QUEEN ANNE STAKES
2.30pm, June 16, Prize fund: £375000, One mile
Royal Ascot, which runs from June 16-20, always starts with a bang and the clash between France’s Solow and Hong Kong superstar Able Friend which opens proceedings is not to be missed. These two look head and shoulders above the rest of the entries and they should leave main British challenger Night Of Thunder for dead.
Both are on seven-timers and it is not easy to choose between the pair. Solow thumped last year’s Irish Champion Stakes winner The Grey Gatsby in Dubai in March and then confirmed himself Europe’s top miler in the Prix d’Ispahan, winning easily, although main rival Cirrus Des Aigles had excuses.
Able Friend’s form is harder to weigh up, but he hasn’t been seriously challenged in his last six contests and four of those came at Group 1 level. He just gets the nod in what should be a cracker.
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KING’S STAND STAKES
3.45pm, June 16, Prize fund: £375000, Five furlongs
Sole Power will be bidding for a third straight King’s Stand and the eight-year-old looked as good as ever when scoring in Dubai in March, but things haven’t been plain sailing for him since then and he might find the younger legs of Muthmir a bit too hot for him.
William Haggas’ charge has been prepared for this one race and ran a blinder when fifth in the Duke of York over 6f on his seasonal return as he was far too free in the early stages.
He duly stepped up on that effort in France on his second start when winning on ground a good deal softer than he likes and if it rides as fast as usual at Ascot he can prove himself the cream of the crop.
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