Matt Chapman Ascot Preview

Matt Chapman Ascot Preview

One of racing's biggest personalities Matt Chapman is currently preparing for racing's highlight of the season at Royal Ascot next week.

Speaking us to us exclusively on The Winners Enclosure, the ITV and Sky Sports Racing presenter believes the event represents everything good about British culture and sport.

Chappers gave us his strongest fancies for the meeting, along with jockeys and trainers to follow across the week.

Q: On a personal note, what does Royal Ascot mean to you?

He said: "It epitomises sport in many ways, and comes at a time of year when we have other major sporting events such as Wimbledon and things like that going on.

"For many people, it is the highlight of the flat racing season across the globe, we have royal patronage for five days which makes it a truly special event and also a global one, with as many as ten nations being represented from around the world.

"It brings a classy party atmosphere along to a prestigious race-meeting on a daily basis. Everything looks set for a great week."

Q: Where does it rank amongst the other major events in the sporting calendar?

He said: "It’s right up there as one of the biggest sporting events of the season, it gets on the front page of the newspapers because it has this royal patronage.

"Every media outlet and television company wants to have footage of Royal Ascot, and as far as the racing is concerned, it’s the meeting everyone wants to win at.

"A royal winner on your CV is very special and that’s the reason not only do horse’s come from around the world, but owners and jockeys do too.

"If you are on the world’s great sportsman as horse racing is concerned, you want to have a winner at this meeting on your profile.

"Someone like Ryan Moore or Frankie Dettori - if they do not get one, it will be pretty depressing to be quite frank."

Q: Who are the bankers for you - if there are any?

He said: "Very hard to talk about bankers as such, but there is one horse that most people will be expecting to double up, and that’s Stradivarius in the Gold Cup.

"On paper or by on figures, he is by no means the greatest Ascot Gold Cup winner of all time, but he just keeps on winning.

"The big dangers Dee Ex Bee and Cross Counter have got question marks over a horse like Stradivarius, so I think in the big races the one favourite people will expect to go in will be him.

"We have a tremendous slash up in the Kings Stand Stakes between Battaash and Blue Point, [Battaash] who is an outstanding sprinter, probably one of the best we have seen when he is on his ‘A’ game which he isn’t always on.

"Blue Point meanwhile is a very classy Godolphin sprinter again on his best form as well, plus you bring in some of the world’s best sprinters from around the globe and it looks a very special renewal.

"As for the other races, the St James’s Palace is very much a clash of Guineas winners. Phoenix Of Spain was brilliant in Ireland and he will go there, whilst in the fillies race, Hermosa who has won both the English and Irish Guineas, will go for the Coronation.

"Wherever you look, there is something exciting."

Q: Some races look pretty open, any thoughts on one at a price throughout the week?

He said: "In the Queen Anne, the defending champion Accidental Agent will not be ignored as such, but will never be a short-ish price because he is not really a very ‘sexy’ horse.

"Last year, he went from a fairly good run in the Lockinge to win the Queen Anne, and there were no good milers around as Saxon Warrior who won the 2,000 Guineas was stepped up in trip.

"This time around, he has had an even better run in the Lockinge, and he has had a load of other issues from last season that have been corrected.

"At 12/1, he is a great each-way bet because he is one of those horses that the conditions of the race, the number of runners, the pacemaker, it will all suit him as it did twelve months ago."

Q: Any trainers and jockeys we look be looking out for?

He said: "As for trainers and jockeys, Wesley Ward’s young group of juveniles will be looked at very closely.

"It is going to be an Aidan O’Brien and John Gosden fest, they absolutely dominate in Ireland and in the UK.

"Gosden of course with such a powerful stable, they only real big guns he will not send is Enable and Calyx through injury.

"Sea Of Class for William Haggas really is a horse to get excited about in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, the same race Masar goes for who won the Derby last year.

"His trainer Charlie Appleby has a powerful string as well, but it is not rocket science when it comes to trainers. If John Gosden or Aidan O’Brien is not top trainer at the end of the week I will be very surprised.

"Sir Michael Stoute will have a few arrows to throw; Crystal Ocean is certainly one of those."

Q: Who will you be working for?

He said: "It's part of my ITV contract that on days like these, I don't work for Sky Sports Racing and it's nice to have the choice taken out of your hands.

"I will be working for ITV, it will be slightly different this year as I usually do the betting, but now we have the 'Social Stable' which at the big meetings has gone quite well, and I team up with Chris Hughes from Love Island.

"We will be doing things different, and just trying to attract the youth to Royal Ascot, and whilst in many ways it's quite a posh meeting and considered by many for rich people, what we want to show is that it is for everyone and that you do not have to be a millionaire to end up at Royal Ascot.

"Hopefully we can bring a bit of colour to it all, and allow those not just for the horses to enjoy the meeting as entertainment on TV as well."