The Daily Telegraph
Palace peerless while Vega is set to take his turn in starring role
2.30 Queen Anne Stakes (Group One) 1 mile
A potentially slow pace looks on the cards in the traditional curtain-raiser, which could make life tricky for 2019 and 2018 winners (and confirmed hold-up performers) Lord Glitters and Accidental Agent. A wide draw and the prospect of a slow tempo does not bode obviously well for PALACE PIER but, equally, he looks nigh-on bombproof, having won seven of his eight starts, most of which came in extremely impressive fashion, including his two victories this season. With conditions sure to suit, Regal Reality makes the most each-way appeal.
3.05 Coventry Stakes (Group Two) 6 furlongs
While Wesley Ward has long been an irresistible force in the five-furlong juvenile races at Royal Ascot, he has historically struggled beyond the minimum distance with his two-year-olds and, add to that the fact a filly has not won the Coventry in over 100 years, history strongly suggests that Kaufymaker will do very well to win. Gisburn was a most impressive winner of a Newbury maiden that has long had a bearing on this race and, with normal improvement expected, he can be bang there. However, DHABAB looks the one to beat following an excellent win at Leicester in a slick time; he can continue a strong start to the meeting for John and Thady Gosden.
King’s Stand Stakes (Group One) 5f
A race that revolves around the wellbeing, fitness and freshness of four-time Group One winner Battaash, whose issues in the build-up to this race have been well documented. Even if he is a touch below his best, Battaash will surely still take plenty of beating but, in a field brimming with pace angles, there is a fear he may do too much in the early stages and leave himself vulnerable late on. If a strong gallop does materialise, hold-up performer KEEP BUSY makes plenty of appeal to be finishing strongly under Ryan Moore, with the return to better ground sure to suit.
4.20 St James’s Palace Stakes (Group One) 1m
A wide-open renewal, which speaks volumes of the quality of the Classic generation in which many of these have been taking turns to beat each other. It looks the turn once again of LUCKY VEGA (NAP), who was sent off market leader for the Irish 2,000 Guineas and ran very well on ground that was surely too soft for him. The 2,000 Guineas, in which the selection finished third, looks the form line to follow here, also bringing in Chindit and Poetic Flare as strong contenders for minor honours.
5.00 Ascot Stakes (Handicap) 2m4f
A warm renewal, with many unexposed contenders. Cape Gentleman hails from a shrewd stable and has a most eye-catching jockey booking in the shape of Rachael Blackmore. He was a comfortable winner of last year’s Irish Cesarewitch on his latest start on the Flat and must go close despite a 15lb hike in the weights. Willie Mullins again holds a strong hand, but it remains to be seen how MC Muldoon and Rayapour will fare on the likely fast ground. However, the stable’s ROYAL ILLUSION should have little trouble on the going and could take a bit of beating under Tom Marquand.
5.35 Wolferton Stakes (Listed) 1m2f
PATRICK SARSFIELD has been a model of consistency over 10 furlongs through his career, and has mixed it with high-class opposition to boot. Without a penalty for his Group Three win last July and, having warmed up with an excellent run in defeat at the Curragh this month, he can take plenty of beating from stall three. A recent wind operation can bring a much-improved effort from Juan Elcano.
6.10 Copper Horse Stakes (Handicap) 1m6f
Competitive race, and one where the early stages could be important, given the relatively short run into the first turn for the 16 runners. Despite a potentially awkward draw in stall one, ARTHURIAN FABLE has plenty going for him: he remains on a competitive mark, is consistent at this trip and should greatly appreciate the return to better going. His recent Newmarket conqueror Global Storm is another consistent sort who can go well again. Finally, Sextant is not to be dismissed at a long price in a big field with the visor off.