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Shahwardi to strike a blow for France in Queen Alexandra Stakes

The Royal meeting closes with the longest race in the flat racing calendar over an exhausting two and three quarter miles. Last year this prize went to Ireland as the remarkable Simenon followed up his win earlier in the week in the Ascot Stakes.

In second place was the French-trained Shahwardi, albeit seven lengths behind this year’s Gold Cup runner-up. The two horses met on level terms so it was no mean performance by the son of Lando.

Following a couple of fine placed efforts at Group 2 level, Shahwardi was sent over to Australia in the hope of earning a tilt at the Melbourne Cup. His trip was fully justified as he ran out an emphatic winner of the Herbert Power Stakes at Caulfield to bag prize money of almost £90k.

Shahwardi’s most recent form is less encouraging but he has been trained with this race in mind. Most of his rivals are suspect stayers over this extreme distance. No Heretic will have a good chance if he can cope with the step up from a mile and a half. He has only been out of the frame once in his nine career starts and won a decent handicap at Newmarket earlier this season.

Andrew Balding’s Chiberta King is one of those most likely to get the trip having tried his luck at hurdling through the winter. He was well beaten on his return to the flat last month.

Meganisi is another making the switch from national hunt and represents trainer Rebecca Curtis. Nicky Henderson who struck on Friday with Forgotten Voice runs Courtesy Call who has consistent form and was last seen winning over hurdles at Taunton in May.

Jim Bolger’s Cul Baire could be a threat to the favourite having won a good handicap at Leopardstown over a mile and three-quarters last time. Richard Hughes finally enjoyed success on Friday after a miserable week and could sign off on a winning note with Cosimo De Medici.

He made no show in the Ascot Stakes last season but put up a good effort when staying on into second at Goodwood last time. The veterans Junior and Mad Moose will be very familiar to punters but will need to be on their best behaviour to figure here.