Queen Elizabeth II's Estimate
makes her first start of the year June 19 at Royal Ascot, where she will bid for a repeat victory in the Gold Cup (Eng-I).
The 4-year-old daughter of Monsun won last year's race by a neck in what was an uplifting victory, her trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, said at a recent press conference.
"The Gold Cup victory was so welcomed by the entire racing fraternity and by all those who follow racing," he said. "The win last year was so good for racing, so it ranks very highly with me."
Estimate, who has won half of her eight career starts, including the 2012 Queen's Vase (Eng-III) at Royal Ascot, returns to the Gold Cup without a prep run. In her most recent start, she was seventh in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup (Eng-III) in October at Ascot.
"The preparation has not been easy because we have had problems," the trainer said. "There has been a muscle problem with her right hind (leg), which is why she has not had a preparatory run.
"So we are under pressure, but there has been some good progress in the last month. I think it is a very tough Gold Cup this year, so it is a tough assignment but I think we will run very well."
The 15-horse field includes Coolmore and partners' 2013 Ladbroke St. Leger (Eng-I) winner Leading Light, a 4-year-old Montjeu colt who most recently was victorious by three lengths in the 1 3/4-mile Coolmore Vintage Crop (Ire-II) May 18 at Navan.
Tac de Boistron
, a 7-year-old Take Risks gelding, won last year's Prix Royal-Oak (Fr-I, French St. Leger) for Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock. He captured the two-mile Longines Sargaro Stakes (Eng-III) April 20 at Ascot and comes in off a second in the 1 3/4-mile Sky Bet Yorkshire Cup (Eng-II) for trainer Marco Botti.
Last year's Goodwood Cup (Eng-II) winner Brown Panther
, co-owned by British football legend Michael Owen and Betfair co-founder Andrew Black, will bid for his third win from as many starts this year. The 6-year-old son of Shirocco
took the Ormonde Stakes (Eng-III) at Chester May 9 for trainer Tom Dascombe and stretched out for a comfortable win going a bit more than two miles in the Henry II Stakes (Eng-III) three weeks later at Sandown.
Gold Cup (Eng-I), 4YO & Up, 2 1/2 miles, turf
No. PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. 7. Ahzeemah, K. Fallon, 128, S. bin Suroor
2. 1. Altano, E. Pedroza, 128, A. Wohler
3. 4. Brown Panther, R. Kingscote, 128, T. Dascombe
4. 5. Oriental Fox, J. Fanning, 128, M. Johnston
5. 13. Royal Diamond, R. Hughes, 128, J. P. Murtagh
6. 9. Saddler's Rock, W. Buick, 128, J. M. Oxx
7. 15. Simenon, F. Dettori, 128, W. P. Mullins
8. 12. Tac de Boistron, M. Harley, 128, M. Botti
9. 11. Havana Beat, D. Probert, 126, A. M. Balding
10. 14. Leading Light, J. P. O'Brien, 126, A. P. O'Brien
11. 1. Ralston Road, R. P. Whelan, 126, J. P. Shanahan
12. 3. Shwaiman, T. P. Queally, 126, J. R. Fanshawe
13. 6. Estimate, R. L. Moore, 125, M. Stoute
14. 10. Missunited, J. Crowley, 125, M. Winters
15. 8. Pale Mimosa, P. J. Smullen, 125, D. K. Weld