Australian hero Artorius will attempt to land a British Gr 1 tomorrow in the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes (Photograph: Steven Cargill/racingfotos.com/Shutterstock)
1 2:30 PM – Chesham Stakes (Listed)
Aidan O’Brien has a fine strike-rate in this contest, as he has taken two of the last three renewals, and he has a strong hand once more with the top two in the market. Preference is for his PEARLS AND RUBIES, who just got up by a neck on debut at Navan over 5f and she shaped as if in need of this step up in distance. With potentially loads of improvement to come, she is fancied to come out on top to give leading jockey Ryan Moore another one to his tally. The main threat might come from Matnookh, who he did incredibly well to be beaten just under four lengths third on his first start at Windsor after being slowly away. He should have learned a lot from that experience and he is one to take seriously at a price. Another to note is Lightning Leo, who had Sayedaty Sadaty (second) and Quatre Bras (third) behind him last time and he isn’t ruled out in this open contest.
Top Tip: PEARLS AND RUBIES (16)
Watch out for: MATNOOKH (6)
2 3:05 PM – Jersey Stakes (Group 3)
Covey landed a treble in comfortable style at Haydock last month but, given the last 10 winners hadn’t run in a handicap on their previous start, it could pay to side with THE ANTARCTIC. A game winner of the Lacken Stakes at Naas most recently, Aidan O’Brien’s inmate has shaped as though he can progress further for stepping up in trip. He lost little in defeat behind Blackbeard in in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket last September and the 750,000gns purchase rates the one to beat. Enfjaar cost 240,000gns as a foal and caught the eye when beating subsequent Lingfield Derby Trial winner Military Order into fourth on his debut at Newmarket. Roger Varian’s charge made it 2-2 when bolting up under a penalty at Chelmsford on his most recent run and he likely has more to offer. Olivia Maralda and Zoology add further spice to a competitive renewal.
Top Tip: THE ANTARCTIC (2)
Watch out for: ENFJAAR (7)
3 3:40 PM – Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series)
Australian sprinter ARTORIUS didn’t enjoy the smoothest of passages when finishing third in last year’s renewal of this contest and compensation could await. The Freedman-trained colt arrives in good form having added another Group 1 trophy to his cabinet at Randwick and then losing little in defeat at Rosehill just two weeks later. The son of Flying Artie can put his experience to good use and record a first success on these shores. Wellington will likely enjoy not running into Sha Tin superstar Lucky Sweynesse this time and is feared most on his first visit to Ascot, with Ryan Moore, who has ridden the six-year-old to success in the Hong Kong Sprint, a shrewd-looking jockey booking. Highfield Princess and Kinross head the list of dangers for the home team in an open-looking contest.
Top Tip: ARTORIUS (2)
Watch out for: WELLINGTON (13)
4 4:20 PM – Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2)
Hukum lowered the colours of the unbeaten Derby hero Desert Crown last time at Sandown in the Brigadier Gerard, and that was a mighty performance considering he was returning from a 356-day break over a trip that may have not been ideal. He is likely to be a warm favourite for this but, at the prices, he can be taken on with PYLEDRIVER. The son of Harbour Watch is no stranger to Royal Ascot as he took the King Edward VII in 2020 over C&D and that gives a big boost to his claims. The six-year-old is officially the top-rated in the contest with a mark of 124 and was last seen taking the King George VI here 11 months ago, which shows he goes well fresh. Free Wind is a lightly-raced five-year-old on the up and the form of her Middleton Stakes victory at York last month was franked by Rogue Milennium (second) securing the Duke Of Cambridge here on Wednesday, so she is also worthy of consideration.
Top Tip: PYLEDRIVER (6)
Watch out for: HUKUM (5)
5 5:00 PM – Wokingham Stakes (Heritage Handicap)
ORAZIO looked a potential Group-class performer when running out an impressive winner over C&D last month and a 9lb rise might not be enough to stop him from landing the hat-trick. The form of his Newmarket victory at the Craven meeting was backed up by the runner-up, Probe, who is in opposition again having won on 2000 Guineas day. Connections have managed to book Ryan Moore for the ride and he has to warrant plenty of respect. Khanjar sports cheekpieces for the first time and has threatened to win a prize of this nature, while others worth noting include Bielsa, the former Ayr Gold Cup hero who scored at York last month, and Flaming Rib, who was runner-up in last year’s Commonwealth Cup.
Top Tip: ORAZIO (8)
Watch out for: PROBE (21)
6 5:35 PM – Golden Gates Stakes (Handicap)
Those drawn high have tended do well since the inauguration of this contest in 2020, with the first three places in last year’s renewal filled by runners drawn 13 and above. With that in mind, it may pay to take a chance on LION OF WAR. Having won his first two starts last summer, Charlie Johnston’s colt bounced back to form in eye-catching fashion when powering home to win well over 1m1f at Musselburgh three weeks ago and a 4lb rise still leaves him on a fair mark now back up in trip. Canute won with ease on his second appearance in a handicap at Navan earlier in the month and Aidan O’Brien’s colt is feared most, despite the handicapper raising him 11lb in the ratings. Knockbrex lost little in defeat when finishing fourth to subsequent Queen’s Vase third Chesspiece at York last month and completes the shortlist now eased in distance.
Top Tip: LION OF WAR (15)
Watch out for: CANUTE (6)
7 6:10 PM – Queen Alexandra Stakes (Conditions Race)
STRATUM arrives in search of a hat-trick of victories in this contest and the 10-year-old warmed up for this when not running too badly at Leopardstown on his return from a break. William Buick is reunited in the saddle and the pair boast strong credentials once again. Dawn Rising made up into a very useful hurdler during the winter months, placing at the highest level, and finished ahead of the selection when third in the aforementioned Leopardstown Group 3. He is respected, with the step up in trip potentially unlocking further improvement, while Cesarewitch winner Run For Oscar is likely to be a lot happier stepped back up in distance following his prep over 1m4f at the Curragh.
Top Tip: STRATUM (1)
Watch out for: DAWN RISING (3)