Royal Ascot 2015: Queen Alexandra Stakes preview (17.35)
Irish trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Ryan Moore have teamed up to win two of the last three runnings of Queen Alexandra Stakes, and Wicklow Brave looks a worthy favourite to provide them with more success in the 2m conditions contest which brings Royal Ascot to a close.
The six-year-old was bounced back to form when storming to an eight length success in County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, and has since has since scored with ease in two flat races in Ireland.
After beating Jennies Jewel in a 2m contest at Gowran Park, Wicklow Brave barely had to break sweat to register a facile 5 1/2 length success at Listowel.
The manner of those successes suggest that Wicklow Brave may be a pattern performer in the making, and if that is to be the case then the son of Beat Hollow is going to be very hard to beat in this extended 2m 5f contest.
There is little doubt that Wicklow Brave has the potential to prove a cut above his rivals, and Mullins and Moore are a potent combination who have already struck this week with Clondaw Warrior who landed a monster gamble in the Ascot Stakes.
Should Wicklow Brave fail to live up to expections, then Marzocco is the one most likely to capitalise.
The John Gosden trained gelding developed into a smart stayer last season and ran very well to finish a 4 3/4 length fifth of 12 to Kingston Hill in the St Leger at Doncaster.
That is strong form in the context of this contest, and Marzocco went on to post a solid effort beaten just a short-head by Big Orange in a Listed race over 1m 6f at this venue.
The four-year-old has had just two starts this season, making hard work of winning a minor contest at Chelmsford City before finishing a well-beaten ninth of 15 to Brown Panther in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup.
This is far easier than the latter, and on the pick of his form Marzocco looks a big player.
Rawaki represents trainer Andrew Balding ,who saddled Chiberta King to land the race in 2013, and ran well when runner-up last time out in a Listed contest at Goodwood.
However, that race was over 1m 4f, and although Rawaki has proven form over 2m there has to be a big doubt as to wther he will stay this marathon trip.
Of the outsiders, the Mark Johnston trained Oriental Fox is a proven stayer who could run well if primed to go on his first start for 357 days.
Coral betting tip: Wicklow Brave is a very worthy favourite indeed to end Royal Ascot 2015 with a win.