Royal Ascot overview
Cape Blanco's presence in the Queen Anne at 2.30 adds an extra high-class horse to the mix...
Graham Cunningham will be glued to the action from the TVG pitch this week and outlines his best angles in all six races.
It's unlikely you need me to remind you that the very best races don't always throw up the best betting opportunities.
That's certainly the case in the two main events at Ascot this Tuesday, but it's as well to cover the Queen Anne and the St James's Palace Stakes before moving on to four big races which might well offer more attractive punting angles.
Cape Blanco's presence in the Queen Anne at 2.30 adds an extra high-class horse to the mix and should ensure the big two can't just watch each other, but even so this does have the look of a momentous match.
And the market looks to have things about right. My heart is with the mighty Goldikova. My head says Canford Cliffs might nail her late. And my pocket says simply watch and enjoy what will surely be a humdinger.
Using a little flex looks the key to chiselling a profit from the St James's Palace at 3.45.
Timeform rate Frankel's thunderous Guineas success as one of the single greatest performances ever seen and I would be elated to see a similar virtuoso display from a colt whose unbeaten streak of six has been gained by a grand total of 36 lengths.
I've no plans to raise my blood pressure by risking three thousand to win one. But I do feel the fast-improving Excelebration has the potential to outrun his long odds.
And I might just be tempted into a place lay of Wootton Bassett given that he's drawn wide again and in for a very tough shift if he bangs heads with Frankel on the front end.
Now to four compelling supporting races, starting with the King's Stand Stakes at 3.05.
History shows that a good foreign sprinter tends to be more than a match for the best British and Irish five furlong horses and there are several strong options here.
Aussie raider Star Witness has cornered most of the headlines in the run up to this year's renewal, but I took an each way view on Bridgetown at 20-1 last week and even at a slightly shorter price now Todd Pletcher's colt still appeals as being over priced.
Granted, Bridgetown has a few pounds to find on Timeform figures, but he has tons of speed and might be the sort to relish tracking the pace on a straight track instead of blasting round a bend.
In short, he looks a live longshot, but I'm much less keen on Overdose and Monsieur Chevalier and will look to take them on for small stakes in the place market.
Paddock clues are usually valuable for Ascot's juvenile races so I'll keep it brief on the Coventry Stakes at 4.25 and the Windsor Castle Stakes at 5.35.
Mezmaar looked an ideal Coventry contender on his Haydock debut but stall 1 could be problematic in a race where Power and Fulbright also loom large.
St Barths offers place lay mileage in the same race, while, the exciting Frederick Engels and the awkward-looking Huma Bird look a suitable back and place lay combination in the finale.
Last but not least on day one, it's well worth delving into the Ascot Stakes at 5.00 with a view to the tactical shape of the race.
First impressions suggest this could be a very demanding test featuring a posse of proven front runners including Ermyn Lodge, Alsadaa, Becausewecan and Australia Day.
That could make life tricky for last year's impressive winner Junior, but Zigato, Veiled and Ashbrittle could profit from a searching gallop.
All three are unexposed stayers with plenty to recommend them, but Ermyn Lodge looks vulnerable here despite his fine Ascot record and I suspect I'll be looking to take him on for a place from his wide draw.