Royal Ascot. Both as a trainer and simply a horseracing fan it’s a title which never fails to excite.
Five days of top sport, a great social event, and all held at a special place which happily for us isn’t a million miles from home.
One of my very best racing memories came at this fixture, with Yeats completing a Gold Cup treble for the Aidan O’Brien team between 2007 and 2009.
As a horse he remains one of my all-time favourites, an opinion I expect plenty of you reading this will agree with. Hard as nails, totally unfazed by the big stage, and ridden by two legends in Mick Kinane and Johnny Murtagh.
There is some pressure of a different variety though, since the FansBet team have challenged me to come up with a charity bet selection on behalf of their partners at Racing Welfare for each of the five days.
So, no hanging about, let’s go for the jugular in the opening race of the meeting with something in the Queen Anne Stakes (2.30pm).
You can make a strong case for several of these, but the one I really like is Karl Burke’s Laurens.
Solid and consistent, as a filly she gets a valuable three pounds from the boys, and with a run under her belt when finishing second behind Mustashry (but in front of some of her reopposing rivals) in the Lockinge last time out, she can improve for that and get them at it here.
She was having a good blow in the paddock afterwards at Newbury the last day, suggesting she’d come on a good bit for the run.
What’s more, of her seven career wins five have come at the highest level. Incredible.
Her rating of 117 is justified and I won’t be at all surprised if she has the edge on this occasion.
I could play safe and go for an each way pick, but this is for charity and hopefully FansBet will have to dig deep and send a nice big juicy cheque to Racing Welfare just after lunch.
£100 on the nose please!
Elsewhere, the big race of the day is a cracker at 4.20pm with Phoenix Of Spain up against Too Darn Hot again.
I know he wasn’t quite good enough at York or the Curragh, but there’s plenty of confidence here in Newmarket about Too Darn Hot bouncing back to winning ways, so I’ll stick with him in the feature to be a locally trained winner.
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*odds subject to change.