Notable Speech faces maximum of 10 rivals in St James’s Palace

Notable Speech will face a maximum of 10 rivals at Royal Ascot when he bids to follow up his 2000 Guineas victory in Tuesday’s St James’s Palace Stakes.

The son of Dubawi was making his turf debut in last month’s Rowley Mile Classic following a hat-trick of all-weather wins at Kempton and maintained his unbeaten record with an impressive display.

The form could hardly have worked out better with the second and third, Rosallion and Haatem, going on to finish first and second in the Irish 2,000 Guineas. Always the apple of Richard Hannon’s eye, Rosallion will try to turn the tables, although stablemate Haatem is more likely to run in the Jersey Stakes later in the week.

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Aidan O’Brien has left in Henry Longfellow, Mountain Bear, River Tiber and Unquestionable, with the first-named seemingly the stable’s first string as he looks to bounce back from disappointment in the French Guineas at ParisLongchamp.

Mario Baratti’s French Guineas winner, Metropolitan, has been supplemented at a cost of £46,000 and will be joined on the trip across the Channel by Darlinghurst, who is four from four this year for Jerome Reynier.

Newmarket fifth Alyanaabi (Owen Burrows) and the lightly-raced Heron Stakes winner Almaqam (Ed Walker) complete the potential field.

Inspiral winning the 2022 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot
Inspiral winning the 2022 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot (David Davies/PA)

Last year’s runner-up Inspiral is one of 16 in the mix for the Queen Anne Stakes.

John and Thady Gosden’s top-class mare was a brilliant winner of the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot two years ago and came close to doubling her tally at the showpiece meeting when narrowly denied by shock winner Triple Time 12 months ago.

The four-year-old finished only fourth on her return to action in the Lockinge last month, but will be well fancied to bounce back in the traditional curtain-raiser.

The Gosdens have also confirmed the surprise Lockinge winner Audience, who slipped the field at Newbury after being deployed in a pacesetting role, while Big Rock and Facteur Cheval, first and second in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day, are both set to return from France.

Roger Varian’s Lockinge runner-up Charyn is another leading contender for the home team, but Simon and Ed Crisford’s unbeaten course winner Quddwah is a notable absentee.

Nineteen speedsters have been confirmed for the King Charles III Stakes, with Mick Appleby looking forward to saddling ante-post favourite Big Evs.

Winner of the Windsor Castle 12 months ago, the Blue Point colt went on to claim Breeders’ Cup glory and appeared to have lost none of his dash when making a successful start to his three-year-old campaign in the Westow Stakes at York last month.

“He came back with a good run back at York, winning quite well, and now all roads lead to Ascot in the King Charles,” Appleby told Tattersalls.

“It looks a very hot race, but hopefully we’ll be going there with a very live chance. He came out of the York race really well; I don’t think he had a very hard race there. He fluffed the start, which is very unlike him, but Tom (Marquand) looked very cool on him and gave him a good ride, so he didn’t really have a hard race.

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Trainer Mick Appleby (right) with Big Evs
Trainer Mick Appleby (right) with Big Evs (Joe Giddens/PA)

“He went to York probably 95 per cent (fit), he wasn’t fully tuned up for that, we were using it as a prep run for Ascot.

“He is up there with all the best I’ve trained, definitely. Obviously, he is the best two-year-old we’ve ever had, so we’ll see what happens this year as to whether he’s the best we’ve ever had.”

Ed Bethell’s Regional, the Clive Cox-trained Temple Stakes winner Kerdos and Henry Dwyer’s Australian raider Asfoora all remain in contention, as does Crimson Advocate, winner of the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot last year and poised to make her debut for the Gosdens after being bought by Wathnan Racing.

The Coventry Stakes is the first two-year-old race of the week and has attracted 31 initial entries, with Joseph O’Brien’s Cowardofthecounty and his father Aidan’s Camille Pissarro two of the major hopes.

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