There are five Group races at Royal Ascot on Friday and the standout bet is Eye Of Heaven in the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes. The race is for horses aged two and run over five furlongs, so it has the same conditions as the Windsor Park Stakes on the second day. Tactical won that race for the Queen and Eye Of Heaven beat that horse in his only previous start at Newmarket over five furlongs earlier this month. Punters have latched on to Eye Of Heaven and the odds have shortened from +300 to a best price of +175.
Juvenile horses often hold their form, so Eye Of Heaven looks in good shape for a second win in two starts, both over the minimum distance. Tactical was also well backed for his race on Wednesday. It’s unclear if Her Majesty placed any bets. The horse was always close to the pace on the near side of the track and took control inside the final furlong. Eye Of Heaven beat Tactical in third by two lengths in the Newmarket race, which looks like one of the hottest races for horses aged two this season. Get It finished second and that horse was fourth behind Tactical at Ascot earlier in the week.
Eye Of Heaven ran to a Racing Post Rating of 90 at Newmarket, while Tactical produced a mark of 100 at Ascot. Young horses tend to progress quickly and, on the form, Eye Of Heaven can raise the bar even further in the Norfolk Stakes. The press will probably highlight the Newmarket race, so there could be a sustained gamble on Eye Of Heaven. The horse has excellent claims, so +175 is a price to take because it won’t last long. Lir Jet offers some each-way value at +600. It could be a bet to nothing because the horse impressed on debut, but Eye Of Heaven is preferred.
Two-year-old horses at the start of their racing career are generally consistent. A decent young horse can build up a run of wins, generally beating the same horses a number of times. Fourteen horses are declared to run in the Norfolk Stakes. Ventura Tormenta is the only debutant and no horse has run more than twice. There are four winners in the field, of which three have won their only start. All but two horses have finished in the first four in previous races, so this looks a strong juvenile contest.
Eye Of Heaven, Lir Jet and Macho Pride have one win from one start. However, Eye Of Heaven was the most impressive and the form link with Tactical makes the horse the most likely winner at Ascot. Get It has been declared, but two races in three days is unlikely. Lipizzaner represents Aidan O’Brien and, despite not winning in two starts, has more experience than most in the field. However, his form is not strong enough to win the race, so Eye Of Heaven is the banker and could start at evens or lower after a sustained betting move.
The Commonwealth Cup is the only Group 1 event on the Friday card and the latest odds suggest an open race. Pierre Lapan is the +400 favourite in a race over six furlongs for horses aged three. The horse was unbeaten as a juvenile in two races in 2019. Those runs included a win with a bit in hand in a Group 2 race over six furlongs at Newbury in September. However, there could be some value in backing Wooded at +700. The horse has won over six furlongs this season, so punters may come in at that price.
Even so, Eye of Heaven could be the best-backed runner on the card. The horse is a better bet at the current odds for the Norfolk Stakes, especially after Tactical impressed at Ascot on Wednesday. Even the Queen might spend some of the prize money with a wager on Eye Of Heaven, but most likely online and not at her local bookies.