Grab your top hat and your glad rags because Royal Ascot is back with a bang later this month. For the first time since 2019, the prestigious meeting, which will run for five days between 14-18 June, will welcome back a full capacity crowd of racegoers — which has been reduced to 44,000 people to make for a more enjoyable experience.
Eager punters looking for a bet on horse racing will already be scouring the race cards looking for the best value, which is often found in longer-priced horses who might have slipped under the radar somewhat. So, with that in mind, here are three outsiders we think are worth watching at Royal Ascot.
Prince Of Wales’s Stakes: Mostahdaf
After winning the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown late last month, Bay Bridge has been slashed into the short-price favourite for the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes. However, it will be the unbeaten four-year-old’s first outing amongst Group 1 company and he could be found out in a wide-open race like this.
There’s not really a stand-out entry, which meanssome left field choices could come into contention, and Mostahdaf has the potential to do just that. Trained by John & Thady Gosden, the four-year-old was unbeaten in three races before losing out to Bay Bridge at Sandown and they will be hoping the two-time Group 3 winner can bounce back at Ascot.
Platinum Jubilee Stakes: Highfield Princess
Renamed the Platinum Jubilee Stakes ahead of this year’s meeting to mark the Queen’s 70th anniversary on the throne, the final day’s feature race looks to be another open affair — with no outright favourite and Home Affairs coming in at the fore of the market at 4/1, which isn’t all the convincing.
The six-furlong sprint could go anyway, and looking at the card, Highland Princess is the one that stands out the most for us. The John Quinn-trained horse has had a busy season already, racing five times thus far, but she has really come on in her last two outings — winning at Newcastle before comfortably landing the Group 2 Duke Of York last time out, indicating that the trip could be perfect for the horse.
Royal Hunt Cup: Dark Shift
Not exactly an outsider per se, but at odds of 10/1, there is potentially profit to be made in backing Dark Shift to win the Royal Hunt Cup. The grey, who is behind only Charlie Appleby-trained One Ruler in the ante-post market, clearly enjoys an outing at Ascot — winning three of his five races at the Berkshire course — while he heads to the royal meeting on the back of a three-length victory in a handicap at Nottingham.
William Buick, who was in the saddle for the romp in the East Midlands last month, will almost certainly give up the ride to take reigns of Godolphin’s One Ruler — he is Moulton Paddocks’ stable jockey, after all. But the Charles Hill-trained horse is used to having different riders, and someone like Ryan Moore, who won the War Horse Memorial with Dark Horse at Ascot in September, could take the ride.