THERE is just one month until the greatest show on turf at Royal Ascot.
The Flat season is in full-swing and there's no time like the present to get some value in the early markets for the five-day festival, which begins on June 15.
Prince Of Wales's Stakes (Group 1, 1m2f)
The Wednesday feature at Royal Ascot is the most valuable and prestigious of the entire meeting.
And while we haven't seen ALPINE STAR yet this season, she appeals at current 12-1 odds.
She is due to make her reappearance in Ireland this weekend, after which her price for this race could plummet.
Jessica Harrington's top-class filly has winning form at this meeting, having breezed to an impressive Coronation Stakes success last June under Frankie Dettori.
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But she arguably had stronger form in defeat in three subsequent runs, finishing runner-up in the French Oaks before finishing a close second to Palace Pier in the Jacques le Marois and the brilliant Tarnawa on Arc day.
The form of her short-neck second to Tarnawa in the Prix de l'Opera is particularly strong, with the winning following up in the Breeders' Cup Turf and the third Audarya also successful at that meeting in the Filly & Mare Turf.
She is from a brilliant family and has only had seven career starts – and she will also receive a sex allowance from the boys if lining up. There is plenty to like.
Selection: Alpine Star @ 12-1
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Commonwealth Cup (Group 1, 6f)
There is a risk that ALCOHOL FREE could be diverted to the Coronation Stakes – but my money is on them dropping back in trip for the Commonwealth Cup.
Andrew Balding's flying filly took the step up into Group 1 company in her stride on her final two-year-old start, bagging the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket.
She set up a tilt at the 1,000 Guineas when clinging on for victory in the Fred Darling over 7f at Newbury, but she never really figured in the fillies' Classic, finishing a never threatening fifth.
They now have to drop her back in trip for the Commonwealth. The stiff 6f over the straight track at Ascot is tailor-made for her.
And while she had the class to win a Group race over a flat 7f first time out, she was crying out for the line then and her natural, raw speed is being blunted by stretching her out over a trip further than ideal.
There isn't a great deal of depth in the three-year-old sprinting department this year and this Group 1 is there for the taking.
Selection: Alcohol Free @ 12-1
Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2, 1m4f)
ILARAAB continues to improve at a rate of knots and he is a cracking bet for the Hardwicke Stakes.
The William Haggas-trained four-year-old won five in a row to end last season.
And he picked up where he left off with a runaway victory in a red-hot handicap at York's Dante meeting on his first try at 1m4f.
He is up to a mark of 111 now, meaning he's already similarly rated to the likes of Waldkonig and Hukum, who have Group form in the book.
There is no telling where his progress will end, and connections were adamant that he would take great benefit from his reappearance.
Like the Commonwealth, there aren't too many stars around in this middle-distance division, but the prolific Ilaraab just keeps getting better and he could make the 1m4f class his own.
Selection: Ilaraab @ 12-1
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