For some of the best horse betting william hill odds, expert tips and live action sport at William Hill.
The high-class Camelot gave us all plenty of excitement last term as he went closer than any horse in the forty years to emulating the legendary Nijinsky, the last horse to land the British Triple Crown way back in 1970, writes Elliot Slater.
This season Camelot has to show that he remains as good if not better as a four-year-old and trainer Aidan O’Brien is mapping out a campaign that will take in some of the biggest events on the European racing calendar, including a bid for the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot in mid-June, a race that many observers believe will be his first serious test this campaign and possible profitable Royal Ascot bet.
The winner of the Racing Post Trophy as a juvenile, the son of Montjeu landed the 2000 Guineas on his three-year-old bow, getting up in the dying strides to catch French Fifteen before routing the opposition over half a mile further in the Investec Derby at Epsom.
He followed up in bad ground in the Irish Derby at the Curragh four weeks later, then after a mid-season break came back to bid for the Triple Crown at Doncaster in the St Leger.
Riding to conserve his mount’s stamina Joseph O’Brien let Encke get first run on him in the straight, and although Camelot stayed on well he failed by just three-quarters-of-a-length to emulate Nijinsky, an effort that had clearly taken its on him as he looked a tired horse when seventh in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp the following month.
Already this term O’Brien’s star colt has won in workmanlike fashion on his reappearance against ordinary opposition in Group 3 company at the Curragh. He returns to the Curragh for his Royal Ascot prep race in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup on May 26, after which – if all goes well – he will head for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (then possibly the Coral Eclipse), as he bids to prove himself the world’s best middle-distance performer.
Richard Hannon Jnr. has confirmed that his father’s star filly Sky Lantern is bang on course to bid to follow up her last-gasp success in the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket earlier this month with another top level victory in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 19, writes Elliot Slater.
Hannon reported that the daughter of Red Clubs has been in tremendous form since finishing fast and late to reel in Just The Judge in the last 50 yards of the first fillies’ classic at HQ, turning around the form of her previous defeat at the same track at the hands of the ultimately disappointing Hot Snap in the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes three weeks earlier.
Confirmation of the plan for Sky Lantern came as the grey filly had been the subject of growing speculation among punters and horse racing writers, including those behind the follow the money column, that she might be supplemented to run in the Group 1 Investec Oaks at Epsom on May 31. But Hannon has made it clear that no such plan exists and that the attention of all his team is focused on getting the three-year-old to Royal Ascot in the best possible condition.
Sky Lantern proved herself great value for her 75,000 guineas price tag as a yearling by developing into a smart performer last term. The winner of a listed contest at Naas last June, the champion trainer’s filly finished runner-up in the Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket and the Group 3 Prestige Stakes at Goodwood before hitting the jackpot when scoring in Group 1 company at the Curragh in September, beating Scintilulla by two-and-a-half lengths in the Moyglare Stud Stakes.
Sent off favourite for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf at Santa Anita last November, Sky Lantern had a nightmare journey through the race and was never able to challenge, eventually finishing an unlucky eighth.
Don’t forget to head over to Betfair for your Royal Ascot Free Bet.
Andre Fabre has put the finishing touches to the decision-making process for his various Derby candidates and has confirmed that Intello, an excellent fast-finishing third in the Group 1 French 2000 Guineas at Longchamp recently, will bid for the Prix du Jockey Club next time out, writes Elliot Slater.
Intello and Ocovango are the two prospective middle-distance start this term for the leading French handler, and following the news that Ocovango will be aimed for the Investec Derby at Epsom on June 1, Intello will carry the Fabre flag at Chantilly later that month in the 10 furlong French equivalent.
Many Derby betting tips observers consider Intello and unlucky loser in the French 2000 Guineas – the Poule d’Essai des Poulains – having been drawn out very wide on the track for the mile contest and endured a difficult run through the race before coming with a flying late finish that only narrowly failed to carry him to victory and maintain his unbeaten record.
