Hi everyone,
we had a mixed bag over the weekend. We had 2 selections on Saturday giving us a nice winner in Mubtasimah and an unlucky short head 2nd in Tomfre giving us a decent profit of 8.2 points to advised prices.

Then Sunday we took a step back with Caspian Prince not fulfilling the fairy tale on his 100th run of his career. He was snatched up in the last 100 yards when squeezed for room, it would have seen him a bit closer but still just outside the places.

Then we had a strong selection in Mrs Bouquet who ran as if something was amiss. She ran ok until the 2-furlong marker but when asked for an effort there was just nothing in the tank and she faded very quickly to finish next to last only beating the other disappointment in the race the favourite. We still came out with a profit over the weekend but it could have been so much better, but that's racing.

It's going to be a strange Royal Ascot with no top hats and morning suits, no Queens parade, no ladies fashion parades, no champagne quaffing hooray henries and thankfully no drunken stag and hen parties to spoil things.

ITV has done a sterling job so far with behind closed doors racing and we have five days of high-class racing, all televised, to look forward to and I am sure they will make it a spectacle worth watching.

We kick off the meeting with 4 selections so let's get down to business...

Good luck
The team at Cleeve

1.15 Ascot 7f Buckingham Palace Handicap (Class 2) (3yo+ 0-105)

Selections:

Kaeso 1 point each way at 13/2 Paddypower and Betfair (6 places)

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Mutamaasik – 253
2) Flaming Spear – 217
3) Gifted Master – 208
4) Kaeso – 205

Race analysis:
There are several unexposed types in the race and any one of them could have the potential to win at Group level. Top-rated Mutamaasik, the favourite Daarik, fifth and sixth rated Alexander James and Motakhayyel are such horses, but these races are usually won by horses with more experience. It takes a tough horse to win these races plus a lot of luck in running and pace-wise it is best to be mid-division generally.

Flaming Spear has the right profile for the race but has disappointed every time he has run at Ascot, so best to look elsewhere.

Gifted Master has yet to convince further than six furlongs and his low draw is unlikely to do him any favours.

Kaeso is a bit higher in the weights now but has run well in several big field handicaps at Ascot and has the big plus of Champion Jockey Oisin Murphy booked. I think Kaeso has the capability to win one of these handicaps and his draw is perfect, so he should be able to run in mid-division and hopefully get the necessary gap in the final furlong.

1.50 Ascot 1m (Str) Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (4yo+)

Selections:

Space Traveller 1 point each way at 25/1 Bet365 (4 places)

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Circus Maximus – 144
2) Mustashry – 137
3) Duke Of Hazzard – 130
4) Terebellum – 129

Race analysis:
Circus Maximus could well win again here, having won the St. James Palace Stakes here last season; however, I am not convinced with him especially as he tends to lead. There are not too many contenders for the lead, and he could find himself setting up the race for the chasing pack.

Mustashry was the final one I ruled out and that was more to do with his age rather than his ability. Sir Michael Stoute has an uncanny knack of improving horses with age, but I think he is most likely to place.

Duke Of Hazzard won his last three races last season and probably has more improvement to come, but is held by our selection on their running here in the Jersey Stakes. I do expect him to improve and he will be a challenger if fully fit and the stable has had a couple of winners from only nine runners at the time of writing.

Terebellum is the least experienced of the leading contenders and she gets the three pounds for her sex here. She won at Group 2 level last season and John Gosden will have her spot on for this and she must be special as he could easily have entered a colt for this race. I will be interested to see how she has progressed over the winter.

Space Traveller won the Jersey Stakes here and then won a Group 2 race at Leopardstown. His hold up style is suited to Ascot and I would expect him to be making his move coming into the final furlong and can hopefully cause a surprise here in what looks a weak Group 1.

2.25 Ascot 1m4f (1m3f211y) Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (3yo)

Selections:

NO SELECTION

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Miss Yoda – 116
2) West End Girl – 105
3) Trefoil – 103

Race analysis:
The twice raced Frankly Darling is the market leader and she will have to be at her best to win this extremely competitive race. Her main challengers will be her stablemates Miss Yoda and Trefoil, but I think Miss Yoda will be the biggest challenger and she was tempting at her price of 13/2. A race to enjoy but not a betting race with too many questions. No Bet.

3.00 Ascot 1m4f (1m3f211y) King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1)

Selections:

NO SELECTION

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Mogul – 57
2) Mohican Heights – 55
3) Pyledriver – 51

Race analysis:
A small field and this is likely to turn into a final furlong sprint and Mogul is odds on and no value. No Bet.

3.35 Ascot 5f King's Stand Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (3yo+)

Selections:

Liberty Beach 1 point each way at 12/1 Ladbrokes (generally 9/1)

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Battaash – 106
2) Glass Slippers – 102
3) Liberty Beach – 95

Race analysis:
Battaash is the best sprinter in the UK on ground faster than good to soft; however, in three attempts at Ascot he has failed to win. He has finished second in this in the last two seasons but his conqueror on both occasions Blue Point is absent here. At odds on Battaash is no value and is worth opposing.

Glass Slippers beat Battaash at Longchamp when winning the Prix de L’Abbaye on exceptionally soft going. This is different with the ground likely to be good or faster and Glass Slippers is drawn away from his main rivals.

Liberty Beach needs to improve again, but she has beaten the boys at Group 3 level and if she can stay close to Battaash she could cause a surprise. I do like a sprinter in form and she has already won for us since the restart and unlike some of these Liberty Beach does have the potential to improve again.

4.10 Ascot 1m (Str) Duke Of Cambridge Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (4yo+)

Selections:

NO SELECTION

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Magic Lily – 102
2) Miss O’Connor – 97
3) Lavender’s Blue – 96

Race analysis:
There are about five runners that have the capability to win this on their day, and despite Magic Lily being a reasonable price there were more questions than answers. No Bet.

4.40 Ascot 2m4f (2m3f210y) Ascot Stakes (A Handicap) (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-100)

Selections:

Fair Mountain 0.5 points each way at 25/1 Paddypower and Skybet (6 places)

Race Analysis:

Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Charlie D – 181
2) Land Of Oz – 172
3) Moon King – 164
4) Summer Moon – 154

Race analysis:
This race has been won by jumps trainers or dual-purpose trainers frequently over the last few years and I expect that trend to continue.

Verdana Blue is a very short-priced favourite considering the field size and how things can easily go wrong in a race of this nature. She is at her best on quicker ground and Ryan Moore has been booked, which shows the stable’s intent. Verdana Blue is inexperienced on the flat with only one run and that makes her price look noticeably short indeed.

I was tempted by both the Ian William’s runners Blue Laureate and Mancini and it would be no surprise to see either or both contest this race in the final stages. Mancini was the one I ruled out last as I think the switch of stables could have reinvigorated him.

Other contenders are likely to come from Summer Moon, Land Of Oz and Moon King.

I spotted our selection when carrying out my in-depth analysis and Fair Mountain despite not having run for just under two years has top-class form on the flat and a Listed place on only his fourth run over hurdles. Obviously, he has had an issue or two since that run, but Dan Skelton is one of the shrewdest trainers around and the horse would not be aimed at this race if he were not ready to run. His price looks to be fair considering his absence and I have kept stakes to an absolute minimum due to that fact.