THERE have been between five and eight Irish-trained winners at Royal Ascot each year for the past five years.

There are two reasons to believe this week’s total will be on the high side. Firstly, seven-race cards are still a relatively new feature here (having been introduced in 2020), and there seems to be more than usual Irish horses among the entries for next week at this stage.

Yes, Aidan O’Brien is as strong as ever, but there is real strength in depth. Let’s take a quick look at the possible contenders.


Queen Anne Stakes: Order Of Australia (Aidan O’Brien)

Verdict: The sole Irish raider is not expected to trouble Baaeed and Real World.

Coventry Stakes: Age Of Kings, Blackbeard (both Aidan O’Brien), Harry Time (Michael O’Callaghan), Ti Sento (Ado McGuinness).

Verdict: In the past 10 years Aidan O’Brien won this race in 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2019. Do the math - he’s due another one.

King’s Stand Stakes: Logo Hunter (Michael Browne), Mooneista (Jack Davison)

Verdict: Pity not to see Eddie Lynam’s Romantic Proposal in the list. The American-Australian pace burn-up might just have suited her.

St James’s Palace Stakes: Aikhal (Aidan O’Brien), New Energy (Sheila Lavery), Wexford Native (Jim Bolger).

Verdict: He’s no Poetic Flare but Wexford Native could snatch a place behind Godolphin’s Coroebus.

Ascot Stakes: Pied Piper (Gordon Elliott), Arcadian Sunrise (John Queally), Bring On The Night (Willie Mullins).

Verdict: Mad 2m 4f race, usually dominated by the jumping boys. Willie Mullins has won it four times in the past 10 years and gave Bring On The Night a favourable mention in these pages recently.

Wolferton Stakes: Cadillac (Jessica Harrington).

Verdict: Tricky 10-furlong listed race. Cadillac looks to have been transformed by the application of blinkers. He is due to be offered for sale on Monday evening.

Copper Horse Handicap: Okita Soushi (Joseph O’Brien), Cleveland (Aidan O’Brien), Pita Pinta (Fozzy Stack), Platinumcard (Gordon Elliott).

Verdict: Chester Cup winner Cleveland is the favourite and is only 5lb higher now but the 14-furlong trip might be on the short side for him.


Queen Mary Stakes: Excelia (Joseph O’Brien), Lady Tilbury (David Marnane), Olivia Maralda (Michael O’Callaghan).

Verdict: Wesley Ward says the Offaly-bred Love Reigns is the best two-year-old he has. That will do.

Queens Vase: Anchorage, Changingoftheguard, Cougar, Emily Dickinson, Newfoundland (all Aidan O’Brien), Fumata (Jessica Harrington), Ruler Legend (Fozzy Stack).

Verdict: Ruler Legend and Fumata are interesting in an open-looking race.

Prince Of Wales’s Stakes: Broome (Aidan O’Brien), State Of Rest (Joseph O’Brien).

Verdict: Japanese star Shahryar and the improving Bay Bridge will be favourites, but if the pace is honest then State Of Rest won’t be far away. French mare Grand Glory has been supplemented at a cost of £70,000.

Duke of Cambridge Stakes: Mother Earth (Aidan O’Brien)

Verdict: You can say she’s exposed but Mother Earth escapes a penalty here and should push Saffron Beach close in receipt of 5lb.

Royal Hunt Cup: San Andreas (Joseph O’Brien), Bopedro (Jessica Harrington), Real Force (Ger O’Leary).

Verdict: The Irish look exposed.

Windsor Castle Stakes: Alexis Zorba (Joseph O’Brien), Crispy Cat, Mehmar, Olivia Maralda, Studio City (all M O’Callaghan), Forceful Speed (Adrian Murray), Little Big Bear, The Antarctic (Aidan O’Brien), Wodao (D O’Brien).

Verdict: Follow Amo Racing.


Norfolk Stakes: The Antarctic, Blackbeard, Little Big Bear (all Aidan O’Brien).

Verdict: Oddly, Wesley Ward won’t have a runner this year so the door is open for Ballydoyle.

Ribblesdale Stakes: Above The Curve (Donnacha O’Brien), Cairde Go Deo (Ger Lyons), Concert Hall, Emily Dickinson, History, Lily Pond, The Algarve, Thoughts Of June, Toy, Tuesday (Aidan O’Brien), Eclat De Lumiere (Dermot Weld), Magical Lagoon (Jessica Harrington), River Rain, Tranquil Lady (Joseph O’Brien).

