Day two of Royal Ascot has just the one Group 1 contest, but it’s a dandy. Wednesday’s Prince of Wales’s S. (G1), offering a free berth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), could pit champion filly Love against defending champion Lord North. And on the undercard, Wesley Ward goes for a fifth victory in the Queen Mary S. (G2) for juvenile fillies.
Here’s an overview of the main points looking ahead to the Wednesday action.
Love versus defending champ Lord North in Prince of Wales’s?
Unraced since a summer campaign that made her one of 2020’s brightest stars, Love could make her long-awaited reappearance at Royal Ascot. Trainer Aidan O’Brien has cautioned that the Galileo filly could wait for the June 27 Pretty Polly S. (G1) at the Curragh, but since she’ll get her preferred better ground here, chances are Love will show up.
Although she’s untried over this 1 1/4-mile distance, it’s in between distances that she has enjoyed. Love dominated the 1000 Guineas (G1) at a mile as well as the 1 1/2-mile Oaks (G1) at Epsom and Yorkshire Oaks (G1). A more serious question is stepping up to face males for the first time.
At this writing, John and Thady Gosden’s Lord North is the slight antepost favorite over Love. In this race last year, the Dubawi gelding drubbed returning Ballydoyle hotpot Japan to earn his first Group 1 laurel. Lord North added another in the Dubai Turf (G1) on World Cup night.
Beyond Love, O’Brien will also have a strong contender in Armory who’s close to the top two in the market. Once a smart juvenile, the son of Galileo resumed his progression later in his sophomore season with a third in the Irish Champion S. (G1) and a second in Australia’s coveted Cox Plate (G1). Armory recently impressed in his Huxley S. (G2) comeback at Chester over Sangarius (who could get class relief in Tuesday’s Wolferton S.).
William Haggas’ globetrotter Addeybb is back from another lucrative Australian venture, where he repeated in the Queen Elizabeth S. (G1) during The Championships. While the mudlark won’t see the optimal conditions that helped him take the course-and-distance Champion S. (G1) here last fall, the Pivotal gelding was a gutsy runner-up to Lord North in the 2020 running. Well-regarded stablemate My Oberon is not to be overlooked in light of his near-miss third in the Prix d’Ispahan (G1).
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) upsetter Audarya is ready to kick off her season, and venerable nine-year-old Desert Encounter, twice victorious in the Canadian International S. (G1) (2018-19), rounds out the eight possibles.
Twilight Gleaming aims for Queen Mary fireworks
Ward’s dazzling Belmont Park maiden winner Twilight Gleaming has the right credentials to give him a fifth trophy in this five-furlong dash. Fellow American trainer Rusty Arnold joins the party with Artos, who is more workmanlike, but can boast of edging another Ward favorite, Overbore.
O’Brien has never won the Queen Mary, and Dundalk debut winner Yet rates as his main hope this time. Marygate S. scorer Nymphadora, Naas Fillies Sprint S. (G3) runner-up Quick Suzy, and the 2-for-2 Desert Dreamer are also in the gaggle of 26 fillies in the mix as of the initial entry stage.
Ward could be double-handed in Windsor Castle
Rerouted from the Queen Mary to the softer spot of the Windsor Castle S., Ruthin could contribute to a banner day for Ward and Stonestreet Stables. The green debut winner at Keeneland represents the same connections as Queen Mary favorite Twilight Gleaming. Ward might have another with Golden Bell, who’s been expected to stretch out to six furlongs for Friday’s Albany S. (G3). That plan is subject to a rethink, and she’s now been put in this five-furlong affair as well.
Lady Bowthorpe-Queen Power rematch in Duke of Cambridge
Lady Bowthorpe, a gallant second to Queen Anne S. (G1) favorite Palace Pier in the May 15 Lockinge S. (G1), looks to stay hot back in distaff company. Two back, the William Jarvis mare got up to deny favored Queen Power in the Dahlia S. (G2). Sir Michael Stoute’s Queen Power subsequently posted a breakout performance in the Middleton S. (G2) at York, but cuts back significantly to a flat mile here.
Although last year’s relentless improver Champers Elysees has been underwhelming so far this term, trainer Johnny Murtagh believes that the Matron S. (G1) winner can return to her best. Another Irish shipper, Valeria Messalina, is capable on her day for Jessica Harrington. Recent Princess Elizabeth S. (G3) scorer Parent’s Prayer; Lavender’s Blue; and Agincourt, runner-up at 28-1 in the 2020 edition, are also engaged.
For more analysis and handicapping throughout Royal Ascot, check out the Edge at TwinSpires.com.