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Despite his no-show in Dubai on World Cup night Limato looks very hard to beat in the final Group 1 race of the meeting on Saturday.
Richard Fahey’s four-year-old was a very impressive victor of last month’s Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
Lightning Spear, who finished second at Newbury, is entitled to get slightly closer to him back on a quicker surface, but he still has plenty to find.
But Caravaggio, in the Commonwealth Cup on Friday, and Churchill, in Tuesday’s St James’s Palace Stakes, could prove to be the weaker links.
Several of the 30 races staged during the week – set to be bathed in sunshine with unusually high temperatures – could fall the way of O’Brien, whose dual 2000 Guineas victor Churchill is a warm order at odds-on to confirm Newmarket form with Barney Roy.
Under John Velazquez, who picked up the mount when a lingering arm injury forced Frankie Dettori out of the saddle Tuesday morning, Lady Aurelia quickly got into the five-furlong King’s Stand after breaking from the outside post in an 18-horse field.
How can I get to Royal Ascot?
On Wednesday, the 91-year-old Queen will dash from the rescheduled State Opening of Parliament, after delivering the Queen’s Speech, to the race meet – one of her favourite annual occasions – possibly via Windsor to meet lunch guests. A year later, Richard Hannon Sr took the prize – again, with three winners. Yes, ideally, he many want an extra 2f, but he finished second in a Juddmonte past year and we know he loves the track and the ground. He has already performed at the Epsom Derby meeting, so the big crowd today is something he has experienced before. He was clearly less impressive when only third in a Listed race at Naas last time, but that was on easy ground and I think a return to this quicker ground will suit him.
“I’m guessing the pace will come from the American horse (Arawak, stall 14)”.
Willie Mullins has saddled the victor of the Ascot Stakes twice in the last five years and his Thomas Hobson heads the market at 7/2 with BetVictor.
As ever, the Ascot Stakes sees the National Hunt trainers come out to play, with Thomas Hobson (Willie Mullins), Who Dares Wins (Alan King) and Beyond Conceit (Nicky Henderson) all strongly fancied. He has turned into a useful hurdler since joining Mullins and could be very well handicapped here back on the flat.