Integral can lord it in Duke of Cambridge

Night Of Thunder may have done little to boost the Lockinge form in yesterday’s Queen Anne Stakes, but that’s no reason to doubt Integral’s claims in today’s Duke of Cambridge Stakes, at Royal Ascot.

Integral can lord it in Duke of Cambridge

Michael Stoute’s mare won this race last year, and, afterwards, was twice successful in Group 1 company. On her return, in the Lockinge, she ran a super race to be beaten little more than a length behind Night Of Thunder, and any step forward from that would make her very difficult to beat.

The Newbury race should have put her spot on and, despite her Group 1 penalty, she can give her handler his fifth success in the race. The danger may come from Euro Charline, who ran well from the front when fourth behind Queen Anne Stakes winner Solow at Meydan last time out.

Bossy Guest looks a value bet to reverse Newmarket 2000 Guineas form with Ivawood in the Jersey Stakes. Having had a very busy two-year-old season, the Mick Channon-trained horse appeared to bring his form to a whole new level at Newmarket, and that could be a sign of even better to come.

Having travelled nicely from off the pace, he had to switch across the course and was short of room when initially asked to move forward, but then stayed on well to finish fourth behind Gleneagles.

With a little better luck in running, he’d surely have finished in front of Ivawood, who was only half a length superior on that occasion. The drop back to seven furlongs isn’t an issue and, off a strong pace, he should have every opportunity to produce his customary late run. At 10-1, he looks a value proposition.

Ivawood is the danger. He tried to steal the Irish 2000 Guineas from the front, and there was no shame in being outpointed by yesterday’s St James’s Palace Stakes winner Gleneagles and Endless Drama. He will certainly appreciate today’s shorter trip, and has obvious claims.

The Prince of Wales’s Stakes is the feature event this afternoon, but it’s a real puzzle for punters, with the top two in the betting, Free Eagle and Ectot, each having their first start of the season. On figures, The Grey Gatsby is the one to beat, but he hasn’t been very convincing in two outings this season, and has something to prove now.

It’s a race for minimum stakes, but Ectot may be able to overcome his absence to score for Elie Lellouche. On his first start of last season, he got the better of a great battle with Karakontie, who did plenty for the form when winning the French 2000 Guineas and the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

His six-strong winning run came to an end in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, behind Treve, but that’s probably not a fair reflection of his ability. The drop to 10 furlongs is of no concern, and he looks sure to run a big race, at decent odds.

Connections of Free Eagle have stated they expect significant improvement from their charge as the season progresses, but that won’t stop him running a big race. He rates an obvious danger.

The Sandringham brings a finish to proceedings on day two of the meeting, and the Karl Burke-trained Mothers Finest looks progressive enough to play a big part.

Runner-up on debut, at Redcar, she won her maiden at Haydock on her second start, and ran a fine race in defeat when stepped up to Listed company for the first time, at York. She looked somewhat green in that race and is just the type to progress with each experience. This requires a step up, but a fast-run race should help her settle, and she looks set for a big run, at appealing odds of 14-1.

Always Smile is unbeaten in three runs, looks very progressive, and is deserving of her place at the head of the market.

Selections

2.30 Bossy Guest

3.05 Easton Angel

3.40 Integral (nap)

4.20 Ectot

5.00 Temptress

5.35 Mothers Finest (nb)

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