It’s hardly surprising to see Ryan Moore as the prohibitively priced 2/5 favourite to retain his top jockey title at Royal Ascot, after the Brighton boy reigned supreme in two of the past three renewals of the Flat racing campaign’s spectacle.
Moore managed as much last summer without being number one jockey at Ballydoyle, and he’ll have the pick of Aidan O’Brien’s runners in Berkshire, plus rides for fancied John Gosden, Michael Stoute and Willie Mullins charges, such as 1/1 Duke of Cambridge Stakes favourite Integral.
History suggests he’s no sure thing to end the week as top dog though, as the jockey title has been taken by men who won five, four, and five Royal Ascot races over the past three years, so a quickfire double or treble from an outsider, which can’t be ruled out, would leave Moore with a lot to do.
Looking back in the field, equine luminaries such as Richard Hughes and Frankie Dettori, at 6s and 7s respectively, have to enter calculations, as the former is laden with decent chances for Richard Hannon, while the latter picks up fancied rides on Stoute, Gosden and Marco Botti’s runners, among others.
Conversely, Pat Smullen looks a poor price at 7/1, as trainer Dermot Weld has a less-than-stellar record at Royal Ascot, where his best hope, 2/1 Gold Cup favourite Forgotten Rules, might not even run if the ground is too quick.
The value may lie with Godolphin-retained rider William Buick, who will go on a range of smart animals for Hannon, Charlie Appleby and others, as well as US raider California Chrome, currently priced up at 8/1 for the Prince of Wales’ stakes.
Buick, a 14/1 shot for top jockey, has plenty of Royal Ascot previous, with five winners in 2012 seeing him lose to Moore, who clocked the same tally, on countback of placed horses.
Crucially for this bet, two of his 2012 wins came within an hour and a half of each other, with the first a short-priced favourite and the second a double-digit outsider, so we know the young Norwegian is capable of putting pressure on his more experienced rivals.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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