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Royal Ascot tips: Conditions tailor-made for Volterra in wide-open Britannia Stakes

The race following the razzmatazz of the Gold Cup can have a feeling of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’ but the Britannia Stakes one-mile handicap is the perfect way to reboot the racing action.

17:05 Royal Ascot: Britannia Stakes 

  • Race details: 1 mile (straight), Heritage Handicap, 3-year-olds only
  • 2023 winner: Docklands (6/1F) - Hayley Turner (J), Harry Eustace (T)
  • Recent Trends: Docklands was first winning favourite since 2012, 8/10 previous winners had double-digit odds

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There’s plenty of progressive three-year-olds in attendance here, and with three of the last four winners of this contest having already been proven over a mile prior to winning this prize, Volterra looks a likely candidate.

Kevin Ryan’s colt is improving rapidly and has already shown a strong preference for a straight, galloping track with decent ground.

Having run a very promising race on fast ground at York on his career debut last season (missing second place by two necks in a maiden won by the now 106-rated Battle Cry), Volterra wasn’t favoured by slower ground at Ayr next time, but he ended his two-year-old campaign with a seven-furlong win back on better ground at Redcar, where he beat 11 rivals to take a novices’ event.

He got up in the very last stride in the manner of one who would most certainly benefit from a mile as a three-year-old, and that was certainly the case on his reappearance from a seven-month break at Newmarket early last month, when he easily won a mile handicap ahead of some useful-looking opposition.

On a straight galloping track with good ground, he was ridden to hit the front with two furlongs to go, in order to make full use of his stamina, and he quickly asserted and went clear, looking stronger the further he went.

Suggested best bet: Volterra each-way in the 17:05 at Royal Ascot

He came home almost three lengths clear of Ed Dunlop’s colt, Skukuza, who has since advertised the form by winning another decent handicap over that same course and distance off a 2lb higher mark.

Skukuza is one of today’s market rivals (as is the well-held runner-up from that race, Lautrec) but it is hard to see him reversing that comprehensive defeat at the hands of Volterra, who clearly has a good deal more improvement in him on the back of that return to action and first try at a mile.

Stall 3 is a potentially positive draw provided there is plenty of pace down the far side, which looks likely given the presence of the likes of Air Commander (first-time visored) in stall 2, and Miletus is stall 4, both of whom stay a mile and have already won from the front this season.

Drawn between that pair, Volterra should get an ideal tow through the early stages before mounting a strong challenge in plenty of time, as he did at Newmarket last time.

 

Of the others, Qirat makes his debut over a mile today, having won very well over seven furlongs at Goodwood on his seasonal return.

That race was a strong-looking Class 2 (0-98) handicap and Qirat was doing his strongest work in the closing stages, going clear to beat a dozen rivals by more than a length.

The runner-up (Al Shabab Storm, the race favourite) hasn’t been out since, but the third-placed finisher, Blue Prince, has since run third of 13 in a strong Class 2 at Chester off the same mark.

He is a solid guide to the form and Qirat gives every impression of improving again, both for the run and for this step up to a mile.

Ralph Beckett’s runner is drawn in stall 29 on the near side, but he also has a front-runner for company in The Camden Colt (stall 26).

Next best bet: Qirat each-way in the 17:05 at Royal Ascot

 

READ MORE: Royal Ascot Thursday tips: Best bets for ITV action on Day 3, June 20

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