Royal Ascot begins on Tuesday and could scarcely have a classier race to pop the cork on proceedings in the shape of the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes.
The Lockinge has proved a formidable guide to the destination of the laurels in the last decade, with six of the last ten winners having struck in the Newbury race that year.
However, 2015 victor Night Of Thunder finds himself only 5/1 fifth favourite, thanks to the intimidating presence of international guests Able Friend and Solow.
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Able Friend: On a six-race winning streak including four Group 1’s, he is 3lbs clear of the field on Racing Post Ratings, but has raced exclusively at Shah Tin in Hong Kong.
Arod: Bronze medallist behind Night Of Thunder and Toormore in the Lockinge, he had a race-fitness edge on both that day, for all he easily won an Epsom Group 3 next time.
Here Comes When: Sixth in the Lockinge when failing to pick up, despite travelling nicely, it may be significant that his last three wins have all come on soft ground.
Night Of Thunder: Reaffirmed his Group 1 class over 8f at Newbury last time out and the third and fifth have won since so must rate a decent each-way rival to foes yet to race in England.
Solow: Freddy Head’s son of Singspiel has been in awesome nick over the last few seasons, winning ten of his last 11 starts – won’t lack for stamina having scored over 1m1f the last twice.
Toormore: Won his first four career races, but has failed to hit the bullseye in six successive outings since then finding stablemate Night Of Thunder too good in four of those races.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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