15:05 Hardwicke Stakes - Mount Athos
The Hardwicke Stakes is a pretty competitive event with not all that much separating quite a few of them, and it boasts a couple of progressive types in the shape of Ektihaam and Sir John Hawkwood. Both are fairly lightly raced for their age and have improved this year, with further improvement certainly not ruled out, but preference is for the Luca Cumani-trained Mount Athos, who could simply have too much class for his rivals.
Mount Athos has tasted success on four of his six starts since joining this yard at the beginning of 2012, with his best effort coming when beating Brown Panther in the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes last year, and he showed that he retained plenty of ability when easily landing the Ormonde Stakes on his reappearance at Chester last month. Clearly this is a stiffer task but he looks to have the requisite speed to cope with the drop back in trip and he could prove difficult to beat.
15:45 Diamond Jubilee Stakes - Society Rock
There are a number of intriguing runners in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, namely Rosdhu Queen who reverts to sprinting, Australian raider Sea Siren and Mince, with the suspicion being that she has been working her way to full fitness on her two outings this term, but the solid option appears to be Society Rock.
The great Black Caviar clearly wasn't at her best when winning this race last year, sustaining an injury mid race and running someway below here best Timeform performance rating, but Society Rock would have gone very close to beating her but for blowing his chance at the start. He made amends when winning the Sprint Cup at Haydock later last season and returned this term at the peak of his powers, beating Lethal Force to land the Group 2 Duke Of York Stakes.
Society Rock boasts a decent record at this track and appeals as being the one to beat.
16:25 Wokingham Stakes - Rex Imperator
The Wokingham Stakes is one of the most competitive handicaps of the Flat season and the 2013 renewal appears to be no different, with it being possible to make a case for a whole host of runners. The shortlist would comprise impressive Epsom Dash winner Duke Of Firenze and the Kevin Ryan-trained York Glory, who has long since suggested that he has one of these races in him, but we're going to side with Rex Imperator, who caught the eye in no uncertain terms at Doncaster on debut for William Haggas.
Rex Imperator was a smart performer for Roger Charlton last season, bolting up in a Windsor handicap (off this mark) in June and following that with a good effort at Newmarket, but things didn't really go to plan thereafter and he was switched to the yard of Dandy Nicholls to run in Dubai. He finished well held on his sole start at Meydan but the signs were much better in the aforementioned Doncaster affair, making smooth headway to hit the front a furlong out before the combination of making that effort soon enough and seven furlongs stretching his stamina seeming to catch him out.
It often takes a pattern-class performance to win the Wokingham and Rex Imperator is certainly capable of producing one; he is expected to go very close.
All at Royal Ascot
Back Mount Athos in the 15:05
Back Society Rock in the 15:45
Back Rex Imperator in the 16:25
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