Pick 4 weaves its way through final Royal Ascot card on Saturday
Saturday's Pick 4 at Royal Ascot takes a wandering path through the final, six-race card of the five-day fixture. Patience will be required as the wager takes in Races 1 and 2, skips to Race 4 for the third leg, and concludes with Race 6, thereby avoiding early fields of 28 in Race 3 (the Windsor Castle) and 27 in Race 5 (the Wokingham Handicap).
There's a possibility the sequence could chalk out, but beat a couple along the way, even with a second or third choice, and perhaps you get a tidy payout for the investment. That's our strategy.
Race 1 -- Chesham
#10 NATALIE'S JOY (9-5) is the hot favorite after beating filly rivals by six lengths at Goodwood for trainer Mark Johnston, but we'll leave open the possibility for an upset. #5 NATE THE GREAT (15-1) won well over a testing six furlongs at Carlisle on debut, and trainer Archie Watson reportedly thinks the step up to seven will be even better for the colt. #7 SAN DONATO (8-1) was second best to the smart Legends of War in a relatively lucrative heat at Yarmouth in his first try, while the filly #9 BEYOND REASON (5-1) showed strong progress winning second out on the all-weather.
Race 2 -- Hardwicke (G2)
#3 CRYSTAL OCEAN (1-2) could be as heavy a favorite as Cracksman was in Wednesday's Prince of Wales's (G1), and we know what happened there. Could it be "what goes around, comes around" for Sir Michael Stoute, who trained Poet's Word to beat Cracksman and saddles Crystal Ocean here? In Crystal Ocean's favor, there was no head scratching needed after his latest win, which was pretty solid. #4 IDAHO won this race last year over #1 BARSANTI (5-1), but we prefer the latter as our back up, who had a more difficult run in the 2017 edition. Returning to action in the May 12 Buckhounds Stakes over this course-and-trip, he edged next-out stakes winner Mirage Dancer and Salouen, who gave Cracksman fits in the Coronation Cup (G1).
Race 4 -- Diamond Jubilee (G1)
Despite a zero-for-four mark at Ascot, #4 HARRY ANGEL (5-2) has run some outstanding races in defeat against the likes of Caravaggio and Blue Point over this course. Looks to have another outstanding season ahead of him after a two-length win in the Duke of York (G2) off the bench. For a flyer, how about #8 PROJECTION (20-1)? Third off the layoff could prove to be his best, though he has a lot of form to find against the top hitters. Nonetheless, he runs well on this course and was gaining late on the estimable Blue Point in a Group 3 here in October.
Race 6 -- Queen Alexandra
The longest race on the British flat at 2 3/4 miles, we'll take obvious class horses to outstay the rest. #11 THOMAS HOBSON (7-5) was a clear second in this race last year, four days after taking the Ascot Stakes (Handicap) by six lengths. #12 COUNT OCTAVE (5-1) finished a neck behind Stradivarius in the Queen's Vase (G2) at last year's Royal meeting and has kept good company since. #13 GLENCADEM GLORY (15-1) not quite on par with the above two, is more capable than he showed in the Henry II (G3) at Sandown last time.
The $1 ticket: 5,7,9,10 with 1,3 with 4,8 with 11,12,13 = $48.