The highlight of the flat season and a wonderful opening day at Royal Ascot with conditions likely to be on the fast side of good.

2.30 Ascot

Baeed looks as if he just has to be pointed in the right way at the top of the straight mile in the opener such was the brilliance of last month’s Lockinge success.

The unbeaten colt had over three lengths in hand of REAL WORLD last time and the Godolphin runner is taken to again follow the favourite home and is the recommendation in the market without Baeed.

Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, the 5-y-old was an impressive winner of the Royal Hunt Cup over C&D 12 months ago and he was a bit too keen for his own good on his reappearance. The trainer has suggested he feels his entire has improved since Newbury when he was a bit keen in the opening stages.

Danny Tudhope keeps the ride on this entire who can ‘win’ the race without the brilliant odds-on market leader.

Recommendation: Real World without fav at 11/8 with William Hill

3.05 Ascot

I was impressed with the success of Royal Scotsman at Goodwood last time but that was on soft ground, and he is drawn out on the wing in stall one today. 

The Brocklesby winner Persian Force has since followed up in a three runner Novice event at Newbury and he looks sure to go close, but BLACKBEARD gets the vote for Ballydoyle. 

The colt has won all three starts in Ireland and looked very smart when quickening clear at the Curragh in a 6f Group 3 last time.

This will be the fastest ground he has encountered to date, but there is no reason he shouldn’t be at least as effective on a sound surface, and he gets the vote for Aidan O’Brien who has saddled the winner of this Gp 2 contest three times in the last decade. 

Recommendation: Blackbeard 3/1 with 10Bet

I’m looking forward to watching the King’s Stand Stakes, but regular readers will be aware that I don’t tend to concentrate on sprints, and I would not know the merit of the Australian or American form.

5.00 Ascot

Willie Mullins has saddled the winner of the Ascot Stakes four times in the last decade and Ryan Moore has ridden three of those four winners. The pair combine with Bring On The Night – Mullins’ sole representative – but his place at the head of the market is more reputation than the formbook.

My two against the field Coltrane and ARCADIAN SUNRISE finished second and fourth respectively in the Chester Cup last time, but I do feel the Irish raider will reverse the form. Leading apprentice Harry Davies replaces Jamie Spencer in the saddle today and takes off a valuable 5lbs and this stiffer test of stamina should suit John Queally’s 8-year-old.

I always prefer a low draw in this two-and-a-half-mile contest and many of the fancied runners – including the selection who is housed in five – have good draws. There was 8/1 available with Bet365 on Monday morning but he has been nibbled at during the day.

Recommendation: Arcadian Sunrise EW at 6/1 with Bet365 6 places

5.35 Ascot

Cadillac was due to go under the hammer on Monday night before lining up as market leader for the listed Wolverton Stakes for Jessica Harrington. He improved for the application of first-time blinkerswhen landing the listed Glencairn Stakes at Leopardstown last week and is penalised 3lbs for that victory.

Harrovian is well berthed in stall four and must go close but hope to see PEROTTO run a big race despite the fact that he has stamina to prove over this ten-furlong trip. The selection won the Britannia here over the straight mile 12 months ago and looked a dubious stayer over this trip at Goodwood back in September when he travelled well but just failed to get home.

He is often slowly away which could compromise his chance in such a competitive heat but, at a double figure price, he gets the each way vote. In a wide-open contest.

Recommendation: Perotto 5.35 Ascot at 18/1 with Paddy Power

6.10 Ascot

Chester Cup winner CLEVELAND looked a stayer to follow when scoring cosily last time and I am convinced he would not look out of place in pattern company. A 5lbs rise looks fair given the way he travelled on the Roodeye before quickly putting the race to bed.

This is a stronger contest and his draw in stall nine is less than ideal – first right-hand turn comes along very quickly in 1m 6f contests – but I believe he would have been lining up in the Gold Cup on Thursday were he not in the same stable as market leader Kyypios. Cleveland is short enough in the betting, but I do feel he could be a class apart from this opposition.

Recommendation: Cleveland at 5/2 Nap with Bet365

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