Conditions are ideal for Roger Varian's Lockinge winner to land Tuesday's Queen Anne Stakes.
Rain, rain and more rain may have wiped the smile off those looking for the more normal quicker ground but the Godolphin-owned four-year-old has shown that he is at the venith of his power when the mud is flying and this could well be the day when he is crowned king of the old milers.
The Lope De Vega colt first gave signal of his intent that he was properly back in the block when beaten only three quartets of a length by Solow in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over course and distance last October and confirmed that impression when slamming Calling Out two and a quarter lengths in the Doncaster Mile at Doncaster in April on his reappearance. A temporary blip on the rising barometer was witnessed in the Bets365 Mile at Sandown next time but he seemed to get too far behind in the early stages then and was still only beaten two lengths into fourth by Toormore.
Roger Varian had clearly sorted out whatever was amiss at Sandown when he took Belardo for the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury last month and he finished with a flourish to account for Euro Charline by a length.
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There are plenty of classy rivals in opposition with the formidable Tepin putting her reputation on the line but Belardo is clearly improving and there is no Solow standing in his way as he bids for Group 1 Ascot glory and he looks worthy of 1pt win.
Michael Dodds had a nice pre-Royal Ascot boost when Easton Angel hacked up in a listed sprint event at Sandown on Saturday and hopes are high that Mecca’s Angel can confirm her position as one of the best sprinters in training in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes. The Dark Angel mare put up probably the best performance from a speedster last season when taking the scalp of the American hope Acapulco in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York last August where she had two lengths to spare.
Mecca’s Angel can be excused for being just a little ring rusty on her reappearance in the Group 2 Temple Stakes at Haydock in May when beaten a neck by the racefit and in form Profitable and she can prove a different proposition as she bids for a second success at the highest level. She looks a solid bet and 2pts win is advised.