Verdict: Assuming Tuesday does not run, Above The Curve is the only Group 1 winner in the field. Oaks runner-up Emily Upjohn is said to be a possible runner. Magical Lagoon is not far off the best based on her Concert Hall form.

Gold Cup: Baron Samedi (Joseph O’Brien), Broome, Cleveland, Kyprios, Wordsworth (Aidan O’Brien), Burning Victory (Willie Mullins), Lismore (Henry de Bromhead), Princess Zoe (Tony Mullins), Search For A Song (Dermot Weld).

Verdict: Kyprios looks too fast to win a Gold Cup! Stable companion Cleveland looks more suited to this distance. Safer to stick with the proven stayer Stradivarius who is going for his fourth Gold Cup. Earlofthecotswolds is your longshot.


Albany Stakes: Statuette, Meditate (both Aidan O’Brien).

Verdict: Statuette looked the real deal at Navan but is not a certain runner. Stable companion Meditate is a Group 3 winner already and should be good enough.

Commonwealth Cup: Cadamosto, King Of Bavaria, New York City (Aidan O’Brien), Twilight Jet (Michael O’Callaghan), Hermana Estrella (Fozzy Stack), Ladies Church (Johnny Murtagh), Sacred Bridge (Ger Lyons), Tenebrism (Aidan O’Brien).

Verdict: Richard Fahey’s Perfect Power and Richard Hannon’s Lusail bring classic form to the table. Keep the American colt Slipstream on your side too.

Coronation Stakes: Agartha (Joseph O’Brien), Concert Hall, Tenebrism, Toy, Tuesday (all Aidan O’Brien), Discoveries (Jessica Harrington), Homeless Songs (Dermot Weld), Honey Girl, Star Girls Aalmal (both Henry de Bromhead).

Verdict: Homeless Songs is the banker of the week but will not be risked on good to firm ground.

King Edward VII Stakes: Aikhal, Anchorage, Bluegrass, Changingoftheguard, Martinstown, Star Of India, Stone Age, Sun King, Temple Of Artemis, United Nations (all Aidan O’Brien), Buckaroo, Vega Magnifico (Joseph O’Brien), Manu Et Corde (Jim Bolger).

Verdict: Can Reach For The Moon give Queen Elizabeth a winner? This is Her Majesty’s best chance. Of the others, Godolphin’s Ottoman Fleet looks one to follow, David Menuisier’s Lionel has potential, and Joseph O’Brien was quick to mention Royal Ascot for his recent Navan maiden winner Vega Magnifico.


Chesham Stakes: Alfred Munnings, Auguste Rodin (both Aidan O’Brien), Crypto Force (Michael O’Callaghan).

Verdict: This Ballydoyle pair are head and shoulders above the rest in the betting. Crypto Force defeated an unlucky Auguste Rodin on his debut and is due to be offered for sale on Monday evening.

Hardwicke Stakes: Broome, Cleveland, High Definition, Kyprios, (all Aidan O’Brien), Layfayette (Noel Meade).

Verdict: Last year’s St Leger winner Hurricane Lane is odds-on to win this. All Layfayette’s wins this season have been over 10 furlongs but he seems to be equally effective at a mile and a half, and will hopefully run a cracker for connections.

Platinum Jubilee Stakes: A Case Of You (Ado McGuinness), Gustavus Weston (Joe Murphy), Romantic Proposal (Eddie Lynam).

Verdict: We’ve underestimated A Case Of You numerous times but it’s so hard to see the American-Australian challenge of Campanelle and Home Affairs being beaten.

Wokingham Handicap: Coachello (John McConnell), Urban Beat, Measure Of Magic (both Johnny Murtagh), Master Matt (Matthew Smith), Warrior Brave (Ross O’Sullivan), Quarantine Dreams (Ken Condon),

Verdict: David Marnane’s Dandy Boy (2012) was the only Irish-trained winner of this race since Time Machine in 1985. French import Coachello will be of interest whenever he makes his debut for John McConnell.

Queen Alexandra Stakes: Wordsworth, Cleveland (Aidan O’Brien), Falcon Eight (Dermot Weld), M C Muldoon (Willie Mullins)

Verdict: Falcon Eight started favourite last year but rain ruined his chances.