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Ginger Joe - My Lucky 15 for Day 1 of Royal Ascot 2024

Publish Date: 17/06/2024
Fact checked by: James Leeland
Key Points
  • Four strong chances in my Day 1 Lucky 15
  • Two Group 1 picks, plus two potential superstars
  • Five days of Group racing action ahead!

The Royal meeting gets under way with Group 1 action

We have five full days of Royal Ascot to enjoy and I’ve decided to start the week off with a Lucky 15, which I hope will bring us some nice early profit. Day 1 kicks off with the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, where I am taking on the market favourite. Then I have a selection in the St James Palace stakes, where we get to see a rematch between Notable Speech and Rosallion, who finished first and second in the English 2000 Guineas, and this promises to be a clash for the ages.

My NAP selection comes in the Wolferton Stakes. I think my fancy here sets a clear standard and will definitely take some beating. Last but not least, I have a selection from across the water in the Copper Horse Handicap who looks all set to up his game again here at Ascot. So, we have a fantastic day of racing ahead but this is just the start of what promises to be a superb week for racing, with Group action all the way through from Tuesday to Saturday.

I’ll be covering every day of the Ascot action and I’ve already put up some ante post selections for Friday, and if you haven’t seen them already, be sure to check them out as I still fancy both of those to go very well indeed.

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14:30 - The Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1) 1m - Facteur Cheval @ 10/3

My first selection comes in the opening race, which is the Queen Anne Stakes over a mile, and this is a fascinating contest. I think the best horse in the race is Big Rock, but he does need soft ground to bring out the best in him, and that would be the big concern here on ground that is likely to be on the fast side. Audience was a surprise winner in the Lockinge Stakes last time out, where he beat Charyn. Both will surely run their races again but I think they would both need to dig very deep to win this. Maljoom is also an interesting runner, and a return to peak form would see him in with a chance,

For this race, I’m quite sweet on Facteur Cheval. He comes over from France and has been a solid performer in Group 1 company, winning one and placing in all of his other four starts. His best run to date came at Meydan last time out, where he held on to win a Group 1 over 1m 1f, so the drop back to a mile here should suit him really well. He is a strong travelling sort with that rare combination of speed and stamina - I think he could be a little bit better than his rivals here.

16:25 - The St James Palace Stakes (Group 1) 1m - Rosallion @ 7/2

Our second Group 1 contest is the St James Palace Stakes, and this is one of the most highly-anticipated races of the week for me. We have some very smart horses in this field, headed by the English 2000 Guineas winner Notable Speech who is a very impressive colt and is now unbeaten in his four career starts to date. He was a big drifter on Guineas day, going from single figures all the way out to 16/1, but defied the drift by winning from off the pace and he showed a wicked turn of foot for a miler. He was well on top that day, and the way that race was run played to his strengths, but this is likely to be a very different sort of contest.

Rosallion was second that day from a much more prominent ride and was best of the rest, but he improved plenty to win the Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh and with that extra run under his belt, I think he can reverse the form with Notable Speech. He settled better, he travelled at ease and he showed a much stronger finish to his race. I think he may have improved enough from the English to the Irish Guineas to suggest he could progress once again. He is a very likeable type, who also has the benefit of a previous win here at Ascot. I think Rosallion gets his revenge here.

17:40 - The Wolferton Stakes (Listed) 1m 2f - Israr (NAP) @ 7/2

The Wolferton Stakes is always a very competitive race and this year looks to be no different. Botanical makes plenty of appeal for a yard that has won this twice in recent years, and he is well worth a second look as he steps out of Handicap company for the first time. Being upped in class may mean he has to settle for place money, but he is hard to overlook. Torito is an intriguing runner for Wathnan Racing. He has some decent course form here at Ascot, having finished a close up fourth in the Hampton Court at last year's Royal Ascot meeting. He was then off for nearly a year before returning last month where he finished a very eye-catching third behind Liberty Lane. He is likely to strip fitter for that effort too, giving him solid place claims.

Despite that, my pick here is Israr, who sets a high standard as a former Group 2 winner. He also managed to get within two lengths of Passenger in the Huxley Stakes last time out. That is clearly the best form on offer by far and it will take a much-improved performance from his rivals to get the better of him off level weights. The return to form on his latest start has Israr hard to oppose here and with conditions in his favour, he is the best bet of the day.

18:15 - The Copper Horse Handicap 1m 6f - Belloccio @ 10/3

The final race on Day 1 is the Copper Horse Handicap, which is one for the Stayers and it looks like it will be a really good contest this year. The Joseph O’Brien-trained A Piece Of Heaven is one that we cannot rule out, because we simply don’t know what his limitations are at the moment. However, this is a big step up in class and he will need a lot to go right for him to win this. Naqeeb is an interesting prospect for the Shadwell operation at a double figure price. He is a nice horse with plenty of ability, but he has had a tendency to hang right. He may well do better here with the application of cheekpieces here, and is in with a chance if he takes to the new headgear.

Nonetheless, I think the one to be on here is the Willie Mullins-trained Belloccio who is sure to be well-supported and all for the right reasons. He was a winner in Listed company for David Meneusier, and has taken to Hurdles well for Willie Mullins, winning decisively on debut. He is a strong travelling sort, with stamina assured, and looks very well-handicapped for his return to the Flat. The fact that William Buick is in the saddle is another major positive, and he should be hard to beat here for top connections.

My Lucky 15 Picks for Royal Ascot Day 1

  • 14:30 - Facteur Cheval @10/3
  • 16:25 - Rosallion @ 7/2
  • 17:40 - Israr @ 7/2
  • 18:15 - Belloccio @ 10/3

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