Royal Ascot is the one the richest and most historic festivals on the racing calendar and this year’s five-day extravaganza will see a number of trainers from all over the world compete for huge prize pots once again. Visitors from France and the USA will be fancied for success by many punters but it could pay to side with the Irish to come out on top.
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Aidan O’Brien may have scaled down his Royal Ascot team but the Ballydoyle trainer sends an impressive string to Berkshire and he could be the trainer to watch at this year’s festival. One of his main hopes comes in the Ascot Gold Cup with Order of St George odds-on for the race over 2 miles and 4 furlongs. O’Brien has won this race seven times already and is hoping his charge can double up after a 10/11 success in this contest 12 months ago.
Churchill looked mightily impressive in the Guineas and headlines the first day of the festival partaking in the St James’ Palace Stakes. O’Brien will be hoping his stable star is able to add to his already impressive record this season. Caravaggio and Winter also feature prominently in their respective races. The former is unbeaten in four starts and is heavily favoured for the Commonwealth Cup whilst Winter is expected to make her class count in the Coronation Stakes.
Sports bookmakers including William Hill have a number of specials priced up for the festival, which can be found at http://sports.williamhill.com/bet/en-gb/events/royal-ascot and these include ‘Number of Irish Trained Winners’ and ‘Top Trainer’. Predictably, Aidan O’Brien is the odds-on favourite for the trainer title at the festival, priced at 1/5, but there is more value to be found elsewhere.
The bookies are offering 13/8 for ten or more Irish-trained winners and this looks the best bet here. Joseph O’Brien, Jessica Harrington and Willie Mullins are all sending a strong string of runners across to the Berkshire track and they could have a big say at this year’s festival.
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Harrington sends a handful of runners including the impressive Brother Bear and Centauri, who are both unbeaten as two-year-olds. They are both well fancied in the betting, with the latter priced at 13/8 for the Albany Stakes.
The trainer who has had success at both Cheltenham and Fairyhouse already this year has admitted a Royal Ascot winner is her “next ambition“. Joseph O’Brien is also searching for his first winner here. The Irish contingent landed 10 winners at the 2016 festival breaking their previous record and there’s no reason why they can’t go one step further this time around.
Ambitious punters may be interested by the 10/1 on offer for ‘More Irish Trained Winners than the rest of the UK and US combined’. Aidan O’Brien’s name is likely to dominate the headlines at Royal Ascot once again but he is just one of many trainers who’ll have their impressive string firing on all cylinders and there looks to be value in backing Irish dominance once again.