A juvenile contest for fillies over the flying five furlong, the race has gone back across the Atlantic with Wesley Ward three times in the last eight years including the last twice. Read on for our Queen Mary Stakes betting preview and tip for Royal Ascot 2017.
IN SUMMARY: Wesley Ward is looking to hand a hat-trick of wins in this race after Acapulco and Lady Aurelia and in HAPPY LIKE A FOOL, he appears to have the perfect candidate. She showed bundles of speed to win on her debut at Keeneland with any likely improvement on that, making her a clear form pick. There are plenty who have shown enough to consider for the places. with Heartache and Chica La Habana the most likely of them.
1 BATH AND TENNIS – Has shown she has a fair level of ability with two placed runs in maidens at Chelmsofrd and Bath, but she looks to be facing a tough ask as the form isn’t worth much in a race such as this. She was perhaps unlucky when second at Brighton on her latest start but even if winning she’d still have something to find with many of these and she looks booked for a struggle under Luke Morris.
2 CHICA LA HABANA – Made a winning debut in the Hilary Needler at Beverley eleven days ago, showing a huge amount of promise and she has the champion jockey booked for this assignment. She has different conditions to deal with today but they could have a positive effect, with the Robert Cowell yard running well at present with several winners in recent times. She looks booked to go close for connections and has to be respected.
3 DARKANNA – Showed very little in two maidens for Richard Fahey before bursting on to the scene to win a Haydock novice race in softer conditions, with perhaps the emphasis on stamina helping her on that occasion. This return to a sounder surface does raise questions though and she is hugely risky after what she showed on those two first runs on better ground. Others have sounder claims and it’s likely to pay to go on the side of caution.
4 DEBUTANTE’S BALL – Daughter of Society Rock who won a weak looking maiden at Chepstow on debut, running on strongly to lead late on and although it was a promising display, this is much tougher and she faces better ground which she may not appreciate. Liam Jones takes the ride and it’s hard to see her hitting the frame with others achieving far more on their debuts.
5 EMILIA JAMES – Front runner for Mark Johnston who won her latest start at Chelmsford as she liked, showing she was a useful horse for the future and although that gives her each way claims, she lacks the potential of others in this race and is potentiality vulnerable. James Doyle takes the ride and she wouldn’t be high up on the list on this occasion, as she will have plenty of company for the lead.
6 FORMIDABLE KITT – Did as expected on debut when winning a maiden at Newmarket in April at odds of 11/8, making all in game fashion, and her attitude will stand her in good stead for a race like this. Like many first time out winners in this, she has scope for any amount of progress and her dam won this race in 2012, which makes her highly interesting. Richard Kingscote takes the ride and she needs considering.
7 GO BANANAS – Only horse in the line up who you can completely rule out, with Brian Meehan’s two year old showing very little on two runs thus far for connections, with her best effort coming on debut where she was a well beaten fourth at Bath. No realistic chance.
8 HAPPY LIKE A FOOL – She was sent off the 9/5 favourite at Keeneland back in April and she breezed home that day to an easy 4-length victory. That came in a standard Maiden Special Weight but it was the manner of her success that was impressive and she has a similar profile to last year’s winner. On that evidence it’s no surprise to see her so short in the market as few will forget Lady Aurelia’s incredible success, with the jockey booking of Ryan Moore making her all the more intriguing.
9 HEARTACHE – Once raced filly who looked potentially very smart when powering away to win a Bath Novice Stakes as she pleased and she is open to any amount of progress now for the Clive Cox yard. The way she cleared away in that contest was taking and she will undoubtedly have her part to play under Adam Kirby, though the fact he has no had winners now from his last twenty-nine rides is alarming. Nevertheless, she has to be respected and looks likely to go very close.
10 LADY ANJORICA – Ran her best race yet when beaten a head in a French Listed race at Maisons-Laffitte eleven days ago and although that was a fair enough effort, it’s unlikely to be enough to see her reaching the frame for Keith Dalgleish. She should come into her own in time in handicap company but this looks far too ambitious on her fourth start.
11 MAMBA NOIRE – Won at Cork on her debut and she was far from disgraced when last seen at Naas in May, finishing fifth in Listed company and only beaten around two lengths at the line. This isn’t any easier though and although she is unexposed and progress seems likely, it is more than probable she’ll find at least one too good in this under Shane Foley.
