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Royal Ascot day one tips: Peerless Palace Pier to start Royal Ascot with a bang?

| 03.06.2021

Royal Ascot likes to start with a bang with three of its biggest races on the first day of the five day meeting.

And what a bang there promises to be as running in the very first race, the Queen Anne Stakes, is Palace Pier, not just the top miler in Europe but on official rankings right now the best racehorse in the world.

It may seem strange to have a feature like the Queen Anne kicking off proceedings, rather than pushed further back into the schedule but it has become tradition and Royal Ascot is all about tradition.

Plus there are other races to feed the appetite with two other Group 1s on the card, the King’s Stand Stakes, featuring none other than Battaash, and the St James’s Palace Stakes for three-year-olds.

With the Coventry Stakes, Royal Ascot’s signature two-year-old race, also on the line-up, Tuesday is often regarded as the best day of the meeting.

ITV is doing its bit by showing every race on terrestrial TV for the first time, spreading the coverage across the main channel and ITV4.

It all unfolds from 13:30pm on ITV before the racing moves to ITV4 at 15:55pm and we have previewed the three most significant races of the day in our Royal Ascot day one tips.

14:30 – Queen Anne Stakes

All expectations are that Palace Pier, beaten only once in eight races, will extend his record in this mile race up the Ascot straight.

The four-year-old produced a stunning display in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and is such a short price he is pretty much unbackable.

It would be a huge shock if he were defeated. Then again the ground will be much quicker than it was at Newbury and at Ascot there is decent opposition in the form of Breeders’ Cup Mile first and third Order Of Australia and Lope Y Fernandez, and former race winners Lord Glitters and Accidental Agent.

Lord Glitters, the winner two years ago, could be the best each-way value. He finished 12 lengths behind Palace Pier at Newbury, running on when it was all too late, but Ascot is his favourite track and he showed in Dubai this winter that he is still a Group 1 performer.

15:40 – King’s Stand Stakes

Battaash returns for his first start since August last year when he completed a brief, but unbeaten campaign in the Nunthorpe Stakes. That campaign also included a first success in this race, a prize which had twice eluded him.

Soft ground and then an injury over the winter have kept him off the track until now. He managed to win this race first time out last year so lack of a run should not count against him but as he is coming back from an injury, if he is going to be vulnerable, this could be the time.

Among his new opponents is Winter Power, a sprinter very much on the rise. She made a very impressive start to the season when she won a Listed race by three lengths at York in May. The horse in second was Atalis Bay who won the Scurry Stakes at Sandown on Saturday. As a three-year-old filly Winter Power receives 10lb from Battaash and in the end that could prove decisive.

16:20 – St James’s Palace Stakes

Classic form should count. A race which regularly lures the winners of the 2000 Guineas, Irish 2000 Guineas and French equivalent hasn’t delivered this time but we have got the next best – a horse that ran in all three!

Poetic Flare won the Newmarket Classic, finished sixth at ParisLongchamp and lost out in a photo-finish to his own stablemate at the Curragh. There isn’t any better form on offer than that and, against a field containing plenty of colts who have something to prove, he can win.

Lucky Vega, who was a staying-on third in the 2000 Guineas, was fancied to turn the tables at the Curragh but he was a disappointment, seeming to take an age to get into top gear, and when he did it was too late. A repeat of that won’t help him here.

Having ridden Wembley in two Classics, Ryan Moore deserts him for Battleground, while Frankie Dettori rides another 2000 Guineas flop Thunder Moon. Chindit ran far better than both then when fifth at Newmarket and could be the best each-way value.

ITV Racing Schedule, Tuesday, 15th June

14:30 Ascot – Queen Anne Stakes

15:05 Ascot – Coventry Stakes

15:40 Ascot – King’s Stand Stakes

16:20 Ascot – St James’s Palace Stakes

17:00 Ascot – Ascot Stakes

17:35 Ascot – Wolferton Stakes

18:10 Ascot – Copper Horse Stakes

View the latest horse racing odds.

All odds and markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Jonathan Lees