Horse Racing 2018

Royal Ascot 2018: Spotlight On The Queen Anne Stakes

The Queen Anne Stakes opens Royal Ascot, the first race of the meeting commemorating the monarch who established horse racing at Ascot more than 300 years ago.

As the curtain raiser to the festival, this Group 1, one mile race for four-year-olds and older horses that has always attracted class acts. Legendary jockey Sir Gordon Richards was 21 when he won his first Queen Anne and 48 when he claimed his last.

Richards record total of six victories has since been matched by Frankie Dettori, who won his first Queen Anne at 19 years of age and his last (to date) in 2007, at 36.

Fifteen runners go to post in Tuesday’s opener and here is a form guide to them all:

 

Accidental Agent

Rank outsider on the day, Accidental Agent outran his 66/1 odds to finish sixth to Rhododendron in the Lockinge Stakes for his trainer Eve Johnson Houghton.

No reason why he should turn the tables on the Aidan O’Brien favourite here but he could run well at big odds.

 

Beat The Bank

Beat the Bank was never a contender in the Lockinge and he finished a disappointing tenth.

It is very interesting to note that the Andrew Balding-trained gelding’s only blips, other than the Lockinge, have come when he has run at Ascot. That must be a big worry for punters.

 

Benbatl

Saeed Bin Suroor will hoping to keep the blue flag flying at Royal Ascot, and continue their good run of form, with Dubai Turf winner Benbatl.

The four-year-old is generally 6/1 second favourite for the race, a contest his trainer has won seven times previously.

Benbatl won the Hampton Court Stakes over ten furlongs at the corresponding meeting 12 months ago.

 

Century Dream

The progressive four-year-old has won seven of his thirteen races to date, including an impressive display in the Group Three Diomed Stakes at Epsom on his latest appearance.

Simon Crisford supplemented him for this race last Tuesday.

 

Deauville

Deauville set the pace for stablemate Rhododendron in the Lockinge before coming home in fifth place.

As a closing third in the 2017 Queen Anne, Deauville is eligible to do better on this occasion running on his own terms.

 

Lightning Spear

Lightning Spear, trained by David Simcock, has been placed in five Group 1 races without quite managing to win at the highest level.

The seven-year-old would be the oldest Queen Anne winner since Welsh Rake, who was eight when winning in it in 1963.

 

Limato

The Queen Anne is back on the cards again for Limato after connections blamed his Lockinge defeat on pollen.

Henry Candy's multiple Group 1 winner tries the mile once again, despite looking as if he didn't get home at Newbury.

 

Lord Glitters

Lord Glitters won the Balmoral Handicap at the track last October and finished second in the Lincoln on his only start this season.

This is a big step up in class for the exciting grey but David O’Meara believes he is up to it.

 

Oh This Is Us

The Richard Hannon-trained Oh This Is Us was beaten a neck last time out by the pretty talented Arod.

Winner of the Shaista Azizi Handicap at Meydan over the winter, the four-year-old has won seven of his 25 career starts, but this will be his biggest task to date.

 

Recoletus

The French usually have a strong hand in this contest and this year is no different with the Carlos Laffon-Parias-trained Recoletus being a live contender.

On his previous jaunt across the Channel to Ascot, he finished fourth in the Champion Stakes last year, mixing it up with the likes of Poet’s Word and Highland Reel.

He has won both his starts this season, starting with the Group 2 Prix du Muguet over a mile at Saint-Cloud and the Group 1 Prix d'Ispahan over 1m1f at Longchamp last month.

 

So Beloved

David O'Meara's So Beloved was third to Absolutely So in last year's John Of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock then ran a blinder last time out, just going down a short-head at York.

Last October he was a 25/1 shot in the Qatar Prix de la Foret (Group 1) at Chantilly where he ran incredibly well to only go down by less than a length to Aclaim.

 

Suedois

Suedois is one of three entries in the race for David O’Meara.

The seven-year-old gave O'Meara the latest of his big-race victories in North America when winning the Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes last October and comes here on the back of a mid-field run in the Lockinge.

He usually improves for an outing so he is no forlorn hope.

 

Yoshida

American challenger Yoshida is fit and raring to go according to his stable.

Bill Mott’s charge won the Grade One Turf Classic at Churchill Downs in early May, after which he was prepared for his trip across the UK.

Yoshida runs under the familiar ownership of the China Horse Club, WinStar Farm, and Head of Plains Partners – owners last seen in the winner’s circle with Justify – the latest US Triple Crown holder.

 

Zonderland

The Clive Cox-trained five-year-old is expected to come on for his seasonal return in last month's Lockinge at Newbury in this mile Group One event.

Zonderland was beaten a nose by Lightning Spear in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood last season but put in a no show in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on his subsequent start.

 

Rhododendron

Rhododendron is the only remaining filly in a strong field for which she receives a small weight allowance.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained Rhododendron claimed her third top-level victory when beating the boys in last month’s Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

The class that saw her finish runner-up in the Guineas and the Oaks last year was on show when she bounced back from a bleed in the summer to win the Prix de l’Opera just over three months later at Chantilly.

Rhododendron finished less than six lengths behind Cracksman on her first start of the season in the Prix Ganay. 

888sport suggests: Recoletus (e/w)

 

*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*