An ultra-competitive opening handicap where a case can be made for several, particularly the impeccably-bred and unexposed Maydanny, but OUZO took his form to a new level when runner-up at Newmarket on his return to action earlier this month.
He was gradually progressive last season, winning three times in all, and it wasn’t much of a surprise that he improved again following another winter on his back (has plenty about him physically too).
Ouzo appeals on a fair mark, and his experience just tilts the scales in his favour over Maydanny.
Juan Elcano ran a blinder to finish fifth in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on his return, looking well suited by the step up to a mile, and he sets the standard on that effort.
He will stay this even longer trip too, so has to be considered. But, in the shape of RUSSIAN EMPEROR, he faces one who is perhaps open to more improvement.
Russian Emperor opened his account at Naas in March and shaped like the best horse when finishing runner-up in the Derrinstown Derby Trial at Leopardstown this month, taking time to get organised.
There should be plenty more to come from him and this track will also suit.
This is always one of the most competitive races of the week, chock-full of unexposed and improving three-year-olds – and this year is no different.
The vast majority of these are trying a mile and a half for the first time, and KIPPS shaped really well with a view to moving up in trip when finishing runner-up at Haydock 10 days ago.
He was well backed on that occasion too as connections clearly were of the opinion that he is fairly treated, therefore he makes plenty of appeal able to race from the same mark.
Japan was an impressive winner at this meeting 12 months and is a short-priced favourite to record another Royal Ascot success in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
Whether he should be as short is open to debate though, and in the shape of HEADMAN he meets a stern challenger. He was very progressive last season, completing a hattrick in a Group 2 at Deauville before running respectably when fifth in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on his final start.
Headman has plenty about him physically and is just the type to improve further as a four-year-old. He looks an interesting contender at bigger odds.
This is one of the very few big handicaps that Mark Johnston has yet to win, but DARK VISION is taken to put that right. He pulled clear of a subsequent winner when going close at Newcastle recently and remains on an attractive mark.
Unexposed trio Montatham, Bell Rock and Lord Tennyson are all feared greatly, while Alrajaa ended 2019 on the up and is also shortlisted, along with Fox Premier.
A wide-open renewal of the Windsor Castle and it could be worth chancing the Archie Watson-trained MIGHTY GURKHA, who was heavily backed for her debut at Lingfield and duly won by seven and a half lengths.
She overcame a pre-race scare when playing up and unseating her jockey, showing great speed from the stalls and picking up very nicely in the straight.
Mighty Gurkha knew her job like so many do from this yard, but should still have more to offer and makes the most appeal at the prices.
RANCH HAND found the extreme test of the Cesarewitch too much last autumn, but Andrew Balding’s low-mileage four-year-old is fancied to get back on track now he reverts to the distance of his impressive Haydock victory.
Top-weight Collide is taken to push him close under his 5lb penalty, while another hat-trick seeker in Selino is worth a second look too in a very open contest.
* Prices on our snazzy new bet widget are bang up to date.
- All the latest racing previews from across the globe are just a click away
- Horse Racing tips: Jason Weaver’s best bets at Royal Ascot on Wednesday
- Horse Racing tips: Matt Chapman’s 7 from heaven on Wednesday at Royal Ascot