THE Queen Alexandra Stakes, at 2m 6f the longest race on the Flat calendar, brings the curtain down on a special Royal Ascot week and WHO DARES WINS (4.40) possesses the necessary stamina to fire him to the top of the shortlist.
Alan King’s horses have been going great guns and the same connections landed the final race yesterday with Scarlet Dragon. Who Dares Wins has gone well fresh in the past, twice hitting the frame in the 2m 2f Chester Cup, and he is a 2m 4f winner over fences. Very few of his rivals will stay this extended distance.
Favourite Mekong was good enough to run fourth to Kew Gardens in the Long Distance Cup on Champions Day and wasn’t disgraced (fifth) in Wednesday’s Gold Cup. If feeling no ill effects he must go close.
The Grand Visor landed a huge gamble in last year’s 2m 4f Ascot Stakes but finished quite a bit behind Who Dares Wins when they clashed at Newbury last summer.
Andrew Balding won the race last year with well-backed Cleonte but Nate The Great, the mount of champion jockey Oisin Murphy, has a bit to find on official figures. His third to The Trader over 1m 4f at Newmarket on first start for the yard since leaving Archie Watson reads well enough if his stamina could be trusted.
The Coronation Stakes, a Group 1 for three-year-old fillies over a mile, sees 1000 Guineas form to the fore. Quadrilateral finished a head behind Cloak of Spirits when both were on the receiving end of a thumping from Love, and that may be the strongest piece of evidence on display.
However, RUN WILD (2.25) produced an awesome performance in a lesser Listed event at HQ, the Pretty Polly Stakes, bolting clear three furlongs out and coming home alone. John Gosden’s filly could have more in the locker.
Aidan O’Brien’s So Wonderful remains a maiden after nine starts but she has been dining at the top table. Her third to Peaceful in the Irish 1000 Guineas last Saturday puts her in the frame.
American challenger Sharing has won her last three starts, the most recent at Churchill Downs in May, and adds further intrigue to a cracking race.
Pinatubo’s bubble burst in the 2000 Guineas but he was by no means disgraced. His supporters will be aiming to recoup losses in the St James’s Palace Stakes but he meets stern opposition from Wichita and PALACE PIER (3.00).
Wichita finished a place in front of Pinatubo at Newmarket and bookmakers are finding it difficult splitting the pair.
Palace Pier offers a bit more value and the Gosden camp aren’t afraid to pitch an inexperienced colt into the fray, as witnessed by the unexposed Without Parole in 2018. Palace Pier took a little while to pick up on comeback at Newcastle but quickly put distance between himself and Acquitted once finding his stride. The Kingman colt has yet to taste defeat in three runs and could be a bit special.
All eyes in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes will be fixed on 2,800 guineas bargain basement purchase Sceptical and the Irish raider looked the part when dashing three lengths clear on quick ground at Naas 12 days ago. A fairytale victory could well be on the cards but ONE MASTER (3.35) may spoilt the party.
She has reverted to sprinting following a third in the one-mile Queen Anne Stakes here 12 months ago. One Master led over a furlong out but was mowed down by Lord Glitters and Beat The Bank, so is not devoid of speed. The Haggas-trained mare receives the 3lb sex allowance.
Kevin Ryan’s Hello Youmzain was placed behind Advertise in the Commonwealth Cup at this fixture last year and is poised to go close.
SUMMERGHAND (4.10) renews rivalry with his Newmarket conqueror of 15 days ago, Tinto, and his proven big-field course form wins him an each-way vote in a wide-open Wokingham Handicap.
David O’Meara’s gelding ran fifth to Cape Byron in this event 12 months ago and should be in the shake-up. High numbers have held sway all week on the straight course and stall two puts me off initial fancy Mubakker, an eye-catcher at Newcastle 18 days ago when making mincemeat of his rivals.