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'He's my nap of the week' - Tom Segal answers your Royal Ascot questions

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Which race do you most look forward to at Royal Ascot? William Mackenzie

The first one, William. Watching the best horse in Europe, Palace Pier, in the Queen Anne (2.30 Tuesday).

Can you give me a couple of chances in the Coventry Stakes (3.05 Tuesday)? I had Castle Star and I'm looking for two more now he's out. Alan Whitty

Dhabab for John Gosden is one. He was a very fast breeze-up horse and looked good at Leicester on his debut. Angel Bleu is another one who could go well at a price. 

I wouldn't normally be saying this at that price, but Battaash looks big value to me in the King's Stand (3.40 Tuesday) – he's a shoo-in. Would you agree or are you keen to take him on? Kieran Catterson

I'll take him on given his well documented issues in the lead-up to the race, although he's clearly the best horse in it. However, Winter Power is very dangerous. Very fast ground is a concern but she's bred to like it.

Winter Power: shouldn't be inconvenienced by faster ground in the King's Stand


'The track is in lovely condition' – latest going for Royal Ascot


What is your opinion on the St James's Palace (4.20 Tuesday) and more specifically the Heron form? I like Highland Avenue. William Abey

The bar is not set too high; Highland Avenue and Moshtadaf are clearly right in the mix. Personally I could see Battleground bouncing back.

Who do you fancy in the Ascot Stakes (5.00 Tuesday)? Phillip Austen

Just Hubert is my main fancy at this stage, but Willie Mullins dominates these races and whatever he runs is clearly going to take a lot of beating.

What's Frankie's best ride and best outside chance? Will he make it three years in a row as top jockey? Carl Samuels

His best ride is definitely Palace Pier, the next best Stradivarius. I'm not sure if he'll ride Dhabab in the Coventry but if he does he would be on the list too. He must have every chance of being leading jockey again.

Do you bet each-way at Ascot? Desmond White

Very rarely, Desmond. I'd much prefer to split my stake and back two to win.

Do you think Lord North will defend his crown in the Prince of Wales's Stakes (4.20 Wednesday)? Dean Brannigan

Not unless the heavens open. I think he'll struggle to beat the Ballydoyle duo, Love and Armory. Of those two, Armory might just have a shot against Love given her absence.

Armory: could be well equipped to beat stablemate Love in the Prince of Wales's Stakes

Is there a more overpriced horse all week than Bounce The Blues in the Duke of Cambridge (3.40 Wednesday)? I'm a huge fan of the formlines involving Montatham and Top Rank and her last run was genuinely one of the unluckiest I've seen in ages. Ben Ridge

I like your thinking, Ben. Rain would be a big benefit to her, though. The form of her Lingfield run was given a big boost by Parent's Prayer at Epsom.

Is Lady Bowthorpe a good thing in the Duke of Cambridge (3.40 Wednesday) or was she flattered to finish so close to Palace Pier? Greg Livermore

I don't think she was flattered at all. Faster ground will suit her better and she is undoubtedly the one to beat. Posted is good too and she could be dangerous on quick ground.

The Hunt Cup (5.00 Wednesday) and the Wokingham (5.00 Saturday) are two of the best races all week if you ask me. Do you have a horse for each race at this stage? Paul Begley

I've backed Grove Ferry in the Hunt Cup. His Chester form is working out brilliantly well. As for the Wokingham, I think Summerghand will go well despite top weight if he runs in this race rather than the Diamond Jubilee. I thought he was the unluckiest loser of the whole week last year.


Our experts think you shouldn't dismiss these outsiders:

'He shouldn't be overlooked at 16-1' – five dark horses to note at Royal Ascot


Summerghand (right): reliable sprinter was very unlucky at the meeting last year

What do you make of Brentford Hope? A straight mile in the Hunt Cup and Jamie Spencer on board... Martin Rigby

I'm not sure, Martin. I love the Spencer angle but he's another who will need rain surely.

What's your best bet for the handicaps? Brian Kirton

I'm not sure about best bets yet but I'd keep an eye out for Kingmania in the Sandringham and Air To Air in the Britannia.

Do you have any general Royal Ascot advice, like trainers for certain races or races you like to just leave out? Ben Kocar

I'm a big jockeys and sires man. So Jamie Spencer and Hayley Turner are top of my list on the straight track, while Bated Breath has a good record at Ascot and is a sire I always highlight.

Do you believe that all-weather form translates particularly well to Ascot? Grant Stronach

It used to be a great angle, Grant, but everyone cottoned on to it so it's not something I'm too tuned into anymore.

How many winners does Wesley Ward bag? Steven Schofield

That's a hard one. One or two for sure but I wouldn't know which one, although he seems pretty enamoured by Kaufymaker.

I think Stradivarius (4.15 Thursday) should be odds-on after he was possibly one of the easiest winners of the whole season at Royal Ascot last year. Do you agree? Graham Murphy

Probably on fast ground, although if there was some give in the ground both Subjectivist and Trueshan would have good chances of beating him.

Trueshan (right) could run a big race in the Gold Cup if Ascot gets any rain

As someone who loves the challenge of punting on the big-field handicaps at Royal Ascot, is there any advice you could give to help me when trying to find the winners of these types of race? Paul Smith

I pay more attention to class, jockeys and pedigrees than most and much less to draws and pace, which seem impossible to predict most of the time.

