Karl Burke’s juveniles are in rip-roaring form and Beautiful Diamond heads a sparking trio of chances for the Middleham trainer in the Queen Mary Stakes.
Having saddled Dramatised to a runaway victory in the Group Two contest last season, he would again appear to have a strong hand as he bids to back up that success in the Group Two feature on day two of Royal Ascot.
Beautiful Diamond made a winning debut, scoring by three and a half lengths at Nottingham a fortnight ago for owner Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum.
Sheikh Rashid’s racing manager Bruce Raymond feels the turnaround from her debut will not be problematic.
He said: “The timing of the race is tight from her run at Nottingham, but really that’s an after-the-race excuse.
“I think there are more worries about going from Ascot to the July Meeting at Newmarket.
“After Ascot, they tend to need a break. Of course there are exceptions, but they can run flat after Ascot.
“She cost a lot of money at the breeze-up sale. She won at Nottingham and obviously Karl expected her to go very close that day.
“She is obviously very useful, but it is a tough race. I’m hoping she will be there in a ding-dong. There are a lot of runners, but I expect her to go very well.”
Burke will also saddle Got To Love A Grey, who has won both her starts for Middleham Park Racing, taking a valuable York Listed race last month, and Lady Pink Rose, who was runner-up on her Catterick debut for Sheikh Juma.
Raymond added: “Had she (Lady Pink Rose) won at Catterick, she would have gone here without any questions. They will be delighted if she is in the first five or six.
“She was in at Ripon and I said she could be a good thing, but Sheikh Juma said he was getting a bit fed up with Ripon – let’s have a look at the Queen Mary. We can easily bring her back to Ripon afterwards. She is in with a squeak.”
Wesley Ward is no stranger to success at Royal Ascot, having saddled 12 winners in the last 14 years, and the US handler saddles Bundchen.
Bundchen was runner-up in an extended four-and-a-half-furlong fillies’ race at Keeneland on the dirt on her sole start in April.
Ward added: “I’m excited for this filly. Unfortunately she was in a race at Keeneland and the race was rained off the grass and on to the dirt that day, so she had to run on a surface she wouldn’t have preferred.
“Now that she’s back on the grass, she has had some phenomenal breezes on the Keeneland grass course and I think she will have a big run.”
Frankie Dettori appeared to hold a great chance with Laurel in the Duke of Cambridge, only for the filly to be scratched.
However, it enables him to resume his partnership with the Ralph Beckett-trained Prosperous Voyage.
Winner of the Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom on her last start, the Andrew Rosen- and Marc Chan-owned four-year-old is among the leading contenders for the Group Two mile contest.
Chan’s racing manager Jamie McCalmont said: “It’s a bit different competition to Epsom here, but she didn’t have a hard race there and that should set her up for a good performance. Ralph and the team have been very happy with her since.”
“We’re sorry for the connections of Laurel, but it’s great to have Frankie back on board.”
Rogue Millennium drops back in trip to a mile for the first time in her nine-race career, having gone down by half a length to Free Wind in the Middleton at York over an extended 10 furlongs when last seen.
He trainer Tom Clover feels she will relish the stiff uphill finish and said: “She travelled so well at York. She has got better and her home work has been classy.
“A stiff mile at Ascot, I think its obviously worth a go. She seems in great form and we’re looking forward to running her.
“We don’t go there lightly. If everything falls right and we have a bit of luck, we think she’d have a good chance.”
The other Group Two contest is the Queen’s Vase, where the Dettori-ridden Gregory heads the market, bidding to remain unbeaten after two starts.
The John and Thady Gosden-trained colt won Goodwood’s Listed Cocked Hat by three lengths, but steps up an additional three furlongs.
“He is a classy performer and we were delighted with his run at Goodwood. He looks a staying type and we feel he will improve over a mile and three-quarters,” said Thady Gosden.
“It is obviously a very competitive race, but he has worked well and we hope he brings his A-game.”