It has already been a fine Royal Ascot for the Irish representatives at Royal Ascot and hopes are high that they can again make their mark on the penultimate day of the meeting.
Leading the challenge on Friday is Aidan O'Brien's Homecoming Queen in the Coronation Stakes. Her stablemate Maybe will be an absentee here but the English 1000 Guineas winner still gives Aidan O'Brien a strong hand and the rain that has fallen at Ascot over the last day will hold no fears for the daughter of Holy Roman Emperor.
Last time out in the Irish 1000 Guineas we did not get to see the best of Homecoming Queen who was beaten some seven lengths into fourth by Samitar. Possibly though the good to firm ground there would not have been in her favour and the form of her two previous runs would make her a leading contender for this event.
In early May the Ballydoyle challenger produced an absolutely stunning effort in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket where she handed out a nine length beating to her rivals. Certainly Homecoming Queen revelled in the soft ground that prevailed for the first fillies classic of the season and any ease in the ground for Friday's main event will suit her well.
On what are likely to be sharply contrasting conditions to what she faced at the Curragh, a much improved display is expected from Homecoming Queen who is chosen to reverse Curragh form with Samitar. Furthermore even the form of her victory in a well contested 1000 Guineas trial at Leopardstown in April would give her a live chance.
O'Brien also holds an excellent chance in the King Edward VII Stakes as Astrology bids to improve on his superb run in the Epsom Derby where he was beaten just over five lengths into third by Camelot.
Ultimately Astrology was the one who gave Camelot most to do at Epsom as he stretched the field from early in the straight and he only gave best to his stablemate inside the last furlong before then losing second almost on the line. Astrology is one who would prefer better ground and the proximity of this run to Epsom is another point of concern. This especially well bred son of Galileo is very much the one to beat and is taken to overcome these points of concern.
Elsewhere the chances of Macbeth should not be overlooked in the Queen's Vase. The Ken Condon-trained runner finished just behind fellow Irish challenger Athens when the pair were third and fourth in last month's Gallinule Stakes at the Curragh but there are grounds for believing that Macbeth could improve significantly on the form he showed that day.
The ground for the Gallinule was on the quick side but the two times that he has encountered an easy surface he has shown smart form. In April he was a decisive winner of a mile and a half maiden on soft ground at Gowran and last time out he acquitted himself well in a 1m 3f Listed event at Leopardstown where he chased home Backbench Blues.
As a son of Acclamation Macbeth wouldn't appeal as being the likeliest contender for a Queen's Vase but he has already shown good form over middle distances and he comes from a stamina laden pedigree so there are definite grounds for believing that the step up to this extreme distance will suit Macbeth well. He can give a good account of himself.
In the Buckingham Palace Stakes the slow ground is probably against Jamesie who would have line up with a leading chance if the ground was lively. In the same event Gossamer Seed probably has her share of weight. Elsewhere Sendmylovetorose is an interesting runner in the Albany Stakes as she did win very well first time out and could be a juvenile filly with a future.
3.05 Astrology 2pts win
3.45 Homecoming Queen 1pt win
5.00 Macbeth 1pt e/w