Let’s Compare Bets put the ‘spot light’ on an interesting handicapper recently.  Ron Robinson rates and handicaps horses for charity and to develop a fantasy horse racing game.  We wrote about Ron’s service at post racing because it’s different.  A horse tipster tipping for charity, it’s not your run of the mill story.  The article was so popular Ron got in contact with Let’s Compare Bets. To say thanks he’s put together a brief and informal summary of some of the races at Royal Ascot with a preview of some others.  For an explanation of some of the terminology visit postracing.net, for example some readers may want to know what dutching, 80/20s, and exotics are.

Well, a “statistical” view has, so far, proven about as useful as a chocolate teapot and yesterday STRONG SUIT – worth 35 points to those that had him in their Fantasy Horse Racing stables – beat mine by 1/2 a length. Either he has improved a ton for that wind operation or, the three year olds, at Group 3 level, are not really up to much. We’ll know more as the season progresses.

I simply could not have predicted the result of that 3-05 if I’d had Nostradamus sitting next to me guiding me through it. LOLLY FOR DOLLY had nice looking form figures but all three that passed the post in front of the rest, had to improve…on paper.

The unluckiest loser of the week by a mile, so far, is INVISIBLE MAN. Dettori was locked up behind a wall of horses before weaving through late and should have been a repeat winner of the Hunt Cup….pocket talking? Perhaps…take another look for yourself and keep an eye on the Godolphin colours out the back.

My two selected in the Queen Mary came home second and fourth, beaten a short head and in the finale, DUBAI QUEEN at least landed me some profits from that race, again coming home second.

That was three runners up in the afternoon….frustrating and, as mentioned above, INVISIBLE MAN, who ran a blinder for us in the Hunt Cup, was mighty unlucky in finishing third. I was on a huge prices in my dutch but, that’s “punting life” and we move on.

Whilst the punting is proving tricky, my Ten to Follow lines (five of them), are doing quite well now. I’m just 47 points off the leader following the success of REWILDING yesterday….a banker in four of my lines…..I did think he’d be winning big races over further though and they must have raced seriously quickly yesterday for him to win over 10 furlongs. On form, he had no chance with PLANTEUR over that trip….racing eh, makes a fool of us all sometimes.

TODAY at Royal Ascott….

NORFOLK STAKES

A juvenile race to commence proceedings….wonderful…not! I have to confess I don’t pay as much attention to these races as I do all aged handicaps and, when meetings such as these come around I then look back through old race files, check stats from previous years, look at the sky, spot up any draw bias and then flip a coin…after first going down on my knees.

Most punters believe the evidence of their own eyes when it comes to two year olds and we can often get right carried away.

Ok, what do the stats tell me. Firstly, I want one that comes here unbeaten. It’s a fact that 11 of the 17 winners that came before whatever wins today, had not had a horses backside in front of him when passing the winning post before arriving here.

We can even narrow this down to horses coming here having had just the one run…and one win….three of the last five winners had done so.

Let’s put a shortlist together of such horses:

BAPAK CHINTA

CROWN DEPENDENCY

SANS LOI

SILVERHEELS

EBONY CLARETS

We have had the odds surprise sprung and the last two winners came home at 16/1 and 10/1 but, in the main, the winner is at the front of the market, 13 of the last 20 runnings of this race were favourite, or second favourite.

Everyone who has known me for a while now, knows I value Windsor juvenile form when Royal Ascot comes around. It is usually a Hannon juvenile that cops my attention but, of the shortlisted horses only SILVERHEELS, who bolted up there, fills that criteria. He did that in April, very early, and has not been seen since. He’ll be in my dutch.

BAPAK CHINTA walloped FREDERICK ENGELS at Hamilton and to say that form has been franked is stating the obvious. Kevin Ryan juveniles this season are hot and he’ll surely be competitive here.

BAPAK CHINTA is the overnight favourite, whilst SILVERHEELS is fourth favourite @ 7/1. If high numbers hold sway then the Cole trained is the best 20/80 option so, SILVERHEELS gets that nod. Combos, too.

I’ve obviously got to acknowledge the presence of the American horse, EVERYDAY DAVE, who is on a spot of globetrotting, having won at Chantilly. Well drawn he will undoubtedly burst from the lids, go like stink and, may hold on but I’m happy with my pair here.

RIBBLESDALE STAKES

I’ve not got a lot to work with here. Being in some kind of form doesn’t hurt. The last 12 runnings has seen the winner having won either of it’s last two runs, winning 10 of them…straw clutching, you can tell, eh!

If that’s a plausible stat then we can narrow this down to…well, we can only rule out LOOK AT ME, MUSHARAKAAT and SUNDAY BESS…just nine of the 12 runners to work with then.

Something a little classy is preferred but it’s by no means a stat buster as two of the last six winners had notched up a win in a handicap before coming here. However, having actually won a Group or Listed race at some time in their lives was in the CV of nine of the last 17 winners so, let’s cut to that chase.

BANIMPIRE – 11/4

RUMH – 4/1

ZAIN AL BOLDAN – 9/1

I’m concerned that BANIMPIRE ran only four days ago and this might well be an afterthought. I’ll be happier with a 20/80 RUMH, even though he only ran a week ago!

Like I say, I have not got a lot to work with, will keep my stakes small and run with that Godolphin horse.

GOLD CUP

I used to look forward to this one. I just used to type the word, YEATS, and then move on to the next race.

