Royal Ascot Wednesday Preview

Welcome to our coverage of the second day of Royal Ascot – which features the most valuable race of the week.

The Group One Prince Of Wales’s Stakes is the main event on Wednesday and is worth £750,000 to the winner.

We bring you an easy guide to every race with our own betting expert The Duke and from a bookmaker, this week we are joined in our coverage by BetVictor’s Jack Milner.

The Duke also has a full preview of every day of the meeting, with his selections – and you can read Day Two here.

2.30 Jersey Stakes (Group 3) 7f £90,000 

Field:Le Brivido (7/2), Dream Castle (4), Daban (11/2), Whitecliffsofdover (10), Taamol (16), Winning Ways (16), Chessman (20), Escobar (20), Mubtasim (20), Solomons Bay (20), Beat The Bank (25), Glastonbury Song (25), Parfait (25), Sir Dancealot (25), Spirit of Valor (25), Top Score (25), Sutter County (33), True Valour (33), Bacchus (50), Barrington (66)
The Duke’s view:  Daban was third in the 1000 Guineas behind Winter and had previously won the Nell Gwyn at Newmarket. She has a strong chance. On the face of it, Le Brivido would seem to have a big claims, although I’d question how strong the three-year-old form in France is this year. At longer odds, Whitecliffsofdover sports new headgear and has an each-way shout. Winning Ways was a very good handicap winner over C&D last time and actually the form stacks up well. At 16-1 he could be in the mix. However, I would love to see Josephine Gordon ride Dream Castle to success and become the first female for 30 years to ride a Royal Ascot winner. She’s got a good chance on a horse who could excel over this track and trip. He has an element of quality as shown in the Greenham Stakes (2nd) and the 2000 Guineas (5th). I’ll be cheering Josephine and Dream Castle on.
BetVictor say: Andrew Fabre’s Le Brivido lost his unbeaten record when finishing second in the French Guineas at Chantilly but the form of the race has worked out subsequently and he must go close dropping back in trip for the Jersey Stakes over 7f in the opener. The son of Siyouni failed to stay a mile on soft ground having previously won twice over 6f and today’s trip looks the perfect opportunity to bounce back to winning ways.

3.05 Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2) 5f £110,000 

Field: Happy Like a Fool (13/8), Heartache (6), Chica La Habana (11), Neola (12), Formidable Kitt (16), Mrs Gallagher (16), Out Of The Flames (16), Treasuring (16), Emilia James (25), Mamba Noire (25), Maybride (33), One Minute (33), Rioticism (33), Darkanna (40), Missy Mischief (40), Now Youre Talking (40), Sirici (40), Debutantes Ball (50), Lady Anjorica (50), Wings Of The Rock (50), Bath And Tennis (66), Mother Of Dragons (66), Pursuing The Dream (100), Go Bananas (125)
The Duke’s view:  Wind the clock back twelve months and you’ll remember the Queen Mary Stakes was a joy to watch when Lady Aurelia dismantled the field. As such, every man and his dog assumes Wesley Ward will train this year’s winner and quite frankly 6/4 is pretty short to get excited about Happy Like A Fool. Having said this, I have no doubt when Wes Ward says she is the best of the young fillies he has brought over from the States, then she is probably very good indeed. At around 6/1, Heartache is sired by Kyllachy who often produces fast two-year-olds and given his dam was a Listed winner over five furlongs, I suspect she could be very speedy indeed. I think she’s the value. Mrs Gallagher and Out Of The Flames are others who could figure at long odds.
BetVictor say:  Wesley Ward has won the last two renewals of the Queen Mary with subsequent Group 1 winning fillies Acapulco and Lady Aurelia and I expect him to complete the hat-trick with Happy Like a Fool for the Coolmore boys and Ryan Moore. The vibes surrounding the Distorted Humour have been incredibly positive and, after making a winning debut earlier in the season across the pond, should prove even better in first-time blinkers.

3.40 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes (Group 2) 1m £175,000

Field: Qemah (10/3), Usherette (9/2), Greta G (12), Smart Call (12), Mix And Mingle (14), Pirouette (25), Aim To Please (33), Furia Cruzada (33), Opal Tiara (33), Turret Rocks (33), Aljazzi (40), Dawn of Hope (50), Absolute Blast (66), Same Jurisdiction (66), Summer Icon (100)
The Duke’s view:  Argentinian form is hard to translate to Europe, but Greta G was a good horse over there last year. Usherette won this race last year, but I’m a little put off that she isn’t in the same kind of form yet this term. Smart Call is a really interesting one at the odds. She’s set to be partnered by Ryan Moore and she’s a Grade one winner in South Africa. Qemah was beaten on her return at Lingfield, but she wasn’t asked a question and that was very much a prep race for Royal Ascot. She will be cherry ripe for this and has a massive chance. But Qemah is proven at this grade and just edges it for me.
BetVictor say: Andre Fabre’s filly Usherette looked a potential superstar when justifying favouritism to land the Duke of Cambridge Stakes 12 months ago, and must go close once again under Mikael Barzalona. However, she is another that will likely want a bit more juice in the ground.

