1.15 Silver Royal Hunt Cup Handicap (1m)
A bonus race for those that missed out on the Hunt Cup itself, this consolation race has been added as part of the extras for what is a unique 2020 Royal Ascot. It is unlikely to survive in the longer-term but will be run over the same C&D as the main dish later in the afternoon and, alas from a punting perspective, it is just as competitive.
If this proves anything like the Hunt Cup, then the place to explore for punting purposes will be the four/five-year-old group, though sadly that only removes five of the 24-runner field declared.
Previous form at Ascot is another vital must-have. One that fits the bill in that regard is bottom-weight MODEL GUEST, the filly has shown huge consistency in her six starts at this track. She wasn't beaten far in finishing fifth in the Sandringham last year at this meeting and could go well again at a big price now.
Her reappearance at Newmarket needs to be forgotten, but that's not the first time she's failed to fire at HQ. Cieren Fallon takes off 3lb here with his filly already having slipped 4lb below last year's mark and they can outrun their odds.
The lightly-race SALAYEL is another to consider for Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni. She ran well here back in September off a mark of 92 (same now) in a six-runner affair. She also showed she can handle the hustle of this sort of race at York previous to that and, with Atzeni back in the plate now, she could have a bit more to offer.
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1.50 Hampton Court Stakes (1m2f)
Sir Michael Stoute has won this three times in 11 years and took the prize last year with Sangarius. FIRST RECEIVER is fancied to run a big race for the legendary trainer here in the Royal silks with Frankie Dettori booked to ride.
The New Approach colt looked an improved performer after his winter break when he made all to win in good style at Kempton earlier this month and looks sure of progress again back on turf.
He should really appreciate the step up in distance and having Dettori for company around this place can only be a positive.
Moore is required to ride Russian Emperor for Aidan O'Brien; the Galileo colt having been turned over by stablemate Cormorant at Leopardstown recently in a Derby Trial.
That was a touch disappointing and while he's got stablemate New World Tapestry here to likely act as a pacemaker, he needs to find a bit more in the finish.
As such, 2,000 Guineas fourth JUAN ELCANO is preferred as next best for Kevin Ryan and Andrea Atzeni. The son of Frankel made the running in the Classic and was beaten four lengths at the line.
His pedigree indicates the longer trip will suit and he currently boasts the standout form line.
2.25 King George V Stakes (1m4f)
A competitive handicap for three-year-olds but one in which the winner tends to come from the front end of the betting traditionally. KIPPS will fit that bill as a 5/1 chance and Hughie Morrison's son of War Command has just the sort of lightly-raced profile needed to prevail in this event.
He got off the mark on his second start at Lingfield on the Polytrack in December and returned from a break this month at Haydock where he was denied by a nose on his first foray into handicap company.
He travelled like much the best horse that afternoon for David Probert and it looked as though inexperience as much as anything helped him get beat. Tellingly, he rallied strongly when he was headed and almost got back up, ensuring there's every reason to believe the mile and a half trip here will allow him to take another step forward.
He's getting to take his chance here from the same mark of 83 and, on the evidence of Haydock, he should soon prove much better than that benchmark.
With the William Haggas team in good form, look no further than CONVICT for a second glaring opportunity in what is a wide open race.
The Australia colt looked progressive last term in five runs, his best saved for the step up in distance at Newmarket in October when last spotted. He handles good/soft ground in equal measure and is bred to get this longer trip. He should be in the mix under Tom Marquand.
3.00 Prince Of Wales's Stakes (1m2f)
Aidan O'Brien has strong claims of a fourth win in his race with JAPAN heading the betting at 10/11. He almost landed The Derby at Epsom last year before coming here to win the King Edward VII Stakes (1m4f) in strong and decisive fashion.
He then added Group 1 glory in France before showing his guts to take out Crystal Ocean in a Juddmonte International thriller at York in August.
