21 TODAY: MAGICIAN GETS MAXIMUM BET AT ROYAL ASCOT: Daqman today naps Magician on the opening day of Royal Ascot with an 11-point stake to win 30 points but also in his horses to follow (automatic 10 points win).. so a 21-point hit. Without officially being a banker, it’s his highest stake this year.

17.0 HOMERIC HAS STAMINA TO BURN: His Ascot Stakes bet, Homeric (‘stamina to burn’), would be a triumphant return to the royal meeting for Frankie Dettori: 17.0 on BETDAQ this morning.

‘WAR’ CAN WIN YOU MORE THAN ANIMAL KINGDOM: In the opener he declares war on Animal Kingdom, taking a place offer which would return more than the favourite, even if it wins.

Bet with BETDAQ and make it easy on yourself at Royal Ascot. In amazing punter-friendly opening markets, the offers in the first three races this morning added up to 100 or 101% (twice), virtually a level-playing field, returning overall as much as is bet, or only a fraction less. The final three were 103% and 104% (twice).

Compare with last year’s SP Totals of 137, 125, 123, 126, 128 and 130%, with the bookmakers’ takeout more than a quarter of stakes invested in five of the six races.

qipco2.30 Royal Ascot (Queen Anne Stakes) America’s Animal Kingdom, first US Triple Crown colt to run in England since 1935, has been out of the first two only once in 11 starts and may have enough class to beat this weakish field.

A 10-furlong horse would normally be a vulnerable odds-on favourite over a mile in another country: this one has lost both his mile races and has won only once in four tries on turf.

Only France (2005 Valixir and 2010 Goldikova) has wrested the Queen Anne from home hands in the modern era. But the star Queen Anne winners Refuse To Bend (2004 Eclipse) and Frankel (2012 Champion Stakes) took 1m 2f laurels, too.

The snag with opposing him is that the opposition is Group 2 and Group 3 at best.

After yesterday’s stinker from John Gosden’s filly, Gallipot, it’s hard to fancy Elusive Kate and stablemate Gregorian needs rain, and he insists that Animal Kingdom is ‘really brilliant.’

At 10-1 bar the odds-on favourite, we can go for a place at better offers the yankee horse is for the win. I shall rely on Ballydoyle to get Declaration of War (10.5) into the frame.

qipco3.05 Royal Ascot (Kings Stand Stakes) We’re in the same boat here. But this time, as we consider hotpot Shea Shea, we know that seven of the last 10 Kings Stands have been won by foreign speed horses. And he’s backable at 3.65.

Shea Shea has clocked 56.41 on turf in Dubai this year, and our own Sole Power, returned 57.02 in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket. Aussie attacker Shamexpress hit 57.95 at Moonee Valley in January.

So I’m hoping the rain stays away and the lightning fast ground we’ve come to expect at Ascot gives us a record time.

The snag with Sole Power is the long straight 5f will test him to the limits, whereas the two raiders have both have won over 6f. The three-year–old Reckless Abandon needs an easy surface.

qipco3.45 Royal Ascot (St James’s Palace Stakes) You can’t bet on excuses. I have been through this race in my previews (see Archive) and the plain fact is that, as a betting medium, you must discount the  losers and back the winners,

Dawn Approach may be back to his best over a mile. Toronado may do better than his Newmarket flop. But the fact remains that Magician overtook them in improvement with a smooth Irish Guineas win.

While Toronado flattened out at HQ, and Dark Approach did a let-me-loose Frankel surge, Magician showed he has gears.

4.25 Royal Ascot (Coventry Stakes) Ryan Moore says he would prefer a horse with plenty of experience in the Coventry. I don’t know which form book he’s been reading but eight of the last 10 winners had raced only once or twice.

And another champion, Richard Hughes, has chosen against three-times-a-winner Thunder Strike in favour of once-raced Championship, who took the Newbury maiden captured by Canford Cliffs on his way to victory in this.

