Petara Bay faces Royal Ascot fitness workout

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The Independent Online

Robert Mills is hoping conditions at Royal Ascot will be suitable for his stable stalwart Petara Bay in the Queen Alexandra Stakes. The eight-year-old stayer faces a crucial workout today ahead of the marathon contest as he has been off the track since winning a 14-furlong handicap at Glorious Goodwood last summer.

The Royal Ascot veteran – Petara Bay ran in the 2008 Prince of Wales's Stakes and the 2010 Hardwicke Stakes – needs a stiff test of stamina nowadays as well as some give in the ground.

"We need this rain for him," said the Surrey trainer. "He's very ground-dependent and he's getting on now. We'll know a bit more [today]. He's having a serious gallop."

Mills also hopes to send Ewell Place to the Royal meeting for the Group Three Jersey Stakes. "He's working well now, so we just hope to get him there."

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Arley Hall (9.20 Doncaster) Ran her best race to date last time when upped to today's trip on her handicap debut. Stayed on well from off the pace and may be deployed more positively today.

Next best

Panama Cat (2.00 Catterick) Unlucky on her debut last month – she stumbled and unseated her rider in the first furlong – after starting favourite. Related to some smart performers and can set the record straight.