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Mekhtaal can Reel in victory for Rouget


By Jonny Ward

It is a shade surprising that Aidan O'Brien has only snared the Group One Prince Of Wales's Stakes twice, and he is attempting a third success in the Royal Ascot feature with the admirable Highland Reel this afternoon.

With the weather so warm, expect the son of Galileo to sweat notably beforehand, yet the heat never seems to stop him from winning.

Few come as hardy as Highland Reel, yet today is no formality for a horse with limitations, and preference is for French raider Mekhtaal at the prices. He trades at 12/1.

Andre Fabre was due to run Cloth Of Stars in the race, but he does not show up, and instead Gallic hopes rest on Mekhtaal, which beat him by a neck on his seasonal return at Chantilly. In Jean-Claude Rouget, he has a superb horseman bidding to train his first winner in this.

Godolphin got off to a fine start yesterday and have a major player in Jack Hobbs, which won the Irish Derby two years ago.

The Group Three Jersey Stakes is generally a smarter race than the bracket implies.

It can prove an especially historic renewal and throw up a couple of firsts in Dream Castle.This horse can give Frankel his first Royal Ascot winner as a sire and Josephine Gordon her first winner there.

Whitecliffsofdover - ridden by Ryan Moore - sports blinkers for the first time, and is one of two War Front colts O'Brien runs in the race.

Do not discount apparent rag, Spirit Of Valor, altogether: he was quietly fancied in the Guineas and far from disgraced then. Happy Like A Fool aims to provide Wesley Ward with his fourth winner in the past decade in the Queen Mary - and three in a row. Ger Lyons provides Treasuring and she may come into the place reckoning.

The Duke Of Cambridge sees Laugh Out Loud as morning-line favourite and she was impressive at Epsom, yet this is tougher for a filly which was once rated 81.

Belfast Telegraph


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