George Washington, Raven’s Pass, Rip Van Winkle, oh and a certain Frankel; the roll call for previous Queen Elizabeth II Stakes winners looks pretty special.
And with the ground this weekend set to provide a real test, the straight mile at Ascot will be even more stamina-sapping than normal.
So with a Guineas winner, a Royal Ascot heroine, a top French raider, and one horse seeking a six-timer in the field, we have crunched the numbers and looked over the trends to find you the winner at the Berkshire track, keen to follow on from successfully selecting Cesarewitch winner Big Easy last week.
First off, all 10 winners in the past decade have come into this race having shown decent form in the same campaign, and had won a Group race that year. This means we have to bid goodbye to Top Notch Tonto (9/1), Brendan Brackan (66/1) and the enigmatic Kingsbarns (12/1).
Furthermore, form as recent as their previous start has been important in this race, with nine of the last 10 coming home in the first three last time out, putting paid to the chances of Tullius (10/1) and Graphic (40/1).
We may have eliminated nearly half of the field, but we still have six of the first eight in the betting to sort out.
Although ‘Champions Day’ is looking devoid somewhat of champions this year, we still need to be mindful of the fact that only two winners since 2002 had failed to win a Group 1 previously.
And despite the fact they have been improvers this year, neither Captain Cat (14/1) nor Custom Cut (8/1) have delivered at the highest level of yet, so are discarded.
With our remaining quartet we take a look at the age of previous winners.
Six of the past 10 winners were three-year-olds, and every one of those had been a good performer in their juvenile year, winning a Group race at two.
This year’s 2,000 Guineas winner Night of Thunder (5/2) was touched off by Kingman on his only foray at pattern company as a two-year-old, while Freddy Head’s Charm Spirit (11/4) found French Guineas winner Karakontie in his way on his only attempt at the highest level. Both then must now be axed from our calculations.
Of the remaining two Toormore (14/1) has been the most frustrating. Unbeaten throughout his juvenile campaign, he looked something special, but after winning the Craven Stakes on his comeback has looked short of top-class.
He was turned over in a Group 2 in Turkey last month at odds of 1/5, and cannot be backed with any confidence on ground he is not sure to enjoy.
Instead, preference goes to INTEGRAL (6/1). Sir Michael Stoute’s filly is taking on the boys for the first time, having well and truly put it to her own sex on numerous occasions this season.
The consistent four-year-old won nicely over course and distance in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot and is sure to handle the extremely soft conditions.
She is the one to be on as the Moore-Stoute partnership seeks an impressive 11th Group win this year.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing
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