THE QUEEN Mary Stakes (3.05pm) is always a difficult race to decipher with a huge field of mostly unexposed two-year-old fillies going hell for leather over a straight five furlongs. It’s fast and furious and today’s edition looks another blinder.
Despite the large number of runners, only three of the last 10 runnings have been won by a horse priced bigger than 12/1, suggesting the market is fairly accurate at pricing up these speedballs. And the bookies have again got it pretty spot on as I think it’s between the first two in the betting, Anthem Alexander and SPANISH PIPEDREAM.
Last year US trainer Wesley Ward unleashed a real trailblazer in the shape of No Nay Never, who smashed the track record in winning the Norfolk Stakes, and Spanish Pipedream could give him another Royal Ascot winner.
I watched the replay of her debut win in a Keeneland maiden on polytrack over four and a half furlongs and was mightily impressed. She cruised up to take the lead at a frantic pace and then, when being joined on the turn for home, surged clear again to win unchallenged.
That was in a rapid time of just over 51 seconds, despite taking it easy in the final stretch, and this fast ground should not bother the daughter of Scat Daddy at all. The 4/1 with Star Sports is worth taking. Anthem Alexander scooted home on her second start by seven lengths when dropped back to the minimum trip and encountering fast ground for the first time at Tipperary.
She looks the main danger. Eddie Lynam is a dab hand with sprinters and, although the form of that race is hard to quantify – as is the case with Spanish Pipedream’s victory – visually she couldn’t have been any more impressive.
But I’m not sure she’ll have the toe to go with my selection who is drawn right next to her. I don’t really fancy Richard Hannon’s Tiggy Wiggy as after four starts she has rather shown her hand and all her wins have been on soft ground. Harry’s Dancer bolted up on debut but that didn’t look a strong contest.
Ward, who won this contest with Jealous Again in 2009, knows what it takes to win here and is taken to enhance his brilliant record at the royal meeting with another victory. Pointers… SPANISH PIPEDREAM 3.05pm Ascot