Fred Cowley MBE Memorial Summer Mile | Group 2 | 1m| ITV/RUK
No mighty Mutakayyef, winner of the race for the last two years, but the 2015 winner Arod is part of a nine-runner line-up.
However, the seven-year-old will not find it easy against some younger, more progressive rivals, headed by Andrew Balding’s four-year-old Beat The Bank.
Beat The Bank, photo Liesl King
Beaten less than two lengths when sixth to Accidental Agent in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at the royal meeting last month – a race that also included Lord Glitters (second), Century Dream (fourth) and Suedois (14th) – the son of Paco Boy drops back to the level at which he excelled last autumn when an impressive five-length winner of Newmarket’s Group 2 Joel Stakes under Oisin Murphy, who is riding at the top of his game.
Balding said: “I thought he was a bit unlucky in the Queen Anne – he just never got a run. It’s a tough-looking Group 2 at Ascot, but we think he’d have every chance.”
Will Century Dream continue his progression?
Century Dream is another of the younger brigade who appears to have his best days firmly in front of him.
The Cape Cross colt’s progress since last June has been little short of spectacular, with a record of six victories from nine starts.
Starting in handicap company at Doncaster from a mark of 87, Century Dream has consistently taken his form to another level and now boasts an official rating of 114, having finished fourth in the Queen Anne last time out.
Prior to that, Simon Crisford’s runner had readily landed the Group 3 Diomed Stakes at Epsom and he looks just the sort for this round-mile test.
Crisford said: “He’s done very well since the Queen Anne, and it looks the right race for him.”
Can Circus Couture outrun big odds again?
This represents another step up the ladder for Circus Couture, but he defied market expectations when third in the Royal Hunt Cup as a virtually unconsidered 100-1 shot and could again perform far better than his odds suggest under regular partner John Egan.
Trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam said: “It’s a hot race, but he’s in good order and likes Ascot. I think it’s in his favour that he’s got to come around a bend this time – all his runs in Italy were right-handed –and I hope he can nick a place.”
Does Lord Glitters’ love of Ascot hold the key?
Lord Glitters, a thoroughly likeable performer whose Ascot form figures read 212, produced a career-best effort when runner-up in the Queen Anne on his latest visit to Berkshire.
That followed his second under a big weight in the Lincoln at Doncaster to Addeybb, who went on to land a Sandown Group 2 before finding the fast ground too quick for him in the Group 1 Lockinge, and there is no doubt the five-year-old remains firmly on the upgrade.
Trainer David O’Meara, who also runs Suedois, said: “They're both in good form. The mile around a bend will suit Suedois better than the straight mile he ran over here last time.
“Lord Glitters was second in the Queen Anne last time and if he can reproduce that he should be very competitive.”