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Tiger Cliff favourite to give Lady Cecil memorable Ascot victory

For all the big names lined up for the opening day of Royal Ascot 2013, the horse that people will be cheering most is the four-year-old handicapper Tiger Cliff in the 5.00 race. The bay is trained by Lady Cecil, wife of the late Sir Henry Cecil who passed away last week.

The gelding has certainly got a great chance if he stays this extended two and a half mile trip and will be ridden by stable jockey Tom Queally. The form of his Newmarket win received a boost when De Rigeur won at Haydock next time out and he is certain to be a popular choice.

Ed Dunlop’s Mubaraza finished a length and a half behind him last time and was staying on well. Dunlop also saddles an improving sort in Homeric, a game winner over this course last time. Paul Hanagan takes the mount on Mubaraza with Frankie Dettori partnering Homeric.

Aidan O’Brien is also double-handed with son Joseph riding Justification and Ryan Moore aboard Marchese Marconi. Justification looks the pick of the two judged on his unlucky run in the Chester Cup last time.

He was strongly fancied for that valuable prize but struggled to find room to launch a challenge turning into the short straight and was not knocked about in seventh.

Leading National Hunt yards have farmed this race over the years and they provide several strong contenders again this year. Jonjo O’Neill saddles six-length York winner Well Sharp who has gone up 10lbs whilst Nicky Henderson, successful with Veiled in 2011, is represented by the lightly-raced Lieutenant Miller.

Willie Mullins has booked Richard Hughes to ride Midnight Oil whilst David Pipe runs 2010 winner Junior and Investissement. Philip Hobbs is also doubly represented with the well-backed Big Easy and Softsong.

Andrew Balding’s horses are coming into form at the right time and Mysterious Man is another who could show improved form over this extreme distance. Veteran Blue Bajan carries top weight for David O’Meara and is joined in the line up by stablemate Roman Flight.