An American raider, the super mare Tepin is strongly fancied in the Queen Anne Stakes betting at 4/1 but this is her first experience of Europe and the straight mile at Royal Ascot is totally unlike any US track (2.30pm Tuesday live on Channel 4).
You can’t knock Tepin’s connections for having a go. She heads the field by 2lb on ratings and has the fillies’ allowance to help her cause. Give in the ground might not inconvenience as much as some people suppose. She posted her largest margin of victory on soft ground in a Grade 1 at Keeneland but Ascot will be far more testing.
This five-year-old mare has successfully taken on the colts before too. She beat Mondialiste, trained by David O’Meara (pictured), in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Tepin has four Grade 1 victories to her name and has won her last six starts. She is unquestionably a top class act but running without the assistance of Lasix or a nasal strip could compromise her chances. Her trainer Mark Casse is no Wesley Ward either. She looks vulnerable.
A colt who will definitely benefit from ease in the ground is Roger Varian’s Belardo (9/2). This four-year-old son of Lope De Vega is at his best on soft but triumphed last time out in the Lockinge on a surface described as good. The jockeys thought it was fairly tacky and Peter Chapple-Hyam judged it too slow for Arod (25/1), a quick ground horse, to even take his place in the line-up.
Belardo’s only other Group 1 success was in the Dewhurst on soft as a juvenile when he wore a hood for the first time. He is a hold-up horse who needs his pacemaker Barchan (200/1) to set things up for him so that he can run through horses. Belardo performed well over course and distance in October. He was a creditable second to the awesome Solow in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Owned by Godolphin, Belardo has obvious claims and will be partnered by James Doyle in their first colours.
Jean-Claude Rouget’s Ervedya (4/1) staged a successful raid here last year when beating Aidan O’Brien’s Found in the Coronation Stakes. That was on the round course but Ervedya is proven over a straight mile at home in France. This four-year-old daughter of Siyouni won four of her five starts in 2015 and three of them were in Group 1s. Only David O’Meara’s Amazing Maria beat her on perhaps unsuitably decent ground in the Prix Rothschild at Deauville in August.
Owned by the Aga Khan, Ervedya has only been seen once this season. She started as the odds-on favourite in a Group 2 at Saint-Cloud in early May but was beaten three lengths. Was it the good ground that spoiled her chances? Christophe Soumillon employed hands and heels rather than the persuader but will probably adopt a more robust approach here. Ervedya should appreciate the give in the ground but seems plenty short enough for a filly that disappointed on her debut this term.
The five-year-old Amazing Maria (20/1) has more hope than her odds suggest. She was beaten five lengths in her seasonal debut at Newmarket in May, seeming not to relish the extra furlong beyond a mile. Owned and bred by Sir Robert Ogden, this striking grey daughter of Mastercraftsman usually needs a run or two to be seen at her best.
This distance on decent ground seems to be her bag so conditions are not exactly ideal. Olivier Peslier rode her to victory over Ervedya and takes the ride again here. The handicapper rates her 2lb above Ervedya and O’Meara’s yard is in form. Amazing Maria has to be interesting each-way.
Her six-year-old stablemate Mondialiste (33/1) is also no forlorn hope. He weakened in the mud at Chantilly on his seasonal debut in May but was second to Tepin in the Breeders’ Cup Mile in October. Mondialiste also took a Grade 1 in Canada in September on yielding ground.
This son of Galileo has scored over a mile and a furlong and that stamina could well come in handy. The assistance of the Derby-winning Pat Smullen has to be a huge boost to his chances.
Another French raider Esoterique (7/1) has more obvious claims. She finished second in this race, a length behind Solow, last year. Andre Fabre tried her over a shorter distance in a Group 1 at Deauville next time but she was narrowly beaten. She succeeded at the top level in the mud at Deauville in mid August, beating her more fancied stablemate Territories. Belardo was well behind her.
Esoterique took the Sun Chariot (for fillies and mares) at Newmarket in October. She then failed to land a blow in the Breeders’ Cup but was only beaten two lengths into fourth in the Hong Kong Mile in December.
This six-year-old daughter of Danehill Dancer reappeared earlier this month in a Group 3 at Deauville. She started as the 8/11 favourite but was beaten a couple of lengths into second, keeping on at the same pace over the possibly inadequate seven furlongs on soft. Her recovery period of just over a week looks shorter than ideal but she won after an even shorter gap between races last season. Her rating of 119 coupled with the fillies’ allowance puts her right in the picture.
The only colt except Belardo at a single figure price is another son of Lope De Vega, Endless Drama (7/1). This four-year-old has only five starts to his name and just one win, in his sole run as a juvenile in a maiden. Last season he was runner up in two listed races and filled the same position when narrowly beaten by Gleneagles in the Irish 2,000 Guineas. Belardo was a length further back in fourth.
Endless Drama was ridden patiently by Colin Keane and beaten a length in his only run this season, by Belardo in the Lockinge. He had been absent for almost a year and his trainer Ger Lyons was delighted with him. Lyons believes that a stiff mile will suit him with give in the ground. No surface with ‘firm’ in the description will ever be on his agenda. It would not be a surprise to see Endless Drama reverse the placings with Belardo.
Toormore (16/1) and Kodi Bear (12/1) were ridden more prominently than Endless Drama in the Lockinge and weakened when it mattered, finishing fifth and seventh respectively. Kodi Bear is a stunning son of Kodiac and the apple of his trainer Clive Cox’s eye but he has been found wanting in his three starts in Group 1 company.
On the positive side Kodi Bear handles cut in the ground and is a strongly made sort who may well come on for his only run this term. It is still pretty difficult to imagine him taking home more than place money.
Richard Hannon’s Toormore (16/1) will carry Godolphin’s second colours. This five-year-old son of Arakan finished fourth in this race last year. He led for most of the way but was tapped for toe two furlongs out on the good ground.
Toormore was unbeaten as a juvenile but his rivals have caught up with him since. He has shared a rating of 119 with Belardo and Esoterique since he won first time out in the Group 2 Bet365 Mile on good to soft at Sandown under William Buick in April. Buick rides him for the second time here and is not without hope of giving the Hannon family a fourth Queen Anne win.
The all-conquering Ryan Moore rides Cougar Mountain (33/1) for Ballydoyle. The partnership finished a close third here last year and would have realistic each-way claims again if the ground had not deteriorated.
David Simcock obviously rates Lightning Spear (25/1) but this five-year-old son of Pivotal has not been seen since he was tailed off here in the Qipco Champion Stakes in October when trained by Olly Stevens. Lightning Spear did place in Group company last term, gaining a rating of 115 but is best watched. The same sentiment applies to Japan’s A Shin Erwin (66/1) who did well to win a listed race on heavy in France on his European debut but is thrown in at the deep end here.
Our Preview’s Queen Anne Stakes Betting Tip Verdict
Testing ground has made this renewal of the Queen Anne an unusually open affair, weakening the chances of Tepin. Conditions should play to the strengths of Belardo but he is too short at 4/1 for a colt who has never managed two consecutive victories. Erveyda and Endless Drama will enjoy the mud too but have plenty to prove.
- David O’Meara has a habit of springing surprises in big races and has secured the services of a top class jockey in Pat Smullen. Rated 118, MONDIALISTE has been completely overlooked and provides attractive value each-way, currently best priced at 33/1 with Coral Bookmaker.
Fiona Derek is our Reality TV and horse racing expert. The only time you won’t find her riding or mucking out a racehorse is when she is watching Reality TV or racing on the box.