The fourth day of the 2011 Royal Ascot meeting is on Friday and features the Coronation Stakes. For a preview of this race, as well as the rest of Royal Ascot’s day four, read on.

Royal Ascot 2011 – Day 4 Preview
(All odds correct at time of publication)

Race 2 – The King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2)
The first big race on the card for day four of Royal Ascot is the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes, for which John Gosden’s Nathaniel is the current favourite (best price 4.40, Betfair).

Nathaniel has good form, having come second in the Chester Vase to Treasure Beach by just a head. Treasure Beach of course went on to come a close second in this year’s Derby.

Henry Cecil’s World Domination is the second favourite at a best price of 5.10 (Betfair). A disappointing fourth in the Dante Stakes earlier this year, connections are hopeful of putting that run behind them and the horse should appreciate the step up in trip.

Hurricane Higgins could be an interesting outsider at a best price of 27.00 (Betfair) as trainer Mark Johnston has won this race twice in the last few years, with Monterosso last year and Boscobel in 2007.

The King Edward VII Stakes is run over a mile and a half, and is for three year old male horses only. This particular Royal Ascot race was inaugurated back in 1834 as the the Ascot Derby Stakes. verdict: Hurricane Higgins each-way.

Race 3 – The Coronation Stakes (Group 1)
The feature race on day four of Royal Ascot 2011 is undoubtedly the Coronation Stakes, won by the Aidan O’Brien trained Lillie Langtry last year. The race takes place over a mile and is for three year old fillies only.

This year’s Coronation Stakes favourite is another Aidan O’Brien horse, Together. Although yet to win a Group 1 race, Together finished second in both the 1,000 Guineas and the Irish equivalent and is undoubtedly a top class filly. She looks a worthy Coronation Stakes favourite and is a best price of 5.00  (LadbrokesBet365).

Other possible Coronation Stakes contenders include Memory, who disappointed so badly in the 1,000 Guineas when failing to leave the stalls, but remains a hot prospect and Maqaasid, who John Gosden recently hinted might be his best chance of a Royal Ascot winner this year. Memory is available to back at a best price of 7.50 (Ladbrokes), while Maqaasid is available at 8.00 (Ladbrokes, William Hill).

If you like the bigger priced horses, you should bear in mind that all of the last ten Coronation Stakes winners came from the front four in the betting, so you might be better off choosing a different race to back a long shot, but if you really insist then your best bet might be Nova Hawk (best price 13.00, Ladbrokes).

All of the last Coronation Stakes ten winners ran in the 1,000 Guineas or the French and Irish equivalents and Nova Hawk was not disgraced when finishing fourth in both the 1,000 Guineas and the French equivalent race. verdict: Together to win.

Race 5 – The Queen’s Vase (Group 3)
The Group 3 Queen’s Vase is run over a mile and a quarter and is open to three year old horses of either sex. The race dates back to 1838 and its original trophy (and hence its name) was a gold vase donated by Queen Victoria. The Queen’s Vase is one of three races at Royal Ascot to be presented to the winner by the Queen herself.

The high street bookmakers are yet to price up the Queen’s Vase, but the world’s largest betting exchange - Betfair – is finding it tough to separate the front two in the market, Solar Sky and Regent Street, who can both be backed at around 2.84.

Henry Cecil’s Solar Sky is understandably short, as the trainer has won the Queen’s Vase more times than any other in history (eight times). The horse finished second to World Domination in a decent looking maiden, before getting off the mark at the second time of asking.

Regent Street, trained by Aidan O’Brien, was only beaten three lengths by stable mate and Derby hopeful Recital in a Derby trial and his trainer has won the race twice in the last four years.

Namibian, whose best price is currently 4.80 on Betfair, is trained by Mark Johnston, who has bagged the Queen’s Vase on no fewer than five times in the last ten years, a tremendous record that simply cannot be overlooked.

Namibian was not disgraced when running third to his stable mate Eternal Heart in the Edinburgh Cup and could spring a Royal Ascot surprise in the Queen’s Vase. verdict: Namibian to win.

The opening race of the meeting is the Group 3 Albany Stakes, while the other two races on the Royal Ascot day four card are the Wolferton Handicap (Listed Race) and the Buckingham Palace Handicap (Class 2).

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