Every year, this is one of the most difficult races to narrow down.
Other 30-runner handicaps exist of course, but few feature an entire field of inexperienced, improving three-year-olds which means we cannot know where the ceiling is for each of them.
In any case, we’ve checked out many variables before coming up with our shortlist which consists of these six runners:
Fittingly, this horse played his opposition like a tune last time at Hamilton but he’ll find thigs much harder this time around.
Stallion New Bay is starting to do really well, so far siring the likes of Bay Bridge, Saffron Beach and Bayside Boy, and it seems certain we’ll see a chunk of improvement from this offspring as well.
If he has the pace for this fiercely-run race, then his price looks quite meaty for Ralph Beckett and Rob Hornby.
King Of Time
Charlie Appleby has been really lucky with the draw in the two straight track handicaps, including with King Of Time here who will jump from the 29 gate.
He’s unbeaten in three so far having started only this year after his gelding operation. Two smooth wins at Lingfield were comfortably bettered on the turf when he was very fluent in scoring at Newmarket last time, showing good pace as well as a finishing kick.
In giving him a mark of 93 the handicappers have not got close to collaring the son of Kingman yet and he has plenty in his favour today.
Various trainers are vehemently endeavouring to train a winner for the Queen this week, John & Thady Gosden chiefs among them with both Reach For The Moon and Saga.
On his first two starts as a juvenile, Saga chased home first Breeders’ Cup and French Guineas winner Modern Games and then 2000 Guineas and St James’s Palace champ Coroebus.
A win at Ascot came, while this season he has also followed Maljoom home who has since gone on to win the German Guineas and was an unlucky loser in the St James’s Palace on Tuesday.
The form is all there then, the doubts being whether he is improving fast enough to be called very well handicapped as well as his under-par run last time.
We’d have had Thesis a little further up the list had he been better drawn, but he’s well worth a mention nonetheless.
The Kingman colt is without a win in four attempts so far, but his form is still progressive and it looks as though he’ll relish this very different test under Ryan Moore.
In single-figure numbers in the betting and coming from stall 30 is Tranquil Night, another with a major shout for the Godolphin team.
His apparent strength in this race is actually more of a major compliment to better-fancied team mate King Of Time, though that’s not to say James Doyle isn’t on the right one here as he was in the Guineas.
Like his pal, Tranquil Night is three from three since being gelded including at Newmarket where he was a taking winner over solid form horse Outgate.
It must be difficult for Charlie Appleby and William Buick to know which horse is further ahead of their mark as both will love the conditions, but they get it right so often which is really the only doubt we have about the chances of this fella.
An unbeaten, progressive William Haggas horse is always simply impossible to ignore, regardless of the strength of a race.
Yonafis has only gone up 4lbs for winning in a handicap last time, but it wasn’t hugely impressive and he’s done all of his winning thus far in small races on Polytrack and Tapeta surfaces so he’s into the unknown here.
He is well drawn, so under Tom Marquand he cannot be easily discounted for a top training operation.
Despite the difficult nature of this race, surely you’d rather be a punter than a commentator?
30 of them will be sent hurtling from the gates and will go hell for leather up the straight track over this mile, with only those who can handle the heat and who are significantly ahead of their handicap marks coming out best.
Yonafis remains of interest, but the chances of Godolphin pair Tranquil Night and especially KING OF TIME are obvious with the last named just preferred over this stablemate.