Royal Ascot is the richest and most prestigious meeting in the UK flat racing calendar and it will spark a betting frenzy next week. Here we highlight six leading runners to look out for.
<div><h2>Battaash</h2><p>Charlies Hills’ star five-year-old sprinter was back to his explosive best when he blitzed the field at the Group 2 Temple Stakes at Haydock last month. He emerged as one of the world’s finest sprinters in 2017 after he was gelded in a bid to control his unpredictable temperament, landing the Scurry Stakes, Coral Charfe, King George Stakes and the Prix de l’Abbaye. Last year he won the Temple Stakes and the King George again, but many performances were marked by fractiousness and trouble in the stalls and his form tailed off. Hills has reported that Battaash is now training well and he reminded everyone of his class in last month’s Temple Stakes. He was second in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot last year, but he could go one better this time around, and he looks well priced at 2/1 with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=bf7f64f4-cd67-4904-9b00-6ded1d41fd18&f=1" target="_blank" title="Bet365">Bet365</a> to win the big race on the opening day of the meeting.</p><h2>Too Darn Hot</h2><p>This three-year-old was the ante-post favourite for all the big races in 2019 before the season began. It was a reflection on his magnificent two-year-old campaign, in which hew won the Solario Stakes, Champagne Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes. He was eventually named Champion Two-year-old Colt and a great deal of hype surrounded him this year. He was the heavy favourite for the 2000 Guineas, but he had to be withdrawn due to injury. A second placed finish in the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York convinced John Gosden that he was not ready for the Derby at Epsom, so he went in for the Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh instead. He finished second to Phoenix Of Spain in that race, and now he will bid for revenge at the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. Phoenix of Spain is the favourite to secure victory, but Too Darn Hot looks like an interesting option at 5/2 with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=df66db4b-b019-4343-9fc7-6c4f20e2a356&f=1" target="_blank" title="Bet365">Paddy Power</a>. Stablemate King Of Comedy could also make things interesting, but if Too Darn Hot rediscovers his best form he will simply be too darn hot for his rivals.</p><h2>Sea Of Class</h2><p>Another interesting second favourite is Sea Of Class, who finished a narrow runner-up to Enable at the €5 million Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe last year. She has four wins and two runner-up finishes from six starts and she is an extremely classy filly. Aidan O’Brien’s Magical, a daughter of Galileo, is the favourite to win the Prince of Wales’s Stakes on Wednesday after securing three consecutive victories this year, including the Group 1 Tattesalls Gold Cup at the Curragh last month. However, O’Brien will be wary of the threat posed by Sea Of Class, who has not seen any action yet this year. She should be raring to go in this race and she looks like a good option at 3/1 with Paddy Power.</p><h2>Stradivarius</h2><p>John Gosden’s five-year-old colt is undoubtedly the biggest name at Royal Ascot this year after dazzling with his brilliance throughout 2018. The superstar stayer scooped his owner a £1 million bonus prize after winning the Yorkshire Cup, the Ascot Gold Cup, the Goodwood Cup, the Lonsdale Cup and the British Champions Long Distance Cup in a remarkable unbeaten campaign. Last month he successfully defended the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup with a comfortable victory over Southern France, and now he will go for the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot again. It is the biggest race of the meeting and Stradivarius is the 6/4 favourite with Bet365. He faces stern competition from the likes of Cross Counter, Dee Ex Bee, Kew Gardens and Flag Of Honour, but he has the strength and stamina to win it once more.</p><h2>Ten Sovereigns</h2><p><a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=b4150791-892f-469b-9b6a-7dfc6df0fb07&f=1" target="_blank" title="Ladbrokes">Ladbrokes</a> makes Ten Sovereigns the 7/4 favourite to land the Commonwealth Cup and he chances of doing so were given a significant boost when Calyx was withdrawn. He was unbeaten as a two-year-old and ended the season with a superb victory in the Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes. He was installed as the favourite for the 2000 Guineas earlier this year after Too Darn Hot pulled out, but he could only finish fifth. Yet he should enjoy a step back down in trip when he tackles the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. His trainer, O’Brien, is the dominant force at Royal Ascot these days and he should be quietly confident in Ten Sovereign’s chances of success in this race. If you are looking for a longer, each-way shot, Advertise is an interesting shout at 16/1 as he is another that should enjoy a step back down in trip after disappointing at the 2000 Guineas.</p><h2>Hermosa</h2><p>O’Brien’s dual 1000 Guineas winner heads the betting for the Coronation Stakes and deservedly so. The Ballydoyle maestro decided to skip the French Oaks in order for her to focus all her energy on this race, and she has a great chance of success. Hermosa means beautiful in Spanish and she certainly travels in a gorgeous fashion. She was on fire at the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket in May and then doubled up at the Curragh three weeks later, so she is the one to beat in this race. Bet365 has 5/4 on her and she will be a hugely popular selection among punters.</p></div>