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2019 Queen Anne Stakes tips - Big-race preview of Royal Ascot's opening race

Brian Healy 10 Jun 2019
Zabeel Prince can win the Queen Anne Stakes.

Brian Healy takes a look ahead to the opening race of the 2019 Royal Ascot Festival, the Queen Anne Stakes, and he assesses the chances of some of the principal contenders for the first Group One race of the week.

One of a trio of Group One contests to go to post on the opening day of the 2019 Royal Ascot Festival, the Queen Anne Stakes gets underway at 2.30pm as the first race of the day.

The one mile contest boasts a first prize in excess of £340,000 and a maximum field of 24 runners will head to post for this classy contest which has been won in the past by the likes of Ribchester, Tepin, Solow, Toronado, Frankel, Canford Cliffs and Goldikova in recent seasons.

The 2018 winner, Accidental Agent (12/1, Bet365), could also bid to retain the crown he won twelve months ago when springing a 33/1 shock in beating Lord Glitters who could also turn out again.

Eve Johnston Houghton’s charge failed to back up that success in two subsequent outings that term, beating only one rival home behind Alpha Centauri at Deauville and then trailing in last of five behind Mustashry at Newmarket in the Shadwell Joel Stakes.

Absent afterwards, the Delegator gelding returned to action to finish third behind Mustashry at Newbury in the recent Lockinge Stakes, and he is entitled to come on a bundle for that run. He only finished a half-length behind runner-up Laurens, but he had several of these planned rivals behind including Le Brivido, I Can Fly and Beat The Bank amongst others.


Mustashry (5/1, Paddy Power) finished third on his reappearance at Newmarket in April, beaten four lengths behind Zabeel Prince in the Earl Of Sefton Stakes, after which Sir Michael Stoute’s charge showed benefit of the run to beat Laurens at Newbury latest.

The Tamayuz gelding looks sure to mount another bold bid to follow up, as will Laurens who should step up on her reappearance in the same Newbury race, and Karl Burke’s star should also be heavily involved with that run under her belt.

The Stoute runner was progressive last term winning three times from five starts which included both the Park Stakes and the Shadwell Joel Stakes prior to disappointing behind Expert Eye in the Breeders’ Cup Mile where she beat only three home.

Laurens (8/1, Ladbrokes) meanwhile enjoyed plenty of success last term, confirming her place as one of the best fillies around with four wins - all Group Ones - from her seven starts, and she had excuses for her defeats where she failed to stay the trip in the Yorkshire Oaks prior to finding soft ground against her at Ascot on her final outing in the QEII Stakes.

There was nothing wrong with her reappearance in the Lockinge Stakes, where she travelled well for much of the race before a lack of sharpness told towards the end; but she’ll be much sharper now, and she will be a danger to all with improvement forthcoming on the back of that return.


Barney Roy (8/1, Paddy Power) returned from an unsuccessful stallion career to resume winning ways at the second attempt when successful at Longchamp in May, and the classy Excelebration gelding isn’t one to easily dismiss if he can recapture the sort of form that saw him win the St James’s Palace Stakes during the 2017 Royal Ascot Festival meeting, after which he twice came up just short behind Ulysees in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes and Juddmonte International Stakes respectively.

Having left Richard Hannon for a stud career, he has switched to Charlie Appleby for his return to racing and following a promising comeback at this venue in the Paradise Stakes behind Zaaki, he stepped up with his French win and there could be more to come from him.

A strong Aidan O’Brien challenge is likely to be spearheaded by Le Brivido (4/1, Bet365) who was smart in France for Andre Fabre during the 2017 season, but he raced just one the following year when disappointing on his return behind Brando in the 2018 Palace House Stakes.

Having since joined Ballydoyle, he has run twice this term without winning although he was only four lengths adrift of Mustashry in the Lockinge Stakes having earlier finished third on his return at Naas in April.

The Siyouni entire could have more to offer still and he remains relatively unexposed given his Newbury run came despite missing the break, so to finish where he did and almost claim fourth spot was a creditable effort.

Hey Gaman (20/1, Ladbrokes) s on a hat-trick of wins having struck at Leicester and Longchamp already this season, and James Tate’s charge could post a big run at appealing odds having seemingly improved for the break.

