The six-day entries are through for the second day of Royal Ascot and we guide you through the six mouthwatering races.
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Wesley Ward has won the Queen Mary three times in the past and he’s likely to saddle the favourite this year in the shape of KIMARI. The daughter of Munnings won by 15 lengths over four-and-a-half furlongs at Keeneland on debut in April.
Ward also has ANNA’S FAST who was also an easy winner at Keeneland on debut, albeit by ‘only’ four-and-a-half lengths.
Of the home-trained hopefuls Saeed bin Suroor’s FINAL SONG could prove stern opposition. She has a course and distance victory under her belt after she thrashed her rivals in a maiden fillies’ event on May 10.
Fellow Godolphin-owned filly Chasing Dreams was ante-post favourite but was ruled out the week before Royal Ascot. Her Newmarket form could be put to the test by GOOD VIBES, who scorched to victory in the Marygate at York, and KEMBLE, who won easily at Windsor on her subsequent start.
Sticking with Godolphin, Willie McCreery’s ICKWORTH has a big form chance after winning a Listed race at the Curragh on her latest start. That was on yielding ground but her handler was hoping for faster conditions at Royal Ascot.
To soften the Chasing Dreams blow, Charlie Appleby also has Windsor winner DIVINE SPIRIT, a daughter of Kingman, to call upon.
Aidan O’Brien has won the Queen’s Vase six times in the last 12 years, although this is only the third year the race has been held over 1m6f having previously been over two miles.
His Kew Gardens took this race last year before going onto St Leger glory and stablemate WESTERN AUSTRALIA could be set for a similar campaign after he won at Navan last time when stepped up to 1m5f.
He could be joined by several more from Ballydoyle with NORWAY, BARBADOS, IL PARADISO and HARPO MAX also in the mix.
Mark Johnston is another with a great record in the race having won it seven times and he could also be well represented by NAYEF ROAD, SIR RON PRIESTLEY, SUMMER MOON and THEMAXWECAN.
DASHING WILLOUGHBY could have a big say in this for Andrew Balding. The son of Nathaniel was third to Sir Dragonet in the Chester Vase and looks a potential improver now stepped up in trip.
This could be a humdinger of a renewal.
Two fillies dominate the betting in the shape of MAGICAL and SEA OF CLASS, the former having had three runs this season while the latter will be making her seasonal reappearance.
Magical is three from three in 2019 after winning at prohibitive odds three times in Ireland and she has a Group One win at this track to her name after her victory in the British Champions Fillies & Mares on Champions Day.
That was a coming of age performance and she hasn’t looked back since.
Sea Of Class won the Irish Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks in what was a fruitful summer last year, before she was just edged out by Enable in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
She is classy, but she’ll possibly have a new rider on Wednesday due to James Doyle’s commitment to Godolphin and she is dropping back to 10 furlongs on her seasonal reappearance.
The daughter of Sea The Stars could be vulnerable and the reason she could have a new jockey on board is because Doyle will ride MASAR if he runs here, as looks likely.
The Derby winner hasn’t been seen since his Epsom victory last June, so he might well have rustiness to overcome, although his ability to drop back to 10 furlongs looks less of a problem when you look back on his Craven Stakes demolition job.
CRYSTAL OCEAN is set to be ridden by Frankie Dettori for the first time with Ryan Moore set to ride Magical.
He has been working his way to peak form by winning in Group Three company this term and he still seeks that elusive first Group One win.
WALDGEIST, ZABEEL PRINCE and Japanese raider DEIRDRE are others that could make up the field in what looks set to be a fascinating race.
RAWDAA was the filly that made Lah Ti Dar pull out all of the stops to win the Middleton at York’s Dante meeting and she’s now rated 109 on the back of that run.
She is likely to go off favourite and, after just seven starts, she could have more improvement in her yet.
Stablemate VERACIOUS is another with a chance and she was third in last year’s Coronation Stakes on just her third start. She looks to be building towards a peak this season and was better at Epsom last time after a disappointing return at Newmarket.
I CAN FLY is the one to beat if she runs in this on her form with Roaring Lion in the QEII, although she’s failed to run anywhere near that level in five subsequent starts.
She does look the main challenger from Ireland, though, on account of beating Joseph O’Brien’s RED TEA in a Group Two at the Curragh last time out.
William Haggas’ Beshaayir finished in front of the pair of them that day, and though she doesn’t line up here her stablemates PRETTY BABY, AWESOMETANK and MOVE SWIFTLY could well do.
Ed Walker’s AGROTERA was a really impressive winner of the Sandringham last year and she looked better than ever at Kempton last time, so has to come into the reckoning.
NEW GRADUATE has gone up 15lb for his Ripon romp, but that’s unlikely to stop him going off favourite in one of the most competitive races of the week.
That’s because, in part, to the form working out really well with the second, third and fourth all going in since.
If the ground is on the soft side of good then BLUE MIST comes into the reckoning if he gets in. He shaped well when sixth in the Victoria Cup on his reappearance and was dropped a pound. He’ll relish the extra furlong.
Last year’s winner SETTLE FOR BAY is back for more off 6lb higher. He didn’t enjoy it out in Meydan but looks to be working back towards his peak form after a better run at Leopardstown on his latest start.
It wouldn’t be a valuable mile handicap without KYNREN in it and he’s holding his form really well without winning. He’s edged up the weights again and was well beaten in this race last year, but softer ground conditions would swing things in his favour.
RAISING SAND loves the Ascot straight course and is a threat to all despite running off a career-high mark, while ROBIN OF NAVAN would be an interesting contender if he gets the green light after an unlucky run at Newbury last time out.
Godolphin have won this race with a newly-gelded contender before and KEY VICTORY could bid to repeat the feat in his first handicap appearance on these shores. The son of Teofilo ran in the French Derby on his third start and has a touch of class.
Cambridgeshire second MORDIN, The Queen’s SENIORITY and BERINGER are all adept in big-field mile handicaps and are others to consider.
Strike The Tiger and Hootenanny have won this race for Wesley Ward before and, while they were colts, he could attempt to land this with a filly this year in the form of NAYIBETH.
She’s yet another that won over four-and-a-half furlongs at Keeneland in April, in a maiden special weight.
Ward has several other possibles, including CHILI PETIN and KIMARI.
Of the Europeans SUNDAY SOVEREIGN will be high up the betting for Paddy Twomey, unless he runs in the Coventry. Recently purchased by King Power Racing, this Equiano colt looked in great health when winning by seven lengths at Tipperary.
Jeremy Noseda could bow out with a bang at Royal Ascot and his BOMB PROOF won well from a couple of subsequent winners at York.