Royal Ascot Preview – Day 1

Too Darn Hot (Left)

The Queen Anne Stakes opens proceedings at the Royal meeting and Mustashry bids to follow up having quickened well to win the Lockinge when last seen. Sir Michael Stoute’s charge has improved again this season and should confirm the Lockinge form with Laurens. It’ll be intriguing to see how the classy Barney Roy fares here having shown he retained plenty ability when winning a listed race in France.

Accidental Angel returns to the scene of his greatest triumph having taken this twelve months ago and can’t be discounted. Finally, former Jersey winner Le Brivido has been the subject of positive talk in recent days and doesn’t have to improve much to feature. Racebets are offering money-back as a free bet if Le Brivido wins.

Selection: Mustashry

Arizona

Arizona spearheads Aidan O’Brien bid for a ninth victory in the Coventry and the Ballydoyle maestro said of his main runner:

” He is a very straightforward colt — and with the amount of improvement he showed from his first start to his second, you’d have to hope he can improve again “

In recent days there has been significant support for Richard Hannon’s once-raced Threat. Hannon said:

” I think he might just be one of the best two-year-olds we’ve had here for a while”

It would look to be between these two protagonists but of the remainder, the Archie Watson trained Guildsman shouldn’t be underestimated. He was a runaway winner of a Goodwood event on his sole start and anything coming from these quarters must be respected.

Selection: Arizona

The King’s Stand revolves around Battash and if he turns up. He was very impressive at Haydock but at the prohibitive odds, I’d be willing to take him on. Blue Point took this twelve months ago and looked very good when winning all three starts in Meydan. He’s a rock solid horse and should be right there at the finish.

Of the outsiders, I quite like the chances of Fairyland, who was only beaten once as a juvenile and that was in the Albany where she came up just short. She’s been a non-stayer in the classics this season and it’ll be interesting to see how she fares, on her first crack at five furlongs. She’s bred for speed and can be forgiven her two runs this season.

Selection: Fairyland – E/W

John Gosden has won two out of last five renewals of the St James’s Palace Stakes and is doubly represented by Too Darn Hot and King Of Comedy. Gosden himself has admitted that Too Darn Hot is the worst managed horse in training having missed the 2000 Guineas and then being outstayed in the Dante. Last season’s leading two-year-old then turned out a week later to finish runner-up in the Irish 2000 Guineas behind Phoenix Of Spain. This race has been the target since then and I’d expect a much better showing now.

King Of Comedy has looked good in two starts this season and was a fine winner of a listed event at Sandown last month. It’s worth noting that Frankie has deserted him for Too Darn Hot but he should still run a bog race.

Phoenix Of Spain

There was a surprise in the Irish 2000 Guineas when Phoenix Of Spain powered home for a three-length victory over the aforementioned Too Darn Hot. Charlie Hills charge has rock-solid form and I can’t see him finishing out of the frame.

It’s interesting that Aidan drops Circus Maximus back markedly in trip having run well in the Derby on his last start, where he didn’t have the best passage. I don’t know if he’ll have the toe to compete early on but if he does, then he could sneak into the placings.

Selection: Too Darn Hot

Willie Mullins has won three of the last four renewals of the Ascot Stakes and his sole representative this year is Buildmeupbuttercup. Interestingly she was a bumper winner when last seen at Ascot. She finished last on her two most recent starts on the level but off a mark of 91 here, she is feasibly treated and must run well.

Mengli Khan was a Grade 1 winner over hurdles as a novice and was also Grade 1 placed over fences last season. This is his first start over hurdles since September 2017and bids to give Gordon a first win in the race.

The extremely lightly-raced Gunnery is a very interesting contender and finished sixth in the 2016 running of the Queen’s Vase, which was actually his second-last start on the flat. He’s obviously had his troubles since but showed he retained ability when finishing runner-up on his first attempt over hurdles earlier this month. That run should have put him spot-on for this race and he could surprise a few.

Selection: Gunnery – E/W

This looks like a very hot renewal of the Wolferton Stakes with Irish-Derby winner Latrobe, Pegasus World Cup runner-up Magic Wand and Sandown Mile winner Addeybb all in the line-up. All of the above hold leading claims in this but aren’t my idea of the winner.

Riven Light (Left)

I like Riven Light who represents the Willie Mullins team. He showed his well-being with a fine runner-up finish in the listed race at the Curragh on his seasonal bow. He’s progressed nicely through the ranks and holds leading claims here.

John Gosden is the leading most trainer in the race and runs Star of Bengal who has won both starts this season. Both of these victories came on the all-weather and he needs to prove himself back on the turf.

The very well-related Elarqam got his act together for a commanding victory at Goodwood last month and if progressing on from that win, he could be one to follow for the season.

Selection: Riven Light

Royal Ascot Preview – Day 1
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