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2019 Royal Ascot tips – Five ante-post favourites to avoid

Invincible Army features on this list of favourites to swerve at Royal Ascot.

Our expert takes a look through the ante-post betting for all of the races at the Royal meeting and highlights five favourites for punters to avoid.

2019 Royal Ascot is almost upon us, with less than a week to go until the protagonists in the traditions curtain raise, the Queen Anne Stakes hit the track. Punters have been sinking their teeth into the ante-post Ascot markets ever since the Derby meeting came to an end, pushing certain fancied horses right to the head of the betting.

Our expert has taken a look through the ante-post betting for Royal Ascot 2019 and highlighted five favourites he thinks punters should swerve next week.

Favourite’s To Avoid At Royal Ascot

Le Brivido



Le Brivido entered the Lockinge as the hot-favourite, but things went wrong right from the off. A sluggish start forced Ryan Moore to bide his time near the rear and the favourite’s late charge was only good enough to secure fifth place. Yes, he did catch the eye in the closing stages and would have been positioned better had he not stumbled out of the stalls, but I’m not convinced there’s a bundle more to come from Le Brivido.

The former Jersey Stakes winner joined O’Brien’s stable from Andre Fabre during the off-season, having run just once during 2018. Le Brivido finished third on his stable debut, a prep-run before the Lockinge, in the Gladness Stakes at Naas and would have been fully wound up to fire at Newbury. He was O’Brien’s main arrow that day, with outsider I Can Fly the only other Ballydoyle entrant and Ireland’s leading trainer would have expected a much more effective performance.

Mustashry ran out a worthy winner that day, with runner-up Laurens shaping like she would improve for the run. Last year’s Queen Anne winner, Accidental Agent ran nicely to claim third in the Lockinge and will be a danger on his return to Ascot. Prix d’Isphanan winner Zabeel Prince will be a big player dropping back in trip, as will Barney Roy, who returns to Ascot for the first time since his victory in the 2017 St James’s Palace Stakes. 

Le Brivido will have to up his game significantly to claim victory in an unpredictably open contest. I’m not sure he has that much left in the locker.

Rawdaa



Rawdaa shot to the head of the Ascot betting following a fine run at York, where she pushed overwhelming favourite, Lah Ti Dar all the way to the line in the Middleton Stakes. Sir Michael Stoute’s filly is clearly improving and the four-year-old is in the best possible hands to do just that. There are, however, several reasons why Rawdaa is the wrong price for this Group Two.

Lah Ti Dar was clearly underpar at York and did nothing to boost the form by running terribly in the Coronation Cup. Rawdaa needed every inch of the ten-furlong trip that day, just as she did when securing her only other high-profile victory at Newmarket in October. Since winning on her second start, Rawdaa has been beaten in three starts over a mile, including a convincing loss to Ascot rival, Agrotera on the all-weather in April.

Along with Agrotera – the runaway Sandringham winner 12 months ago – Beshaayir brings course-and-distance winning form into this year’s Duke Of Cambridge. Pretty Baby is another big possible improver and I Can Fly finished a neck behind Roaring Lion in the QEII here at Ascot. Rawdaa is the only filly in the top ten of the betting who hasn’t won at Listed level or above. How she’s the favourite is beyond me.

Stradivarius



John Gosden’s charge enjoyed a terrific, unbeaten campaign last year, securing the Weatherby’s £1m bonus by securing victories at Goodwood, York twice and here at Ascot, where a late burst of speed saw Stradivarius claim the Gold Cup. While his accomplishments were admirable, and Frankie Dettori’s mount won nicely under a penalty on his reappearance, this will be the toughest assignment Stradivarius has faced in some time and I fear Gosden’s top stayer might be vulnerable.

Cross Counter has improved beyond belief over the past 12 months, following his Melbourne Cup triumph with a simple success out in Dubai. Dee Ex Bee has taken to staying extremely well and has plenty more progression left in the tank. The retirement of Order Of St George has left a gap at the top of Ballydoyle’s staying ranks, with the likes of Kew Gardens, Southern France and Flag Of Honour all itching to step into their stablemates hoofprints.

Throw into the mix dangerous raiders like Called To The Bar and Falcon Eight, Stradivarius’ task looks far from straight forward at Royal Ascot. I would be as pleased as anyway to see Gosden’s colt establish his star quality and retain his Gold Cup crown. I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

Ten Sovereigns



Everything Ten Sovereigns did as a two-year-old suggests he could go right to the top of the sprinting ranks. I was convinced he would see out a mile in the Guineas and that proved to be the case, but O’Brien’s colt still ran nicely enough to finish fifth and the drop back in trip was inevitable. 

Calyx’s problems have left Ten Sovereigns alone at the head of the Commonwealth Cup betting and many have pointed towards O’Brien’s Middle Park Stakes winner as the banker of the meeting. However, I wouldn’t back any horse at such a short price in a race as unpredictable as this.

Last year, Eqtidaar was on hand to capitalise as market leaders Sioux Nation and Invincible Army flopped on the big stage. Sands Of Mali had been supported on the day, but Emblazoned, like the winner, carried odds of 12/1 to post, with the five horses immediately behind him shouldering prices between 28/1 and 100/1. I’m not doubting Ten Sovereigns ability and he’s the obvious class act in the race. 6/4 is, however, a price to be ignored at all costs.

Invincible Army



James Tate watched Invincible Army catapult himself to the head of the six furlongs ranks at York, romping to an impressive victory in the Duke Of York Stakes. Tate’s colt has clearly turned a corner after a poor second half of 2018 and could be tough to beat. Yet, it’s hard to get that shocking run in the Commonwealth Cup out of your mind and there will be a sea of talented sprinters lined up for a crack at Invincible Army when he returns to Royal Ascot.

City Light ran a screamer to push Merchant Navy all the way 12 months ago and returns for another crack at the Diamond Jubilee. Bound For Nowhere managed to hang on for fourth, despite leading on his own for much of the race and drifting markedly left late on, and Wesley Ward’s raider remains a looming danger.

Inns Of Court has swept aside all before him on two starts so far this term and has to be hugely respected. Former winner, The Tin Man can never be discounted, with Imprimis also arriving from America with plenty of supports. Invincible Army flopped on his one and only attempt at a Group One here last season. There’s a strong chance his colours could be lowered once again.

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2019 Royal Ascot tips – Five ante-post favourites to avoid

Our expert takes a look through the ante-post betting for all of the races at the Royal meeting and highlights five favourites for punters to avoid on Tuesday 18th June.

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