12 MAYBRIDE – Daughter of Mayzoun who showed abundant promise on debut to finish second at Haydock in softer conditions, keeping on well but never able to get by when in a challenging position. Likely more to come but these are totally different conditions today and she has achieved far less than some on debut, so she will be settling for minor honours at best in this under Paul Hanagan.
13 MISSY MISCHIEF – Showed signs of ability on her debut at Goodwood last month, but she was ultimately beaten a long way back in fifth position and this looks a bridge too far on her second start under Gerald Mosse. She is likely to become a useful prospect in time judging by her $195,000 price tag, but she should find this coming far too soon and she isn’t very high on the list today. Dismissed.
14 MOTHER OF DRAGONS – Has finished second in a pair of novice auction events thus far for Joseph Tuite and she will do very well to fill the same position again with that form nowhere near the standard required to be hassling the principles in the market. She had every chance on her latest run where she found little under pressure and slipped back into second, with her attitude not filling anyone with much confidence. Likely outclassed.
15 MRS GALLAGHER – Quietly backed at bigger prices on debut here in May, she put up a hugely game performance, showing brilliant speed to lead and although she was headed a furlong from home, she kept on strongly to get up again near the finish. She should come on for the run and although she needs more on the face of it, that run was very pleasing as she showed a brilliant attitude and she has each way claims if taking another step forward.
16 NEOLA – Broke her maiden at the second attempt when winning at Nottingham by seven lengths, showing a smart turn of foot to blast away and she backed up that performance when a good second at York in the listed Marygate Stakes. On that form she would have to be considered a major contender under Graham Lee for Mick Channon, as she is firmly on an upward curve and should appreciate the conditions. Respected.
17 NOW YOU’RE TALKING – Irish raider from the Joesph O’Brien yard who has shown fair form in two six furlong maidens, showing enough pace to suggest that she will cope with this drop back in trip. The distance however isn’t the problem, as she hasn’t shown enough thus far to suggest she can make her mark in a race as competitive as this. Others make far more appeal and she’s likely booked for a struggle.
18 ONE MINUTE – Won on debut at Lingfield in May but she took a backward step on her latest start as she was beaten at odds of 1/3 at Yarmouth in Novice company. That was disheartening to see and although she’s likely to be useful in time, others are far more straightforward and she may just be found wanting in this contest under Pat Cosgrave.
19 OUT OF THE FLAMES – Beaten a short head by Mrs Gallagher on debut in a Class 4 Ascot maiden, she went on to win a Novice Stakes race last time out at Windsor. She was a short price that day and the form isn’t worth a great deal although it showed her to be progressive. She should come on again for that run so she comes into this in good heart. She cost a cool 190,000GNS as a 2yo so connections will be hopeful of a big run and she’s considered for the minor honours.
20 PURSUING THE DREAM – Has been steadily improving which each start for Jamie Osborne but her form is very modest in the context of this race, with her latest second at Catterick only a fair run at best. She has only been progressing slightly with each run and she will need to improve markedly to even reach the frame in a race so competitive, so she is easily dismissed.
21 RIOTICISM – French raider who has shown form good enough to see her fighting for a place for Matthieu Palussiere, but her form has dipped since a conditions race win at Maisons-Laffitte, well beaten on her last two runs. Looks vulnerable in a race full of potential improvers and she isn’t high up on the list under jockey Antioine Hamelin.
22 SIRICI – Two wins on the all weather but she struggled on her turf debut when well beaten in Listed company on her latest start, behind Mamba Noire and leaving her with something to prove. On that evidence she isn’t likely to be winning a race of this nature, as this is far more competitive and filled with types who are likely to improve past her, handicaps look likely to be her level in time.
23 TREASURING – Ger Lyons won this race back in 2007 and she showed a progressive side when leaving her debut well behind to storm away with a Navan maiden earlier this month under today’s rider, Colin Keane. She has scope for further progress and although others have achieved more, she should have her say for the placings and isn’t one to discount lightly.
24 WINGS OF THE ROCK – Won on her second start at Nottingham for Scott Dixon, leaving her debut well behind and improvement would be no surprise once again, though she’ll need it if she’s to be troubling the principles in this. The yard are going well at present and David Allan is a positive jockey booking, so she shouldn’t be completely dismissed for the placings at a big price, though others do undoubtedly have more potential.