Palace Pier will face a maximum of 11 rivals when looking for back-to-back Group 1 wins at Royal Ascot in the Queen Anne Stakes.
John and Thady Gosden’s star miler won an exciting St James’s Palace Stakes renewal last summer – and will be a big favorite to double his total in the race that opens next week’s flagship meeting on Tuesday, after making a impressive start to his campaign at Lockinge Stakes in Newbury.
Circus Maximums provided Aidan O’Brien with a fourth Queen Anne hit 12 months ago, and the Ballydoyle manager is likely to be represented again – with both Lope Y Fernandez and Order Of Australia in the confirmation stage. .
Lope Y Fernandez would need to bounce back from a disappointing effort in the Lockinge, while Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Order Of Australia could make his first appearance since finishing sixth in Hong Kong in December.
There are two previous race winners in contention – in David O’Meara’s 2019 scorer, Lord Glitters and Accidental Agent, who scored a shock victory in 2018.
Tuesday at Royal Ascot
2:30 p.m .: The Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1)
3:05: The Coventry Stakes (Group 2)
3:40 p.m .: The King’s Stand Stakes (Group 1)
4:20 p.m .: The challenges of Palais St James (Group 1)
5:00 p.m .: The challenges of Ascot (Handicap)
5:35: The Wolferton Stakes (List)
6:10 am: The Copper Horse Stakes (Handicap)
The pair of Pogo and Tilsit from Charlie Hills, and Top Rank from the court of James Tate, also feature.
Battaash, coached by Hills, is the star name among the 16 confirmed sprinters for the King’s Stand Stakes.
The seven-year-old finally broke his duck at Ascot in last year’s renewal, before winning his fourth King George Stakes at Goodwood and his second Nunthorpe in York.
An early season setback has kept Battaash off the track so far this year, but he is closing in on a comeback.
His potential rivals include Roger Teal’s July Cup hero Oxted and Tim Easterby’s exciting three-year-old filly Winter Power, who could hardly have been more impressive in York on her last outing.
John Quinn looks set to saddle both Liberty Beach and Keep Busy, while international interest is added by two American challengers in Extravagant Kid and Maven – who are coached by Brendan Walsh and Wesley Ward respectively.
The third group 1 of the opening day is the St James’s Palace Stakes, for which 15 foals resisted.
Jim Bolger’s Poetic Flare has already had a busy season – winning the 2000 Guineas in Newmarket, sixth in the French Guineas and second in the Irish Guineas – but looks set to go back.
Mostahdaf could put their unbeaten game on the line for Team Gosden. He was last seen winning the Heron Stakes at half-length Sandown – off Highland Avenue coached by Charlie Appleby, which could rekindle the rivalry.
Jessica Harrington’s Lucky Vega is a top contender, having finished third and fourth respectively in the English and Irish Guineas.
Aidan O’Brien went to Battleground, Ontario, the Roman Empire and Wembley.
The first two-year race of the week is the prestigious Group Two Coventry Stakes.
A total of 29 juveniles were entered, including two-time winner from Hugo Palmer, Ebro River, Angel Bleu formed by Ralph Beckett, Masseto from Donnacha O’Brien and Kaufymaker from Ward.