Looking back at past renewals and we note that Sir Michael Stoute is the only trainer to have collected this prize more than once in its eight-year history thanks to the exploits of Crystal Capella in 2008 and the same horse again two years later, so we may as well start with outsider Queen’s Trust (14/1) who has the benefit of Andrea Atzeni in the saddle for the second time for owners Cheveley Park Stud. Last time out she stepped up to this mile and a half trip for the first time at York in the Yorkshire Oaks, beaten two and three quarter lengths and a length and a quarter by Seventh Heaven and Found which seems to leave her with a bit to find even if it is top class form. She cannot win on paper yet they seem keen to let her take her chance regardless and she may well be able to be ridden more aggressively now that they know she gets the mile and a half and could possibly run in to a place.
Talking of Seventh Heaven (2/1), she heads the betting as we write for (you guessed it) Aidan O’Brien, she needs to get more than a passing mention and pride of place in our early scribblings –after all, she is by far the most likely winner in our view! A beautifully bred daughter of Galileo she has won four of her five starts this season with the only blot a sixth to Minding in the Epsom Oaks which she soon rectified in the Irish equivalent which she took by two and three quarter lengths and followed with a win in the Yorkshire Oaks from Arc heroine Found. She is certainly one of the forgotten stars of a stellar season for the master of Ballydoyle and seems pretty likely to add yet another Group One to their seasonal tally.
To write in any race preview that Dermot Weld was nobody’s fool would qualify for understatement of the year and he has Zhukova (10/3) in here as the daughter of Fastnet Rock looks to win her fifth race of the season her fifth start. So far she has yet to step foot outside of Group Three company, but she did beat US Army Ranger last time out at Leopardstown, but he was second to Harzand in the Epsom Derby so that form suggest she deserves to be allowed to at least take her chance in this more exalted company.
We all know as punters what a shrewd judge trainer John Gosden is and he has decided to allow Journey (7/1) to run here as she looks for a high class hat-trick after wins in the Group Three Pinnacle Stakes at Haydock followed by the Listed Nayef Stakes at Newmarket. She was only beaten three-quarters of a length in this race last season as a three-year-old so we know she handles track trip and class for that matter, though we have to add that the 2016 renewal looks particularly high class and we rather doubt she will find this as easy as last season.
Speedy Boarding (10/1) is last on our list for now for the likeable James Fanshawe and jockey Freddie Tylicki though the mile and a half in a top class race has to be a huge question mark. She does have some seriously top class form over a mile and a quarter and beat Irish 1000 Guineas winner Pleascach a short head in the Group One Prix De L’Opera after losing the lead and fighting back to get back up on the line but an extra two furlongs in a race of this class could just about find her out today.