Aidan O’Brien goes head to head with Godolphin and Sir Michael Stoute in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, Wednesday’s highlight at Royal Ascot.
The 10-furlong Group 1 features a number of globe-trotting runners, with O’Brien sending out the likely favourite Highland Reel.
Read on for our guide to the eight-runner field, down by one from the initial declarations after the withdrawal of Nezwaah after she returned a bad blood count on Tuesday.
Trainer: Roger Charlton. Jockey: Andrea Atzeni
Has won Group 1 races in Dubai and Ireland this year and although this looks a tougher call, he might just be up to finding a little more improvement to beat the market principals here. Rating: 10/10
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien. Jockey: Ryan Moore
Bounced back from a dreadful run at Meydan, where the ground might not have suited, in winning Epsom’s Coronation Cup earlier this month. Has to be a leading fancy on that form but will the drop back in trip suit? Rating: 8/10
Trainer: John Gosden. Jockey: William Buick
Impressive winner of the Dubai Sheema Classic – the race Highland Reel disappointed in – but similar concerns apply over the drop in trip as he was so strong at the finish last time. Rating: 7/10
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien. Jockey: Donnacha O’Brien
Group 1 winner on his last run as a two-year-old but has only run three times since and looks well held by Decorated Knight on Curragh running last time out. Rating: 2/10
Trainer: Jean-Claude Rouget. Jockey: Gregory Benoist
Won at Chantilly last time out and his victim has gone in since, but that form is a good few pounds short of the best runners in this field and French raider might not be quite strong enough. Rating: 5/10
Trainer: Charlie Appleby. Jockey: James Doyle
Ran a series of good races last summer and will relish the quick ground, but his last (and best) run came in Australia’s Caulfield Cup back in November and there have to be questions whether he will be ready for this test. Rating: 5/10
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute. Jockey: TBC
Won nicely at Sandown on his first runs of the season but that was a Group 3 and this looks altogether a tougher assignment. Also held by Highland Reel on Breeders’ Cup form from the end of last season. Rating: 6/10
NEZWAAH – NON-RUNNER
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute. Jockey: Olivier Peslier
Really progressive filly last season and chased home Minding in the Nassau Stakes before winning at the Breeders’ Cup with a strong finish.You would have to forgive her a poor return to the track at York last month but has definite place claims. Rating: 9/10
VERDICT: On form this should be between Highland Reel and Jack Hobbs, but neither has proved completely bomb-proof in recent runs and preference is for the improving DECORATED KNIGHT, who appears to be firmly on the upgrade and should be suited by trip and ground. Queen’s Trust, now the only filly in the race, could chase him home despite being a bigger price than stable companion Ulysses.
1 DECORATED KNIGHT; 2 Queen’s Trust; 3 Highland Reel