Royal Ascot BCD starts on Tuesday. Until this year, BCD stood for British Champions Day in racing parlance. Now it stands for Behind Closed Doors. Racing’s late start means the meeting has a new look. The two-year-old races will be run later in the week to give horses more time from their debut runs. The King Edward VII and Ribblesdale Stakes have been brought forward to the first day as they are now Derby and Oaks trials for Epsom on July 4.
Six extra races added to the usual 30 means that Royal Ascot BCD starts not with the Queen Anne Stakes but with the 7f Buckingham Palace Handicap. That’s a tough start for punters.
Looking at Tuesday’s two Group 1 contests, 16 head to post for the Queen Anne Stakes. Last year’s St James’s Palace and Prix du Moulin winner Circus Maximus stands out on form. The filly Terebellum bids to get John Gosden and Frankie Dettori off to a flying start. However, having had all her five starts at 1m 2f, she now drops down to a mile for the first time, which seems a big ask in a Group 1 race. Lockinge winner Mustashry finished seventh in last year’s Queen Anne, yet within 3½ lengths of the winner. At 14/1 Richard Fahey’s 2019 Jersey Stakes winner Space Traveller looks each-way value. But Circus Maximus should get favourite backers off the mark.
With no crowd, Royal Ascot BCD should help Battaash. He looks a stand-out in the King’s Stand Stakes. Second in this race for the last two years, he should make it third time lucky. On his best form, he wins. However, be warned that he bombed out big time behind Glass Slippers in the Prix de l’Abbaye and he won’t be a working man’s price.
Tuesday’s Group 2s at Royal Ascot BCD
Gosden and Dettori team up with Frankly Darling in the Ribblesdale Stakes. She won a 1m 2f all-weather maiden on racing’s first day back. On a line through Cabaletta, who beat her at Yarmouth in October, she’s not as good as Gosden’s Franconia, who beat Cabaletta at Newbury yesterday. Gosden also runs Lingfield Oaks Trial winner Miss Yoda, who had two of her Ribblesdale rivals behind her that day. Neither of Aidan O’Brien’s runners makes much appeal.
The King Edward VII Stakes looks a weak Group 2. The choice here is Papa Power, a facile winner of two all-weather 1m 2f contests in February. At around 6/1, he looks one to be on.
The Duke of Cambridge Stakes, for older fillies and mares, looks a trappy race and one to avoid.
The first day of Royal Ascot BCD ends with the Ascot Stakes. It’s a wide-open 2m 4f handicap in which half the runners hail from jumping yards. The advice here is to give it a miss.