He signed off with a perfectly reasonable fourth in the Arc and has to be feared here. Lord North is the only one in the seven-runner field with a recent run, so all things being equal, Japan is the standout candidate with track and trip to suit.
The aforementioned Lord North got the better of useful barometer Elarqam in the Brigadier Gerard at Haydock this month and is very much on the up still, so he has to be considered a viable alternative for John Gosden and James Doyle.
So, too, however is former St James's Palace winner Barney Roy. His failings at stud haven't stopped him regaining the initiative on the course. It took him a while to relearn the ropes last season but his win in Dubai this spring suggests he's still a major force; and he can get involved in the finish at a meeting which has been good to him in the past.
3.35 Royal Hunt Cup (1m)
Jim Crowley has a strong-looking book of rides at the meeting this year and the former champion jockey will believe that the John Gosden-trained ALRAJAA is amongst them despite a big weight in the Hunt Cup, a race the rider won 12 months ago.
He won his last four starts of 2019, three of them on synthetic surfaces, and the last of those at Lingfield in November left the impression that a rise of 9lb in the ratings might not ground him.
At four years old, he looks sure to have pattern-race quality in him and, if he does, he can prove a big hit here for the red-hot Gosden team. His previous form, coupled with his masterful trainer, suggests he can overcome an absence to run a big race.
AFAAK finished second to easy winner Settle For Bay in this race in 2018 and went a place better last year with a gutsy success.
He is just 3lb higher on the ratings here and that will be negated by the talented Cieren Fallon's claim in the saddle. His trainer has probably had this contest in mind and the fact he won it last year on his first start of the season ensures there's no worries about him stripping fit and ready for action as he attempts to continue his love-affair with the Hunt Cup.
4.10 Windsor Castle Stakes (5f)
A hugely talented bunch here and it's not hard to like the claims of plenty, given their price tags and promising efforts so far. Sheriff Blanco and Sunshine City are players for American trainer Wesley Ward, so adept at dealing with speed horses and no stranger to success at this meeting.
The yard has won this race twice since 2009 and with Frankie Dettori booked to ride and first-time blinkers tried, SUNSHINE CITY could be the answer. Her only run was a win on dirt in the US and her trainer feels she'll relish getting on the turf.
Aidan O'Brien runs Chief Little Hawk and Hyde Park Barracks, with Ryan Moore's presence on the former suggesting the Navan winner is the one to be with.
Andrew Balding's Tactical should improve on his debut at Newmarket and only needs some better luck in running to go close but the leading British contender may be MIGHTY GURKHA.
Archie Watson's juveniles are always to be respected and this Sepoy colt couldn't have been more impressive in the manner of his win at Lingfield recently on debut. Hollie Doyle keeps the mount and should get a really nice spin as they drop to 5f here.
4.40 Copper Horse Handicap (1m6f)
SELINO is a nice ride for Oisin Murphy in the day two finale. James Fanshawe's gelding has really perked up his ideas since getting fitted with a visor and going up in trip last year.
He got off the mark at Redcar over this trip on just his second time starting in a handicap (fifth run overall) and then hosed up by a wide margin on the Tapeta at Wolverhampton in October over an extended two miles.
He gave a real trouncing to a fair performer in Charlie D on that occasion and it was enough to convince Qatar Racing to acquire him. Murphy takes over for the first time here with his mark of 97 just enough to sneak in at the bottom of the weights.
RANCH HAND engaged in some tough early season battles last year after winning his first two on the Fibresand at Southwell. He was well held behind subsequent Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck in a Lingfield Classic Trial and found things tough in the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket over 1m5f.
He was, though, a good winner of a 1m6f soft-ground handicap at Haydock in September on his first foray in this sphere. That came from a mark of 94 and his final run in the Cesarewitch (2m2f) is easy enough to forgive.
The form of his Haydock success makes for pleasant reading with this in mind off a mark just 5lb higher and there's real hope that Andrew Balding's charge can progress again as a four-year-old.