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ITV coverage of Royal Ascot starts on Day 2 with the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes for juvenile fillies over 5f. It’s very hard to weigh up who will be the best of these, but ILLUSTRATING looked good on debut.
Trained by Karle Burke, Illustrating was just nudged out to win first time at Catterick. That would not be the usual place you would find a Royal Ascot winner, but it was a reasonably sized field and the runner-up had already shown some decent form.
Wesley Ward’s Twilight Gleaming could be anything but this will be very different to her win in America last time. I’ll take a chance each way that Danny Tudhope’s mount will be hard to keep out the frame at least.
Now the Group 2 Queen’s Vase for 3yo over 1m6f. WORDSWORTH was expected to win a Listed event at Navan last time but didn’t quite come up to scratch. He hung a little bit in the closing stages that day which is not ideal but at least compared to most of these he has proven stamina. Obviously coming from the powerful stable of Aidan O’Brien he should take all the beating under Ryan Moore. Hard to stop.
Another Group 2 here in the Duke of Cambridge for fillies and mares over 1m. LADY BOWTHORPE has to be the one to beat for Willie Jarvis and provides Kieren Shoemark with the chance of a famous Royal Ascot success.
This mare is improving with every race, and ran an absolute cracker last time when second to Palace Pier in the Lockinge at Newbury. As she is owned by music mogul Emma Banks who looks after Katie Perry, we will all have to ‘Roar’ in the closing stages but rest assured this is no ‘Dark Horse’.
It’s Group 1 company now with the Prince of Wales’s Stakes over 1m2f. Arguably the race of the meeting, and will have appeal all around the world with horses having starred in Australia, America, England, and Ireland. While it is not going to be easy on her seasonal debut, LOVE looked like she could be one of the truly great horses last year when winning two Classics. Obviously conditions meant we only saw her three times in her classic year, but if she is as good as I think she might be she can still take this on her return for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore.
A big betting handicap here with the Royal Hunt Cup over 1m. ASTRO KING has a very high draw so it has to be taken on trust that the high numbers are not at a huge disadvantage. However, if that is the case then he has every chance of taking this for the legendary Sir Michael Stoute. I thought he was very unlucky when third in the Thirsk Hunt Cup when he just got going far too late. If he can stay in touch from stall 27 then he has to have every chance.
Here is the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes over 5f. I don’t like the fillies against the boys in these types of races but RUTHIN looked really good at Keeneland in a big field by American standards. That race was also over a bit further than this so stamina is no issue in Europe which can sometimes be the case. I suspect she will be very hard to beat for Wesley Ward and Frankie Dettori.
Day 2 ends with the Kensington Palace Handicap for fillies and mares over 1m. I tipped DREAMLOPER in this blog when he was just touched off last time and I thought he should have won. He’s 1lb better off with the winner Lights On who reppposes and I think he can reverse that form for the going well Ed Walker stable and Oisin Murphy.
So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?
Matt Chapman’s Royal Ascot tips
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