Reilly: Longshot plays for Friday at Royal Ascot 2021

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June 17th, 2021

Another super-competitive card at Royal Ascot Friday offers more opportunities for price plays. Here are a few capable of outperforming their odds.

Race 1 – Albany S. (G3) (9:30 a.m. ET)

The exciting #5 Eve Lodge (20-1) was my top pick in the Queen Mary S. (G2) on Wednesday, only to be scratched by trainer Charlie Fellowes. He wanted to avoid the very quick ground and await the rain later in the week. I loved her at five furlongs, so the extra furlong here is a question, especially if it turns into a real stamina test. At any rate, her dam’s half of the pedigree suggests she’ll handle six.

When Quick Suzy upset Twilight Gleaming in the Queen Mary, she paid a big compliment to the filly who rolled to beat her on debut, #3 Elliptic (12-1). Although the Donnacha O’Brien trainee was runner-up next time going six furlongs, that loss came at the hands of a possibly smart colt in Dr Zempf. Elliptic traveled well before succumbing, and she might have been a tad short of fitness that day, reportedly coming off an infection. By freshman sire Caravaggio, himself a two-time Royal Ascot hero, Elliptic is eligible to do much better for that prep and back versus fillies.

Race 2 – King Edward VII S. (G2) (10:05 a.m.)

After placing to some highly regarded sophomores at 1 1/4 miles, #5 Tasman Bay (12-1) looks good enough to try this level, and the beautifully-bred colt has a license to improve going 1 1/2 miles. By Le Havre and out of a daughter of Galileo and champion Peeping Fawn, Tasman Bay was third at Newbury to Hurricane Lane (the future Dante [G2] winner and Derby [G1] third) and Maximal (fourth in a tight finish for the minors in Tuesday’s St James’s Palace S. [G1]). Last out, Tasman Bay was runner-up to John Leeper in the Fairway S. at Newmarket. And he’s trained by Olympic champion equestrian Sir Mark Todd.

Race 3 – Commonwealth Cup (G1) (10:40 a.m. ET)

If the ground is a bit soft but not a real bog, #18 Miss Amulet (20-1) could come into the picture for trainer Ken Condon. That argument is based entirely on her juvenile form that stacks up with favored Campanelle. Miss Amulet defeated Campanelle when they were third and fourth, respectively, in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). Indeed, Miss Amulet was just nabbed for second by Mother Earth, who has since come back to win the 1000 Guineas (G1), place second in the French equivalent, and rates as the early favorite in Friday’s feature, the Coronation S. (G1).

While the head-to-head at a mile doesn’t necessarily translate in their rematch in a sprint, Miss Amulet’s six-furlong record also correlates with Campanelle. Her marquee win came in last summer’s Lowther S. (G2) at a rain-affected York over #20 Sacred (20-1), previously second to Campanelle in the Queen Mary. Miss Amulet was later a battling runner-up in the Cheveley Park S. (G1), where Sacred was a disappointing last.

Both Miss Amulet and Sacred are cutting back in trip after unplaced efforts in mile classics, Sacred winding up seventh in the Guineas at Newmarket and Miss Amulet beaten a long way in the Irish 1000 Guineas (G1) on heavy going. As a longtime fan of Sacred, I’d love to see her bounce back here, but she’s arguably even more dependent on quick ground than Miss Amulet.

In addition to the ground proviso, there’s the draw. Miss Amulet is on the far side in post 3, while Sacred is in post 20 on the stands’ side, nearer to Campanelle. The far side need not be an inherent disadvantage with enough pace over there.

Miss Amulet has entries in the July Cup (G1) and a couple of other major sprints versus older males. At the price, she’s worth considering as part of the wagering strategy in a contentious race.