Mukhmal the value to upset O’Brien hotpot The Great War

PUNTERS have had the best of the early battle with the bookmakers and those attending Ladies Day today will be hoping to get off to a flyer in the Norfolk Stakes (2.30pm).

The banker for many will be Aidan O’Brien’s The Great War, who was the ante-post favourite for the Coventry Stakes before surprisingly being diverted here.

He has looked impressive in his two career starts so far, but he returned at 30/100 and 1/9 so that tells you all you need to know about the quality of the races. Bwana, who was runner up to him at the Curragh last month, finished last of the 24 runners in Tuesday’s Windsor Castle Stakes.

The Great War could be the next Ballydoyle superstar, but I’m not prepared to back him at just 5/4 – especially as the yard have had some disappointments recently.

Mark Johnston nearly always has a winner or two at the royal meeting and his MUKHMAL is the each-way selection at 6/1 with Paddy Power.

He won really well on debut at Musselburgh, but it was his performance at Chester last month that really screamed Royal Ascot.

It is very rare to see a five furlong winner from stall 10 on the Roodee, but that proved no barrier to this speedy Bahamian Bounty colt. He also carried a penalty that day and he looks a solid alternative to the favourite.

I’m hoping Johnston can bookend today’s card as STARS OVER THE SEA can go well at a big price in the closing King George V Stakes (5.35pm). The son of Sea The Stars has been racing in decent company this season and looked as though his turn was just around the corner when running on at Epsom last time.

Johnston has won this race twice in the last eight years and although I’m not happy about my tip’s draw in stall 20, Joe Fanning can hopefully break well and then dictate the pace from the front. Anyway, his 25/1 price with Paddy Power more than makes up for that concern.

I would also advise punters to have a few quid on Richard Hannon’s WINDSHEAR at 8/1 with Star Sports. He was second to Cannock Chase in the London Gold Cup and I’ve already said how strongly I rate that form.

MUKHMAL e/w 2.30pm Ascot
STARS OVER THE SEA e/w 5.35pm Ascot
WINDSHEAR e/w 5.35pm Ascot