14:30 - Queen Mary
The Queen Mary over the flying five kicks off proceedings at Royal Ascot on day two.
A large field, packed full of promising two year old fillies.
US raiders head the market. Twilight Gleaming for the Wesley Ward team, who has had much success at this meeting, looks to have a lot going for here. The draw could be key and she is drawn twenty against the stands side rail which can be a huge advantage, especially for two year olds.
Another US challenger Artos in comparison is drawn on the opposite side of the track. She does however have the added advantage of having Frankie Dettori on board which is obviously a positive, particularly on his beloved course.
Nymphadora improved markedly from her debut at Newmarket to be a good winner at York. If she can make a similar step forward again, she will definitely be involved.
Twilight Dreaming is unlikely to be great value, but she looked very speedy on debut and can whizz up the rails to land this Group two event.
TWILIGHT GLEAMING (WIN)
written by Matt Polley
15:05 - Queen’s Vase
Recovery Run isn’t the speediest horse in the world but he seems to be improving with each run this year. He probably got taken off his feet a bit at Sandown but wasn’t so far behind Sir Lucan, who chinned Wordsworth last time out, and he wasn’t disgraced in the Lingfield Derby Trial were he wasn’t far behind Kyprios and the subsequent Derby winner Adayar. As a consequence of his below par two 3 year old races, he’s quite a large price but there’s the chance he could relish the step up and prove some value.
The well bred Wordsworth is the number one choice of the Aidan O’Brien stable and it’s not hard to understand why. Second to High Definition on his debut and he was on the losing end of a furlong dual with Sir Lucan, last time out. He’ll definitely stay and connections certainly think so, entering him into a number of staying races and being a brother to St Leger winner Kew Gardens, you would imagine they’re right! However, the way that Ascot is riding at the moment, it seems to be speed that is prevailing at the end of the race and that could go against Wordsworth.
As I’ve just mentioned, speed seems to be key, especially if you’re on the back foot coming into the home straight. Kyprios doesn’t have the greatest record in Britain but those races were on soft ground, when he seems to prefer firmer. He was 4th in the Lingfield Derby Trial and there’s every chance he needs the step up in trip. He’s incredibly well bred, being a half brother to Free Eagle and recent Chester Cup victor, Falcon Eight. Moreover, he’s a full brother to dual Irish St Leger winner Search For A Song. He’s got the nice mix of speed and stamina and there’s already been money for him. He’s quite a large price and I think he’s the one to really sock it to the favourite.
RECOVERY RUN (E/W)
written by Kieran McHugh
15:40 - Duke Of Cambridge Stakes
This Fillies and Mares race sees Lady Bowthorpe goes into this as favourite after coming 2nd to Palace Pier in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury which after yesterday's performance by Palace Pier looks a real solid piece of form wasn't a million miles away that day vs Palace Pier. So goes into this race as favourite. However, I just feel at the price she is worth taking on and she could possibly be caught by an improver today.
Queen Power albeit can be a bit keen in her races bolted up at York last time out and if Silvestre De Sousa get any sort of decent lead with her De Sousa is one of the best front running flat jockeys around and that itself can carry a threat a hotter race this time so she will have to step up what she has shown this season.
My selection at around 18/1 (most bookies offering 4 places) is Valeria Messalina forgot her last run at the Curragh the soft heavy ground would have gone against her. If you take her good 2nd from Goodwood last year against One Master who went on to run in some real tough races after that race and was never outside the top 3 in good class 1 races. Then on Paper that looks a real good piece of form
Would of no doubt needed the run last time out Valeria Messalina and I think she has been a tad unlucky in her races. Think the quick ground will suit and I do believe she is a little over priced if you're judging her based on her last run.
VALERIA MESSALINA (E/W)
written by Luke Tucker
16:20 - Prince Of Wales's Stakes
7 runners head to post for the Prince Of Wales's Stakes (Group 1) over 1m 2f where the going is currently Good to Firm (Good in places).
Love was the filly on everybody's lips last year. She had a phenomenal 3 year old season winning the 1000 Guineas, The Oaks and the Yorkshire Oaks. She's currently 5/4 favourite at the time of writing, but she's up against the boys again for the first time in just short of 2 years. I think she could struggle here first time out as she's been off the track for 10 months.
Lord North has been leading the market for this race for a few months, until Love was declared. He's now 2/1 second favourite and I think that's a fair enough price. He's not the most consistent horse, but he always seems to show up on the big day and he loves Ascot. Frankie Dettori's on board after a good win on Palace Pier on Day 1 of the Festival. I think Lord North will be very difficult to beat.
