IT'S finally here! The waiting is over as Royal Ascot gets underway with a brilliant card.
We've been studying the form and come up with some unmissable analysis and tips for you to get stuck into.
Race 1 – 2.30 Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1)
What a race to start the week off, and Mustashry looks the key horse.
He came out on top in the Lockinge, but that was by far a career-best effort and there is a suspicion that a couple of these may improve past him.
They include ACCIDENTAL AGENT, who ran a cracking third behind Mustashry on his return to action at Newbury.
He caused a 33-1 upset in this race last year, but he arguably comes here in better nick this time around.
He loves Ascot and can become the first back-to-back winner in 112 years.
Laurens travelled like a dream in the Lockinge when finishing second and she must go well, though each of her Group 1 wins have come against her own sex.
Le Brivido caught the eye in that race, too, but he hasn't done enough to warrant heading the market for this.
Barney Roy would win this doing handstands if recapturing his 2017 form, but there is a major doubt that he is able to run to that sort of level again after an aborted career at stud.
One who should go well at a price is Hazapour, a strong traveller who is unexposed over a mile.
VERDICT – Win: Accidental Agent Each-way: Hazapour
Race 2 – 3.05 Coventry Stakes (Group 2)
At first glance this looks a punting minefield, but it has often paid to focus on those at the head of the betting in the Coventry.
Aidan O'Brien has a fantastic record in this contest and his ARIZONA won pulling a cart at the Curragh on his latest outing.
He is a very bright prospect and he looks sure to make a bold bid under top jockey Ryan Moore.
Guildsman was similarly impressive when winning on debut at Goodwood, and his rider Oisin Murphy has been making all the right noises.
He looks the biggest danger, though the aptly named Threat shouldn't be overlooked either.
He showed plenty of speed when winning over 5f on debut but the extra furlong here won't be an issue.
Fort Myers and Well Of Wisdom were second and third in a good race at Newbury and also enter calculations.
VERDICT – Win: Arizona Each-way: Guildsman
Race 3 – 3.40 King's Stand Stakes (Group 1)
Battaash showed blistering early speed in this contest 12 months ago.
Unfortunately for him, he couldn't quite last home as he was picked off in the closing stages by BLUE POINT, and I can see a similar scenario playing out again here.
Charlie Appleby's charge is a top-class performer in his own right and arrives here having enjoyed a much smoother preparation than last year.
The admirable Mabs Cross should run her usual good race, though she needs to improve to get her head in front.
Sergei Prokofiev found things happening a bit quickly on his first start over 5f against older horses last time, but he will be more clued up now.
He has an engine and has always promised to win a big one.
Don't underestimate the American challenger Imprimis, the mount of Frankie who beat a smart sort at Keeneland last time.
VERDICT – Win: Blue Point Each-way: Imprimis
Race 4 – 4.20 St James's Palace Stakes (Group 1)
A stellar renewal of this historic race. Will Too Darn Hot bounce back to his best?
That's the million dollar question. If he does, he will probably win, but I've a feeling the injury he picked up earlier in the year is holding him back.
Phoenix Of Spain blew his rivals away from the front in the Irish 2000 Guineas last time out.
He is the one to beat on that evidence, but with French raider Shaman and Ballydoyle rag The Irish Rover in here, he could face competition for the lead.
A strong gallop could set this up for KING OF COMEDY, who was a hugely impressive winner of the Heron Stakes last time out.
He has a massive engine, and provided he handles the preliminaries here (he misbehaved at Sandown last month) he could swoop past them all.
Skardu has run perfectly well in both the English and Irish Guineas and he won't be far away, while the joker in the pack could be Fox Champion whose win in the German Guineas is solid form.
VERDICT – Win: King Of Comedy Each-way: Fox Champion
Race 5 – 5.00 Ascot Stakes
Jumps yards have a brilliant record in this, and MENGLI KHAN looks to have a solid chance for Gordon Elliott.
He is a classy performer over hurdles and fences, but he was a smart performer on the level back in the day.
Buildmeupbuttercup represents the all-conquering Willie Mullins yard, so he has to be feared.
Coeur De Lion stayed on bravely to win on testing ground at Chester last time and he is another to consider closely.
Fun Mac has slipped to a dangerous mark and he shaped with promise in the Chester Cup last month. He was second in this race four years ago and could hit the frame again.
VERDICT – Win: Mengli Khan Each-way: Fun Mac
Race 6 – 5.35 Wolferton Stakes (Listed)
A wide draw makes life tricky for jockey Ryan Moore, but his mount MAGIC WAND (NAP) is a proper Group 1 filly running in a Listed race.
The return to this stiff 1m2f is no issue, and provided she can slot in from stall 14 she should run a hell of a race in receipt of weight.
Latrobe hasn't really built on his victory in last year's Irish Derby, but if he is in the mood he would have a big chance. That is a big 'if', however.
Addeybb will have loved all the recent rainfall, but he is yet to fully convince he stays this far, while Elarqam has been more miss than hit since winning a Group 3 in 2017.
Star Of Bengal is interesting in first-time headgear, while progressive handicapper Mountain Angel has a win at this course to his name and could figure at a price.
VERDICT – Win: Magic Wand Each-way: Mountain Angel
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