It’s all about speed in the Queen Mary which kicks off proceedings on Day 2 at Royal Ascot. This race is for two-year-old fillies run over over five furlongs and has been won by some very smart fillies, most notably Attraction (2003) and Lady Aurelia (2016).
Wesley Ward is the trainer to note in here having won two of the last four running’s of the race and the American maestro is doubly represented by Kimari and Anna’s Fast. It’s hard to weigh up the American form but it seems that Kimari is the better-fancied of the pair.
The main Irish hope is Ickworth for Willie McCreery who has looked good in both starts including a listed race and should handle an ease in the ground.
Of the English contingent, Final Song should go close. She was a good winner on her sole start on soft ground and with the recent deluges at Ascot, she must enter calculations.
French-raider Brand New Day represents connections that have tasted success at the Royal meeting in recent years and she should be able to cope with conditions, so must have a chance.
Selection: Final Song
The Queen’s Vase has been farmed by Aidan O’Brien, with the Ballydoyle maestro taking four of the last six running’s of the race. Aidan is responsible for the two main protagonists this year with Western Australia and Norway. Ryan has chosen to partner Norway who’s Derby form received a boost yesterday and he looks set to appreciate the step up in trip. Western Australia is another who’ll improve for the longer distance but may come up short.
The main opposition is likely to come from Jalmoud who stayed on well when winning on soft in France. Charlie Appleby has brought him along slowly and he’s got a big chance.
Of the outsiders, Themaxwecan is worth noting having run well in a big handicap at Doncaster, when last seen. The only slight reservation is that he ran disappointingly in the Racebets Lingfield Derby Trial.
Magical is the one to beat in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes having won all three starts including the Tattersalls Gold Cup by a wide margin when last seen. Crystal Ocean has won both starts this season but I think he’s better over slightly further and will come up short against these classier rivals.
The very talented Sea Of Class was somewhat unlucky not to beat Enable in last season’s Arc and if picking up where she left off, she’ll give the favourite plenty to think about.
On the predicted softer going, Waldgeist shouldn’t be underestimated. He looked better than ever when winning the Prix Ganay at Longchamp and could sneak into the places.
Rawdaa showed much-improved from when finishing second in a Group 2 at York. That from alone gives her leading claims in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes. The lightly-raced Pretty Baby is now five from seven and was a snug winner on soft on her seasonal bow, and she should appreciate the extra furlong.
I Can Fly would have serious claims based on her runner-up finish in last season’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes over course and distance. If recapturing that form, then she’ll go close.
I think the value in here is Threading who was runner-up in the Coronation Stakes last season behind Alpha Centauri. She wasn’t quite as good afterwards but if running to some of last season’s form then she may sneak a place.
Selection: Pretty Baby
I was very keen on the chances of Settle For Bay in the Royal Hunt Cup until the rain came. David Marnane’s charge was a runaway winner of the race twelve months ago and although he’s feasibly treated, he’d have preferred a sounder surface.
New Graduate has been one of the talking horses leading up to Royal Ascot. He went up fifteen pounds for his most recent victory on handicap debut and looks like the one to beat.
Raising Sand has got a great record at Ascot and in particular with soft in the going description. He’s got to a career-high mark to contend with but he may be up to carrying it at his beloved Ascot.
Selection: New Graduate
The Windsor Castle Stakes is a tricky race to try and get out of trouble in with most of the field only having their second or third start. Bearing that in mind I’d be looking at some of the bigger priced runners in the field.
Rayong won first time out at Carlisle which wouldn’t scream Royal Ascot winner but with the assistance of SDS in the saddle and the ground likely to suit he should run well. Michael O’Callaghan has a very good record with his two-year-olds and Red Epaulette looks like a decent yardstick having shown strong from in Ireland.
The one I’ll side with is Iffraaz who was a good winner on heavy ground and I think he could outrun his odds under Frankie.