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Royal Ascot Queen Anne Stakes Ante-Post Preview

Royal Ascot kicks off on Tuesday with the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, won in sensational style 12 months ago by Frankel. Animal Kingdom’s price has collapsed from 11-4 to 5-6 with the withdrawal of Godolphin’s Lockinge winner Farhh further cementing his position at the head of the market.

Animal Kingdom won the Kentucky Derby in 2011 and looked back to his best when storming to victory in the Dubai World Cup at the end of March. He has only been out of the first two once in his eleven career starts and that was as a result of being severely hampered early in the race.

The Lockinge Stakes looked to be the best race held over a mile in Britain this season so it is disappointing that we won’t see the winner in action here. Aidan O’Brien’s Declaration Of War was a big disappointment that day and will have his work cut out to reverse the placings with Sovereign Debt and Aljamaaheer who were second and third.

O’Brien could also be represented by last year’s St James’s Palace Stakes winner Most Improved who is yet to start for his new stable. He finished last in two of his three subsequent starts and it would be a fine training performance to get him back in tip-top condition for this.

The filly Elusive Kate was third to the classy Excelebration in two Group 1 events last season and won the Group 1 Prix Rothschild at Deauville in July. She also lacks a recent run but was produced to run Giofra to half a length in the Falmouth Stakes on her debut last season. The winner has not added to that victory in five subsequent starts over longer distances and may find this straight mile a bit sharp.

John Gosden, trainer of Elusive Kate, also has Gregorian entered for this after his game win in the Diomed Stakes at Epsom. That did not look the strongest race but he finished third at this meeting 12 months ago and looks capable of running into a place.