Royal Ascot won't be the same again without the presence of its number one trainer Sir Henry Cecil who sadly passed away this week following a long battle with cancer.
How fitting that his 73 winners at this meeting were topped in his last appearance 12 months ago by the great Frankel's easy win in the opening race, the Queen Anne Stakes. And what a day it would be if his filly Hot Snap, beaten favourite in the 1000 Guineas, came good in the Coronation Stakes on Friday week – a race he last won back in 1994 with Kissin Cousin.
Hot Snap failed to confirm Nell Gywn's winning form with Sky Lantern when favourite for the 1000 Guinneas at Newmarket last month, finishing only eighth. Lantern just got the better of Just The Judge, who went on to win the Irish 1000 Guinneas. No surprise, therefore, to find this pair dominating the betting market.
Lantern, trained by Richard Hannon, bids to join Ghanaati, Attraction and Russian Rhythm, all of whom followed up here from Newmarket and the Classics generally, provide the best form.
Fast ground was given as the excuse for Hot Snap's failure, but she's likely to encounter that again, and hence it could be that she won't take her chance. How much the Curragh victory will take out of Judge, remains to be seen but there's no doubt she is a cracking filly who was unlucky to be nabbed on the line by Sky in the Newmarket race.
An interesting stat is that only two in the last 20 years, have won the Coronation after running in both the English and Irish 1000 Guineas.
The one that appeals most at this stage, is the French Guineas winner Flotilla, under the care of the shrewd Michael Delzangles. She showed a great turn of foot in beating Andre Fabre's favourite Esoterique at Longchamp, the pair drawing well clear. And don't forget, Flotilla is also a Breeders' Cup winner.
It may well be a case of a mini foreign invasion as 2011 Kentucky Derby winner American Kingdom is all the rage (5/6) in the Queen Anne, now that Faarh is out.
South Africa's Mike de Kock won't hear of defeat for speedster Shea Shea (5/2) in the King Stands Stakes while Willie Mullins has an excellent chance with Simenon (8/1) in Thursday's Gold Cup.
Simenon won twice at the Royal meeting last year over 2m 4f and 2m 5f and ran a blinder when fourth at Chester when not getting a clear run through. Stamina is there in abundance and he did a sparkling piece of work earlier this week.