Crockford’s Dead Cert for day one of Royal Ascot 2013 Dawn Approach will return to winning ways in the St James’s Palace Stakes

Unbeaten before failing to settle in the Derby, Dawn Approach looks certain to return to winning ways over his favoured trip of a  mile in the St James’s Palace Stakes. The 2000 Guineas winner will face a strong challenge in the form the Ballydoyle duo Mars and Magician. Mars was unlucky in running at Epsom and is still held in such regards by connections to be worthy of consideration in this group one affair. Magician avoided the rough and tumble of the Derby and headed straight here after an impressive victory at the Curragh in the Irish 2000 Guineas. It is worth noting  as well that Richard Hughes has a lot of faith in his mount Toronado to perform better than he did in the Guineas. However, he seems to be just short of this class and will not reverse the form with the imperious Dawn Approach who can be forgiven his running at Epsom.

The Queen Anne will serve as a magnificent opener to the Royal Ascot with the crowds welcoming the best horse in training to the course. Animal Kingdom is a versatile animal who franked his ability by winning the Dubai World Cup after a good second at the Breeders Cup. The Kentucky Derby winner may have the most to fear from the JohnGosden filly Elusive Kate who performs well first time out and ran so consistency in the top grade last season.

The King’s Stand is a cracking contest that has attracted the world’s best sprinters. Shea Shea and Shamexpress are world superstars but can they turn that global form into Royal Ascot success? Crockford prefers the home grown talent in the form of the rejuvenated Kingsgate Native and the young pretender Reckless Abandon. Third on his seasonal appearance the Clive Cox horse Reckless Abandon looks the one to beat in the dash.

Thunderstrike has strong claims in the Coventry

Richard Hughes had the pick of rides for the Coventry Stakes. Until a few days ago he expected his ride to be the recent Epsom winner Thunderstrike, but with days to go he plumbed for the highly regarded stablemate Championship. Such a judgement will not be lost on punters who will follow the advice of the stable jockey in making Championship their favourite. However, at each way prices Thunderstrike still has strong claims with Dettori up and Richard Fahey’s Parbold should not be overlooked.

Just a week ago saw the sad passing of the legendary trainer Sir Henry Cecil whose absence will be felt so deeply at the meeting he made his own. Throughout his long and illustrious career he saddled no fewer than seventy five Royal Ascot winners. In the Ascot Stakes Lady Cecil will saddle Tiger Cliff who has an outstanding chance to add one more Royal Ascot winner to the tally for Warren Place. The outsider in the race La Estrella has excellent each way claims given that he stays all day and will be well prepared for the race.

Ogermeister is an interesting runner in the Windsor Castle Stakes which is the last race on the card. The US challenger was the winner of his only race  at Belmont Park and may have to fend off a strong run from the progressive Hannon juvenile Beau Nash.

Crockford’s Dead Cert – Dawn Approach (St James’s Palace 3.45)

In the battle of the Guineas winners, Bolger’s horse will come out victorious. He was a class above the rest at Newmarket and can be forgiven for his run in the Derby. The only threat to this Dead Cert is if Mars improves again and shows his real potential.

Crockford’s Whisper – La Estrella e/w (Ascot Stakes 5.00)

With twenty three victories under his belt and a guarantee of him seeing out the marathon trip the odds of around 50/1 look big. Don Cantillon will have him ready for the race and he comes here with live place chances. The jockey is keen on his chances too.

Crockford’s gambles on day one of Royal Ascot 2013:

Queen Anne (2.30) – Animal Kingdom, Elusive Kate e/w and Libranno e/w

King’s Stand (3.05) – Reckless Abandon and Kingsgate Native e/w

St James’s Palace (3.45) – Dawn Approach and Mars e/w

Coventry (4.25) – Championship, Thunderstrike e/w and Parbold e/w

Ascot Stakes (5.00) – Tiger Cliff and La Estrella e/w 

Windsor Castle (5.35) – Ogermeister and Beau Nash e/w


(Featured Photograph – Dawn Approach before the Derby by Stuart Rice)

(Photograph – Thunderstrike and Richard Hughes at Epsom by Stuart Rice)









Dawn Approach