What does Hughsie know? He knows that Championship has been moving forward at home, with the confidence of that Newbury win under his belt.

Aidan O’Brien has fielded plenty of ammunition in this race, many of them losers, but the fate of his SP favourites in the last decade is 1011.

He’s likely to have the first two in the market today but, unlike Hughsie, Joseph O’Brien prefers the more exposed Stubbs in his fourth race, leaving the single-start Sir John Hawkins to Ryan Moore.

So that’s what Moore is fretting about! Well, I have more form-book information for him.

Stubbs is in the ‘coffin box’ stall one, and the low three stalls have failed to reach the first three in 11 out of 12 Coventrys this century. Eight winners were drawn in stall 8 or higher.

Another choice has been made by a third champion of this realm, Paul Hanagan, who must ride either Mawfoor (two runs) over Wahaab (one). He fancies Mawfoor

But he might just be casting an envious eye at Tony Hamilton on his old guv’nor’s Parbold. Richard Fahey rates him above the flying filly, Sandiva, who goes for the Albany on Friday.

That leaves the enigma of the race, Riverboat Springs, second to Thunder Strike at Epsom. Finding Epsom tricky, as many horses do, he was ‘nowhere’ until suddenly cottoning getting balanced two out.

The Riverboat raced through the pack and launched himself at the lightning-fast Thunder Strike but all too late in the day. Did our eyes deceive us, as he galloped through beaten horses. That’s often the case.

But such is the competition that, though today’s race was snubbed by the best two-year-olds until Dawn Approach last year, being sent to the Coventry may now be the latest trend.

It certainly looks a strong field and, going along with the stats and jockey picks, I’m taking Sir John Hawkins from stall 10 to beat Championship (in 3) and Riverboat Springs (6), assuming Stubbs and Thunder Strike are overtaken by the lightly-raced improvers.

Sir John Hawkins is by Henrythenavigator, who also ran in the Coventry. It was only his second start, too. And he won. The difference is that Henry had three more weeks to mature between races. Fingers crossed.

5.00 Royal Ascot (Ascot Stakes) Horses aged four and five have won 10 out of 12 this century, with NH trainers bagging six winners. Nine of the last 10 carried 9st 5lb or lower.

This, and the last race, are events where you don’t know the winner until it’s called. I shall go for a fast-ground, young horse, with stamina to burn and a keen rider in the saddle.

How much keener can you get than Frankie Dettori back at his beloved Ascot and how much more stamina do you want than Homeric’s potential (half-brother won over 3m 3f), yet he was able to score on fast ground over 2m; I took 17.0 on BETDAQ.

5.35 Royal Ascot (Windsor Castle Stakes) Winners at 100-1, 33-1, 20-1 and 14-1 in the last seven years, and only one favourite in nine. Newmarket yards haven’t scored for eight seasons.

The 6.6 market leader as I write, Anticipated, is ‘rock solid’ says Hughsie, but the stats say there ain’t no such thing in this contest.

It’s a pinstickers’ race and I’m taking 40.0 offer Treadstone, perfectly enstalled for a trainer, Tommy Stack, who does well with two-year-olds and gets them ready at the right time. Could improve a ton for the better ground.

DAQMAN’S BETS (all to win 30 points, all BETDAQ VALUE)
BET 3.3pts win and 6.7pts place DECLARATION OF WAR (2.30 Royal Ascot)
BET 11pts win SHEA SHEA (3.05 Royal Ascot)
BET 11pts win (nap) MAGICIAN (3.45 Royal Ascot)
BET 5.3pts win SIR JOHN HAWKINS, 4.8pts win CHAMPIONSHIP and 3.5pts win (stakes saver) STUBBS (4.25 Royal Ascot)
BET 0.7pts win and place TREADSTONE (5.35 Royal Ascot)
BET 2pts win and place HOMERIC (5.00 Royal Ascot)

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