In the end Intello was beaten a neck and a head by Style Vendome and Dastarhon, clearly indicating that an extra two furlong would be very much to his liking, although many Epsom Derby articles are uncertain as to whether he would stay further this season and last out the mile-and-a-half trip of the Epsom event. With there being few stamina concerns for his stable companion Ocovango the decision as to where to race the classy pair of three-year-old’s appears to have been fairly straight forward.
The winner of both outings in France as a juvenile, Intello created a fine impression on his British debut at Newmarket’s Craven meeting when easily disposing of his rivals in the nine furlong listed Fielden Stakes, storming clear of King George River to win in the manner of a potential smart performer.
The Group 2 Clipper Logistics Duke of York Stakes on the opening day of the Dante fixture at York could well prove a good guide for fans placing a Royal Ascot bet to the relative prospects of a number of contenders for the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 22.
The race produced something of a surprise victory for the classy Society Rock (10/1), a horse who generally needs an outing or two to hit peak form but who triumphed on this occasion on his seasonal reappearance, coming with a seriously strong late run to cut down Lethal Force in the shadow of the post to score by a head.
James Fanshawe’s six-year-old won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes in 2011 and ran fifth to Black Caviar last year in the defence of his title so certainly knows his way home at the Berkshire track. He is now a 9/1 shot to regain his crown.
Gordon Lord Byron has been a tremendously reliable performer in recent season for Ireland’s Tom Hogan and he again ran a fine race on the Knavesmire, finishing with a flourish to grab third place, suggesting there could me more to come on a stiffer track such as Ascot.
Runner-up to Society Rock in the Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock last September, Hogan’s charge is generally a 16/1 shot in the Royal Ascot odds for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes following his sound York effort.
The disappointment of the race was least season’s very progressive filly Mince who showed good speed until coming under pressure two furlongs out before eventually finishing a below-par 10th. Likely to come on for the run though, Roger Charlton’s four-year-old should not be discounted for Ascot just yet and is far from a forlorn hope at current ante-post odds of 12/1.
Saturday’s racing may not quite have the excitement that we’ve experienced over the past few days at the Chester May Meeting but there is still plenty to get stuck into at tracks such as Ascot, Lingfield and Haydock.
The big betting heat of the day with the bookmakers will be the Victoria Cup, a 7f cavalry charge at Ascot. Picking the winner of this sort of contest is never easy, especially with the draw bias often changing from meeting to meeting, but that is reflected in the prices on offer and in this type of race at Ascot it usually pays to go with proven big field Ascot form.
Lightning Cloud certainly fits that bill and connections will be hoping that high draws are favoured as he’s been drawn in stall 22. He’s well handicapped having only been beaten into third narrowly last time out having missed the break by several lengths. He also loves it here at Ascot, most of his runs here in recent seasons have come on ground softer than ideal but he’s still finished 1st and 2nd at the course before and he’ll love the ground on Saturday having two wins and a fourth on the only occasions he’s met genuinely fast ground. At around 14/1 he looks one of the best each way punts from the day’s betting tips.
There is a listed contest over 7f at Haydock at 4.05 and this is a race in which Pastoral Player will take all the beating despite a disappointing run last time out. Pastoral Player was well beaten on his seasonal reappearance but he played up at the start on that occasion and should come on for the run. He won a group 3 over this course and distance last year and his main form rival Gregorian surely wants softer ground which means that Emell, representing the classic generation, could be the one to follow him home having finished second in four of his last five starts.
Over at Lingfield it is Derby and Oaks Trial day but those can often be poor betting contests unless you have a free bet and the best rewards of the day could come from solving the 10f handicap at 3.25. There may only be 6 runners but all have serious chances and Tepmokea might end up a little overlooked here as the most exposed horse in the field. He got beaten only by Universal last time and that horse has since won a group 3 and a group 2 so that’s hardly bad form and he’s worth a punt in this race.