The Duke – Royal Ascot Day 2

Not a bad day at all for Frankie Dettori on the first day of Royal Ascot with big race wins on Calyx (Coventry Stakes) and Without Parole (St James’s Palace Stakes). Conversely it wasn’t such a great start for the Ballydoyle team, so it will be interesting to see if they can bounce back on Day 2.

Chelsea Cloisters is the talking horse in the opening race, the Queen Mary Stakes. Trainer Wesley Ward has a great record in this and his filly hosed up at Keeneland last time.

The second on the card is the Queen’s Vase and four of the twelve declared horses are priced at odds of 4/1 or lower. Three of those are trained by Aidan O’Brien. It’s very tricky to pick between them, but Ryan Moore will have had the choice and he’s on Kew Gardens who ran well enough before fading quite badly in the Derby. A change in trip could suit, but stablemates Nelson and Southern France are clear dangers. Nelson is the highest rated of the three but probably prefers softer ground. Southern France appears to stay the trip and likes fast conditions so he’s going to challenge Kew Gardens. Stream Of Stars goes for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori after a win at Ascot last time. He’s the biggest threat outside of the Ballydoyle contingent.

In the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes it’s worth noting Tribute Act was supplemented to the race at a cost £15,000. She enjoys a straight mile and could run better than her 20/1 price. Aljazzi was runner-up last year but the best horse in the race is Hydrangea. She ran well last season including two Group 1 wins and perhaps needed the run at the Curragh on her reappearance. Big chance.

The feature is the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at 4.20pm. Cracksman should win. He has won his last three starts, all at Group 1 level and is easily the highest rated horse in the race.

I don’t fancy much in the Royal Hunt Cup, but Ryan Moore is on Master Merion who has won on turf in the US and wears new headgear. Tricorn wears blinkers for the first time and was third in last year’s Britannia Stakes. He looks on a decent weight and is a nice price.

In the final race of the day, the Jersey Stakes, one stands out for value and that’s Headway. He sweated up badly before the 2,000 Guineas and I think he could well be better than he showed that day having really impressed in a Lingfield trial back in March. He was also second in the Coventry Stakes last year. At 12/1 he might be worth a pop.

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