Royal Ascot Lucky 15: Mullins and Moore scream handicap value

The best and the brightest animals in Flat racing converge on Berkshire for the summer’s top equine spectacle as Royal Ascot rolls on, 304 years after being founded by Queen Anne, with seven Group 1 races among the fare.

We’ll be marking your card during the week with a Lucky 15 everyday. Here’s Tuesday’s offering:

14.30, Queen Anne Stakes – Night of Thunder @ 5/1

French and Aussie raiders Solow and Able Friend take a huge bite out of this market at 6/4 and 2/1 respectively, but last year’s surprise 2,000 Guineas winner looks too good to miss at a backable price.

Six of the past eight winners of this race at least ran in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes a month previously, with three of the past six taking the laurels at Newbury, as Night Of Thunder did in May by a neck from stablemate Toormore.


Night Of Thunder and Toormore trainer Richard Hannon

Furthermore, three of the last six Queen Anne Stakes have gone to the Richard Hannon yard (two for senior, one for junior), so 5/1 about the same again holds plenty of appeal.

15.05, Coventry Stakes – Round Two @ 13/8

This Group 2 will be no penalty kick for Jim Bolger’s two-year-old, with Wesley Ward’s Finnegan, Mark Johnston’s Buratino and Aidan O’Brien’s Air Force Blue among the interesting challengers, but six of the past nine Coventry Stakes winners have gone off either favourite or co-favourite.

Jockey Kevin Manning also steered Round Two’s stablemate Dawn Approach to victory as 7/2 second-favourite three summers ago, and the son of Teofilo’s form going into this race is probably stronger, so Bolger’s boy has a lot going for him.

17.00, Ascot Stakes – Clondaw Warrior @ 7/1

Trainer/jockey combination Willie Mullins and Ryan Moore took this with Simenon in 2012, prior to the Marju gelding completing a Royal Ascot double in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at the end of the week, so Clondaw Warrior gets the upmost respect in Berkshire.

He sneaks in at second-bottom weight after an impressive jumps campaign, which saw Mullins’ inmate claim places at both the Cheltenham and Punchestown festivals, and looks like the County Carlow handler’s best hope of a Royal Ascot success this year.

17.35, Windsor Castle Stakes – Ruby Notion @ 6/1

American trainer Ward took this 5f dash last season with 7/2 shot Hootenanny, having scored six years ago thanks to 33/1 outsider Strike The Tiger.


Wesley Ward has become a fixture in the Royal Ascot winners’ enclosure

Joel Rosario gets the chance to become the third jockey to ride a Ward Windsor Castle Stakes winner, with unbeaten filly Ruby Notion set to carry 5lbs fewer than the 22 males in this 27-runner race, including O’Brien’s 9/2 favourite Washington DC.

She’ll probably make the running, as Ward’s sprinters tend to, and won’t be reeled in easily with less weight on board than most of the field.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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