I look for potential Group horses in the handicaps. Are you like me? Stew Molyneux

You'd be mad not to, Stew. That's just the same as saying that you're trying to find the best-handicapped horse in the race.

Do you agree that low-numbered horses in the big-field handicaps over the straight course might as well stay at home? Paul Brookes

Recently that has been the case but I would want to see a few races on the straight track before making that assumption as things can change very quickly. Newbury seemed to have a big bias up the middle but on Lockinge day the winners came up the stands' rail and those drawn low at Sandown on the sprint track haven't had the same advantage they used to recently.

Is there a two-year-old who has caught your eye? Alan Morris

Plenty, Alan. The Albany looks like being a cracker with Hello You and Flotus taking each other on. I'd marginally prefer Hello You at this stage.


Our juvenile judge David Baxter gives you the lowdown:

Royal Ascot two-year-old guide: the horses to watch in the six juvenile races


The turn of foot shown by Primo Bacio at York was visually very impressive and she seemed to beat a favourite with good claims from her run at Newbury. Do you fancy her for the Coronation Stakes (4.20 Friday)? David Pim

Very much so, David. I think her York win was the most impressive by a filly over a mile this season and by quite a long way too. Alcohol Free is better than she showed at Newmarket and might be the danger.

Primo Bacio: put up one of the most impressive performances of the season at Newbury

I really fancied Supremacy for the Commonwealth Cup (3.40 Friday) over the winter and he's drifted since he was wrong on his comeback run. Do you think he's value now? Michael Eason

I find it hard to fancy him on the back of what he showed here on his comeback, although he was well beaten on his debut as a two-year-old too.

The Commonwealth Cup (3.40 Friday) looks like one of the most competitive races at Royal Ascot. I like Dragon Symbol but who is your fancy? Nick Coley

Yes, I think he has a big chance back on good ground. I quite like Jumby, too, as the form of his Newmarket win is working out well.

I like Fivethousandtoone for the Commonwealth Cup (3.40 Friday), but he's going there first time out. How important do you think it is for horses to arrive in big races like this with a prep run? Cormac Flanagan

I much prefer a prep run. John Gosden always uses a prep run and I'm in his school for sure. 

Is Royal Ascot going the way of Cheltenham, being dominated by two or three stables in the non-handicaps? John Page

I don't think so. There have always been top stables that have the majority of the top horses but I think the top sires like Kingman, Sea The Stars and Frankel are open to everyone now and so many more trainers have the chance of getting a good one.

How much thought do you put into times for the juvenile races? Luke Forrest

It's everything for me. You wouldn't have a bet in the 100-metre final at the Olympics on the basis of visual impression.

Mark Johnston can usually be relied on to have a winner at the royal meeting. Who catches your eye from his string? Tony Wells

Maydanny and Dream With Me are two horses who could go well on fast ground. 

Maydanny (blue): one to keep on side from the Mark Johnston yard

Can anything beat Starman in the Diamond Jubilee (4.20 Saturday)? John Brophy

I'm Starman's biggest fan but he's not a good thing by any means. Oxted is better than he showed at York and Dream Of Dreams always runs well in this race.

The Wokingham (5.00 Saturday) is one of my favourite races of the year. I'm keen on Bielsa and I also think Chiefofchiefs is a worthy outsider. What are your thoughts? John Dexter

I'm not sure Bielsa is suited by Ascot but Chiefofchiefs certainly is. He'd definitely be on my shortlist.

Chil Chil has been my long-term fancy for the Wokingham (5.00 Saturday) but got a 9lb hike in the weights after his last win. Do you think she can defy it or has she blown her mark? David Brown

I don't think it's a great Wokingham and Chil Chil will like the fast ground and the track. I wouldn't put you off.

I was impressed with Aldaary from the Haggas yard first time out but think he was given a poor ride next up. Is he a horse for the Jersey (3.05 Saturday)? Barry Bradley

He could be. Clearly his course-and-distance form is a big plus and he was given too much to do last time.

What is your opinion on the rating of Movin Time? The Golden Gates Handicap (5.35 Saturday) looks his for the taking. Marcus Shales

It could be, Marcus, but I would imagine there will be ten similar types in that race.

Who is your nap of the week? Stephen Ruane

I would have said Pyledriver in the Hardwicke but he's unlikely to run, so I'll return to Air To Air in the Britannia.

If you had to pick just one horse at Royal Ascot to far outrun their odds, who would it be and why? Eden Cain

Kingmania in the Sandringham. She is quirky but I think she has the ability to win Group races and, being trained by Chris Wall, she might be a bigger price than she should be.

Kingmania: has a huge chance at big odds

If you were picking two horses for a good double, who would they be? Tony Murphy

Two I've already mentioned: Air To Air and Primo Bacio.

Could you give us a short-priced treble to get stuck into? Robert Craig

That isn't my game, Robert, but Stradivarius, Palace Pier and Lady Bowthorpe are strong favourites for a reason.


If you want more on Royal Ascot . . .

Everything you need to know about day one of Royal Ascot on Tuesday

Dettori adds to strong hand as he guns for third straight Royal Ascot crown

The Punting Club Royal Ascot special: 'She's my best – and only – bet in a two-year-old race'

The must-watch race on each of the five days at Royal Ascot


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I'm not sure Bielsa is suited by Ascot but Chiefofchiefs certainly is. He'd definitely be on my shortlist
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