ROYAL ASCOT: THE BOOKIES’ THOUGHTS

Royal Ascot: The Bookies’ Thoughts
Royal Ascot: The Bookies’ Thoughts
Sporting Life

Dawn Approach

Frankel and Black Caviar headline Royal Ascot next week, how big a hit will it be for the bookies if both oblige?

Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: Clearly the pair of them are going to be very popular and in every multiple over the week. We are 8/13 that the pair will win their respective races and this has proved popular with our punters. That said, for the good of the meeting, I think we need the pair of them to win and hope they do.

David Williams, Ladbrokes: The Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end – the whole week is geared around these two. We’re offering an even money enhanced double on Monday which could be suicidal. They both look bomb-proof and it will be the most popular double act since Morecambe and Wise.

Lucy Rhodes, William Hill: Naturally they’ve always been long odds-on so they were never going to be crippling results, but Frankel will set the accumulator ball rolling, with Black Caviar out to seal the deal on the final day. However, as with So You Think getting turned over at 4/11 in the Prince Of Wales’s last year, we’re hoping for a few to go our way to balance it out.

Charlie McCann, BetVictor: Their prices are so prohibitive that I’m convinced only the big hitters will be playing at the odds; there will be other markets such as betting without and winning distance which may be of more interest than to take the 1/5 for Frankel; over 5l?

Pat Cooney, bet365: The double will pay around 4/6 which will appeal to many, but us bookmakers will be taking both on as we know there are another 28 races at the Royal meeting to get our losses back, and if either/both do get beat we’ll have an unassailable lead!

Rory Jiwani, Stan James: They’re justifiably very short but that hasn’t stopped punters putting them in every accumulator with some of the Euro 2012 heavyweights so we’ll certainly feel it if they both oblige. It’s great that Team Moody have sent Black Caviar over and we can’t wait to see both superstars in action.

Where’s the shrewd money been going in the two big handicaps: the Royal Hunt Cup and the Wokingham?

Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: Both race markets have just started to liven up in the past couple of weeks. In the Hunt Cup Albaqaa and Edinburgh Knight have been popular at big prices. In the Wokingham Gramercy and Lightning Cloud have both had their supporters and might be worth a second look in the market.

David Williams, Ladbrokes: It’s hardly breaking the State Secrets Act to suggest Edinburgh Knight is the Hunt Cup plot horse. The world and his wife have latched on to the course specialist. Alben Star catches the eye in the Wokingham but nothing has yet come from out of the clouds here.

Lucy Rhodes, William Hill: Edinburgh Knight in the Hunt Cup and, with interesting money appearing on Sunday for Mac’s Power in the Wokingham.

Charlie McCann, BetVictor: Alben Star best backed in the Wokingham and Dimension and Edinburgh Knight in the Hunt Cup; the draw could play a big part and, with doubts about just how soft the ground is going to be, punters are wary of steaming in without all pictures of the jigsaw complete.

Pat Cooney, bet365: Edinburgh Knight (Hunt Cup) from 20/1 opening price and Maarek (Wokingham) also at 20/1 have been the main movers, but the draw bias always plays a major part in both races so there has been less shrewd money than usual on them. It will really liven up when we get the final decs and can assess the race with the draw and going conditions and, hopefully, more confidence.

Rory Jiwani, Stan James: Edinburgh Knight has been the subject of an old fashioned Hunt Cup gamble in the last week which has seen his odds tumble from 25/1 to 10/1 and we expect him to be challenging Captain Bertie for favouritism. There’s also been good each-way support for Richard Fahey’s Alben Star in the Wokingham but we reckon there’ll be more of a ‘day of race’ approach to trying to land a touch in both heats.

There looks to have been strong support for Fame And Glory in the Ascot Gold Cup, how bad a result is he for you?

Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: At the moment Fame And Glory is a fairly substantial loser in our ante post book and has momentum behind him, as there is very little interest in his opponents at the moment. He is sure to be well bet nearer to the race and we expect him to be a big loser on the day also.

David Williams, Ladbrokes: If he’s half as bad as last year, he’ll be plenty bad enough. He isn’t quite in the category of Yeats in the Ascot affections, but he’s well en route. It doesn’t appear to be a much stronger race than last year so we’re braced for the inevitable Ladies Day surge.

Lucy Rhodes, William Hill: Fame And Glory is easily our worst result in the ante-post book so far, to a six-figure tune, which includes a 1k accumulator rolling on from Quevega and Big Buck’s at Cheltenham and Camelot’s Derby victory.

Charlie McCann, BetVictor: In recent days bad enough but there was a gamble on Colour Vision post his Kempton win and Opinion Poll is always popular despite the fact that Fame And Glory has beaten him twice at Ascot and should get the hat-trick on Thursday.

Pat Cooney, bet365: The public love this horse and we have painful memories of his win in this last year. He’s already a bad loser in our ante-post book and will be the key horse of the day on Thursday, but he looks a very short price at the moment as I feel this year’s race is a lot harder than 12 months ago.

Rory Jiwani, Stan James: Fame And Glory is already a five-figure loser in the ante-post book but this looks a very competitive renewal. He was a bad result last year but we won’t be afraid to lay him on the day with Saddler’s Rock and the two Godolphin hopes, Colour Vision and Opinion Poll, providing some stiff opposition.

Give us a juvenile that has alerted your racing traders ahead of the meeting.

Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: Olympic Glory was very impressive at Goodwood and although we don’t have the running plans for the juveniles as yet, if he takes his chance he looks one to keep an eye out for. Dawn Approach is very well thought of by his trainer, Jim Bolger, and will take all the beating.

David Williams, Ladbrokes: Cristoforo Colombo in the Coventry.

Lucy Rhodes, William Hill: David Wachman’s Mironica impressed us with her Naas victory – she’s due to run in the Queen Mary, and Sir Prancealot in the Coventry.

Charlie McCann, BetVictor: Dawn Approach in the Coventry is the one our traders are sweet on although I am a Cristoforo Colombo fan in what could be a vintage opening day.

Pat Cooney, bet365: Dawn Approach in the Coventry Stakes has impressed us in all three of his wins and will be tough to beat. The top stables will make for powerful opposition but the Jim Bolger juvenile’s form does look the best so far.

Rory Jiwani, Stan James: One horse we won’t be taking on is Lyric Ace in the Windsor Castle. Based on his previous two runs, Richard Hannon’s inmate looks an absolute flying machine.

Who have been popular in the top jockey/top trainer markets for the week?

Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: In the top jockey market Johnny Murtagh has proved popular and has been cut from 12/1 into 10/1. The top trainer market has been fairly quiet to date, but we expect the likes of John Gosden and Aidan O’Brien to be popular.

David Williams, Ladbrokes: We’re keen to keep well out of the way of young Joseph O’Brien so have laid all his key rivals, not least Ryan Moore at our enhanced 6/1. We’re keen to get him in the book as we believe he lacks the firepower of previous years.

Lucy Rhodes, William Hill: William Buick has halved in price since we went out with the market, but naturally Joseph O’Brien, who will be riding the pick of the Ballydoyle battalion, has been backed for the honours

Charlie McCann, BetVictor: William Buick is overpriced at 10s but Ryan Moore, despite the fact that he doesn’t have a banker(s), is the best jockey and will have a full book of fancied runners throughout the week; AOB is too short at 4/5 and, if Buick is overpriced at 10s, then so too must John Gosden.

Pat Cooney, bet365: I think punters are struggling to see why Joseph O’Brien is our favourite given that he won’t have that many rides, but they will all be serious contenders in their races so I think he deserves to be market leader. The public think value lies with the likes of Hughes and Moore on the basis that they have a lot more rides. It has certainly been a lively market. The top trainer market has been quieter with Aidan O’Brien rightfully odds on to win it, remember even his ‘second strings’ are capable of winning.

Rory Jiwani, Stan James: We’ve laid Joseph O’Brien and William Buick in the top jockey market with both holding strong books of rides for trainers in good form. Despite being odds-on, Aidan O’Brien has been very popular for top trainer.

What is your biggest ante-post fear?

Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: At present we have no real positions in the ante post markets apart from Fame And Glory who has been very well backed.

David Williams, Ladbrokes: Edinburgh Knight in the Hunt Cup would be a stinker.

Lucy Rhodes, William Hill: Fame And Glory in his Ascot Gold Cup double bid.

Charlie McCann, BetVictor: We have wanted to be on the right side of French raider Wizz Kid in the last week for the King’s Stand as the rains arrived but he has suddenly become our biggest loser as punters oppose Bated Breath & Sole Power on account of the ground.

Pat Cooney, bet365: A winning treble of Black Caviar, Fame And Glory and Frankel may well be ‘good for racing’ but will be bad news for us!

Rory Jiwani, Stan James: None really. No bookie can really complain if Frankel and Black Caviar oblige and the gambles haven’t attracted mountains of cash as can be the case. We’re happy with our position going into Royal Ascot but a couple of big on-the-day punts could wipe the smiles off our faces very quickly.

What is your bet of the week from a personal point of view?

Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: In the King’s Stand, Wizz Kid won’t mind the softer surface and was impressive in her last run.

David Williams, Ladbrokes: The Fugue should be a class apart in the Ribblesdale.

Lucy Rhodes, William Hill: Mabait could outrun his price in the Hunt Cup and Wizz Kid in the King’s Stand.

Charlie McCann, BetVictor: Carlton House, Cristoforo Colombo & Wizz Kid in’e-w treble and Frankel winning distance; he will put on a show for Her Majesty The Queen and Nelly, aka Black Caviar.

Pat Cooney, bet365: I expect The Fugue to win the Ribblesdale Stakes. She was desperatelyunlucky in the Oaks and can gain compensation here.

Rory Jiwani, Stan James: Sentaril in whichever race she appears.

Feel free to plug your concessions/offers here…

Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: We will be offering an extra place every day of the meeting.

Lucy Rhodes, William Hill: There are loads of Frankel/Black Caviar specials available on williamhill.com, plus we’ll have loads of offers throughout the week – we’ve enhanced some of the fancied horses to industry standout odds already but you’ll have to wait and see for what we have up our sleeves over the coming days!

Charlie McCann, BetVictor: Additional place terms on the major handicaps and daily price boosts throughout the five days.

Pat Cooney, bet365: We’ll be offering our ‘back a winner at 4/1+ and get a free bet on the next race’ special and will be offering enhanced’e-w terms on all races at the meeting.

Rory Jiwani, Stan James: StanJames.com will have a range of offers throughout Royal Ascot. Tomorrow, we’ll be top price Frankel and top price every horse in the King’s Stand from 9am.

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