A touch of class is an absolute “must have” as, to me, it’s not about staying the trip exactly.

I think it fair to say that only FAME AND GLORY could be described as “classy” and he’ll have been trained to take over the YEATS mantle so, to win twice over shorter trips leading up to this, has been impressive, even if he has not looked it.

If you think it is asking to much of the Coolmore boys to do with FAME AND GLORY what they did with YEATS, then the only alternative I would offer is BLUE BAJAN. David O’Meara has worked a minor miracle with this one and he won the race I’d use if I were to be looking for a British trained runner.

Before the Irish got their teeth into this race, five of the last six British trained winners had won the Henry 11 Stakes before coming here and this one did likewise. HOLBERG ran a cracker in that race, coming home third, the beaten favourite but, he was well beaten by BLUE BAJAN and yet trades shorter today?

We know he’ll stay and BLUE BAJAN is a sporting 20/80 in a race full of unknowns so, I’ll have that punt plus, a straight win FAME AND GLORY.

BRITANNIA STAKES

I think it fair to say we have the drawn boxed off and it’s high numbers we need to concentrate on. The Hunt Cup yesterday did show that to be true and here, if recent trends are to be believed, it’s best to be no more than four stalls of the rail. I’d be inclined to stretch that to at least as many as I suggested for the Hunt Cup….six.

Let’s see what my figures suggest before waxing lyrical.

CHAIN LIGHTNING….+22

TROPICAL BEAT….+15

POLAR KITE….+4

VANGUARD DREAM….-3

SAGRAMOR….-5

CROWN COUNSEL….-12

I don’t, as you know, usually get involved in 3-y-o handicaps until around August but, it’s Royal Ascot. I am going to pluck those drawn highest from my top six rated and utilise them for a dutch etc….TROPICAL BEAT, POLAR KITE, VANGUARD DREAM and SAGRAMOR fit the bill. I will set up a nice 20/80 TROPICAL BEAT, who sports headgear for the first time today. SAGRAMOR looked ultra impressive when winning at Haydock and he’s well enough drawn but, he looked a “come from behind” type and if he’s off the pace here, getting through might prove to be a nightmare.

Outside my top six I have nothing that screams out to be punted so, if one from rated horses 7-30 does for me, it’s going to come as a surprise….to me, at any rate.

TERCENTENARY STAKES

This used to be known as the Hampton Court Stakes, when they raced over 12 furlongs and essentially I only have 10 years data to work with so, this’ll not be taking long!

We have only seen two double figures priced winners of this race since 2002, with nothing bigger than 8/1 in between so, I’m looking to the front of the market for my winner. That gives me a shortlist of:

ALKIMOS

HUNTER’S LIGHT

MARKSMANSHIP

TAZAHUM

If looking for trainer clues, then the best stat is provided by Aidan O’Brien, who has saddled two of the last seven winners. He is responsible for MARKSMANSHIP this time around.

Favourites have won three of the last six runnings of the race so, MARKSMANSHIP, who is totally unexposed, comes very much into the punting equation.

ALKIMOS is treading the same path that last seasons winner AFSARE, in that he won the same race at Doncaster before coming here. Cumani likes “plans” and I like trends so, for me, it’s a dutch ALKIMOS and MARKSMANSHIP, a 20/80 each and combo exotics.

With so many potential improvers it’s always going to be a bit like spitting into a wind but, we pays our money and we takes our chance.

KING GEORGE V STAKES

Two handicaps in a day at Royal Ascot…I’m in heaven! Ok, it’s an all 3-y-o handicap but, I have clues to work with, as well as my figures!

Anything that won a race as a juvenile is binned from a stats point of view. Trawling back through my books etc., I can find only four of the last 18 winners that actually won as a two year old.

I would not fancy punting the favourite. Only COLONY, for Sir Michael Stoute, 2008, and DOUBLE CLASSIC….again for Sir Michael Stoute, 1998, have succeeded….if Sir Michael ended up training the favourite, then you might want to look again…but he wont, as he has no representative this time around.

I’ll sort my figures out for you first and then weed out any from my top six that did actually win at two and see how we stand. Another thing I’d be looking out for is horse that won or placed on their last start. It’s a fact that 20 of the last 22 winners had done so and those two stats combined should hopefully point us in the right direction….if I find such a horse in my top six rated, I’ll certainly play a little harder.

BROWN PANTHER….+24

CENSUS….+17

ETERNAL HEART….+4

PICTURE EDITOR….-3

SUD PACIFIQUE….-5

COMMUNICATOR….-10

The problem with 3-y-o handicaps is, because of the limited data available, the figures can sometimes look a little skewed. The more info I have on a horse, the easier it is to get a true number for. However, the fact my top three are all relatively unexposed means they also have room for improvement and I’d be happy to trust them.

Allied to what I wrote above, from the stats point of view, I would have to rule out CENCUS as a single bet, as he is tissue favourite. BROWN PANTHER and ETERNAL HEART interest me very much but, with BROWN PANTHER having won as a juvenile, I’ll only have him in my dutch and combos, the 20/80 going to ETERNAL HEART. He was unraced as a 2-y-o but has come on leaps and bounds this term. He was actually entered up for Group races this week so, to see him in a handicap is more than interesting.

My dutch will consist of my top three, as will my combo exotics.  For more commentary and tips for Royal Ascot visit postracing.net.  Get the best odds for bets my comparing odds first.

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