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Royal Ascot Hardwicke Stakes tips: Continuous to edge out Middle Earth, Isle Of Jura in the mix

Saturday’s action continues with the Hardwicke Stakes, a competitive 12-furlong Group 2 that has been known to throw up enough surprises to keep each-way punters interested.

15:05 Royal Ascot: Hardwicke Stakes 

  • Race details: 1 mile 4 furlongs, Group 2, 4-year-olds+
  • 2023 winner: Pyledriver (7/2) - PJ McDonald (J), William Muir and Chris Grassick (T)
  • Recent Trends: 8/18 winners came from stalls 2-5 (inc), but not one from stall 1 

Planet Sport Bet Royal Ascot Special: Bet £20+ cash on any runner in the race and if Continuous wins by more than 3 lengths, get a £5 Free Bet!

Do we have another two-horse race on our hands here? The bookies would seem to think so, but they’ve been known to get it wrong before, so it’s not cut and dried that short-priced market leaders Continuous and Middle Earth will have things all their own way.

Continuous appears to be a worthy favourite in terms of previous form, but nevertheless there has to be a question mark against such stingy odds for a horse making his first appearance for nine months, even with Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore franking his status.

Suggested best bet: Continuous in the 15:05 at Royal Ascot

A seventh-placed finish in last year’s St Leger is the only time the Gosden-trained Middle Earth has finished outside the first two, coming as it did between his four victories to date, including over this distance on his sole 2024 outing at Newbury five weeks ago.

It’s hard to imagine these two not being bang there at the business end of the race, and if push comes to shove, we’re just about going to side with Continuous to hit the ground running on season debut, but this really could go either way.

 

While the two market leaders jostle for the favourite tag, their short prices have boosted the each-way value elsewhere, with even last year’s King George V winner, Desert Hero available at a tempting 15/2.

In the nether regions of the market, Crypto Force and Elegant Man have gained some traction in the Tipstrr camp, but getting their each-way nod is Isle Of Jura, who has won seven of his last nine starts since around this time last year.

After landing a couple of one-mile handicaps with room to spare at Newbury and Newmarket last summer, George Scott’s gelding enjoyed a lucrative winter campaign in Bahrain, losing only one of his five outings (by a nose), and then winning all of his last three by 2½ lengths or more.

Next best each-way punt: Isle Of Jura each-way in the 15:05 at Royal Ascot

A ten-week lay-off freshened the four-year-old up nicely for his UK season bow at Goodwood late last month, and he promptly delivered the goods again, staying on strongly to take and maintain a half-length lead in the final furlong.

This will be a tougher task, of course, but having won over all distances between a mile and 12 furlongs, Ascot’s mile and a half should pose no problems stamina-wise, and with the capable Callum Shepherd at the helm, Isle Of Jura should hopefully give us a good run for our each-way money.

 

 

READ MORE: Royal Ascot Saturday tips: Best bets for ITV action on Day 5, June 22

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