Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1) | Straight course | 1m, 4yo+ | ITV/SKY
Aidan O'Brien's three previous winners of the Queen Anne Stakes were well beaten before their Royal Ascot victories and the trainer is hoping it will be a familiar story in the royal meeting's curtain-raiser with Le Brivido.
On the face of it, the five-year-old's Lockinge fifth makes him a questionable favourite, but Ballydoyle winners Ad Valorem (2006), Haradasun (2008) and Declaration Of War (2013) had respectively finished sixth, sixth and fifth on their previous start before obliging here.
O'Brien said of the 2017 Jersey Stakes winner: "He's been in good form since the Lockinge. He got caught a bit in traffic in that race, but still ran very well. Ryan [Moore] was very happy with him."
Lockinge form makes Mustashry one to beat
Mustashry took a giant stride forward, as Sir Michael Stoute's older horses so often do, when convincingly winning the Lockinge by two and a half lengths last month.
It marked a breakthrough win at Group 1 level for the six-year-old, and Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: "We were delighted with him last time and there's no reason he's not going to reproduce that, but most of his opponents were having their first run of the year, so I'm sure they'll improve for the run. Sir Michael is happy with him at home and I hope he'll run a huge race."
Barney Roy back for more
Charlie Appleby believes Barney Roy can be a "major player" in the mile division after the five-year-old picked up a confidence-boosting win at Longchamp last month, his first victory since his previous Royal Ascot success in the St James's Palace Stakes two years ago.
After a failed stint as a stallion last year, Barney Roy was brought back into training and sent to Appleby, who believes he has a fine chance of making his presence felt in an open division.
Appleby, who also runs Mythical Magic, said: "He is bouncing around the place at home and we hope that he can be a major player in what looks like an open mile division."
James Doyle will ride the five-year-old once again, and said: "Longchamp was a very tactical race that probably didn't see him to best effect. But he did what I didn't think he was capable of doing before which was quickening instantly. I know it was against inferior opposition, but he had less than a furlong to quicken up and lead.
"It seems mad that he broke the track record in the St James's Palace because as a three-year-old, you always had to wind him up. He didn't show an instant turn of foot which he did the other day. He's an exciting horse and definitely one I'm looking forward to."
Laurens bids to go one better than Lockinge
Laurens followed Mustashry home in the Lockinge, but trainer Karl Burke is confident John Dance's tough four-year-old filly can improve past her Newbury conqueror with that race under her belt.
Burke said of the five-time Group 1 winner: "She goes there with a great chance, having come on fitness-wise for her second in the Lockinge last month – she's been really pleasing us since then.
"Don't listen to the so-called experts who've been trying to play down the Newbury form and say it was a bad Lockinge: there's no such thing as a bad Group 1 race.
"The form of Mushtashry's previous race had worked out brilliantly and you always have to respect Sir Michael Stoute when he says an older horse has improved. Then again, his horses were flying then while ours weren't in particularly good form, and though the winner beat us fair and square on the day, I'd be surprised if we don't improve past him this time."
Agent out to prove win was no accident
Accidental Agent's 33-1 win in last year's Queen Anne sparked scenes of wild jubilation in the Eve Johnson Houghton camp, with the trainer and jockey Charles Bishop landing their first Group 1s in the process.
Although Accidental Agent has yet to win in three starts since, he was a fine third in the Lockinge and Houghton is hopeful for a repeat of last year's heroics.
The trainer said: "We're very hopeful, he's going there in great form. He's come on leaps and bounds from the Lockinge and I’d like to think he's got another Group 1 in him."
Lord Glitters followed Accidental Agent home in last year's renewal and bids to go one better for David O'Meara, who said on Monday: "We'll be hopeful he'll get a bit more cover tomorrow and back at Ascot he'll be grand."
Olmedo is the sole representation in the Queen Anne from France and embarking on his first run outside his homeland.
Trainer Jean-Claude Rouget said: "I hope there's a decent pace on – it would be unusual for there not to be at Ascot – and that he can relax in behind and not pull too hard. If he relaxes then I hope that will help him produce a nice turn of foot late on."
What the rest say
Andrew Balding, trainer of Beat The Bank
Beat The Bank was very disappointing in the Lockinge. Nothing really came to light to explain the poor run, but it was way below his best. Hopefully he'll get back on track, and at his best he's capable of getting placed.
Saeed Bin Suroor, trainer of Dream Castle
This looks a tough race, but he has the class to run well having won at Group 1 level out in Dubai this year.
Dermot Weld, trainer of Hazapour
Hazapour will be my only runner at Royal Ascot and we hope he'll represent us very well.
Mark Johnston, trainer of Matterhorn
He's run well on turf and we thought dropping back in trip will see him to better effect. A straight mile at Ascot should suit him.
Ken Condon, trainer of Romanised
The draw is crucial and it's disappointing he isn't drawn closer to he fancied horses, but that's out of our control. The horse is well and the drier the ground the better – there'll be no worries on the ground front. He's travelled over well and we're very happy with him so hopefully he can run a big race at a big price.
Roger Varian, trainer of Sharja Bridge
He's in great form. I think the ground was too quick for him in the Lockinge so we're hoping there's still going to be some give underfoot.
William Haggas, trainer of One Master
She'll need to have come on for her run at the Curragh, but I think she has. She has a chance in an open race.