Tom Collins weighs up the chances of classy Falcon Eight for Dettori and Weld
6.10 Royal Ascot
Queen Alexandra Stakes (Class 2) | 2m5½f | 4yo+ | ITV4/Sky
Horseracing's premier Flat meeting ends with a race run over a distance more suitable to the Cheltenham Festival, in conditions more in keeping with the Welsh National.
The Queen Alexandra, Britain's longest Flat race, has attracted a maximum field of 20 runners, most of whom can be given a winning chance.
Chester Cup winner Falcon Eight, whose rider Frankie Dettori confessed he received one of his most exhilarating victories on the Dermot Weld-trained stayer, will be strongly fancied to back up his recent victory.
Further improvement is likely if he stays the 2m5½f trip, although his Prix du Cadran fourth over a furlong and a half shorter indicated it might be a stretch.
Willie Mullins, who has won this race twice, sends out 2018 Ascot Stakes third Stratum, who has won five of 19 starts on the Flat and has been lightly raced in recent years.
His stamina won't be running out in the final furlong and his owner, Tony Bloom, is known to love a punt. Watch the market for Stratum and Bloom's other runner, Withhold.
Ability to stay the distance is a big concern for Barbados, who will still be fancied in the market despite a career record of one win from 16 starts, and Morando, whose form has come over shorter trips. Similar worries apply to Mildenberger, although he shapes as if he will get home.
Last year's winner Who Dares Wins and runner-up The Grand Visir are back for more. However, they benefited from a below-par race last summer (85-rated Mukha Magic finished third) and may struggle against superior rivals.
Race analysis by Tom Collins
What they say
Alan King, trainer of Who Dares Wins
Who Dares Wins had no luck in running in the Chester Cup. He was trapped on the rail and Tom Marquand could not get out, but the horse finished full of running.
Jessica Harrington, trainer of Barbados
He's in great form and hopefully he will cope with the ground. He stayed on really nicely over 1m6f at the Curragh last time, so the trip might suit him.
Dermot Weld, trainer of Falcon Eight
The horse is fit and well. He travelled over great on the ferry. He's likely to run, but I would be concerned about the ground. The only time he's run on really heavy ground was in a Group 1 at Longchamp last October and he didn't handle it. The more it dries out, the better chance he has.
Alastair Donald, racing manager to King Power Racing, owners of Cleonte and Morando
Cleonte may not run. He's definitely better with faster ground but that's to be decided yet. It can't get soft enough for Morando. We're trying an extreme distance with him but we're quietly confident that shouldn't be a problem. In these conditions, he's a threat.
Jane Chapple-Hyam, trainer of To Be Wild
We've been looking forward it. He ran well at Newmarket and put another good show in at Goodwood, where he stayed and stayed and was closing in on the winner. You'd put him in your Placepot.
Reporting by Scott Burton
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