JACK Hobbs, pictured, is among 17 horses left in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. John Gosden’s five-year-old has hardly raced since his three-year-old campaign when he won the Irish Derby. But he showed he was as good as ever when winning at Meydan in the Dubai Sheema Classic. John Gosden also has Wings Of Desire in the 10-furlong showpiece on Wednesday, while Godolphin, who own a big stake in Jack Hobbs, also have Hawkbill, Scottish, Moonlight Magic and Prize Money in the mix. Highland Reel, who won the Coronation Cup at Epsom. is one of three possibles from the Aidan O’Brien battalions along with Johannes Vermeer and Deauville.
Dermot Weld has The Grey Gatsby entered. He was second in 2015 when trained by Kevin Ryan. Last year’s winner My Dream Boat, trained by Clive Cox, will become the first dual winner since Muhtarram in 1994-95 if he does the business, while Sir Michael Stoute is double-handed with Ulysses and Queen’s Trust in his bid to become the trainer with the winning-most record at Royal Ascot. Roger Charlton relies on Decorated Knight, who took the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh last month.
Jean-Claude Rouget’s Mekhtaal is the only French entry following the defection of ante-post favourite Cloth Of Stars. The list is completed by Roger Varian’s Nezwaah and the William Haggas-trained Mutakayyef.
Meanwhile, 12 months on from Tepin’s success in the Queen Anne, another challenger from abroad will bid to win the opening race of Royal Ascot in the shape of American Patriot. A Grade One winner at home on his last outing, he is trained by Todd Pletcher, one of America’s legendary racing personalities.
His connections expect him to outrun his odds. He is currently 25-1 in the horse racing betting online market for the race. The four-year-old enjoyed a gallop on the Limekilns in Newmarket on Thursday morning, after which assistant trainer Ginny DePasquale said: “There’s so much open space here it hasn’t fazed him at all, he’s taken it all in his stride and has settled in quite well. He went out on the Limekilns but didn’t do anything serious out there. He’s very easy going in the paddock and for his canters.
“It was after Keeneland when he won the Grade One that the owners and Todd saw this race coming up and the timing was perfect. Hopefully he can carry his form across the ocean.
“If the ground stays as it is that will probably work out well for us and I think he’ll outrun his price.”