4.20 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) 1m 2f £750,000

Field: Highland Reel (11/4), Jack Hobbs (3), Ulysses (4), Decorated Knight (10), Mekhtaal (10), Queens Trust (16), Nezwaah (33), Scotland (33), Johannes Vermeer (40)
The Duke’s view:  Firstly, two who made the shortlist but didn’t quite cut it. Ulysses is an improved horse and Deauville, who he beat at Sandown, franked the form on the first day at Royal Ascot, so he has a chance. Decorated Knight is consistently underrated but on this occasion I think he may have too much on his plate. The two who deserve their place at the head of the market are Highland Reel and Jack Hobbs. Highland Reel is a real star, winning races all over the world. The thing is, I think he’s a better horse over a mile and a half and he had a tough race just 19 days ago at Epsom. I have always liked Jack Hobbs and he returned with a bang to win the Dubai Sheema Classic in March. He’s had his issues in training, but if he shows his very best, he can win this. It could go either way.
BetVictor say:  Wednesday’s feature is the Prince of Wales’s Stakes over a mile and a quarter for older horses and there isn’t a better one in training than Aidan O’Brien’s still under-appreciated globetrotter Highland Reel. The son of Galileo has won Group 1s in England, American and Hong Kong, and looked better than ever in the Coronation Cup last month at Epsom when battling bravely to see off the Godolphin pair of Hawkbill and Frontiersman. He did everything wrong that day, arriving to the track late, sweating up and was very keen going to post. Despite this, he still bagged a 6th Group 1 and can add to that tally further dropping back in trip. The Ballydoyle charge is officially rated 3lb higher than main market rival Jack Hobbs, who has beaten him in both meetings at the Curragh and Meydan, but remains vulnerable on really quick ground in my opinion.

5.00 Royal Hunt Cup Heritage Handicap 1m str £175,000 

Field: Banksea (10), Fastnet Tempest (10), Abe Lincoln (11), El Vip (11), George William (12), G K Chesterton (16), Ballet Concerto (18), Yuften (22), Blair House (25), Bossy Guest (25), Remarkable (25), Tabarrak (25), Castle Harbour (28), Early Morning (28), Withernsea (28), Another Touch (33), Belgian Bill (33) Bravery (33), Gm Hopkins (33), Hors De Combat (33), Master The World (33), Zhui Feng (33), Battle Of Marathon (40), Cote dAzur (40), Elleval (40), Tashweeq (40), Accession (50), Boomshackerlacker (50), Gossiping (50), My Target (50), Von Blucher (50), Big Baz (66), Epsom Icon (66)
The Duke’s view:  The Royal Hunt Cup is one of the toughest races of the day, if not the week. GM Hopkins won the race a couple of years ago but would need a drastic change in form. Bossy Guest has been running well in handicaps at Newbury and Ascot so far this year and based on an unlucky three-length loss in this race last year on ground that wasn’t ideal for him, I think on faster conditions he rates a contender. Fastnet Tempest has been in fantastic form this year, including winning the Victoria Cup at Ascot in May. Although he has risen up the weights, he has major claims. I’ll throw my hat on Bossy Guest, but honestly, this race requires a bundle of luck.
BetVictor say: My shortlist for the Royal Hunt Cup was narrowed down from originally a double-figure list and such is the competitive nature of the mile handicap on the straight course that you could back at least a few, and still be unable to find the frame. Banksea got a typical Jamie Spencer ride to win the Spring Cup at Newbury and should be there or thereabouts again under a penalty. The same can be said about the pair of G K Chesterton and El Vip; who both took advantage of the race being an early-closer to win without being at the mercy of the handicapper thereafter.
Another that has likewise been let-in lightly is Fastnet Tempest, who followed-up his 7f success at Ascot by getting up late to score last time out at Chester. That success ensured a 5lb penalty to get into the race and, with further improvement likely now stepped up in trip to a mile, he can reward each-way support under Pat Cosgrave.

5.35 Sandringham Handicap (Listed Race) (96-110) 1m str £80,000 

Field: Gymnaste (7), On Her Toes (10), Con Te Partiro (12), Really Special (12), Grecian Light (14), Queen Of Time (14), Rain Goddess (14), Bean Feasa (16), Present Tense (16), Sibilance (16), Asking (20), Cheval Blanche (20), Drumfad Bay (20), Prosper (20), Dancing Breeze (22), Classical Times (25), Kilmah (25), Marie Of Lyon (25), Salamah (25), Tisbutadream (25), Miss Infinity (33), Pacos Angel (33), Baileys Showgirl (40)
Lady Freyja (40)
The Duke’s view:  The final race on the second day is the Sandringham Handicap. Really Special has got some good form in Meydan and she is very much unexposed. I think she could run well, as could fellow Godolphin runner Bean Feasa who was a clear Group 3 winner at Leopardstown in May. Others to enter the shortlist include On Her Toes and Queen Of Time, but it’s a hard way to round the card off.
BetVictor say: Favourite backers were sent home happy in the Sandringham Handicap 12 months ago, when Persuasive ensured it was a miserable day for bookmakers, bolting-up for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori. She looked chucked-in on the day and the pair are likely to go close once more with Present Tense once more. The Bated Breath filly is one of three for trainer John Gosden but the market currently favours stablemate Gymnaste under the excellent Josephine Gordon. Ireland have won the race just once ten years but I can see that record being broken, with Bean Feasa getting the nod under Kevin Manning. Jim Bolger’s filly was apparently working sparkling in her work last year as a juvenile, but needed time to fill into her frame and has thrived since returning in the spring. After winning a Gp 3 at Leopardstown she was far from disgraced in the Irish Guineas behind superstar filly Winter and looks the quintessential group horse in a handicap.

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