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Royal Ascot: Rhododendron and Lady Aurelia to star on Day One

Cian Carroll | 19 June 2018

Odds and preview of Royal Ascot opening day

Royal Ascot is finally here with five days of world-class flat racing from the Berkshire course.

And it kicks off today with some high-quality action with as many as three Group 1 renewals amongst six races.

Ed Chamberlin and co. will be covering it all live on ITV. And the Coral News Team preview three of the races and tip up all six.

Queen Anne Stakes, 2:30pm

The opener looks a very exciting clash between Aidan O’Brien’s Rhododendron and Golophin charge, Benbatl. The former filly has to be given the nod here based on her pedigree compared to the others. O’Brien’s filly is a three-time Group 1 winner.

Her win in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury back in May got her season back on track after an iffy couple of runs. It’s arguable she runs better at a longer distance but she tends to have loads in the tank at the shorter mile trip.

She’s got a nice weight allowance too and will love the good ground so Rhododendron definitely makes the most sense.

King’s Stand Stakes, 3:40pm

One for the top class sprinters, the King’s Stand Stakes is run over 5f and Lady Aurelia will be going for a second win in a row.

Home favourite Battaash stands in her way, but Wesley Ward’s star mare comes into a class of her own at Ascot. She’s romped home on her last two starts in Berkshire in both the previous two years.

Although her form is a concern, it’s highly plausible she’ll hack up again. It’ll depend on whether Battaash can keep his rapid pace up right to the end.

Jim Crowley is on board and has written in his column about his optimism over the four-year-old’s chances. However, there is a concern over whether he enjoys the cut in the ground.

Therefore, we have to give the nod to Lady Aurelia here.

St James’s Palace Stakes, 4:20pm

The final Group 1 renewal of the day sees John Gosden’s charge Without Parole look to justify huge hype.

The three-year-old has won on his first three starts and could be anything. We simply don’t know how good he can be. But this will undoubtedly be the best quality field he’s raced in to date.

Out of the rest, arguably US Navy Flag could lay greatest claims. Aidan O’Brien’s three-year-old has tended to run better at shorter trips so the 1m could stretch him a bit here.

But he’s got an edge over his rivals when it comes to experience. And he’s already got two Group 1 wins under his belt, too.

Of the field of pretenders, US Navy Flag is our choice to cause an upset.

ITV Racing Tips:

2:30 Ascot – Rhododendron

3:05 Ascot – The Irish Rover e/w

3:40 Ascot – Lady Aurelia

4:20 Ascot – US Navy Flag e/w

5:00 Ascot – Meri Devie

5:35 Ascot – Mirage Dancer

All Odds and Markets correct as of date and publication