Royal Ascot Lucky 15: Back big-price Ballydoyle and Buick hopes

We’ve made it to Friday of Royal Ascot with a modicum of variety – Ryan Moore hasn’t quite managed to win every race, and America, France and Norway have all been represented in the winners’ enclosure thus far.

Here at, we’ve been marking your card during the week with a Lucky 15 everyday.

Friday’s offering is a little different, in that it features one ‘hotpot’ and three picks likely to go off at double-figure prices. Whether to back each-way or not is all part of the risk…

14:30, Albany Stakes – Fireglow

Trainer/jockey combination Mark Johnston and William Buick have already had a handsome winner so far this week with Buratino in Tuesday’s Coventry Stakes, and in a race with little form to go on, this son of Teofilo will go off at a meaty each-way price.

Fireglow is unbeaten, having won an eight-runner maiden on debut, seeing off 11/10 favourite Lil’s Joy into fifth by 5½l at Catterick.

Considering that runner had previously gotten to within 5l of Buratino on debut, this Johnson two-year-old must be in with a shout.

15:05, King Edward VII Stakes – Father Christmas

Moore may have signalled Ol’ Man River’s Ballydoyle superiority in this Derby-distance Group 2, but it’s hard to place too much trust in a horse that has finished second-last and last in his past couple of runs.

Father Christmas, the mount of Aidan O’Brien’s son Joseph, seems to be going in the opposite direction, having won an 11-runner, 1m2½f race at Roscommon after only just going down to defeat on seasonal reappearance at Leopardstown in April.

O’Brien junior was aboard for both those runs, and while he has Moore’s mount and likely favourite Stravagante, for Michael Stoute and Frankie Dettori, to contend with, Father Christmas can’t be ruled out.

15:40, Commonwealth Cup – Hootenanny

Last season’s Windsor Castle Stakes winner has given trainer Wesley Ward a number of grand days out since, winning the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf under Dettori eight months ago, prior to a 1/10 stroll at Keeneland in April in preparation for his Berkshire return.

Moore is already on his way to rewriting the Royal Ascot record books, with seven winners thus far at the time of writing, so Ward, whose two-year-old Acapulco mopped up yesterday’s Queen Mary Stakes, should feel confident.

5.00, Duke of Edinburgh Stakes – Gold Trail

Another for Buick is tentatively tipped up in this 19-runner handicap, where the Norwegian rides for his principal Godolphin gaffer Charlie Appleby.

Gold Trail has missed out on finishing third or better just three times in 13 career runs, winning three of five races this year, twice over this 1m4f distance, though admittedly on the All-Weather.

Half of the past six winners of this race have carried within 2lbs of Gold Trail’s current load to victory, with eight of the past 10 doing so at the same age as Appleby’s inmate.

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

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Iain Houten

Iain has been contributing pieces to various websites on an array of subjects, including sports, politics and art, for over four years. Despite blue being his favourite colour, the teams he supports all wear red.