s action; and we have tips of our own, as Brian Healy takes a look at the day one racecard.

2:30 - Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m ITV

It is difficult to escape the claims of Richard Fahey’s Ribchester in this contest, with the recent Lockinge winner likely to prove hard to beat.

He is arguably the best miler in Europe right now, and while he is sure to go close there could be some value in taking him on with LIGHTNING SPEAR who has a few lengths to make up on their Lockinge encounter, and David Simcock’s charge has already been bested by Richard Fahey’s charge on more than one occasion.

The Pivotal horse finished third in this contest twelve months ago, beaten just under two lengths behind Tepin, and although not seen at his best in a couple of subsequent runs he did produce a much better effort to win the Celebration Mile at Goodwood on his penultimate run last term prior to finishing third to Minding here in October in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes where he was just one length off Ribchester.

The pair locked horns again at Newbury last month, with Richard Fahey’s charge running out a decisive winner; however, he had had the benefit of an earlier run at Meydan, while the ground was plenty soft enough for David Simcock’s charge who has shown his best on quicker ground.

Sure to come on for that effort, he boasts solid claims back on a much quicker surface; while he will have to improve to beat Ribchester here, he looks a value alternative at the prices available to give the Fahey runner a race.


3:05 - Coventry Stakes (Group 2) Cl1 (2yo) 6f ITV

This contest usually throws up a good sort, and there are plenty of horses putting unbeaten records on the line. Not so HEADWAY who was beaten on his racecourse debut at Newbury in April, finishing a neck runner-up to Gold Town; but the Havana Gold colt stepped up on that experience to post an impressive success at Chester next time where he readily scored by three lengths from Knockout Blow.

That form might only be ordinary; but he showed a good turn of foot over the Roodeye course to overhaul the front pair before quickening away smartly in the style of a potentially smart performer.

This is considerably tougher, but he represents a yard which has enjoyed a good season and William Haggas will know what he has with the Havana Gold juvenile who is open to plenty of improvement. 

He will need to improve if he’s to lower the colours of some well-regarded types, but he looks the sort who is still learning and with the potential for better to come he could reward each-way backers at a tasty price.

3:40 - King's Stand Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series And Global Sprint Challenge) Cl1 (3yo+) 5f ITV

A cracking top-class sprint with several notable names in opposition, and MARSHA could well continue her rapid ascent towards the very top of the sprinting tree.

Sir Mark Prescott’s Acclamation filly was hugely progressive last term, winning Listed contests at Ayr and York prior to rounding off her season with an excellent win at Chantilly when taking the Group One Prix De L’Abbaye from Washington DC.

That was a typically strong renewal of that race, which also featured the likes of Mecca’s Angel, Profitable and other top-class sprinters in opposition. She had the same rival in arrears when successfully giving weight away on her return to action at Newmarket in May when posing a game effort to score in the Palace House Stakes.

That field included a few of these rivals; but with the prospect of further improvement to come on the back of that return to action then she could give fellow flying filly Lady Aurelia – who performance at this meeting twelve months ago was impressive – plenty to think about.

4:20 - St James's Palace Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Entire Colts) Cl1 (3yo) 7f213y ITV

This could well develop into a match between 2000 Guineas 1-2 Churchill and BARNEY ROY with narrow preference for the latter who could well have more to offer after just three starts.

Richard Hannon’s charge was impressive in winning his first two career starts, the second of which was a win at Newbury in the Greenham where he beat Dream Castle by two lengths having been heavily eased towards the line.

However, he bettered that run when finding only Aidan O’Brien’s charge too strong at Newmarket in the first colts’ Classic where he was beaten only one length.  He had to come between horses however, and with a clearer run through he may well have finished closer.

Nevertheless, it was an excellent effort against his top-class rival who has significantly more experience to call upon than the Godolphin runner; but open to further improvement in the wake of that run, and given he could still be learning after just three runs then he represents the value angle as a top-class prospect against the proven Ballydoyle runner who admittedly sets a stiff standard at this level.

5:00 - Ascot Stakes (A Handicap) Cl2 (4yo+ 0-100) 2m3f210y ITV

A competitive big-field handicap which can go the way of MAGIC CIRCLE who bounced back from a poor run in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at this meeting twelve months ago to score at York on his next outing; and Ralph Beckett’s charge continued in decent heart with good in-the-frame efforts in big field contests at Haydock and Leopardstown subsequently.

The Makfi gelding looked in need of the run at Kempton in April behind Blakeney Point, but stepped up on the run to post a creditable fifth in the Chester Vase next time behind Montaly where he was forced to race wide for much of the contest yet still was beaten just over two lengths.

He can build again on that promising run, and with the services of the red-hot Sylvestre De Sousa in the saddle for this latest outing it wouldn’t come as a huge shock to see him getting involved here.

5:35 - Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed Race) Cl1 (2yo) 5f ITV

Day one of Royal Ascot concludes with another big field contest, and while Wesley Ward’s runner Elizabeth Darcy is a very interesting runner, the vote goes to Godolphin runner ROUSSEL to step up on his debut win at Leicester three weeks ago.

Charlie Appleby’s Kodiac colt showed plenty of ability in that contest, and she would have won with greater authority had she not idled badly towards the finish when beating Demons Rock by three-parts of a length. That form looks ordinary, but there is a strong possibility that he is a good deal better than he showed there, and the experience gleaned in that run should bring him on considerably.

This will demand more, but open to plenty of progress he gets the vote to build on that debut success and he can follow up.



3:05 - HEADWAY

3:40 - MARSHA



5:35 - ROUSSEL 

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2017 Royal Ascot tips - Race-by-race selections for Tuesday's opening day of the Royal Meeting at Ascot

Brian Healy gives his race-by-race selections for the opening day of the Royal Meeting at Ascot.

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