Royal Ascot horse racing picks and predictions for Thursday's races: It could pay to follow Twilight Payment

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Andrew Wilsher

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Managing Editor of Pickswise. Born and raised in jolly old London, England, with an undying love for the NFL, NBA, soccer and horse racing. A big-time sports bettor who loves futures markets and backing underdogs. Long-suffering New York Jets fan. For Andrew Wilsher media enquiries, please email
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Royal Ascot is one of the biggest weeks in the British horse racing calendar, and every race this week will be broadcast live on NBC Sports, including on Thursday, June 17.

Here at Pickswise, we’ll be providing free picks and predictions for every single race. If you’re new to Royal Ascot, then be sure to check out our handy guide, which explains exactly why it is the most prestigious horse racing festival in Britain.

Race 1: Cadamosto to win the Norfolk Stakes, 9:30am ET

In what looks an open Group 2 race, the winner could be CADAMOSTO, who came away nicely on his Dundalk debut in April and can provide Aidan O’Brien with a third win in this event since 2015. American trainer Wesley Ward is another who has twice won this race in recent years so his pair Lucci (second on the list) and Nakatomi, who both won on debut in America, merit plenty of respect. This a big jump in class for Perfect Power but he was impressive at Hamilton last week and is one who could go well at big odds.

Race 2: Mohaafeth to win the Hampton Court Stakes, 10:05am ET

Having cruised to victory in a four-runner Listed race at Newmarket last month, MOHAAFETH can make it four wins in a row this season before going on to bigger things. Secret Protector was well beaten in second that day but didn’t appear to be at his best, having previously posted a far more promising Listed second at the same track. He is second choice, with stablemate One Ruler, Aidan O’Brien’s Roman Empire, and the Roger Varian-trained Movin Time others who could go well.

Race 3: Noon Star to win the Ribblesdale Stakes, 10:40am ET

The form of the Musidora Stakes received a major boost when the winner Snowfall roared to a comfortable victory in the Epsom Oaks, and NOON STAR is the selection having been a near four-length second on that occasion. This well-bred filly is open to further improvement for Sir Michael Stoute, especially now she is upped to 12 furlongs. Divinely might have been second (albeit a distant one) in the Oaks granted a more favorable passage and Aidan O’Brien’s sole representative is feared most.

Race 4: Twilight Payment to win the Ascot Gold Cup, 11:15am ET

It’s some buzz to watch Stradivarius and he is the thoroughly proven class act in this field but his superiority on current evidence is nothing like as big as his winning margin in this race last term and this promises to be a competitive renewal. There is always the chance of him finding trouble during the race as well.

Consequently, it may be wise to avoid betting on him at the likely very short odds and an appealing horse is TWILIGHT PAYMENT. The Irish eight-year-old has been around even longer than Stradivarius but winning last year’s Melbourne Cup reiterated what he can do over two miles and he’s long looked a strong candidate for even further. Subjectivist, Trueshan and Spanish Mission are also major players.

Race 5: Mithras to win the Britannia Stakes, noon ET

This presents the typical Britannia conundrum with potential Group horses lurking within the shadows. The pick is MITHRAS, who appeared to be going places before failing to do himself justice at Listed level last time and should thrive in this very different environment. John and Thady Gosden also saddle Emperor Spirit, for whom Ripon last time did not go to plan and whose current handicap mark may underestimate his ability.

Race 7: Danyah to win the Buckingham Palace Stakes, 1:10pm ET

Aldaary has to be respected after a highly impressive win against his own age group at Ascot in May and Lord Campari is also right up the list at this more realistic level. The more seasoned DANYAH looks interesting running back over seven furlongs, though, as a strongly run race over this distance could be ideal after two solid form efforts in good mile handicaps.

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