It is still early doors but anticipation for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes is frantically building up. The Group 1 race will see a golden mile of flat racing ran between some of the best horses around. Last year saw Pierre-Charles Boudot’s The Revenant secure victory at Ascot, having come runner-up the year before — although due to coronavirus restrictions this took place behind closed doors.
Now with government guidelines changing, spectators are in back in attendance in Berkshire, ready to pack out stands for British Champions Day and flock to check the latest horse racing tips. With so many quality horses on display, it will be hard to pick a clear favourite, especially considering some of the upsets that have taken place during the last few weeks. We have attempted to select some of favourites as well as outsiders that could shock a few in this year’s race.
The main talking point in the build up to this race will be the rivalry between Palace Pier and Baaeed — much to the excitement of Frankie Dettori. The Italian is relishing the opportunity to compete with the William Haggas trained horse, especially with the form he and Palace Pier have been in so far this season at four from four, with big wins in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot. But this will be one of his toughest races to date, with Baaeed emerging as a real contender, enjoying his own unbeaten run throughout this year and earning plaudits from Dettori, who said: “Baaeed looked very impressive in the Moulin,”
“The races are there. If you’ve got the horses you go for the same races. I’m sure he will turn up. They will all be there. There is nowhere to hide this time of year. You have to take the gloves off and go for it.”
Expected to drop back to a mile, Andrew Balding’s Alcohol Free is a Group 1winner, but has struggled in recent times, failing to get home in the Juddmonte International. Victory at last year’s Cheveley Park Stakes seems to have been the peak for the three-year-old, who has flattered to deceive so fat this season, but Balding believes dropping back will massively benefit the filly: “Going up to a mile and a quarter was always going to be a punt,” he said . “She looked like she had come there and was only going to be beaten a couple of lengths into second.
“The plan is to come back and have a go at the Queen Elizabeth II at Ascot on Champions Day.”
Andrea Atzeni shocked everyone at Haydock when he won the Sprint Cup with Emaraaty Ana in what was certainly a massive upset. Coming in at 11/1 odds, Kevin Ryan’s horse overturned favourite Starman and a plethora of other more experienced horses to claim top prize in Merseyside — riding the crest of a wave that could lead to victory in the Queen Elizabeth II. While it would take another spot of good luck from Atzeni to complete another Group 1 coup, it certainly wouldn’t come as the biggest shock based off the flat racing summer so far.