There has been a change for this year with a quarter of a mile taken off what was always a brutal stamina test for the Classic generation so early in the season, as thirteen runners chase a first prize of over £90,000. Read on for our runner by runner guide to the 2017 Queen’s Vase and our expert tip.
IN SUMMARY: A race that has been dominated in recent times by a pair of trainers, with Aidan O’Brien responsible for five of the last eleven winners, while Mark Johnston has four. Belgravia looks the pick of the Ballydoyle pair with Ryan Moore in the plate with TIME TO STUDY the Johnston pick. Winner of a Musselburgh handicap stepped up to this trip, Time To Study is open to plenty more improvement and is certainly the more straightforward of the pair. Court Octave and Desert Skyline are others to consider each way in a fascinating contest.
1 ALQAMAR – Hinted at promise as a juvenile, most notably when third to Eminent at Newmarket. It was not until last time though, that he really showed what he is capable off. Stepped up to a mile and a half, fitted with cheekpieces for the first time, he made a mockery of an opening handicap mark of 76, powering clear to score by five lengths. That was on soft ground however and his Monsum damline strongly suggests that surface is more suitable than this quicker ground.
2 BELGRAVIA – The choice of Ryan Moore from the Ballydoyle pair, he is of immediate interest give the record of his yard in this contest. Needed every yard of the mile and a half at Leopardstown to land his maiden, connections fitted him with headgear the next time, stepped up to Listed level. The forcing tactics there left him vulnerable late on but the winner was thought of well enough to run in the Ribblesdale. Blinkers replace cheekpieces now and a return to a more patient ride should see him in the money.
3 COUNT OCTAVE – Broke his duck at Wolverhampton at the second time of asking, stepping up markedly on that when fifth in the Chester Vase, just four lengths behind Derby winner Wings Of Eagles. This is a slight step down in class for Andrew Balding’s half brother to Irish Derby winner Treasure Beach and if coping with the step up in trip, looks an each way player.
4 DESERT SKYLINE – Has been noted staying on to good effect at the end of a pair of ten furlong races this season, suggesting that a step up in trip is going to suit him. He is a half brother to the likes of Doumaran who was a winner over this trip in France, which gives promise for this distance. He won on good to firm as a juvenile so the ground shouldn’t be an issue and looks another with a chance in an open race.
5 FACE THE FACTS – Won a Newbury maiden in April but was unable to progress from that win when tried in handicap company at Haydock. The ground was firm on that occasion and he looked like he wasn’t really letting himself down on the very quick turf. That is a sizeable concern now and he would have to improve on his bare form shown so far anyway.
6 FIERCE IMPACT – Won at the first attempt on a soft surface at Yarmouth in October, stepping up on that in a pair of better contests so far in 2017. He has been a little tapped for toe over shorter so the step up in trip should suit him but, this is the quickest ground that he has encountered and that leaves him with a sizeable question to answer.
7 HARIPOUR – Finally off the mark over a furlong shorter at Navan last time when fitted with first time blinkers. He has a little to find with Belgravia on his run over the same course and distance previously but the adding of the headgear may allow him to close the gap. The Dermot Weld yard have had a poor start to the season by their own very high standards, not looking to have much more than an outside squeak now.
8 MISTER MANDURO – Sole win came on the all weather, seen most recently behind stablemate Time To Study at Musselburgh. The stiffer track looks in his favour but a pound worse off at the weights is going to make it tough for him to turn around that form. Engaged to run in the Kin George V on Thursday.
9 NIGHT OF GLORY – Took a while to get on top when winning a Curragh maiden at the expense of Wisconsin. That was over a mile and a quarter so it was no surprise to see him stepped up to a mile and a half last time. He didn’t appear to quite get home on the soft ground there so this quicker surface should suit better, though a further step up in trip looks questionable. Connections reach for cheekpieces now so perhaps they felt it was a lack of application rather than stamina, but it’s not enough to convince that he can win this.
10 SECRET ADVISOR – Beaten off 81 in a nine furlong handicap at Goodwood last time suggests that this is going to be an uphill battle for the Godolphin colt. His dam and her full sister were both winners over a mile and a half so there is some hope in his pedigree that he will be suited by the extra trip, but it has to remain a big concern until he proves it’s suitable.
11 STRADIVARIUS – Looked to have timed his challenge to perfection when stepped up to a mile and a half at Chester last time, nailed in the closing strides there. He got into a battle a long way from home with Jukebox Jive on that occasion, that horse winning when stepped up to this trip at Sandown subsequently. He has a little to prove with regards to the trip but if ridden with a little more restraint, could make himself felt in the places late on.
12 TIME TO STUDY – Mark Johnston has an excellent record in this race, this colt running an eye-catching third in the London Gold Cup at Newbury. That looked a really smart handicap on paper and a race to follow as the season goes on, won as it has been in the past by the likes of Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon and Dubai World Cup victor, Monterosso. He stayed on really well over that mile and a quarter trip, looking desperate for more of a stamina test which he got at Musselburgh last time when winningover this trip. His dam’s half sister was a winner over two miles on the flat in France as well as placing in the Cadran over 2m4f, so with stamina assured, he very much looks the one to beat.
13 WISCONSIN – Three lengths behind Night Of Glory on his debut, he stepped up in trip to land a maiden at Tipperary. He made hard enough work of that to justify odds of 4/9 and it’s no surprise to see cheekpieces now fitted to sharpen his focus. His dam won the Yorkshire Oaks so the potential for better is there if the step up in trip can unlock it but looks the stable’s second string on jockey booking.