2:30 QUEEN MARY STAKES 5F
Wesley Ward has won this twice in the last three years and three times overall so you may not need to look further than his Chelsea Cloisters. She was an eight-length winner at Keeneland on her debut, will be ridden by Frankie Dettori and her trainer has been making all the usual positive noises.
Shades Of Blue represents last year’s winning trainer Clive Cox and is also a course-and-distance winner while So Perfect represents Aidan O’Brien, and significantly she managed to win on her debut. She did however get beaten on her latest start in a listed event in Naas and her conqueror there Servalan reopposes and probably shouldn’t be twice the price to confirm form.
Selection: CHELSEA CLOISTERS
3:05 QUEEN’S VASE 1m 6f
Aidan O’Brien holds the top two in the market here, Kew Gardens and Southern France, but both have questions to answer and it may be a better option to invest in the potential of John Gosden’s pair, Stream Of Stars and Almoghared. Gosden won this last year with Stradivarius and sends these two maiden winners right into the deep end however the former mentioned, a son of Sea The Stars, has already won at Ascot and was impressive in doing so. Almoghared won his maiden at Chepstow in a race where he and the runner-up with 10 lengths clear.
Selection: STREAM OF STARS
Aljazzi (green) came close in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes last season where she finished second to Qemah
3:40 DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE STAKES 1M
Hydrangea will likely be all the rage for this contest, taking her chance here instead of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes later on the card. She was beaten on her seasonal debut but it wasn’t a huge surprise as she drifted in the betting beforehand and still performed well finishing second. With that said, Aljazzi perhaps shouldn’t be as big a price as she is (5/1) to beat her. Marco Botti’s mare announced herself by finishing second in this race last year and set herself up for another crack when a good second to the race-fit Addeybb on her seasonal debut at Sandown. She receives 5lbs in weight from Hydrangea so meets her or more or less level terms.
4:20 PRINCE OF WALES’S STAKES (GROUP 1) 1M 2F
Despite scrambling home in the Coronation Cup last time, Cracksman is undoubtedly the one to beat. He had a legitimate excuse at Epsom where he was reported to have banged his head leaving the stalls so perhaps in the circumstances he did well to win and back at Ascot, where he was so impressive over this distance in the British Champion Stakes last season, he should be a class apart from his six rivals.
Poet’s Word has seven lengths to find with John Gosden’s runner on that Champion Stakes run but set himself up for this with a good win in Brigadier Gerard at Sandown. That said, he has failed three times at Group 1 level including when taking on Hawkbill in the Sheema Classic. Charlie Appleby’s runner boiled over in the Coronation Cup but is a very classy horse on his day and has a Royal Ascot win over this distance, in the 2016 Tercentenary Stakes.
Zhui Feng will attempt to win the Royal Hunt Cup for the second year running
5:00 ROYAL HUNT CUP 1M
Prices of 12/1 the field tell the story for this 32-runner cavalry charge. It usually is wise to follow Ascot course form, especially over the straight mile and so you could do worse that take a chance on Zhui Feng, last year’s winner who returns off an 8lb higher mark but showed he can be competitive off this sort of rating when finishing second to Ripp Orf here in the Victoria Cup. Back over a mile, he can put up another big performance.
There are any amount of horses to consider seriously like last year’s Britannia winner Bless Him and Raising Sand, a course-and-distance winner who will have the invaluable assistance of Jamie Spencer in this kind of race. Mick Halford’s Saltonstall is another contender, considering this has been his plan for him all along and he won well at the Curragh last time out.
Selection: ZHUI FENG
Alternative: Raising Sand
5:35 JERSEY STAKES 7F
Could It Be Love ran a cracker to see off all but Alpha Centauri in the Irish 1,000 Guineas but it is going to be difficult to employ similar tactics here. In an open affair, James Garfield could be worth playing at 16/1. He fared best of the the 2000 Guineas horses, finishing seventh and then ran well when dropped down to six furlongs against Commonwealth Cup-bound horses Sands Of Mali and Invincible Army. Here he returns to seven furlongs, the trip he won over in the Greenham.
Strictly on today’s terms Emaraaty should have the measure of Society Power, who is 10lbs better off on their Goodwood meeting and has just a short head to make up. However Society Power is a progressive horse, having won every one of his starts since his debut and he is also a course-and-distance winner.
Selection: JAMES GARFIELD
Alternative: Society Power