With the Summer approaching, so too comes the first of the major races for older horses. Hawk Wing (Woodman) is a clear top-rated by Timeform on 138 following his breathtaking seasonal bow in the Lockinge Stakes, but his participation in the Queen Anne Stakes leaves next Wednesday's Prince Of Wales's Stakes (Gr 1) a clash of several contenders for championship honours. Moon Ballad (132), Falbrav (129), Grandera (129) and Nayef (129) are all scheduled to meet in the 10 furlong contest that may also include the older filly Islington and Group 1 winner Olden Times.
Taken at face value, the Saeed bin Suroor (above) trained Moon Ballad (Singspiel) should come out the winner. The handsome chestnut emulated his sire Singspiel by winning the Dubai World Cup on his only outing so far this year but signalled his ability around the same time last year with his third in the Derby behind High Chaparral and Hawk Wing. The feisty Falbrav (Fairy King) is tough and also won his last start at Group 1 level, the Prix d'Ispahan. Last year's Japan Cup winner will appreciate the firmer conditions at Ascot while Grandera (Grand Lodge) and Nayef (Gulch) both had preparations in Dubai so should be fit enough to do themselves justice. A win for either would hardly represent a great surprise.
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