Day two of Royal Ascot is headlined by the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and a superb seven are set to line up for the Group 1 feature. They are headed by Love, Aidan O’Brien’s star filly from last year who won the 1,000 Guineas and the Oaks in a perfect 2021 season. She hasn’t been seen since last August though and is yet to run outside of female company so there are question marks about her.
This is a strong renewal of the race as well and there is a real international feel to the line-up with several global form lines tied together. Last year’s winner Lord North bids to become just the fourth dual winner of the race in its history and he opened his 2021 account by winning the Dubai Turf in March. Armory is also in opposition having been second in the Cox Plate down in Australia before winning at Chester while Audarya was a Breeders’ Cup winner in November. It should be a thrilling spectacle.
The winner of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes earns a fee expenses paid trip to the Breeders’ Cup Turf as part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In Series.
There are also three Group 2 races on the card, starting with the Queen Mary Stakes (2.30pm) over five-furlongs for two-year-old fillies. Twilight Gleaming has been the talk of the Newmarket gallops since she landed from America and bids to become Wesley Ward’s fifth winner in the race. If she’s as good as her reputation suggests she’ll be tough to beat but Illustrating was a nice winner on debut at Catterick for Karl Burke and should improve for that while Get Ahead won an Ascot novice in May and should be respected for connections that won this race with Heartache in 2017.
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The Group 2 Queen’s Vase has a habit of throwing up good young staying horses and there are several here with plenty of potential. Wordsworth comes from the powerful O’Brien yard while the improving Dancing King is four from four this season and represents Mark Johnston who has an excellent record in this race.
The Duke of Cambridge Stakes over the Straight Mile is the final Group 2 of the day for older fillies. Lady Bowthorpe must have leading claims here on the back of her second to Palace Pier in the Lockinge. She should run her race and is a worthy favourite. Agincourt was second in this last year while Queen Power is another admirably consistent filly and Champers Elysees was a Group 1 winner in Ireland last year and will appreciate this quick ground.
Royal Hunt Cup Draws 30
The Royal Hunt Cup is the big betting heat of the day with 30 horses set to go to post and an ultra-competitive race in prospect. Punters have already sided with Mr Ascot Frankie Dettori who rides the well-backed Magical Morning for John and Thady Gosden with the stable in flying form after two winners on the opening day. They also run Haqeeqy while Ascot specialists Cliffs Of Capri and Escobar could run well and Layfayette is a fascinating contender for Noel Meade.
Wesley Ward also has a powerful hand in the Windsor Castle (5.35pm) with Ruthin and Golden Bell and they could have too much speed for this field. Spring Is Sprung bids to win this for a second year running for Her Majesty The Queen and he is open to improvement having won at Windsor on his second start.
The concluding Kensington Palace Stakes is a new race on the programme this year for Fillies and Mares over the Old Mile. Lights On looks a typical steady improve for Sir Michael Stoute who is looking to add to his record-breaking tally of 81 Royal Ascot winners.
Palace Pier Earns Ticket to Breeders’ Cup Mile
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum’s 4-year-old colt Palace Pier (GB) stretched his career record to eight wins in nine starts by capturing the US$563,000 Queen Anne Stakes (G1), a victory which earned him a guaranteed starting position in the US$2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 84 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California on Nov. 5-6.
Queen Anne Stakes Replay
“That was a pressure ride, the first one. You want everything to go right and it did. The weight is off the shoulders,” said winning jockey Frankie Dettori after steering the John and Thady Gosden-trained odds-on favorite to a 1 ½-length success in the opening race of the five-day Royal Ascot meeting. A bay son of Kingman (GB) out of Nayef mare Beach Frolic (GB), Palace Pier completed the mile in 1:39.18 over on a course listed as good to firm.
As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for Palace Pier to start in the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile. Breeders’ Cup also will provide a travel allowance of US$40,000 for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships.