Queen Anne Stakes runner-by-runner guide to Royal Ascot 2021 opening race

Royal Ascot's opening race should be a cracker!

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Royal Ascot 2021 starts with a bang with the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes – and generous Paddy is giving away a FREE £/€5 bet to celebrate the five-day fiesta.

Who should you back with your freebie flutter? The boffins at Timeform have given us the lowdown on every runner in the opening contest.

Accidental Agent

Trainer: Eve Johnson Houghton Jockey: Charles Bishop Age: 7

Won this in 2018 and smart effort when fifth last year. Below par in 3 subsequent starts in 2020 but made a respectable return when fourth in handicap at Newbury. Best days look behind him.

Lord Glitters

Trainer: David O’Meara Jockey: Daniel Tudhope Age: 8

Cracking servant to connections who enjoyed an excellent spell in Dubai this year, winning a Group 2 and Group 1. Remote fourth behind Palace Pier in Lockinge but goes well here (won this in 2019).

Bless Him

Trainer: David Simcock Jockey: Jamie Spencer Age: 7

Smart gelding who’s often ridden to pick up the pieces. This track suits him well but needs rivals to underperform to get involved.

Regal Reality

Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute Jockey: Richard Kingscote Age: 6

Very smart gelding who ran right up to best when ½-length second of 6 to Kameko in Joel Stakes Newmarket (1m) in September, closing all the way to the line. Arrives fresh and frame claims.

Pogo

Trainer: Charles Hills Jockey: Kieran Shoemark Age: 5

Likeable sort who did well to beat race-fit rivals in listed race at Leicester on return but struggled behind Palace Pier and co when beaten 31 lengths in Lockinge and firmly up against it again.

Sir Busker

Trainer: William Knight Jockey: Oisin Murphy Age: 5

Big improver last year, including Silver Hunt Cup win over C&D. Some smashing efforts in defeat followed, fourth in Group 1 QEII back here final start. Excuses both starts this term and frame claims.

Prince Eiji

Trainer: Roger Varian Jockey: Andrea Atzeni Age: 5

Smart gelding who hasn’t won since debut but has posted several good efforts in the meantime, including narrowly denied in C&D listed event on reappearance 48 days ago. Not up to this level, however.

Top Rank

Trainer: James Tate Jockey: P. J. McDonald Age: 5

Likeable performer who proved at least as good as ever to win a listed race under a penalty at Doncaster. Looked at home in Group 1 company when 7 lengths third to Palace Pier in Lockinge at Newbury.

Lope Y Fernandez

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Jockey: Seamie Heffernan Age: 4

Winless last term but placed in 4 Group 1s, including in Breeders’ Cup Mile. Capitalised on drop in grade at Leopardstown on return but below par in Lockinge since. Better ground here will suit.

Order Of Australia

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Jockey: Ryan Moore Age: 4

Raced over an array of trips last year (won over 12f) but produced best effort when winning Breeders’ Cup Mile. Remains unexposed over this trip and rates the main danger to Palace Pier on form.

Palace Pier

Trainer: John & Thady Gosden Jockey: Frankie Dettori Age: 4

Top-class miler who won 2 Group 1s as a 3-y-o, including St James’s Palace at Royal Ascot. Impressive winner of Group 2 at Sandown and Group 1 Lockinge at Newbury this term. Very hard to beat.

Timeform Verdict

It is very hard to oppose PALACE PIER as he is a top-class racehorse and is miles clear on ratings. Order of Australia was a surprise winner of the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland in November but he remains unexposed at this trip and rates the main threat on form, while stablemate Lope Y Fernandez disappointed in the Lockinge at Newbury but can bounce back on this faster surface.

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