Royal Ascot: Day 2 Preview

Royal Ascot will see another seven races take centre stage today and all of the attention will be on Aiden O’Brien who after a disappointing first day will hope to get on the board with his first winners of this year's Royal meeting. 

The feature race of the day is the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. Here we will preview that race as well as the other six races that make up today’s card. Here are some horses to keep an eye on.

Queen Mary Stakes, Group 2 - 5 Furlongs 

A race exclusively for the girls kicks us off today with 26 fillies trying to land the spoils. 

In what is a hugely difficult race to predict, much of the betting focus could focus on Make Haste. A brilliant winner of her maiden at Naas, she cruised through the field and won by a wide margin. Showing buckets of speed that day, the nature of her win was hugely impressive and she will be looking to back that up here.

Few in this field are as well bred as Kassaya. Costing a cool 1,000,000 Guineas as a foal, she was clueless on debut, but took a nice step forward at Nottingham when routing the field. With a little bit of experience behind her she should be one for the shortlist. 

Enchanting Empress has won all three of her starts and is one of the only Listed winners in the entire field. Whilst she takes on the classiest opposition of her career so far, big things should be expected and another big run could well be on the cards. 

Queen’s Vase, Group 2 - 1 Mile and 6 Furlongs 

Eleven runners will head down to post for this year’s renewal of the Queen’s Vase and this will be one of Aiden O’Brien’s main targets of the day. Likely to saddle the top two in the market, Illinois will likely start as the favourite.

O’Brien’s second string in the Derby, a few furlongs from home he looked the likely winner but ultimately proved to not have the class of stablemate City of Troy. 

A Group 1 winner himself, he hasn’t lost anything in that defeat and will hope to land another prestigious race here.

Hoping to stop his stablemate will be Highbury. Less exposed than Illinois, he was beaten easily on debut but the penny seemed to have dropped when he destroyed the field just two weeks later. 

Showing a good mix of speed and stamina that day, if things fall right expect him to be firmly in the picture by the race’s conclusion.

The horse that inflicted the heavy defeat on Highbury was Birdman and he returns to the track looking for a third consecutive win. 

A Listed winner, he looks like he has plenty of staying power. The harder they go in front, the better his overall chances of victory are. 

Queen’s Vase, Group 2 - 1 Mile and 6 Furlongs 

Duke of Cambridge Stakes, Group 2 - 7 Furlongs 

Once again it’s the girls who take centre stage as fourteen talented fillies and mares will line up for the Duke of Cambridge Stakes.

John and Thady Gosden got on the board yesterday with one winner and they will hope for more success with Laurel and Running Lion. Of the two most of the pre-race betting attention seems to be on Laurel.

A Listed winner earlier on in her career, she found life in the Lockinge too tough a year ago and has been off the track ever since. Making her first start in 14 months she does require a leap of faith from her backers, but if fit and tuned up she can win this race. 

Rogue Millennium is back to defend the title she won last year. Last year she won this race for Tom Clover but she now represents Joseph O’Brien and will be making just her second start for the yard. Only third on her debut for O’Brien there will be significant hopes that she can produce a better performance here and she will need to find something special otherwise she could be in for a tough race.

O’Brien also runs Gregorina who is another that deserves respect.

If looking to back one at a price it could be worth siding with the John Quinn trained Breege. Quinn knows how to ready one for the big day and her latest Group 3 success suggests that she should arrive here fit and raring to go. Overlooked in the market, she could well pull off the shock here.

Prince of Wales’s Stakes, Group 1 - 1 Mile and 1 Furlong 

Ten horses have been declared for the day’s feature race and all eyes will be on last year’s Derby victor Auguste Rodin.

A truly bonkers horse to follow, last year he won the Derby, Irish Derby and Breeders Cup Turf but suffered heavy defeats in the 2,000 Guineas and King George.

This year has followed a similar pattern with him yet to win either of his first two starts of the season. He has shown numerous times that he can piece it all together on the day, but if backing him at a short price you will need to keep your fingers crossed that today is a going day. 

A more solid bet could be with Inspiral but like Auguste Rodin, he arrives at Ascot with something to prove.

Poor on his seasonal reappearance at Newbury, John Gosden will hope the cobwebs have been well and truly blown away. A five time Group 1 winner, he is more than classy and will hope to remind everyone of his qualities here. 

Horizon Dore will represent French interest in the race and he arrives looking for a first win in Group 1 company. 

Having just missed out last time by a nose, he is fit and raring to go. He looks like a horse desperate for better ground and he should get that here. He looks like a contender at a decent price. 

Royal Hunt Cup, Handicap - 1 Mile

Upon the conclusion of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes things get a lot harder to call. 29 runners will line up for the Royal Hunt Cup and every horse in the field has some sort of chance.

Saaed Bin Suroor has become somewhat of a specialist for producing winners in big field handicaps and he looks to have a brilliant chance with Wild Tiger.

The winner of his last two starts, he has been primed for this race for months and has Oisin Murphy on board who got into the winners circle yesterday. Bin Suroor has won this race back in 2020 and 2021 and he looks to have a great shot of another victory here.

Beshtani almost caused a splash on his British debut a few weeks ago. Finding just one too good, that form has been boosted by that horse going on to win a Listed contest. Lightly raced in comparison to others, a big run can be expected. 

At a bigger price it could be worth siding with Crack Shot. Usually reliable to follow, he ran a poor race on soft ground at Sandown a few weeks ago and will be looking to bounce back on the forecasted better ground here. Hopefully he will be able to give his running again and he could be worth a small play at a big price.

Royal Hunt Cup, Handicap - 1 Mile

Kensington Palace Stakes Fillies’ Handicap - 1 Mile 

The betting gets no easier in our penultimate race of the day with the Saaed Bin Suroor trained Summer of Love looking to land another big field handicap. 

This will be her first run on turf following good efforts on the All-Weather at Kempton and there will be high hopes that she will be able to make the transition following two good victories heading into this contest.  

Twirling is another that has enjoyed great success on the All-Weather at Kempton and unlike Summer of Love she has had a turf run when winning nicely on debut at Nottingham a few weeks ago. She has a career high mark to contend with but looks a real contender. 

Azahara Palace will have Silvestre De Sousa on board and he will hope to have another winner following his success yesterday. Having just had one run this season, she looked good when winning well at Leicester. The handicapper has been harsh by raising her seven pounds in the weights, but if she can handle the added weight she could well leave her mark here.

Windsor Castle Stakes, Listed - 5 Furlongs 

Wednesday’s racing concludes with the Windsor Castle Stakes. 

A listed contest, 28 runners will head down to post and Aiden O’Brien will hope to round off a great day with Treasure Isle.

O’Brien has a good record in this race, winning three of the last nine renewals and with Treasure Isle he looks to have a great chance of another victory. A good winner of a competitive Maiden race last time out, few would be surprised if he took another leap forward here. 

O’Brien arrives into the race strong handed as he will also saddle Celtic Chieftain. A winner on debut a few weeks ago, there should be plenty of improvement today as he looked really green on debut. Showing a nice turn of foot that day, he could be worth a second look in the market. 

Eve Johnson Houghton won this race back in 2021 and she looks to have another good chance with Pont Neuf.

Unbeaten in his first two starts of the season, he defied a penalty when a good winner last time out and there could be plenty more to come today.