A two mile race for horses only midway through their three-year-old season seems a bit early for me, but what would I know? It's called the Queen's Vase and Dan Kelly, @muffinmannhc, cast a close eye over the field and came up with this....
17:00 Queen's Vase (Group 3)
3yo only, 2m
A race that has been farmed by Mark Johnston in recent years it is strange to see a field without a runner of his, but this years field does look a high class renewal.
1(12) 13-4153 Athens (IRE) A P O'Brien J P O'Brien
Closely related to Admiralofthefleet, he has looked to be shy of Group class on starts so far back in Ireland and France where he has yet to place in 5 attempts, once as a juvenile, and 4 times at 3yo. A confirmed front runner he looks like he could get all his own way up front which could be dangerous, but if you delve further through pedigree isn’t laden with stamina. Admiralofthefleet was tried over 6f on second last run, and Dam Rafina hasn’t produced a 1m4f of note, and Grand Dam Coupe De Foile spat out milers after milers, Exit To Nowhere and Machiavellian.
2(10) 1117 Ed De Gas Rae Guest C Catlin
A rare debut winner for Rae Guest, he has improved run on run, but what is noteworthy is his style of running. On all tries on the All Weather he didn’t seem to travel too kindly and looked best late on in both his wins. Disappointed in the Derby Trial last time out, but if track wasn’t going to suit, only a matter of time he’d get found out in better class race and so it proved; wide throughout, pushed wide home bend and eased. What I am drawn to though is his run at Catterick. Even though Catterick is a fairly sharp track, he travelled so much kindly for Catlin and powered away to win by 15l from a 87 rated sort in Bordoni, and Naseem Alyasmeen who is a confirmed mudlover. Track is more galloping of nature today, so I expect him to return to that Catterick form today and his pedigree does give the impression he should stay the trip. Out of Peintre Celebre, Dam half bro to Bravo Maestro, out of unraced sister to Ascot Gold Cup Winner Chief Contender.
3(7) 431-412 Flying Trader (USA) Jane Chapple-Hyam R Hughes
Improving sort, but in 0-80 races rather than a race of this stature. Has shown a fondness for quicker ground when racing on turf, did show improvement for step up to 14f last time out, not enough to get excited about.
4(6) 43-142 Macbeth (IRE) K J Condon J P Murtagh
Form ties in closely with Athens on their running in the Gallinule where finished a nk behind, he has shown a fondness for easy ground which is likely to bold well today. 3/4l behind Tower Rock on second start at 2, he improved for the step up to 12f when accounting for Chicago readily, post race connections were quick to mention this race as a possible target. Both this and his 2nd last time out to Backbench Blues was on easy ground, Gallinule was on Good ground which suggests that Macbeth is more than capable of reversing places today. Has shown ability to make the running if need be, but also fondness to sit just off it so won;t be inconvenience by a tactical affair.
5(4) 2157 Minimise Risk A M Balding J P Spencer
410,000gns yearling, 12f trips and upwards were destined to be his game given half brother to Darasim and the likes, Grand Dam, Dararita half sister to Dar Re Mi and Rewilding so that should paint the picture as to why he was so expensive, but he’s not impressed on the race course as yet. Pleasing enough debut when behind Zaina at Doncaster, he then ground out a win over Uriah Heep at Newbury on easy ground. Stepped up in class for the Chester Vase again struggled on the easy ground, and outclassed in the Derby. Questions to answer regarding ability to handle this easier surface, but on paper should relish the trip.
6(2) 12-63 Perennial C Hills M Hills
Sent off favourite for the Fielden Stakes, was keen early and struggled to build on what were impressive performances at 2. Half brother to Redwood the slow pace of that race would not have suited, and nor would it have in the Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood, but to his credit he did step up on his seasonal debut to finish a fair 3rd, 1.75l behind Michelangelo but that Fielden run does linger and yet to be sold that he’s anywhere as good as his half brother.
7(11) 172122- Repeater Sir Mark Prescott L Morris
Long campaign at 2, and he improved for every run. Loose before start, he finished a good 3rd on debut so should have no issue coming here fresh, and as said runs had a progressive nature about them ending with 2 sound efforts; a hd defeat at hands of Rougement off levels and a 3/4l 2nd to Mojave at Newmarket on final start, with Rougement back 6 lengths behind in 3rd. This Montjeu gelding has stamina on Dam side, Time Over a half sis to Time Ahead and Time Away (both placed in French Oaks), and further down line classic form aplenty, no surprise for a Cheveley Park sort. If fully wound up, no reason to think not to be, he could very well be a decent type for these trips, Issue is a slow pace and ground.
8(1) 452-318 Singalat J G Given Jim Crowley
Exposed gelding, run of race at Chester when making all running, so a possible pace angle, but exposed all the same.
9(5) 433231 Somemothersdohavem J Ryan A Kirby
Improved for better ground, to win off 66, has chances off 71 back in handicap company so not too close please.
10(3) 662-241 Spanish Wedding M Botti William Buick
Hernando gelding has looked a stayer, and has improved for each run, and laterly the application of blinkers. Competed in run of mill maidens last summer at Sandown, he was given time off and came back in December to complete his 3 runs before handicap mark. Gelded following that run, he improved for the step up in trip, staying on well on seasonal debut at Kempton, doing so again at York. Application of blinkers seemed to have had desired effect and won a run of mill handicap at Goodwood. Missed the cut in King George V Handicap, and will be back of interest in that company.
11(9) 31 Yazdi (IRE) B J Meehan L Dettori
Nice run on debut at Newmarket where he stayed on after looking like he was going to be well beat to finish 3rd behind two decent sorts in Model Pupil (2nd in Chester Vase) and Shantaram (2nd in Derby Trial and runs in King Edward VII). Followed up with a win at Thirsk but that form doesn’t look the strongest, and he didn’t look the easiest of rides in the race by hanging in behind runners and into them on the straight. Meehan stated on his website he has decent prospects of him staying trip, but Dam a 6f-7f winner, and out of Pivotal it’s not screaming two miler.
12(8) 7-1 Estimate (IRE) Sir Michael Stoute R L Moore
Best chance that Queenie has of a winner this week at Royal Ascot. Breeding screams stayer, Monsun filly out of Ebaziya, so she’s half sister to likes of Enzeli, Ascot Gold Cup winner and Ebadiya an Irish Oaks winner and being out of Monsun, any ease underfoot shouldn’t be an issue. Form has a good look to it also, fluffed lines on debut and looked to need it, she was relatively unfancied and seen as second string at Salisbury. Travelled very kindly through her race after breaking on terms, she looked to have benefitted greatly form a winter, but taking comments into accounts looked as though the experience wouldn’t go amiss, but she won this with ease. The 2nd had form with Derby hope Cavaleiro and Thomas Chipendale who is in the King Edward VII today, 3rd has came out and number of placed efforts of those behind at around 70-80 mark so form is fairly solid look about it.
The Irish pair arguably have best form coming into the race, with preference for Macbeth, but based on possible improvement and prices it’s hard to get away from Estimate, Ed De Gas and Repeater for differing reasons. Estimate is bred for this test and created a favourable impression last time out, Ed De Gas should revel likely conditions and Repeater has look of a typical Sir Mark Prescott improver, but with him not running on ground this easy as yet in career, has to be a worry.
1pt Win Estimate @ 5s Generally
1pt Win Ed De Gas @ 12s Generally