Matt Brocklebank's Antepost Angle: Royal Ascot betting preview and tips

Find out who we're backing for Royal Ascot this year
Find out who we're backing for Royal Ascot this year

Matt Brocklebank tipped Big Orange to win the Ascot Gold Cup at 16/1 this time last year - don't miss his long-range advice for six of the Group races at this year's meeting.

Recommended bets: Royal Ascot 2018

2pts win Gabr in St James' Palace Stakes at 14/1

1pt win Dancing Brave Bear in Ribblesdale Stakes at 14/1

2pts win Torcedor in Ascot Gold Cup at 12/1

2pts win Clemmie in Coronation Stakes at 13/2

1pts win Beckford in Commonwealth Cup at 20/1

1pt win Al Muffrih at King Edward VII Stakes at 16/1

For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record


Royal Ascot gets off to a blistering start as ever with three Group Ones and a Group Two to set the pulse racing on Tuesday June 19.

The best bet on day one comes in the fourth race of the afternoon, where GABR stands out as a knocking antepost play in the St James's Palace Stakes over the mile trip on the Round Course.

Here is a horse who looks underestimated in the market on several counts, but primarily on the basis that he finished under a length behind 3/1 St James's Palace favourite Without Parole on his most recent start. Furthermore, it was his first outing of the season in the Heron Stakes, compared to it being a second spin for the winner.

Throw in Sir Michael Stoute’s fantastic record with progressive three-year-olds, Gabr's promising form at two that included a solid fifth to Saxon Warrior in the Racing Post Trophy, and the case looks strong for him going well at Ascot.

Stoute, whose sole success in the race came in 1989 with Shaadi, has just the one entry this year and the hint should be taken.

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Gabr (right) got close to Without Parole at Sandown
Gabr (right) got close to Without Parole at Sandown

Wednesday looks tough from a long-range perspective but TORCEDOR makes plenty of appeal at the current prices in Thursday's feature – the Gold Cup.

He was comfortably beaten off when fifth in this last year but he wasn’t disgraced at all, on lightning quick ground which certainly doesn’t play to his strengths.

Conditions will again be a concern if the sun continues to beat down in Berkshire but it’s factored into odds of 12/1 and if there happens to be any rain around then Jessie Harrington’s charge should be half the price.

He’s already got a victory over Order Of St George on his CV and he pushed him really close when beaten half a length in the Champion Long Distance Cup here in October.

A trip to Meydan didn’t work out earlier this year but his return to Europe yielded a commanding victory over Time To Study in the Sagaro Stakes – again at Ascot – in early May.

That effort suggests he’s better than ever, something that shouldn’t surprise anyone given he's from the family of the great, late-maturing, multiple Gold Cup winner Yeats, and there’s a strong chance he will have more to offer as he continues to develop as a stayer. If there’s any ease underfoot, he’d be a serious fancy.

DANCING BRAVE BEAR is taken to run a massive race for Ed Vaughan in the Ribblesdale Stakes.

The trainer has been pretty sweet on her from day one and she delivered with victories in her first two public appearances.

She stepped up massively when suffering defeat for the first time in the Group Three Musidora Stakes at York last month, going down just a length behind Give And Take.

The first and third (Ejtyah) didn’t do a lot for the form in the Oaks but Dancing Brave Bear still looks a filly on a steep upward curve and her trainer is adamant that moving up to a mile and a half will unlock further improvement.

He also revealed that she’d missed several pieces of work after her comeback win and was only just ready for the Musidora, suggesting that she’d be much sharper for the run. It could just all click for her at Ascot and she’s definitely worth an interest at this stage.

Dancing Brave Bear (centre, blue and yellow silks)
Dancing Brave Bear (centre, blue and yellow silks)

CLEMMIE looks the banker bet for the Friday and getting her on side ahead of the Coronation Stakes is a wise move.

Her form at two is absolutely bombproof and Aidan O'Brien was keen to stress that she'd badly need her belated seasonal reappearance in the Irish 1,000 Guineas.

So it proved, with her effort flattening out quite quickly, but she should be a different proposition here and the Ballydoyle team will have been working backwards from this race for a while.

She was still learning her trade when seventh in last year’s Albany Stakes and proved the point with victory over Albany winner Different League in the Cheveley Park Stakes in September. She'll be hard to beat if back to something like her best.

Her stablemate Sioux Nation – who won the Norfolk 12 months ago – tops the betting for the Commonwealth Cup but on that basis BECKFORD looks the bet at 20/1.

Trained last year by Gordon Elliott, he finished half a length behind Sioux Nation in the Group One Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh in August and went on to finish fifth behind Mendelssohn at the Breeders' Cup.

He stayed out in America and is now in the care of Brendan Walsh, who plans to bring him back for a European campaign, with this event and the July Cup among his entries.

His new trainer reports the son of Bated Breath to have done remarkably well over the winter and he looked the part when cruising to victory with a devastating late burst of speed in the Listed William Walker Stakes over five furlongs at Churchill Downs in April.

He’s the dark horse in the field and could make his odds look ridiculous.

Finally, I want to be with AL MUFFRIH wherever he goes next (entered at Sandown later this week) and at 16/1 I can’t resist a small play on him to win the King Edward VII for William Haggas.

Haggas has never trained the winner of this prestigious prize for three-year-olds but looks to have the ideal type on his hands following an impressive showing at Newbury in May.

The son of Sea The Stars only just got home in the end from fast-finishing Mini P but that doesn’t tell the whole story as Al Muffrih, who wasn’t drawn well at all, had been out in front for a long time and basically looked a class apart before becoming tired late on.

The front two came a long way clear of the field and the winner appeared to be finding again once challenged.

He promises to be ideally suited by a step up to 12 furlongs in time and if the horse is ready enough mentally then Haggas seems likely to aim here. He's bound to strip fitter for his comeback run and his pedigree suggests he'll just keep getting better with time.

The King Edward VII is a wide-open market as things stand, with Dee Ex Bee favourite ahead of stablemate Mildenberger and Aspetar, which leaves the opportunity for something to emerge from the pack and Al Muffrih can hopefully make the swift transition to pattern level.

Posted at 1630 BST on 04/06/18.

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