Hanson: Godolphin can stay hot with a longshot on Day 1 of Royal Ascot
With heavy favorites Palace Pier and Battash looking like potential bankers in the Queen Anne (G1) and King's Stand (G1), respectively, the St James's Palace S. (G1) is arguably the most intriguing betting race among the four Group stakes on Tuesday's Royal Ascot opener.
St James's Palace (G1) -- Royal Ascot Race 4 (11:20 a.m. ET)
Few stables have been as hot of late in the western racing world than Godolphin, and while their best three-year-old miler, Master of the Seas, misses this race due to a recent injury, one of their backups here might be worth a play at a nice price.
#5 LA BARROSA (15-1), in fact, gave Master of the Seas a run for his money in their mutual season debut -- the April 15 Craven (G3) at Newmarket -- missing by less than a length. Granted, Master of the Seas probably would have won by more if not for the delay in getting unstuck from behind rivals until the final quarter-mile, but it was a good showing from La Barrosa nonetheless. He, too, had to wait for a seam to open up late after saving ground on the far side rail. Overall, it's a good piece of form as Master of the Seas narrowly missed to Poetic Flare in the 2000 Guineas (G1) next out.
A Group 3 winner last year, La Barrosa has so far proven not up to Group 1 quality, having gone unplaced in both the Criterium International (G1) in France last fall and the Irish 2000 Guineas (G1) last out. However, both races were run over soft or heavy conditions, so it's a strong possibility we didn't see La Barrosa's best in either race.
Not only is it forecast to be good-to-firm at Ascot with warm weather in abundance on Tuesday, but La Barrosa is also one of only three in the field with a win over the Ascot strip. The other two, Battleground and Chindit, are expected to more widely backed.
With no true standout yet among the three-year-old milers, the St James's Palace could go a variety of ways. La Barrosa has form to find, but the course conditions should allow him to run his best race and his price, in the 15-20s range, is enticing for the hot connections of Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby.
Queen Anne Stakes (G1) -- Royal Ascot Race 1 (9:30 a.m. ET)
#6 PALACE PIER
The King's Stand Stakes (G1) -- Royal Ascot Race 3 (10:40 a.m. ET)