Royal Lodge Stakes Tips & Betting Preview

An important race in the two-year-old calendar that has been won by the likes of Foundation last season, as well as Elm Park, Daddy Long Legs, and of course the legendary Frankel on 2010, where did those years go? It seems safe to guess there is nothing of Frankel’s calibre this season but there are still some decent juveniles and as Aidan O’Brien with three and Mark Johnston with two are the only trainers with more than one victory in the last decade it makes good sense to start our race preview with their entries for 2016. As you would expect, the Ballydoyle trainer still has more than one entry in but the jockey bookings suggest his first choice is Douglas Macarthur (7/2) who we confess we are surprised to see back on the track so quickly after his recent efforts at Leopardstown. After finishing sixth on his debut at Leopardstown he ran away with his maiden by five lengths at the same track and was immediately hyped up as the Ballydoyle derby horse but then let his supporters down with a lacklustre third in a Group Three, looking very one paced after having to make his own running. We just cannot believe that is his true form and neither can connections who send him here looking to redeem his high reputation, and in a truer run race we think he can do exactly that with a comfortable victory under Ryan Moore who won for the stable here yesterday.

Having mentioned Mark Johnston our next horse to discuss has to be Monataire (5/1) who is officially the best horse in the race according to our handicappers. He has already won four races this season including a five length romp last time out at Salisbury in a Listed race but this will obviously require a step up on that and it is hard to feel he has that much improvement left to come with seven races already on the clock, though a place is certainly a distinct possibility.

Godolphin also have a couple in here but aren’t too frightened to allow them to take each other on and Hugo Palmer will be hoping to get Best Of Days (5/2) in to the winners’ circle after he let his supporters down at odds on last time out. A son of Azamour, he certainly caught the eye on his debut when hacking up by an easy six lengths at Sandown and was immediately stepped up in class at York in the Group Three Acomb Stakes when sent off the 10/11 favourite before being beaten a head by 16/1 chance Syphax. There is a school of thought that he was brought to the front a bit too soon by William Buick that day and idled once on front of the field but James Doyle has been booked to ride this time and will have learned from that, and we think he will be covered up a lot longer on Saturday afternoon.

With James Doyle on board Best Of Days it looks like William Buick will be on board the totally unexposed Bay Of Poets (7/1) who was last of six on his debut at Haydock despite being sent off the 15/8 favourite. Weakening on the softer ground that day he made up for that disappointment next time out when quickening up nicely to take a Kempton maiden by a cosy length and three quarters and suggesting there was plenty more left in the locker. From maiden to Group Two is obviously a serious leap of faith but they have more than enough class horses to work him with to know how good he really is and he needs to be filed under “I” for interesting at the very least for now.

To end with, would Kings Gift (25/1) be the same price were he trained by a Stoute or an O’Brien as opposed to Michael Dods? The facts are that the son of Casamento finished second on his debut at Redcar before winning his maiden at Ayr and running away with a nursery at Redcar by a very easy four lengths, and he fully deserves a shot at something better. A listed race was perhaps the most natural step but they have decided to try something harder but he is improving rapidly and may run a bigger race than his early price suggests.

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