Neil Morrice brings us his best bets and tips for Day 2 of the Royal Ascot festival.
Race 1 QUEEN MARY STAKES (Group 2)
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien – Jockey: Ryan Moore
The Coolmore juveniles rarely fail to make an impact here and as a daughter of top US sire War Front out of the Galileo mare Butterflies, YET can emerge from her chrysalis to thwart the Wesley Ward-trained TWILIGHT GLEAMING. The selection scored by a narrow margin and was easy to back on debut at Dundalk, and while it would have been useful to see her run on grass ahead of this, she’s thought to have made great strides at home subsequently. Twilight Gleaming would be a fifth Queen Mary winner for Ward who has acquainted himself with every aspect of our training centres since his arrival from Kentucky. This filly was most impressive in opening her account at Belmont and looks set for a big earning run. Andrew Balding’s NYMPHADORA took out the Marygate Stakes at York to show herself a live contender for honours at a potentially bigger price, and should be respected.
Prediction: 1st YET, 2nd Twilight Gleaming, 3rd Nymphadora
Race 2 QUEEN’S VASE (Group 2)
No3 DANCING KING
Trainer: Mark Johnston – Jockey: Silvestre De Sousa
Mark Johnston can become the winning most trainer of this stayers’ prize and the one that takes my eye is DANCING KING. The gelded son of Free Eagle has gone from strength to strength this year, recording a four-timer in gritty fashion at Doncaster. He takes his racing well and probably hasn’t stopped improving. If there’s a joker in the pack that horse is STOWELL, named after the ancestral home of the late Lord Vestey. This Zoffany colt takes a giant step up the ladder after converting a penalty kick in a maiden here last month and will enjoy the greater emphasis on stamina. The Coolmore challenger WORDSWORTH skipped the Cazoo Derby as he was thought too inexperienced, and as a brother to the 2018 winner of this Kew Gardens has to be of interest.
Prediction: 1st DANCING KING, 2nd Stowell, 3rd Wordsworth
Race 3 DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE STAKES (Group 2)
No3 QUEEN POWER
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute – Jockey: Silvestre De Sousa
Stoute has a handful of strong chances this week but perhaps his best is QUEEN POWER. Notwithstanding that this mile is possibly shorter than ideal, she goes to post with her tail up following a wide margin triumph at York. That injection of confidence could give her the necessary thrust to turn the tables on her Dahlia Stakes conqueror LADY BOWTHORPE. The last-named filly ran the race of her life against Palace Pier in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes last time. At longer odds, LAVENDER’S BLUE could creep into the frame.
Prediction: 1st QUEEN POWER, 2nd Lady Bowthorpe, 3rd Lavender’s Blue
Race 4 PRINCE OF WALES’S STAKES (Group 1)
Trainer: James Fanshawe – Jockey: William Buick
If a 300-day absence proves a hindrance to LOVE, Breeders’ Cup Filly And Mare Turf heroine AUDARYA could be the one to take advantage, even though she is also returning from a layoff. Fanshawe handled the daughter of Wootton Bassett with aplomb to win three of her final four starts last season, including a Group 1 at Deauville. It’s quite difficult to know how good she is, and as her signals from the Newmarket gallops have been encouraging, she may be worth chancing to cause an upset. Love numbered 1,000 Guineas, Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks on her 2020 CV and has been hugely popular in the ante post-market. But stock has to be taken of her troubled preparation and another with very strong claims is LORD NORTH. John Gosden’s charge attempts to go back-to-back in the day’s feature under Frankie Dettori, and a recent victory at the Meydan Carnival confirms he’s improved.
Prediction: 1st AUDARYA, 2nd Love, 3rd Lord North
Race 5 ROYAL HUNT CUP HERITAGE HANDICAP
Trainer: Mark Johnston – Jockey: Dane O’Neill
The two I like against the field are both drawn high, so fingers crossed with that. There will be two distinct groups for the major betting extravaganza of Day 2 and MAYDANNY is the sort of lightly-raced individual that shouldn’t be underestimated. A winner at Glorious Goodwood last July, he shaped well to chase home Bell Rock on seasonal reappearance at Newmarket and can only be better for that sterling effort. The Dubawi gelding is drawn close to TRAIS FLUORS, who did us a huge favour with his 12-1 success at Sandown and is suddenly a player here under a 5lb penalty. This horse is still well treated on the basis of his very good form when trained in France, and though losing his way when sent to Ireland, looks like he’s now making up for lost time. Simon and Ed Crisford’s FINEST SOUND aims to better his second placing in the Britannia 12 months ago and has a great chance of being in the money. I can also pass on a persistent whisper for ASTRO KING, who narrowly missed out in the Thirsk Hunt Cup and is also berthed close to my main two fancies.
Prediction: 1st MAYDANNY, 2nd Trais Fluors, 3rd Finest Sound, 4th Astro King
Race 6 WINDSOR CASTLE STAKES (Listed)
No26 GOLDEN BALL
Trainer: Wesley Ward – Jockey: John Velazquez
When in doubt, rely on Wesley Ward, is a statement oft-times used with telling effect in the juvenile races here. In this fiercely-competitive heat his fillies GOLDEN BALL and RUTHIN are carded to go well, with slight preference for the former. The daughter of Macho Uno will start at longer odds than her barn mate, but was very impressive delivering on debut at Keeneland in April. Ruthin was at one time ante post favourite for the Queen Mary. She will love the forecast fast ground and showed her prowess with a professionally-delivered success at Keeneland in a race that has worked out. FLAMING RIB can play the experience card and did nothing wrong chasing home OSCULA in the Woodcote at Epsom. He might turn out to be the pick of the colts.
Prediction: 1st GOLDEN BALL, 2nd Ruthin, 3rd Flaming Rib
Race 7 KENSINGTON PALACE HERITAGE HANDICAP
No15 DALANIJUJO (Nap)
Trainer: Mick Channon – Jockey: William Buick
Channon sends some nicely weighted handicappers to the meeting, the best of whom is DALANIJUJO. The Night Of Thunder filly scored with more in hand than the narrow winning margin indicates at Yarmouth, a run that not only blew away a few cobwebs but proved she is effective at a mile. She should appreciate the likely decent pace and a bigger field in which her pilot can ride his luck waiting for some daylight in the home straight. DECLARED INTEREST represents a stable that always needs respecting with its fillies here, and who won with plenty in hand when returning at Leicester. She can get into the shake-up along with LIGHTS ON, who would have been a stronger fancy had she been better drawn.