Talking points as Archie Watson bids for back-to-back wins in Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed) | 5f, 2yo | ITV/Sky
Last year Soldier's Call provided Archie Watson with his first Royal Ascot winner, and the trainer is hoping to repeat the dose, with four chances in the race.
Watson has been in scintillating form with his juveniles this season with 21 winners before the start of the royal meeting.
His quartet are closely priced together, with recent Hamilton winner Better The Devil holding the best chance according to the bookmakers.
30 per cent Archie Watson's strike-rate with his two-year-olds in 2019 (21 wins from 71 runs)
Watson said: "Better The Devil won impressively at Hamilton and was quite highly regarded by his breeze-up consignors. Taxiwala won impressively at Brighton and reopposes Iva Reflection and Glasvegas, who he finished second to on his first two starts.
"Illusionist won well at Bath and deserves to take his chance and Electric Ladyland is interesting with the fillies' allowance. She ran well in the National Stakes."
Can Hannon win race for the first time?
Surprisingly, for a trainer who does so well with two-year-olds, Richard Hannon is yet to capture the Windsor Castle.
The trainer has a great chance of crossing the race off his list with the unbeaten Temple Of Heaven, who won a valuable conditions race at Newbury last time out.
That win came over six furlongs, and while the Coventry Stakes was considered, connections decided to drop back a furlong.
"He’s got a lot of speed and a great turn of foot," Hannon said. "He has pleased me in his work and should be able to go close."
Will Ward's horses prove too quick to catch?
Wesley Ward has won this race twice with Strike The Tiger in 2009 and more recently Hootenanny in 2014 and this year the trainer relies on Foolish Humor and Karak.
Discussing the pair, Ward said: "We paid a lot for Karak and did think about going for a Group race with her.It took a little time to get her to the races and she won convincingly at Belmont Park. With the timings, we thought it might be better to go for the Windsor Castle.
"This has been Foolish Humor's target since she won. She's improved with each and every work. She's a big filly andis really doing well."
What they say
Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Southern Hills
He is a very fast colt who shows us a lot of speed. He ran very well behind a horse of Joseph's last time [Air Force Jet] at Navan where he showed plenty of pace. He's in good form.
Richard Fahey, trainer of Dylan De Vega, Show Me Show Me and Summer Sands
Dylan De Vega isimproving and, though he will need to find a bit more, he could do so. Show Me Show Me hasn't gone on since the Brocklesby and needs to bounce back. Summer Sands did well when winning at Beverley and could run well.
Saeed Bin Suroor, trainer of Platinum Star
Platinum Star came on for his debut to win at Leicester last time out and he has improved again for that run. He looks better physically now and will have no problem with the drop down in distance.
Karl Burke, trainer of Rayong
The handicapper feels the race he won at Carlisle on his debut wasn't a strong one and it probably wasn't as the second and third have let the form down. But he could do no more than beat what was put in front of him. The ground was plenty quick enough for him there and he's improved a lot since then.
Andrew Balding, trainer of Symbolize
He's shown some smart form and won very nicely at Salisbury. I'd be a bit more optimistic if good ground was guaranteed.
Temple Of Heavenwill have learned plenty when scoring in a rough race at Newbury last month and he's a strong contender, while Wesley Ward's pairFoolish HumorandKarak, along with recent debut winnerBetter The Devil, are unknown quantities with plenty of improvement on the cards.Southern Hillshas bundles of ability and may be played late this time, whilePlatinum Staris another with further potential if breaking smartly. Andrew Balding's juveniles tend to come on a good deal from their first starts, though, and the fact thatSymbolize, who was strong in the market on his debut, was able to create such a good impression at Salisbury bodes very well for his prospects.
Coral are paying an additional place on the 5.35Royal Ascot, that's 4 places rather than 3. Standard place terms apply if 14 or fewer horses run. Click to view the cardhere