Royal Ascot day one tips: Yoshida (16/1) and Wooton (7/1)

Royal Ascot kicks off on Tuesday with a large field in the Queen Anne Stakes, where Lockinge winner Rhododendron heads the betting from Dubai Turf and last year’s Hampton Court Stakes winner Benbatl.

It’s a competitive race with 15 runners and not too much towards the top of the market to get excited about on value grounds, so a long-odds play might be wise with no shortage of options.

We’ll focus the words on the ones we like most and the eye is drawn to Limato at 20/1, despite all previous attempts at a mile being disappointing.

There are two lines of thought with this horse: either you buy into the long list of excuses offered by connections for previous disappointments at the trip, concluding he’s overpriced, or you suspect this is simply not his trip and he’s past his best aged six.

A high pollen count was given as the reason for his Lockinge flop and I’m inclined to believe that one, given others were withdrawn or ran poorly that weekend with the same excuse offered.

His Ascot form is very strong and his form over seven furlongs at Chantilly, Doncaster and Newmarket does suggest a mile is within his compass, so with his favoured fast ground and no obvious reason to believe he won’t run his race, I can’t see many negatives to argue against his 20/1 quotes.

The big negative is his draw, though, as he’s on the opposite side of the track to Deauville, the likely pacemaker for Rhododendron, whose connections will probably not fancy doing the other side of the track any favours, meaning two groups is a possibility and Limato looks right up against it on the wrong side.

Visualising the run of the race could reveal the value, which suggests the strong staying American raider YOSHIDA as the answer.

Drawn perfectly between Rhododendron and Deauville, he’s going to have plenty of pace to run at and will appreciate this stiff Ascot mile.

His domestic form could well be a cut above this lot as he beat last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile second to Grade 1 glory earlier this season and the current crop of older milers in northern Europe looks well below average.

As a 16/1 shot, any doubts about his ability to handle the straight mile look well accounted for in his price, and I’m particularly taken by the fact his connections are having another go after their runner flopped in this race last year.

They were quoted claiming they wouldn’t come back without the right horse so his participation looks a tip in itself.

1pt win Yoshida @16/1, 14:30 Royal Ascot, Tuesday

Next up is a brilliant renewal of the Coventry Stakes, the first big juvenile race of the calendar with an interesting sub plot regarding the represented sires.

Ascot top-dog Scatt Daddy – who sadly died a few years ago meaning this is the last crop of his juveniles we’ll see – takes on his son and first-season sire No Nay Never as well as fellow debutant to the breeding ranks, 2015’s wonder-horse Kingman.

The Coolmore-Scatt Daddy-Ryan Moore combo has surely sucked the juice out of race favourite Sergei Prokofiev’s price, and similar comments apply to John Gosden’s Kingman colt CALYX, who looked simply awesome when obliterating his maiden a few weeks ago.

I would want to be drawn close to Calyx because he looked explosive in his maiden and could be allowed to blast off on his side of the track, which is the opposite to the favourite’s.

In fact, I simply wouldn’t want to oppose Calyx as he just looked a superstar in waiting and can get Kingman’s stallion career off to a flyer.

The No Nay Never colt Cosmic Law appealed most at odds of 14/1, but my concern with him is he looks to want a trip and this race will be all about speed – so even though there are some absurd prices being quoted about most of this field, it’s probably not a betting race to be honest.

Similar comments apply to the King’s Stand Stakes, where last year’s winner LADY AURELIA would be a lazy selection to repeat the feat.

I can’t help but remember Lady Aurelia was several times the price in a softer renewal last season, so I simply can’t make a case for her on value grounds despite fancying her chances the most of all.

Her straightforwardness and course form make her a more solid bet than her market rival Battaash, who is just as likely to throw his race away in the starting stalls as he is win by a handful of lengths.

There’s no guarantee he’ll be on best behaviour and he’s simply not big enough in the betting to back with any confidence, so it’s another race best watched if you’re keen on making money long-term.

Fortunately, the St James’ Palace Stakes looks a mess of a betting market with Without Parole somehow claiming favouritism over a host of proven Group One performers.

11/4 is a laughable price for John Gosden’s colt and I would be surprised if Irish Guineas winner Romanised was as good as that Classic victory suggested either, so there must be a bet elsewhere.

There’s a strong argument for Tip Two Win being the form horse in the race after his excellent second in the English Guineas, which has been franked by three of the first four home in the Derby coming from first five home at Newmarket.

A sober form stance would make him a good bet at odds of 5/1, so don’t let me put you off – it’s just I am very keen on the French raider WOOTON at 7/1.

We can put a line through his French 2000 Guineas run as the pace collapsed courtesy of a slip from the leader mid-race, and Wooton pulled himself to the front when he should have been switched off.

Basically he can’t of been seen to his best that day yet wasn’t beaten far, and I’m taking his participation at Ascot as a tip that any suggestion he’s a mudlark is nonsense – after all, his sire Wooton Basset loved fast ground.

He would otherwise be unbeaten and still remains a colt of serious promise, while I’m really encouraged by the big shout out Ryan Moore has given him in his Betfair column, as he’s a very shrewd judge.

1pt win Wooton @7/1, 16:20 Royal Ascot, Tuesday

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