The New Approach colt was progressive as a juvenile, winning three times which included at Listed level before going close in the Champagne Stakes on his final outing; and although winless as a three-year old, he did post some solid efforts in defeat which include a narrow defeat behind Olmedo in the French 2000 Guineas.

All his winning form has come over shorter however, but it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see him going well here with the return to one mile unlikely to present too much of an issue; his latest win indeed hinted that he may benefit again from a longer trip, and while he probably needs to improve against these rivals, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him do so.


It could be worth chancing on ZABEEL PRINCE (10/1, Bet365) however to continue his own progression and bag his own hat-trick of wins having returned to action with a defeat of Forest Ranger and Mustashry at Newmarket in the Earl Of Sefton Stakes prior to following up at Longchamp when lowering the colours of Study Of Man to claim the Prix d’Ispahan.

Roger Varian’s charge ran just once as a juvenile, but he showed progressive three-year old form to win three of his four starts prior to posting a disappointing effort here behind Lord Glitters in the 2017 Balmoral Handicap.

He endured a troubled campaign last term, winning on his seasonal return in Listed company at Doncaster before shaping as if amiss in the Lockinge stakes behind Rhododendron and subsequently absent for four months before returing at Newmarket where he was denied only by a half-length behind Mustashry in the Shadwell Joel Stakes.

Despite getting 5lbs from that rival in the Earl Of Sefton Stakes, he appeared to do the job readily on his reappearance, and he again looked to win cosily in France suggesting he has more improvement to come. 

Connections have the option of sending the Lope De Vega gelding to the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes on Wednesday, but if he turns out in Tuesday’ opener then he will have no issue with the drop to one mile and with further improvement he looks sure to mount a bold bid if lining up.


Andrew Balding’s Beat The Bank (25/1, William Hill) finished sixth in this race twelve months ago, after which the Paco Boy gelding won the Summer Mile here, as well as winning the Celebration Mile before lesser runs in the QEII Stakes and the Hong Kong Mile where he finished down the field on both occasions.


A winner on his return to action in the Bet365 Mile - beating Sharjah Bridge (25/1, Paddy Power) - he was disappointing at Newbury in the Lockinge when beating only three rivals home.

Capable of taking a hand if back to his best, there is a suspicion that he falls just short of Group One level, and others may just prove too good for him.

Hazapour (16/1, William Hill) finished fifth in the 2018 Epsom Derby behind Masar, possibly failing to stay the longer trip; Dermot Weld’s charge had won the time before at Leopardstown with a defeat of Delano Roosevelt to take the Derrinstown Derby Trial.

Subsequently third to Turret Rocks back at Leopardstown in July, he was absent until finishing fifth behind Magical at Naas on his return to action. But he built on that outing to beat Verbal Dexterity at Leopardstown last month to claim the Amethyst Stakes and the Shamardal colt can also make his presence felt.

The drop back to one mile proved no problem in that last start, and unexposed as a miler he could have more to offer.

VERDICT


The recent Lockinge Stakes at Newbury featured the likes of Mustashry (winner), Laurens (runner-up), Accidental Agent (third) and Le Brivido (fifth) amongst others who contested that race and may line up again.

However, it could be worth chancing on one who didn't turn out at Newbury in ZABEEL PRINCE (10/1, Bet365) who improved for his reappearance defeat of Mustashry at Newmarket in the Earl Of Sefton Stakes to land a first Group One success in the more recent Prix d'Ispahan.

Roger Varian's charge was receiving 5lbs at the weights from Sir Michael Stoute's reopposing rival; but he had gone close in the Shadwell Joel Stakes the previous season when narrowly denied from level weights, although the Lope De Vega gelding may just have been found wanting for sharpness on the back of a break.

He appeared to win readily last time, and the drop back to one mile will present no concerns. Connections have the option of the Prince Of Wales's Stakes for their charge, but if turning out in Tuesday's Royal Ascot opener then he could post a big run.

2019 QUEEN ANNE STAKES SELECTION - ZABEEL PRINCE (10/1, Bet365)


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2019 Queen Anne Stakes tips - Big-race preview of Royal Ascot's opening race

Brian Healy takes a look ahead to the opening race of the 2019 Royal Ascot Festival, the Queen Anne Stakes, and he assesses the chances of some of the principal contenders for the first Group One race of the week.

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