Royal Ascot - Photo by Horsephotos.com

Racing at Royal Ascot – Photo by Horsephotos.com

The penultimate day of racing at the 2019 Royal Ascot meet features four more group stakes races, including a high-quality renewal of the Coronation Stakes (G1).

Favorites have struggled during the first three days of the meet, perhaps in part because of the soft ground, but with the course drying out, the action might be a bit more predictable Friday. Let’s dig in and come up with a few spot plays.

Race 1: Albany Stakes (G3)

#6 Daahyeh ran well in her debut sprinting six furlongs an Newmarket, where she rallied to win comfortably by 1 3/4 lengths. The form of that maiden race received a boost when runner-up Raffle Prize came right back to break her maiden at Chester before she upset the Queen Mary Stakes (G2) on Wednesday at Royal Ascot. Daahyeh is bred to excel sprinting, and trainer Roger Varian won the 2014 Albany with Cursory Glance.

Let’s bet Daahyeh to win and key her in small exactas with a few other logical contenders.

$12 to win on #6 Daahyeh
$1 exacta: 6 with 5,16,20,24F ($4)
$1 exacta: 5,16,20,24F with 6 ($4)

Race 2: King Edward VII Stakes (G2)

#5 Japan will be the clear favorite off his third-place finish in the Epsom Derby (G1), but he ran a hard race that day and is wheeling back just three weeks later. If he fails to repeat his Derby effort, any number of colts could step up and spring a surprise.

I’m going to take a shot with #6 Pablo Escobarr. With the course still labeled “good to soft” at the end of Thursday’s card, Pablo Escobarr’s fine form over deep going is appealing. In addition to a maiden win going 1 1/4 miles over a “good to soft” course at Goodwood last fall, Pablo Escobarr recently finished second to future Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck over a soft course in the 1 7/16-mile Derby Trial Stakes at Lingfield.

Just as importantly Pablo Escobarr showed speed in the Derby Trial Stakes, and given how the soft going at Ascot seems to be favoring forwardly placed runners, that could give him a tactical advantage over Japan.

$10 to win on #6 Pablo Escobarr

Race 4: Coronation Stakes (G1)

Heavy favorite #3 Hermosa really should get the job done in this one-mile test for 3-year-old fillies. The daughter of Galileo placed in three group 1 events as a juvenile and has developed into a monster this year. She prevailed by a length in the QIPCO One Thousand Guineas (G1) and crushed the Irish One Thousand Guineas (G1) by four lengths. In terms of Racing Post Ratings, she’s an obvious standout for the top team of trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore.

But could the undefeated #1 Castle Lady give Hermosa a challenge? Racing in France for Godolphin, Castle Lady has fired off three straight wins this year, including a determined triumph in the one-mile Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (G1, French One Thousand Guineas) at Longchamp. Castle Lady has the tactical speed to challenge Hermosa early on, and her French form is bound to be overlooked a bit in the wagering.

Let’s box these two in the exacta, with a bit more on the presumably lower-paying Hermosa/Castle Lady combination.

$12 exacta: 3 with 1
$8 exacta: 1 with 3

Good luck!