Bay Bridge will face four rivals as he bids to take his impressive tally of wins to six in Wednesday’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes, the feature on day two of Royal Ascot.
Sir Michael Stoute’s representative has been improving at a rapid rate of knots since his first two starts as a juvenile, winning all four of his starts last term including the Listed James Seymour at Newmarket.
The four-year-old son of New Bay looked better than ever on his return to action when trouncing Mostahdaf by five lengths in the Brigadier Gerard at Sandown last month and will be a warm order to give Stoute a fifth win in the race as he steps into Group One company for the first time.
Japan’s Shahryar promises to be a major contender for trainer Hideaki Fujiwara. The son of Deep Impact won the Dubai Sheema Classic and while dropping back in trip, is certain to stay the 10-furlong distance.
Lord North, a dual Dubai Turf winner who took this race two years ago, represents John and Thady Gosden, while in-form Joseph O’Brien relies on State Of Rest, winner of three top-level races including the Prix Ganay. He was a place in front of Lord North in the Tattersalls Gold Cup when third to Alenquer at the Curragh.
Adding to the international flavour is Grand Glory, who landed the Group One Prix Jean Romanet for Italian trainer Gianluca Bietolini last August, although notable omissions include the William Haggas pair Dubai Honour and Addeybb, and Aidan O’Brien’s Broome.
The Queen Mary Stakes opens proceedings and has attracted a field of 21, headed by Love Reigns who won by nine and three-quarter lengths on her Keeneland debut. She seeks to give American trainer Wesley Ward a fifth success in the five-furlong dash.
The home contingent is led by Karl Burke, who saddles Newmarket maiden winner Dramatised and Yashat.
Sandown’s National Stakes winner Maria Branwell will bid to make it an unbeaten hat-trick for David O’Meara, while Clive Cox, whose juveniles have been in sparkling form this season, takes a two-pronged approach with impressive dual winner Katey Kontent and Lost Angel.
The Queen’s Vase sees a field of 12 going to post, with Charlie Appleby hoping to win it for the second successive year. He relies on Hafit and Nahaani, who takes his place following a creditable seventh in the Derby just 11 days ago.
Yarmouth winner Baltic Bird represents team Gosden and there is royal interest with the Queen’s Newbury scorer Perfect Alibi saddled by Haggas, while unbeaten Eldar Eldarov is on a hat-trick for Roger Varian.
Last year’s 1000 Guineas heroine Mother Earth heads an eight-strong field for the Duke Of Cambridge a race that O’Brien senior has yet to win.
She will have to turn around Sun Chariot form with the Jane Chapple-Hyam-trained Saffron Beach, who takes her on again. Bashkirova, who is owned by Cheveley Park Stud, will bid to follow up her Epsom win in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes for the Haggas team.
International flavour in the mile contest is provided by Saint-Cloud Group Two scorer Sibila Spain (Christopher Head), German raider Novemba (Peter Schiergen) and France’s Kennella (Nicolas Caullery).