Lady Bowthorpe will bid for Royal Ascot glory when she takes on the Group Two Duke of Cambridge Stakes.
The five-year-old was a gallant runner-up when last seen in Newbury’s Group One Lockinge Stakes, finishing a length and a half behind John and Thady Gosden’s all-conquering miler Palace Pier.
Having held her own when pitched against the colts and geldings, the mare takes on only members of her own sex at Ascot – but is shouldered with a 3lb penalty for her Group Two victory in the Dahlia Stakes earlier in the season.
Trainer William Jarvis reports the bay to be in good form ahead, and considers her position at the head of market to be justified given her stellar season so far.
“We’ve been very pleased with her since the Lockinge, that was a career-best,” he said.
“You never know until you turn up how much that race has taken out of her, but she appears to be giving us the right signals at home.
“No race at Royal Ascot is ever easy to win, we’re going to be the favourite and we justify favouritism on her performance in the Lockinge, but it’s a strong field.
“The ground is possibly going to be quicker than is ideal for us, but we’re very hopeful and we’re very much looking forward to it.
“There are some pretty good fillies in the line-up and we respect all of them.”
Richard Hannon’s Posted will also take her chance in the race after finishing fifth behind Lady Bowthorpe on her first run of the campaign.
“If she settles she is a very good filly, but she can be a little bit keen,” the trainer said via his Unibet blog.
“She has been good lately, we didn’t go to Epsom and run on the soft ground, we thought that we would save her for Royal Ascot.
“It is a very good race for her, she is in good nick, she has already won a Listed race and hopefully she should have a very good chance.”
Charlie Fellowes is represented by Onassis, with the four-year-old making her seasonal debut having not set foot on a racecourse since last October.
The filly has good Ascot form, however, and started her 2020 campaign at the same meeting when taking the Sandringham Stakes last year.
“The plan has always been to start here, she won over course and distance on her first start last year and her form at Ascot has always been very strong,” Fellowes said.
“She finished off last year with a career-best in the Champion Sprint over an inadequate six furlongs.
“She’s won on all types of ground, it was really quick in France when she won the Listed race over there last year so I’m not worried about the going.
“We’re looking forward to what will hopefully be a really decent seasonal debut.”
Fellowes also has a chance in the Group Two Queen Mary Stakes as Eve Lodge impressed when winning at Lingfield on her second racecourse appearance.
“She made a lovely debut at Ascot over course and distance, where she got a bit unlucky during the run,” the trainer explained.
“Then we went to Lingfield where she won as you like, on the bridle, really impressively on soft ground.
“The plan has always been to come back here for this race, I think she’s a very nice two-year-old.
“The ground would be a minor concern so we’ll see how it’s riding because she does have an option in the Albany on Friday, but Jamie (Spencer) is very happy that she’ll be absolutely fine on decent ground.”
Joseph O’Brien has two chances in the Group Two Queen’s Vase, run over a mile and six furlongs, with both Ruling and Benaud holding entries.
Ruling finished third in the Listed Nijinsky Stakes when last seen and will bid to shed his maiden tag when stepping up to Group level for the first time.
“He is still a maiden, but he ran to a smart level when third in the Nijinsky Stakes at Leopardstown last time,” O’Brien said to Betfair about the colt.
“He didn’t look shy of pace at a mile and a half that day, but he is very stoutly bred and I think he has a good chance of staying this longer trip.”
Benaud was a winner on his only run for far this year when striking at Naas, and O’Brien is hopeful that the extended trip will be to the gelding’s liking.
“We were thrilled with his seasonal return at Naas last month,” he said.
“We expected him to need the run as he doesn’t overly exert himself at home, but he ran out the cosy winner, relishing the longer trip.
“We had considered running him in the King George V Handicap, but that can be a tough race to get into from off the pace and that is his style of running, so we are going to take a chance on his stamina for this longer trip and run him in this.”
Hannon then has a chance in the five-furlong Windsor Castle Stakes with Armor, who was a length winner on debut at Doncaster in April.
“He is a very fast horse, Ryan (Moore) loved him (at Doncaster),” he said.
“He has been fine since then, we were going to run him in the Lily Agnes and then he was re-shod and he was a little bit sore, so he didn’t go there.
“He has been working well and is a good little two-year-old, I think.”