While the domestic racing here in the US has slowed down now that the triple crown has concluded, Saturday is nevertheless an excellent day of racing overseas at Royal Ascot. For those who are unfamiliar, Royal Ascot is a European race track that is exclusively a turf course. For American standards, Kentucky Downs is likely the best comparison. Ascot is the premier meet of the summer, both from a social standpoint as well as an excellent racing product. StableDuel has offered Royal Ascot contests for the first time this year, and they are extremely fun and challenging! Note that Ascot routinely has field sizes of 20 or 30 horses in their races, so it’s critical to pick your spots and use sound StableDuel strategy when picking races to target.
If you’ve been following along with us here at DFS Karma, you already know the gig. You have a mythical $50k budget to pick 10 horses racing today. Each horse has a price, based on it’s morning line odds. Horses who are heavy favorites will cost you more salary to use, but they also generally bring more upside. Longshot horses will be cheaper but do carry some risk. You will either earn or lose points for each horse you’ve selected based on where they finish. The short version is that finishing in the top 5 earns you 10-60 points from 5th to 1st, respectively, plus or minus some points based on the margin of victory. If you finish worse than 5th, however, you lose points based on how much you lost by, so be careful with taking longshots!
Below, I’ve outlined a few horses at varying price tiers who I feel are compelling horses to include in some StableDuel stables.
If you need a refresher on scoring, please refer back to our debut article that goes a little more in-depth, located here.
Looking for other ideas to fill out your stable? Be sure to check out the discord, where we provide core plays and cheat sheets to help you win! Also be sure to check out the podcast where Ricky, Trevis, and I review some of our favorite horses, angles, and strategies for the Preakness!
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High Price Favorites
Alfred Munnings $10,000 – Race 1
Normally I tend to avoid taking horses that will cost me over 20% of my bankroll. However, Royal Ascot is an exception. It’s difficult enough as it is to pick winners at this track, so when we are gifted with an extremely likely winner, we can afford to take it and find our value elsewhere. The Chesham Stakes may appear wide open at first glance, but I think Alfred Munnings is an extremely likely winner. He absolutely trounced a field in his debut at Leopardstown, racing very professionally while showing good early speed. He is regally bred, being a half-brother to 3x Oaks winner Snowfall. Aiden O’Brien has dominated this race in recent history, winning this race four times since 2016. Alfred Munnings is certainly the horse to beat, albeit at a short price. Others who merit consideration are #2 Alzahir, #4 Dark Thirty, and #13 The Foxes.
Mid Price Plays
Star Girls Aalmal $3,000 – Race 2
Morning line favorite Noble Truth was impressive last out when dispatching a small field of five runners at Newmarket, but I’m not willing to settle on him at a short price. Instead I’m going to Star Girls Aalmal on the far outside. This filly is taking on the boys, but that is not unusual at all in Europe. She looked like a filly who needed her debut, as she then progressed nicely to break her maiden and repeat at Gowran Park. She was thrown into the deep end of the pool last out when sent to the One Thousand Guineas, and she was hardly disgraced when finishing 4th of 14 runners. That finish is even more impressive when you consider that the winner was over five lengths clear and Star Girls Aalma only missed second place by about one length. Tuesday, the who edged her out for second, came back to win the Epsom Oaks. She now gets back to the trip where she has had the most success at seven furlongs and gets significant class relief. Others to consider are #3 Alfaila, #9 Noble Truth, #10 Samburu, and #1 Rocchigiani.
Layfayette $500 – Race 3
This race is really all about the return of Godolphin all-star Hurricane Lane. He was one of the best three-year-old colts of the summer last year, posting dominant wins in Group 1 events such as the St James Ledger and Irish Derby. He ran an excellent race in the most prestigious turf race in the world, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, last out. He was narrowly beaten by a monster long shot, Torquator Tasso, who absolutely relished the heavy ground. However, I’m not completely convinced that Hurricane Lane will live up to the expectations today. He hasn’t been seen since that Arc run in October, so he’s making his first start in over eight months. That gives me major pause for concern, coupled with the fact that he has never encountered ground as quick as it projects to be at Ascot on Saturday. Appleby is on record saying Lane prefers some cut in the ground, so it remains to be seen how he will handle the good-firm going. I respect him immensely, but I’m looking elsewhere. Layfayette is in the form of his life right now, rattling off three consecutive wins in Ireland to start off his 2022 campaign. The form lines may not be quite as imposed as that of Hurricane Lane, but Layfayette has quietly beaten some runners who have gone on to do great work. He has twice beaten High Definition, who was a narrowly beaten 2nd in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup and third in the Group 1 Epsom Coronation Cup. He stays a mile and a half, and while he has done his best work on ground with a bit of cut in it, connections are confident he will handle the going on Saturday. He needs a career top to pull off the upset, but at a giant price, I think Layfayette is a good value pick in this relatively small field. Others to consider include #2 Broome, who ran like a horse who needed a start last out, and the obvious pick of #3 Hurricane Lane.