Some of the star horses on show on Wednesday

Royal Ascot tips: Day two preview and horses to follow on Wednesday

Our experts take a look through the entries for day two at Royal Ascot and tackle some of the key questions facing punters on Wednesday.

The Prince of Wales’s Stakes sees another clash between White Birch and Auguste Rodin – which camp are you in?

Ben Linfoot: I’d love to see Inspiral in this race as I think her mile pace going around a bend could get these two in trouble. However, it looks like she’s going for the Queen Anne on day one. As it stands, I much prefer the claims of White Birch out of the big two. He has already beaten Auguste Rodin fair and square at the Curragh this season and the son of Ulysses looks a much improved horse at four, just like his sire was. The forecast rain showers swing the balance of power further in his favour and it would have to get rattling quick for me to even think about backing Auguste Rodin, who, as we have seen, looks to need everything in his favour if he is to produce his A-game.

John Ingles: Not the same one I would have been in this time last year! White Birch was little threat to Auguste Rodin in their two meetings as three-year-olds, but they were both over a mile and a half. Add in the fact that White Birch has clearly improved a good deal from three to four, just like his sire Ulysses, and he looks worth sticking with to confirm his three-length defeat of Auguste Rodin in the Tattersalls Gold Cup last time. Quicker conditions might prove to suit the Derby winner but his record of all-or-nothing performances doesn’t inspire total confidence.

Matt Brocklebank: Seeing Auguste Rodin run his race and get beaten messed with my brain a bit as we'd become so accustomed to him either looking a world-beater or completely bombing out. There didn't appear to be any excuses when comfortably held by three lengths behind White Birch in the Tattersalls Gold Cup and it just looks like the grey has caught him up, having been well beaten off himself in last year's Derby and the Irish version. I'd have White Birch favourite here so he's surely the value call and there isn't too much strength elsewhere in the race.

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Will Rogue Millennium go back-to-back in the Duke of Cambridge or does something else catch your eye?

Ben Linfoot: She doesn’t set an exacting standard and I think she was in better form coming into the race last year, so I’d rather take her on with a more unexposed filly. If there’s cut in the ground I’d be tempted to back Novus each-way for Gary & Josh Moore. The four-year-old looks to have improved again this season judging by her good second in a Listed race at Goodwood last time out where she beat subsequent G3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes winner Breege giving her 5lb. That highlights how good she is granted her conditions but she will want at least some soft in the description.

John Ingles: The pair who beat her on her reappearance at the Curragh are also among the entries but little went right for Rogue Millennium there so it wouldn’t be a surprise if she turned the tables on those two. However, it wasn’t the strongest renewal of the Duke of Cambridge last year and Rogue Millennium would have more to do if Laurel is anywhere near her best after an admittedly lengthy absence. We haven’t seen her since she disappointed in last year’s Lockinge but her only other defeat came when second in the 2022 Sun Chariot Stakes which looks the best bit of form on offer here.

Matt Brocklebank: Rogue Millennium did incredibly well to win this last summer as the other horses who finished in the places were prominent or right on the pace. She made a bright start for Joseph O'Brien when not getting a clear run on her seasonal debut at the Curragh and will no doubt have been trained for a repeat win at the Royal meeting. Laurel is a massive threat on best form but I'd be worried she might be really keen first time back after the layoff, and I could be tempted by a hard filly like Novus, especially if there's a bit of rain around.

Laurel pictured after winning at Kempton
The high-class filly Laurel

Is there a horse on your radar for one of the two-year-old races?

Ben Linfoot: Not particularly on day two with the Queen Mary and Windsor Castle looking very tricky races from a punting point of view. Having visited Karl Burke’s in the week it was hard not to be impressed by his squad of juveniles for Royal Ascot and while he has one of the favourites for the Queen Mary in Leovanni, don’t rule out a big run from her stablemate Miss Lamai. She was a bit unlucky in the Marygate after getting lonely and if she’s ridden with more patience at Ascot she could come home very well indeed at a likely big price.

John Ingles: The filly in the Queen Mary who caught my eye on pedigree was Xanthe for Richard Hannon. Her dam Gilded won the Queen Mary back in 2006 for Richard Hannon senior. Gilded managed to win four times (!) before she got to Royal Ascot but her daughter’s had just the one run by way of preparation. It seems significant that they chose Ascot for Xanthe’s debut last month, even though that meant her being the only filly in a novice full of colts, so she has experience of the track and there was a lot to like about the way she went about making a winning start.

Matt Brocklebank: No strong views at this point and I can't imagine they'll materialise over the next few days either when it comes to the juvenile events at Royal Ascot! It's just so tough and they're all improving at different rates, but I loved how Loom got the job done over a Wathnan hot-pot when dropped to five furlongs at Ripon and I see he's been entered in the Windsor Castle on day two. Wherever he goes I could be tempted by a small each-way interest.

And where should punters be looking in the handicaps on Wednesday?

Ben Linfoot: I do like the look of Daysofourlives in the Royal Hunt Cup and he’s on the shortlist for that race. He’s got good all-weather form and good Ascot form, while he has shaped in two starts at Newmarket this season like he is running better than ever. Those two races weren’t run to suit as I think he ideally he wants a strong gallop to aim at. He will get that in this race and he’s an improving four-year-old that might not be badly treated off a mark of 97 granted the right circumstances.

John Ingles: The Wathnan Racing colours seem sure to become a familiar sight next week and Beshtani looks capable of a big run for them in the Royal Hunt Cup. An expensive purchase from France where he won three times for the Aga Khan last year, Beshtani couldn’t have gone any closer to making a winning debut for his new connections when touched off by a nose by Two Tempting at Epsom on Oaks day, finishing clear of the rest who likely including one or two of his Hunt Cup rivals. That was a smart effort from Beshtani, who'll be one of the best handicapped horses in the field.

Matt Brocklebank: You can't beat a bit of Ascot know-how in the handicaps and Perotto has loads of it having won the Britannia here as a three-year-old and added to his course tally with a narrow win at the Shergar Cup last August. He's up in the weights again but still doesn't look too badly treated based on the pick of his old form for Marcus Tregoning and I reckon Roger Varian - who the horse joined only last year - will have him cherry ripe for his comeback at the big meeting. Also in the Hunt Cup, keep an eye out for Padishakh as he's got some classy form from his time in France and David O'Meara looks likely to find the key at some stage soon.

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