By Thomas Reynolds
Last Updated: 18th June 2019
For the second year in succession, the first race of Royal Ascot, the Queen Anne Stakes, has a wide-open feel to it, with 13 of the 16 runners within 3lbs of one another on official ratings.
Lockinge winner Mutashry is 4lbs better than any of his rivals in the eyes of the handicapper, but evidence that the form of that Group 1 mile contest is considered inconclusive comes in the shape of the eight horses he beat at Newbury returning to take him on.
Mustashry!! A really nice performance. He kicks clear to win the Lockinge!
— Racing Reflex (@Racing_Reflex) May 18, 2019
Laurens, Accidental Agent, Romanised, Le Brivido, Sharja Bridge, Mythical Magic and Lord Glitters are the octet in question, but do any offer as much Queen Anne Stakes betting value as Ed Walker’s gallant globetrotter Stormy Antarctic?
At substantial odds of 25/1 and with William Hill paying a superb five places instead of three for his each-way backers, it’s well worth chancing he can win his first Group 1 at the 11th time of asking.
Remarkably consistent Stormy Atlantic a Queen Anne Stakes each-way betting gift
It’s testament to the seeming lack of stars among the older milers this term that a horse still seeking his first victory at the top table after so many tries could conceivably win.
Yet Walker’s miler earned himself silver medals in Group 1 contests at the ages of two, three and five and has become seriously reliable in classy contests since being gelded in 2017.
— Ed Walker Racing (@edwalkerracing) May 31, 2018
In a dozen subsequent outings at strata ranging from Listed level to the top tier he’s never finished more than four-and-a-half lengths behind the winner, landing two G2s and finishing less than two lengths third in the G1 Woodbine mile in that time.
Last at Ascot to contest the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day 2018, he came home an immensely credible one-and-a-half lengths fourth behind star of the season Roaring Lion.
Nor could Stormy Atlantic arrive at the Royal Meeting in better form, having followed a hard fought win in Dusseldorf’s G3 Kalkmann Fruhjahrs-Meile with a facile four-lengths score in the G2 Premio Presidente della Repubblica at Capanelle in Italy.
Anda Muchacho, next home in the latter race, scored in Group 3 company next time out to underline that form as solid too. It’s the first time Stormy Antarctic has scored twice in a row since his juvenile campaign.
That double was followed up by a head second in the G1 Criterium International. A repeat performance would be fine for his each-way backers, but going a head better at Ascot doesn’t seem all that fanciful.