AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW: Royal Ascot Day One

[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]ou can’t beat an opening day in my view.

Whether it’s Cheltenham over the jumps or Royal Ascot on the flat, the trepidation and excitement of what’s ahead can’t be equalled on the other days of the meeting.  It really sets the barometer (or maybe this week that should be the thermometer) of what’s ahead for both punter and bookmaker.

Three Group 1 races kick off Royal Ascot 2017 on good to firm ground (good in places) and I suspect those ‘places’ will be very few in this heatwave of weeks.

Disappointing news to start the week is that the King Of Ascot, Frankie Dettori, will miss the meeting with an arm injury he suffered in a fall last week.

There’a a huge Irish challenge this week – the Emerald Isle are looking to raise the bar even higher after a record breaking 10 Irish trained winners in 2016. Churchill is the first Irish banker of the week in the St James’s Palace Stakes at 4.20.

However, the tone of the meeting for both punters and bookmakers alike will be set very early – around 2.33pm after the running of the opening Queen Anne Stakes over a mile.

Ribchester is the red hot favourite for this to send the prize back north to Richard Fahey who also has pacemaker Toscanini in the race.

Ribchester is rated 5lb clear of his nearest rival and layers might look to the ground for a glimmer of weakness. However, even though the majority of his races have come with give in the ground (including when soft in the Jersey Stakes here last season) he proved he could handle the quicker surface when third to The Gurkha in last season’s Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and was only beaten a neck and a short head.

He was hugely impressive when beating Lightning Spear in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury last time out (soft) and should again account for his Jamie Spencer ridden rival today.

Ribchester is my day one banker.

At better odds there’s surely got to be some each-way value about in the concluding Windsor Castle Stakes at 5.35pm.

Star’s head of trading Trevor Harris was keen to point out the flood of morning money for Declarationofpeace 4/1 > 5/2 in his lunchtime update but surely it’s too late to buy a ticket for that one if you’re not onboard already?

Wesley Ward has struck twice in this, most recently with Hootenanny who made all in 2014.

We should get a good spin from splitting stakes on his unbeaten pair Elizabeth Darcy and the better fancied Nookta Sound.

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)

BACK RIBCHESTER (2.30 Royal Ascot) 20 points win at SP with Star Sports

BACK ELIZABETH DARCEY (5.35 Royal Ascot) 5 points each-way at SP with Star Sports

BACK NOOKTA SOUND (5.35 Royal Ascot) 5 points each-way at SP with Star Sports

PROFIT/LOSS SINCE JAN 1 2017: -61.85 points