14:30 - Wesley Ward has an excellent record in this race at KIMARI (16) has been earmarked for it ever since she won a maiden at Keeneland on debut by 15 lengths in April. That race was run in an excellent time, and she also recorded an impressive TimeformUS speed figure, adding substance to the visual impression she created. The switch to turf on this stiffer track raises a different question of her, but there is plenty of stamina on the dams side, and she could prove hard to peg back. Final Song has been strong in the market this morning and it is no surprise given the impression she made over this C&D on soft ground. There should be more to come from her and she rates a big threat.
15:05 - Aidan O'Brien has an excellent record in this race and again holds a strong hand with Norway and Western Australia, but it could be worth taking them on with the unexposed and very well-bred JALMOUD (6), who has won his last two starts. His latest win came in a listed event at Longchamp on good to soft ground, doing well to win in a race that only really started from three furlongs out. This longer trip should be within his compass looking at his pedigree, and it is interesting connections opted for this race instead of his other options.
15:40 - This looks an excellent renewal of the Prince of Wales's Stakes where two high-class fillies look the ones to beat on form. The rainfall Ascot received on Tuesday will not be in the favour of Sea of Class, though, and with that in mind it is hard to see past MAGICAL (7), who is versatile ground-wise. She has looked better than ever this season, winning all three of her starts, and recording a second career Group 1 success in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh last time. Aidan O'Brien has won this race twice since 2012 and another win beckons. Crystal Ocean and Waldgeist also merit serious consideration.
16:20 - AGROTERA (2) ran out an impressive winner of the Sandringham at this meeting 12 months ago and is of interest now returning up in grade. She failed to make an impact at listed level on her remaining three starts that season, but made no mistake on the all-weather after seven months off last time, quickening to lead inside the final furlong in good style. She has likely been saved for this since, and remains with the potential for better, so is worth siding with to bridge the gap here. I Can Fly is another leading form contender who shouldn't have a problem with some cut in the ground.
17:00 - A typically competitive renewal of the Hunt Cup, but NEW GRADUATE (9) looks the proverbial Group horse in a handicap, and looks a very worthy favourite. He made a mockery of his opening mark after six months off at Ripon last time, powering clear of his rivals to win by five lengths, and that form is working out well. The handicapper has hit him with a 15 lb rise in the weights since, but he has scope for further improvement, plenty about him physically, and he looks a leading player here with Frankie Dettori an eye-catching booking. Another worth keeping on side at a much bigger price is MITCHUM SWAGGER (2). He finished third in this race from a 1 lb higher mark in 2016, will be suited by any further rain, and is seen to best effect off a strong pace, so there is plenty in his favour and could surprise a few.
17:35 - Archie Watson won this race 12 months ago with Soldier's Call and he has fired plenty of darts this time round too. The pick could be BETTER THE DEVIL (1), who only made his debut seven days ago, but looked an above-average type as he won with plenty in hand at Hamilton. He was strong at the finish on that occasion, and should have more to offer now, so is worth siding with at a big price for a yard enjoying another fantastic year with their juveniles. SYMBOLIZE (16) also makes a fair bit of appeal. He made a good impression when winning a minor event on debut at Salisbury, a performance that was backed up by a good timefigure. There should be much more to come from him and is also worth backing.
Check out the Betfair Royal Ascot podcast, where Kieran O'Connor was joined by Joseph O'Brien, Gary O'Brien and Barry Orr to preview the finest five days in the flat racing calendar