Horse racing betting: Esoterique to strike a blow for the fairer sex in Royal Ascot opener

 
Bill Esdaile
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Hong Kong Racing
Esoterique has had time to recover from last year's exertions (Source: Getty)

There hasn't been a more open renewal of Tuesday afternoon's Queen Anne Stakes (2.30pm) for many a year, with three horses from all over the world battling for favouritism.

Last year's Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Tepin has travelled across the Atlantic for the first time for the biggest test of her career.

The outstanding American mare has won all four starts this calendar year, but she makes her debut over a straight mile here at Ascot, on ground far softer than ideal and without the use of either Lasix or her usual nasal strips.

All four factors are enough to put me off her chances, but it's the thought of a strongly run mile on tiring, attritional ground that puts me off most of all.

Don't get me wrong, she has unquestionable talent. It's just conditions aren't in her favour and she represents poor value in my opinion at just 4/1 with Star Sports.

Belardo bounced back to form in the Lockinge last time and looks a far less risky proposition at the top of the market.

Roger Varian's colt is also at home in these conditions and proved he goes well on the track when getting close to Solow in last season's QE II Stakes.

He’s pretty short now, though, for one that did throw in a stinker two starts back at Sandown.

French filly Ervedya makes up the trio at the head of the market and made a pleasing enough return to action at Saint-Cloud.

She is bound to have come on bundles for that outing and is well-suited by cut in the ground.

She is another with decent course form having won the Coronation Stakes at this meeting 12 months ago and, in my eyes, is the one they all have to beat.

My opposition to her is also based around her price and the value may well be with another French raider, ESOTERIQUE at 8/1 with Star Sports.

Runner-up to Solow in this contest 12 months ago, she went on to land two Group One contests at Deauville and then at Newmarket, before a hard season caught up with her in America and Hong Kong.

She has had plenty of time to recover from those exertions and made a decent return to action when runner-up over an inadequate trip at Deauville earlier this month.

That would have blown the cobwebs away and she is bound to improve for that outing.

Softer ground is also a positive rather than a negative with her form figures on soft or worse reading 11312.

Star Sports also have an interesting promotion on Tuesday where they are offering a special boosted price on Portugal at 5/4 against Iceland at Euro 2016 if you place three or more bets at Ascot this afternoon.

Pointers

Esoterique e/w 2.30pm Royal Ascot

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