EXCELEBRATION and Frankel are the two latest names etched on the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes’ roll of honour, which sums up perfectly the type of animal you need to win this £1m contest.
Godolphin’s extremely talented Dawn Approach is set to go off favourite and Jim Bolger’s stable star looked like one of the greats when winning his seventh straight race in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas.
However, he has been beaten three times since then and needs to put a below-par display in the Jacques Le Marois behind him. This will also be the softest ground he has encountered, so at 2/1 with Coral I’m happy to look elsewhere.
Maxios is one of his biggest threats, as he is a two-time Group One winner who won the Prix du Moulin by five lengths last time. He was disappointing in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, but the quick ground didn’t suit and he got very upset in the parade ring.
If this race was run on the round course, like it used to be, he’d be a strong fancy, but I’m not sure the straight mile will suit him as well and I can see things playing into Richard Hughes’ hands aboard OLYMPIC GLORY.
The Choisir colt has done most of his racing in France recently, but he’s been performing admirably, particularly when just failing to run-down the brilliant Moonlight Cloud two starts back at Deauville.
He was undone by a tactical race in the Moulin behind Maxios last time and I’m sure Hughes will have him handier on the straight course that he rides so well.
Olympic Glory goes well on soft ground and he should be backed at 5/1 with Coral to earn a win that will surely give his trainer Richard Hannon another trainer’s championship.
Soft Falling Rain is unproven on the ground, Gordon Lord Byron might struggle to get home over a mile and this looks a step too far for Top Notch Tonto.
The opening race, the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup (1.45pm), could feature the biggest roar of the day as the Queen’s Estimate bids to follow-up her historic win in the Ascot Gold Cup.
She is three from three at Ascot and is definitely the most likely winner, but this will be her first start in almost four months and she’s only ever raced on soft ground once.
The horse who could have his perfect conditions is David Lanigan’s BIOGRAPHER and he has to be the each-way selection at 16/1 with Coral.
I appreciate that he’s had plenty of chances this season, but not everything has fallen right for him so far. Soft ground and two miles is exactly what he wants, he has won on his only previous visit to the course and this doesn’t look the strongest of races.
Finally, make sure you stick around for the QIPCO Future Stars Apprentice Handicap (4.45pm) as FURY must have a great chance. William Haggas’ five-year-old is down to a career low mark and although a mile is his ideal trip, this seven furlongs will feel like a mile on this ground.
He ran well in the Cambridgeshire but was surprisingly dropped 2lb for that run and he absolutely loves soft ground which he hasn’t had all season.
BIOGRAPHER e/w 1.45pm Ascot (tomorrow)
OLYMPIC GLORY 3.00pm Ascot (tomorrow)
FURY e/w 4.45pm Ascot (tomorrow)