It looks like a three-cornered fight for the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes as Love, last year’s 1,000 Guineas and Oaks winner, returns to action as the likely favourite to beat Lord North, who took this on slower ground last year, and her stable companion, Armory.
Love was hugely impressive on her final start at three, running away with the Yorkshire Oaks. But the drop back to 10 furlongs might not be ideal after 300 days off the track.
Armory (4.20) in particular could have a fitness edge after a comfortable return to action at Chester in May, and has only a pound or two to find with Love on his best form. Ryan Moore has ridden just one of Aidan O’Brien’s last 10 Group One winners and his habit of being aboard the “wrong” Ballydoyle runner could be extended on Wednesday.
Royal Ascot 2.30 One of two races on Wednesday’s card where a runner from Wesley Ward’s stable skews the market, but Ward’s “marker” in Tuesday’s Coventry Stakes finished well beaten so Twilight Gleaming may be worth opposing. Illustrating, a well-backed winner on debut in a strong time, makes most appeal from a long list of alternatives at around 12-1.
Royal Ascot 3.05 This is as tricky as any of the meeting’s handicaps, with so many runners open to significant improvement for the step up in trip. Kemari, an easy winner on his second start last month, has more scope than most at around 8-1.
Royal Ascot 3.40 Lady Bowthorpe and Queen Power dominate the betting and bring a similar level of form, which makes Sir Michael Stoute’s filly the obvious pick at nearly twice the price of her market rival.
Royal Ascot 5.00 The pace looks to be with the high numbers but even ruling out half the field leaves no end of possibilities. Astro King from stall 27 is the marginal pick at around 9-1 as he still has scope for improvement with just six runs in the book.
Royal Ascot 5.35 Two Wesley Ward runners, Ruthin and Golden Bell, take out a big chunk of the market here, and either could be good enough to win one of the weakest races at the meeting. At the prices, though, they must be opposed, and Dig Two, who has drawn well near the stands’ rail, beat a subsequent easy winner in a strong time at Chelmsford last month.
Royal Ascot 6.10 Lola Showgirl (nap) put up a strong performance on the clock and battled well when challenged to make a winning return to action at York last month. She could get quite an easy time of it in front, and makes plenty of appeal at around 12-1 from just a 2lb higher mark.