‘Parlous’ Patent, Wednesday, June 15

‘Parlous’ Patent, Wednesday, June 15 Royal Ascot isn’t really the place to go hunting for doubles and trebles but, frankly, we couldn’t resist the prospect of a large return for a small outlay. We have, however, listened to our inner voice and included singles this week, just so a decent-priced winner doesn’t go unbacked.

In the Duke of Cambridge Stakes (3.40), we like Usherette, whose sole defeat in six career starts came in the Prix Rothschild at Deauville last August. Andre Fabre’s filly reversed that form with Amazing Maria when staying on well to beat Arabian Queen in the Dahlia Stakes, over 1 mile furlong, on the Rowley Mile Course at Newmarket on May Day and a repeat performance could be good enough.

In the Royal Hunt Cup (5.00), Portage won over course and distance on soft going last summer and, although 15lb higher in the weights this time, subsequently ran creditably in defeat off his revised mark in the Irish Cambridgeshire at the Curragh and the Cambridgeshire proper at Newmarket. He proved his well-being when winning a Listed race, over 1 mile 2 furlongs, at the Curragh on his reappearance 11 days ago. A 5lb penalty for that success makes life more difficult, of course, but he hasn’t done much racing for a four-year-old and may still be open to improvement.

In the Sandringham Handicap (5.35), Persuasive won at Chelmsford two weeks ago in the style of a rapidly improving filly and can maintain her 100% record. The daughter of Dark Angel takes another step up in class off an 8lb higher mark, but she still falls into the ‘could be anything’ category after just three starts and could easily be up to the task.

Her sole turf win came on good going but if, like many of the progeny of Dark Angel, she is fully effective on soft ground, she must take some beating.

Selections: Ascot 3.40 Usherette, Ascot 5.00 Portage, Ascot 5.35 Persuasive, 1-point Win Patent

‘Deadly’ Double, Wednesday, June 8

‘Deadly’ Double, Wednesday, June 8 In the 6.15 at Hamilton on Wednesday, Giant Spark probably didn’t have to improve much, if at all, to win a run-of-the-mill amateur riders’ maiden handicap at Redcar eight days ago under Simon Walker, but his previous form had been fair, if unspectacular. He makes a quick reappearance under a 6lb penalty, with the winning jockey on board once again, and can win another ordinary race.

Later on the Hamilton card, in the 8.45, course and distance winner Final Venture has recorded all three career wins on good to firm going on testing tracks so, under ideal conditions, must have a decent chance of completing a hat-trick. The Equiano gelding is 5lb higher in the weights than when making all at Catterick last month, but didn’t see a racecourse until just over a year ago, so could still be open to significant improvement.

Selections: Hamilton 6.15 Giant Spark, Hamilton 8.45 Final Venture, 1-point Win Double

‘Tantalizing’ Treble, Thursday, June 2

In a break with tradition, this week, our multiple bet this week comes from the Memorial Tournament, hosted by Jack Nicklaus, at Muirfield Village Golf Club, Dublin, Ohio.

13:15 Bubba Watson

The big-hitting Floridian didn’t play in the Memorial Tournament last year, but recorded his best finish at Muirfield Village in 2014, when he eventually finished third, after holding the 54-hole lead. He has the combination of power and accuracy to take advantage of the reachable par fives and, although he faces tough opposition, in the form of Rickie Fowler and Patrick Reed, he looks worthy of support at 7/4 in the first round three balls.

17:54 Russell Knox

The Scotsman finished tied 18th last year, eight shots behind the eventual winner, David Lingmerth, but currently lies fifth in the FedExCup standings and ranks first for greens in regulation on the PGA Tour. Admittedly, his putting and par five scoring statistics are less impressive but he finished in a tie for second in the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links two starts ago and, at 11/8, should be too strong for Jim Herman and Kevin Kisner.

18:05 Hideki Matsuyama

The 24-year-old Japanese earned his first win on the PGA Tour in the Memorial Tournament in 2014 and finished tied fifth last year, so clearly has an affinity for Muirfield Village. The quality of his ball striking and the accuracy of his iron play should stand him in good stead once again and, at 5/4, he can steal a march on Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson.

Selections: Memorial Tournament first round three balls, Bubba Watson (7/4 with bet365), Russell Knox (11/8), Hideki Matsuyama (5/4), 1-point win Treble