Sharpshooter – Royal Ascot Queens Vase & Albany Stakes

While John Gosden had a mighty season last year and Godolphin enjoyed a welcome revival, it was business as usual in the Epsom Derby last Saturday where Ballydoyle had five of the first six home.

Make no mistake Aidan O'Brien and the Coolmore wizards still rule the roost big time.

As punters we must go with the flow, and grab the value now as the Tipperary squad are lining up the heavy artillery for Royal Ascot which kicks off next Tuesday week. WESTERN AUSTRALIA in the Queens Vase and ETOILE in the Albany Stakes make big appeal at current odds.

Western Australia could be their banker bet of the week. A close up third in the Futurity to stablemate Magna Grecia last October he failed to fire in two early outings this season. But stepping up an extra four furlongs in the Yeats Stakes at Navan made all the difference as he scooted home for Donnacha O'Brien. Australia - who also sired Broome - could just be the next big Coolmore hit at stud. When Aidan O'Brien's three year olds suddenly start to flower they can go a long way, and Western Australia could well develop into a serious St Leger contender. In any event don't miss him in the Queens Vase and the 13/2 still available can't last.

Very often Aidan's juveniles are vulnerable first time out so it was perhaps a tip in itself that Etoile kicked off in a Group 3, and a very hot one at that, the Coolmore Fillies Sprint Stakes at Naas. While Ryan Moore was on stablemate and odds on jolly So Wondeful, Seamie Heffernan got the leg up on Etoile who was clearly fancied by some in Ballydoyle as she was clipped from 16/1 to "12's" in brisk late trading in the ring. She led them all a merry dance, making all to win snugly from the highly rated track and trip winner Peace Charter.

Aidan O'Brien was pleasantly surprised and said: "She works with the other filly (So Wonderful) at home and was working nicely but it was a big ask for her to do that first time and you'd imagine she will improve plenty. The Albany Stakes is the obvious race for her now" he added. Cuis Ghaire won that same Naas race before landing the Albany as an 8/11 hotpot back in '08. Interestingly too Etoile's "one race, one win" record perfectly matches recent Albany winners Memory, Newfangled, Cursory Glance and Illuminate. She ticks a lot of boxes and will hardly be 6/1 on the day, particularly as it's on the Friday and it's a fair assumption that Ballydoyle will already have clocked up plenty of big race success that week and Ryan Moore will insist on being on board this time! 


Selections - Royal Ascot 

Queens Vase - WESTERN AUSTRALIA    0.5 point each way  13/2  Paddy Power, Betfair.

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Albany Stakes - ETOILE  0.5 point each way  6/1 Ladbrokes     

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