With that being said, my selection will be Lord North. John Gosden has had a good start to Royal Ascot with 2 winners on Day 1 and I think Lord North will add to his tally.
LORD NORTH (WIN)
written by Charlie Sharp
17:00 - Royal Hunt Cup
This will take some winning though there are fewer greater sights than a big field handicap around here and as is often the case, picking the winner will likely require a fair amount of good fortune. Recent draw trends are difficult to gauge although only two of the last ten winners have been drawn in single digit stalls whilst stalls 11 and 33 have twice housed the winner during the same time frame. Betting trends during the last decade read rather grim for favourite backers and only two horses have returned at single figure odds since 2011.
John & Thady Gosden probably warrant being the starting point as they saddle two fairly high ranking types in the betting market. Haqeeqy was well backed in the Lincoln and the market confidence proved telling as he won in extremely impression fashion under an exciting claimer. Sent off a strong favourite the time after (Here) he could only manage a disappointing looking 4th, however, that form has since been franked by the winner and Sir Busker (Finished 2nd in the G1 Queen Anne yesterday) and he surely has more to offer in this sphere. Magical Morning hasn't been seen since finishing second behind the re-opposing Matthew Flinders at Doncaster. Once suspects this has always been the plan for him and Frankie Dettori takes the ride.
Matthew Flinders can be forgiven for flopping at York last time as he was just too free and never really got any sort of cover out wide. Given this race will likely be run at a very strong pace and factoring in that he has won over further, one would have to surmise that he ought to go very well and Oisin Murphy is a very positive jockey booking.
Brunch couldn't handle Haqeeqy when the pair clashed in the Lincoln but Michael Dods charge is ultra tough and consistent and his effort when bumping into the well backed Kynren last time would give him every chance today. Looking for negatives is difficult given his profile although his mark keeps and creeping up and it would be no real surprise if he found one or two better handicapped.
Escobar is something of a regular in these events and his last couple of starts can easily be overlooked as both races looked rather tactical affairs. A winner over course and distance previously and only 1lb higher than his last winning mark, he looks very likely to rattle home come the end and his price is rather big looking.
Layfayette landed the Irish Lincolnshire and did so in taking fashion, that effort was followed up with a decent fourth at the Curragh and this Irish challenger must be respected for Noel Meade. Looking deeper into his form it would be easy to suggest he has plenty of improvement in him and this ground shouldn't pose much of an issue.
Cliffs Of Capri has some rather eye catching Ascot form figures and he could go very well at a massive price, that being said, for win purposes he looks vulnerable off his current mark. Astro King may have been given too much to do in the Thirsk Cup and is better judged on his narrow win the time before at Nottingham (Short Headed Finest Sound) today's likely strong pace should suit him down to the ground but his price offers little value as things stand. Plenty of the others make some sort of appeal although we shall take two shots, firstly upon Escobar and secondly upon Haqeeqy, with the latter making most appeal.
written by Chris Connolly
17:35 - Windsor Castle Stakes
Ruthin was an extremely impressive winner at Keeneland in April, showing a high cruising speed before opening up and finishing six lengths ahead of Artos despite showing signs of greenness inside the final furlong. That not only showed her potential but also that she should improve for the experience so despite the big field and the potential for a number of rivals to improve she looks to be a worthy favourite.
Wesley Ward also runs Golden Bell who impressed on the dirt at Keeneland on debut in April and if taking to the turf could also make her presence felt here, while Tipperary Sunset, Dig Two and Armour all bring winning form to the table and look to head the dangers from the home contingent.
written by Dean Kilbryde
18:10 - Kensington Palace Stakes
The final race on day two sees the ladies take centre stage in this one mile fillies and mares handicap.
It looks very tough to call with all of the eighteen runners now reside off handicap marks higher than they've ever been successful.
Dreamloper and Lights On renew their rivalry after pushing each other close here at Ascot last time out and both seem sure to finish in the frame once again. I actually feel Ed Walker's charge has what it takes to reverse that form but my selection lies elsewhere.
Irish raider So I Told You did well to win her last two starts at Sligo but with a massive 13lb rise in weight and upped in class to a much higher level only minor honours are likely to await Joseph O'Brien's runner.
The Godolphin owned Stunning Beauty was disappointing in Meydan but a return to English soil seemed to work the oracle. A solid win at Doncaster ensured she remained unbeaten on these shores and with only a 3lb rise to contend with for her recent success she looks to hold a solid each way chance.
STUNNING BEAUTY (E/W)
written by Rory Paddock