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Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes Tips – Preview of Royal Ascot’s Final Group 1 of the Week

The final Group 1 of Royal Ascot is the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes, the second sprinting showpiece of the week. It headlines the last of five great days of flat racing, and Joe Napier delves into the race to try and find the winner.

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The second longest-priced winner of the week occurred in this race a year ago, as Khaadem at least claimed an elusive Group 1 at 80/1 in 2023.


MILL STREAM

(Jane Chapple-Hyam/William Buick)

Generally a consistent sort who improved throughout 2023, Mill Stream finds himself a narrow favourite for the Saturday in his quest for a first Group 1. In the absence of a Godolphin entrant, Jane Chapple-Hyam is able to call on William Buick, who guided him to the slightest success in the Group 2 Duke Of York Stakes last time out.

That was a second Group race triumph for the son of Gleneagles, who has started this season firing, but it did occur in a blanket finish. The third was quite well beaten in the King Charles III over 5f earlier in the week and the runner-up was much more comfortably held at the Curragh on his next start. This four-year-old is improving, but has work to do with some on collateral form, and he may also be a slightly better horse on soft ground.


KINROSS

(Ralph Beckett/Rossa Ryan)

An admirable performer for a number of seasons now, Kinross is a two-time Group 1 winner, securing both of his top level victories in 2022. He went extremely close to adding to that tally twice last term, finishing runner-up in his defences of both the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp and the British Champions’ Sprint to conclude his season over this course and distance in October.

He is completely ground versatile, so will not mind this quick surface, albeit he has only been able to finish eighth and seventh in this race for the last two seasons, both on good-to-firm. He probably needs the ground to slow a few of the more natural sprinters over this trip, and the suspicion is he will need this on course to other assignments.


MITBAAHY

(Charles Hills/Jamie Spencer)

This trainer/jockey combination landed the spoils a year ago with a massive outsider, but they boast a much more obvious chance this season. Mitbaahy could finish only in mid-division on his one previous Ascot start, but that was in the 5f King’s Stand last season, and he has since proved a more adept sprinter over 6f.

His first two runs this season would not have screamed Group 1 winner, but as a hold-up horse, his tactics would not have been suited to Newmarket, where both those races took place. He was still highly competitive in each contest, but stepped up markedly when flying home to win the Group 2 Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh.  The runner-up that day, Regional, was second in the King Charles III Stakes on Tuesday, so that form is solid, and this big field and course should suit him being played late by Spencer.


SHARTASH

(Archie Watson/James Doyle)

Always useful when trained in Ireland, Shartash appears to have found a new lease of life in the care of Archie Watson. He was a Group 2-winning juvenile for Johnny Murtagh, but lost his way towards the end of last season, only to win both races so far this year.

The first came on return in a conditions race at Thirsk, but he soon picked up a Listed victory at Haydock over 7f. That was his most recent effort, but he had previously been a sprinter, so should have few issues stepping back in trip to 6f. Indeed, he needed the line last time, so it should suit better and he looks to be back on the upgrade.

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THE FIELD

Believing won’t quite be attempting the King Charles III-Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee double, but she was a close fourth in the 5f Group 1 on Tuesday. The impression she left at Haydock beforehand was that 6f would suit fine and she’ll be fighting fit on her third start in 20 days.

That may not necessarily be of benefit though, with the last four winners all having had at least four weeks between this race and their previous start. That trend would rule out Quinault, Jumby and Vadream too, although that entire trio have form questions to answer anyway.

Khaadem can no longer be ruled out safely, as he also ran creditably in three more Group 1s after his success in this last year, albeit his reappearance was notably poor. The same can be said of Swingalong, but Karl Burke’s filly looks a much more likely improver for her return and may benefit from racing with the wider group on this occasion; she raced alone when close up in two top level races at the end of last season. On the other hand, The Wizard Of Eye would not need too much improvement from his Victoria Cup win on stable and seasonal debut in May, though even with Ryan Moore in the saddle, 6f may be on the sharp side for him.

Art Power got the Group 1 monkey off his back when winning on Champions’ Day last term, but would want more rain, though the last pair both have reasonable claims of being involved at their best. Firstly, Shouldvebeenaring went down narrowly in Haydock’s Sprint Cup last term though has Ascot question marks based on only finishing seventh in last year’s Commonwealth Cup. He is not always the easiest to predict.

Conversely, Washington Heights has scaled new heights this term, winning a Group 3 from Mill Stream at Newmarket on return at 33/1 before almost repeating the trick at York. He probably got to the front too soon that day and Tom Eaves could be in business if saving a bit for longer.


VERDICT

Last year proved that no runner should be underestimated in this contest and Khaadem is not a completely forlorn hope to repeat his 80/1 success from 2023. However, the same connections’ MITBAAHY has a far greater chance on form, his Curragh win last time having represented a clear career best. The patient tactics Jamie Spencer is famous for deploying worked wonders that day, as they should over this course and distance if timed correctly. Washington Heights is feared most given there may be more improvement to come from him, with Shartash and Swingalong also expected to be in the shake-up.

  1. Mitbaahy
  2. Washington Heights
  3. Shartash
Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series)
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