One Week To Go - Royal Ascot Latest

Lady Pauline ruled out of Queen Mary

Lady Pauline has pulled out of the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot next week after sustaining an injury in a workout at Wesley Ward's temporary base at Manton. 

A half-sister to dual Royal winner Lady Aurelia, Lady Pauline represented the most-well known juvenile in Wesley Ward's ranks away from the West, after making her first start in the UK in Berkshire last month.

She did suffer a shock defeat at the hands of Richard Fahey's Ventura Rebel, having looking impressive at Keeneland in the States on debut the month before.

The two-year-old was still priced around the 6/1 mark in the same race her close relative won in 2016, but despite the vibes appearing strong over her chances, she has been forced to return home.

(Credit: Racing Post) Her trainer Wesley Ward said: "In her last work at Manton she came up with a real minor injury which is unfortunately going to take us out of the race.

"She's on her way home now but 100 per cent she will be back shortly. The rest of the team are great."

Despite that setback, Ward could still be doubly represented in the Queen Mary Stakes, with unbeaten pair Anna's Fast and Kimari both currently resting at single-figure prices for the Group Two contest next Wednesday.

Hopefully we see Lady Pauline back at Ascot or in Britain in the near future.

Derby winner Masar ready for return

Last year's Investec Derby winner Masar finally got his first sniff of a racecourse in almost twelve months, and looks set for his comeback at Royal Ascot after impressing in a practice gallop at Newmarket on Saturday.

Ridden by regular work rider Brett Doyle, the long-absent four-year-old appeared on top form and a clear resemblance of his former self when breezing past his pacemarker Secret Advisor - ridden by James Doyle on the July Course in Suffolk.

Coincidentally, the 'Doyler' will be first choice to Godolphin-owned horses at the Royal meeting next week, as William Buick continues his rehabilitation from that fall at Ascot in May that left him with a post head-injury syndrome.

Masar has been sidelined since Charlie Appleby's first Classic success in 2018, when sustaining a leg injury after a similar exercise at Newmarket in preparation for the Coral Eclipse at Sandown, later won by old foe Roaring Lion who was eventually crowned Champion Three-Year-Old.

The chestnut son of New Approach has options in the Prince of Wales's Stakes or the Hardwicke in a lower grade, and Appleby cannot wait to unleash his star in either.

(Credit: Racing Post) He said: "It's been a long road and we're delighted to have him back on a racetrack. I was pleased with how he travelled into the gallop and he does what he usually does when he hits the front.

"He's not a horse who will win a gallop by five lengths and he's had a healthy blow. That will sharpen him up mentally as much as anything. Hopefully that will put us right for a potential tilt at Royal Ascot.

"We'll get him home and give him a piece of work next Wednesday, which will be the deciding factor whether he runs in the Prince of Wales's Stakes or the Hardwicke."

Hills seeking Day One Group One double

Trainer Charlie Hills has stated tactics will be different with Battaash in the King's Stand Stakes this year, as he goes in search of a quick-fire Group One double on the opening day of Royal Ascot.

The son of Dark Angel has been described as one of the fastest horses on the planet after his stunning return at Haydock last month, and will be bidding for revenge after being outdone by Godolphin's Blue Point in last season's big dash contest at the Royal meeting.

Phoenix Of Spain is the other big name for the Lambourn boss to be excited about, after his solid victory in the Irish 2,000 Guineas over champion two-year-old Too Darn Hot.

The pair will lock horns once again in the St James' Palace Stakes a week tomorrow along with Newmarket Guineas winner Magna Grecia - who was below par at the Curragh a fortnight ago.

The two Grade One's are just forty minutes apart, and Hills is expecting two bold efforts from his stable stars.

(Credit: Racing Post) Speaking on Battaash, he said: "The Royal Ascot team is coming together quite nicely and I've been delighted with how Battaash has come out of the Temple.

"He's in a good place at the moment and I can't see the stiff finish being a problem.

"We'll probably ride him a bit differently from last year. He pinged the gates last year and was always up there, and Ascot is a very hard place to make the running. You're always there to be shot at.

"He's behaving better every day and has been as good as gold. He seems to be enjoying his work at the moment and is doing it with his ears pricked every time."

As for Phoenix Of Spain, Hills said: "He took his trip to Ireland well and looks great for having that race.

"He's nice and fresh and did a swinging canter yesterday and will have one more bit of work next week. I don't think we need to make the running, but it depends on the draw and how many runners there'll be.