The major races at Ascot on Thursday run the spectrum of Flat racing, from the speediest juveniles in the Norfolk to the doughty stayers in the Gold Cup. Racing Post betting editor Keith Melrose provides bets for the first half of the card.
Bakeel @ 9/1
Surrey Mist @ 16/1
Mukaddamah @ 13/2
Kyprios @ 13/8
Andrew Balding has upped his game with two-year-olds in recent years. He won the Windsor Castle in 2020, the Coventry and Albany last year and now he takes aim at the Norfolk with BAKEEL.
This colt, whose sire won this race, has been saved for Royal Ascot since making a winning debut at the track seven weeks ago. He beat experienced rivals that day, most of whom have improved since, so it is notable that he was able to overcome his lack of a previous run to come out on top.
Balding's other recent two-year-old winners at the meeting came in off a similar prep, winning a maiden before taking a short break. It is fair to assume that Bakeel has been laser-targeted at this race and that all has gone to plan.
Placed horses in the London Gold Cup have the best record in the King George V handicap and SURREY MIST who was just touched off by Israr at Newbury, seems to have been overlooked in the market here.
He came from further back than the winner in the London Gold Cup and clearly shaped as though an extra couple of furlongs would suit, which is what he gets now.
Surrey Mist is already outstaying his pedigree, unlike Israr whose dam won the Oaks, but at double the price he looks the more rational bet.
The Ribblesdale has a small field, six being the lowest turnout for years, but it is an open renewal.
That being so, it is not unreasonable to look at those at slightly bigger odds and MUKADDAMAH fits the bill.
She started her career in January, with a win, before being given a break. She had her third run, which was necessary to be eligible for this race, in a Listed event at Newbury.
Oaks third Nashwa won, recent Listed winner Stay Alert was second, Mukaddamah was a promising third and everything else was more than 10 lengths behind.
With more improvement expected, including for this trip, she deserves to be given more respect by the betting.
Three-time winner Stradivarius had to settle for fourth in last year's Gold Cup and it looks like he may be bound for minor honours once again.
New rival KYPRIOS has looked pretty outstanding in two runs this season and appears primed to take the natural next step on the path to becoming a champion stayer.
He confirmed his place as the division's big new talent when winning a Listed race from Search For A Song at Navan in April and then beat an admittedly weak Group 3 field by 14 lengths last time.
His style is likely to take eight-year-old Stradivarius out of his comfort zone.
What: Royal Ascot Day Three
Where: Ascot, Berkshire
When: 2.30 to 6.10
How to watch: bet365's Sports Live Streaming, ITV and Sky Sports Racing