A Look Ahead - The Queen Anne Stakes

A Look Ahead - The Queen Anne Stakes

The Queen Anne Stakes - which raises the curtain of the Royal Ascot meeting every year, is a Group One contest over Ascot's straight mile for horse's aged four years or older.

Essentially profiled as the 'Champion Mile' for horse's after their Classic campaigns, the contest was established back in 1840 as the Trial Stakes, before being renamed in 1930 in honour of Queen Anne - the founder of Ascot racecourse.

It was given top-level status more recently in 2003, and is the first of three Group One's on the opening day of the summer festival.

The straight mile is used more regularly these days, aside from the Coronation Stakes and the St James's Palace Stakes - one mile contests for three-year-old fillies and colts respectively which commences at the Old Mile start, and joins the round course at Swinley Bottom.

Horses who stick to the eight-furlong distance are usual players in this race the following season, and compete in the best mile contests throughout the season in Britain and then possibly the world.

There is a legendary role of honour in the history of this prestigious event.

It is natural for most horses to build themselves up to compete over a further distance in the 'middle distance' category of either 1m2f or 1m4f; which can be formed from their Classic campaigns when three-years-old.

However, horses that remain over a mile are either bred just for that, or appear to just sit best in between speed and stamina, combining both together and actually excelling and specialise over this specific stretch.

The term 'solid milers' gets thrown about with horses like these, and the great Frankel - winner of this contest in 2012, certainly heads that party.

The former Sir Henry Cecil trainee won this event at odds of 1/10 and unconditionally demolished the field - which could say were not disgraced by any means despite being eleven lengths off the winner.

Frankel was an absolute freak of his generation and retired an unbeaten fourteen out of fourteen.

The son of Galileo did step up to ten furlongs on his final two starts of an incredible career, where he took the Juddmonte International at York and the Champion Stakes at Ascot before heading to stud.

International raiders have always been common in this contest, and overseas teams took the race back-to-back in 2015 and 2016.

Freddy Head returned to France with a winner when old British fan-favourite Solow took this under Maxime Guyon in 2015, twelve months before Tepin won the race for Mark Casse, Julien Leparoux and America.

In 2017, top miler and Guineas third Ribchester bolted up for Richard Fahey when winning the race for Godolphin, before Accidental Agent stole the headlines and upset all the odds to win the race for Eve Johnson Houghton at 33/1 last year.

Accidental Agent will be present on Tuesday to defend his title once again, but is somewhat shorter valued than for his success last year.

The five-year-old appears to bring his best game to the Berkshire venue, with his profile including a victory in a decent Class Two Heritage handicap in 2017 over regular rival Lord Glitters.

His third in the Lockinge certainly gives him a strong case, and will meet up again with multiple horses either in front or behind him from the Newbury contest.

Mustashry won the Group One back in May for Sir Michael Stoute, leading home Karl Burke's filly Laurens, both of whom are prominent in the market for the Queen Anne.

Hamdan Al Maktoum's six-year-old unsurprisingly heads the field over Le Brivido - trained by Aidan O'Brien who finished fifth, but Mustashry will be looking to now convert his winning form into consistency as well.

A seven time winner on the turf from fifteen starts, ten of those have been in Stakes races, of which he has won five.

He hold valuable course form at Ascot when winning in a handicap back in the day as a three-year-old, and has rapidly grown and improved since then.

Meanwhile Laurens is a five-time Group One winner already, with victories in the Fillies Mile as a juvenile, and last year in the Prix de Diane, Matron Stakes and Sun Chariot Stakes.

All of her top banded victories have come against her own sex, and has struggled when competing against the boys, including at this venue in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes last season.

A lot can be taken from her run at Newbury, and connections will hope that she can go one better this time, whilst Roger Varian - also with Balmoral Handicap winner Sharja Bridge, will be hoping Zabeel Prince can replicate his win at Longchamp a couple of weeks ago here.

The six-year-old represented some of the best form angles at the beginning of the season after his win at Newmarket in the Earl Of Sefton Stakes produced a Group Two winner at Chester (Forest Ranger), a Listed winner at Goodwood (Elarqam), and the Lockinge winner himself - Mustashry.

He will certainly be a big player here, whilst the returning Barney Roy also scored at Longchamp on his most recent start.

The Charlie Appleby-trained five-year-old used to be managed by Richard Hannon until he retired at the end of his classic campaign in 2017 to go to stud.

However he failed at his duties and was brought back to the race-setting last month, and boosted his confidence with a second at this venue on what was his first start in almost eighteen months.

Barney Roy has previous royal winning form at Ascot when he took the St James's Palace as a three-year-old, and now running over the straight mile may play to his strengths further.

Le Brivido - fifth at Newbury as mentioned, is the best of the bunch for Derby winning trainer Aidan O'Brien, who will be sending his usual highly-populated party.

Again, Le Brivido has experience winning at this meeting in 2017, when he landed the Jersey Stakes for Andre Fabre, and is currently challenging Mustashry for favouritism having been the subject of some big money.

Hazapour - twice a Group winner in Ireland represents Dermot Weld's venture to Ascot, with Beat The Bank filling the void for the King Power ownership.

James Tate has Invincible Army in the Diamond Jubilee on the Saturday, but has a cracking chance with Hey Gaman here.

Lord Glitters finished second in this last year and was an excellent third on reappearance in the Dubai Turf behind Almond Eye at Meydan, whilst Olmedo will look to carry Almanzour's colours to success at the scene of his greatest triumph when he makes the trip from France to the UK.