IT'S the Friday of Royal Ascot 2021 and the Weekend Punt is back once again.
Our man Jack Keene continued his hot streak at Epsom earlier this month with a 58-1 double – meaning he is £61 in profit to a level £1 stake since the column began last August.
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They could be racing on vastly different ground than earlier in the week when they head to post for the first on Friday – I just hope the weathermen have got it right!
There is a lot of rain forecast, and that could bring BELLOCCIO (3.05 Ascot) into play in the King Edward VII Stakes.
He was a very classy two-year-old, winning twice, including a French Listed race which has proven to be a very strong piece of form.
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He ran an eye-catching race when fifth behind Alenquer in the Classic Trial at Sandown – a race which has produced the Derby winner in Adayar.
And the ground was too lively for him in the Dante at York when he wasn't given a hard time when his chance had gone.
But if the ground slows up like expected, it could bring him right into contention. He needs to step forward, but if conditions come in his favour I'd anticipate a good run at long odds.
EMPRESS JOSEPHINE (4.20 Ascot) looks the value play in a fiercely competitive Coronation Stakes.
She is beautifully-bred, being a sister to the brilliant Minding, and she has improved with each start this season.
The penny dropped late in the Irish 1000 Guineas last time, when she stormed home to win impressively on testing ground, so she is another who will benefit from a drop of the wet stuff.
She is clearly a top-class prospect and is still learning as she goes, but the raw attributes are there and the world is her oyster.
She sees a mile out strongly, so this stiff track will suit, and I think she is capable of improving past her 1000 Guineas-winning stablemate Mother Earth, who was a pretty precocious two-year-old and doesn't have quite the same level of scope.
Royal Ascot day four selections (advised odds correct at time of writing)
3.05 Royal Ascot – Belloccio 1pt EW @ 16-1
4.20 Royal Ascot – Empress Josephine 2pts WIN @ 7-1
5.35 Royal Ascot – Sam Cooke 1pt WIN @ 9-1
- (Column started August 6) rolling P&L: +61pts
In the Duke Of Edinburgh, side with SAM COOKE (5.35 Ascot).
He has had his issues over the years, but he is a very smart performer on his day – particularly when the mud is flying.
He went straight into the notebook after his reappearance sixth in a red-hot race at York, when he was punted off the boards, as he moved menacingly into contention before running out of puff.
That will have blown away the cobwebs and he is well-drawn in stall 16, while he ran a personal best on his only previous start over C&D when beaten a nose in a strong handicap when he would have preferred a stronger gallop – something he'll get today.
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