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Gary O’Brien Betway blog: Royal Ascot Saturday 18 June

17 Jun | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Gary O’Brien Betway blog: Royal Ascot Saturday 18 June

In the last of his daily Betway blogs during Royal Ascot 2022, the Irish racing broadcaster previews all seven races on Saturday.

It’s been a great week so far. I hope you’ve all managed to back some winners that I’ve put up here.


Saturday starts with The Chesham Stakes and a horse that everyone is looking forward to seeing is Alfred Munnings {ODDS:951803987:1/1}. He really does look like he could be a good horse. The stable has a great record in this race and the vibes are very strong. He went off at 8/11 on his debut, so they know what they had from his work at home. He’s odds-on, so he’s not a major betting proposition, but he’s favourite for the 2000 Guineas and the Derby next season already and those prices will go if he wins this.


Star Girls Aalmal {ODDS:951804084:7/1} ran very well in the Irish1000 Guineas, finishing just behind Tuesday, who went on to win the Oaks at Epsom. She didn’t get the clearest of runs towards the end of the race, so you could mark her run up slightly. I’m not sure she truly saw out the mile, so the drop back to 7f is going to be a positive for her. Billy Lee is leading the Irish Jockeys Championship at the moment, so the fact he’s gone over to ride is another tick in the box.


Hurricane Lane is the best horse in the race in the Hardwicke. He progressed with each run and won an Irish Derby and the St Leger and was placed in the Derby at Epsom and an Arc. He’s just a very short price for his first run of the year. At a fancy price, Layfayette {ODDS:951803965:16/1} is a horse I do like. He’s been better than ever this season and comes into the race on a real roll. There might even be a little more to come from home over this trip and I suspect he’ll be ridden to pounce late.


The Platinum Jubilee is just crazy. It’s ultra-competitive. While you’d have to have maximum respect for the international runners, particularly after what Nature Strip did on Tuesday, I do like the credentials of Sacred {ODDS:951804022:11/1} for Williams Haggas. She’s won first time out for the past two seasons and has untapped potential as a sprinter. It’s interesting that they’ve brought her back as a four-year-old. She’s already won a Group Two, so would have good value at stud, but they must feel like she could win a Group 1.


I have to say, 28-runner fiercely competitive handicap sprints are just not my bag, so it’ll be a watching brief for me in the Wokingham Stakes.


The Golden Gates is another competitive race and while you could make a case for plenty, Falling Shadow {ODDS:951804217:11/2} won well enough last time out to suggest there might be more to come.


The final race of the week all revolves around Trueshan. He was made a non-runner in the Gold Cup on Thursday as he would much prefer some cut in the ground, but if the forecast isn’t totally correct, and Ascot misses the rain, you’d think he’s unlikely to run. In which case, Falcon Eight {ODDS:951803720:5/1}, who gets his conditions, is the one to side with. He was a disappointing favourite in the race last year, but he wouldn’t be the first horse to run badly one year and run well in another. He’s a full brother to this year’s Gold Cup winner Kyprios, so you’d think he’d have no issue staying. He’s won a Chester Cup and ran well in it this year, so I’d be confident that stamina wouldn’t be an issue. Tom Marquand is an also an eye-catching booking.

Down Royal on Saturday

It’s Ulster Derby Day at Down Royal. It’s a competitive card but I’ve found three I like the look of.


Onameridance {ODDS:951872924:SP} is a horse I’ve been watching for a while. I think she’s handicapped to win now, and this longer trip could bring out some more improvement in her. There is a slight worry about the track as Down Royal wouldn’t be every horse’s cup of tea.


Gradulations {ODDS:951872799:SP} should also go very well. She was second on his penultimate start to a good filly of Johnny Murtagh’s before being hammered in the betting when she got off the mark at Sligo last time. Ben Coen is a good jockey booking and I expect the pair to go close.


I narrowed the field down to three in the Ulster Derby, but I’ve landed on Shajak {ODDS:951868651:SP}, who won nicely when stepped up in trip last time out. On his previous run in a maiden, he finished behind Cougar and now he has to give him weight, so it’ll be no easy task, but I do think he improved for the extra distance.

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