GBI RACING

Rhododendron heads Queen Anne declarations at Royal Ascot

Rhododendron on her way to winning the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury

Ante-post favourite Rhododendron is one of 15 horses declared for the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.

The straight-mile Group One is the traditional curtain-raiser to the Royal meeting and another fascinating renewal is in store.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained Rhododendron claimed her third top-level victory when beating the boys in last month’s Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

With stablemate Hydrangea the only horse to withdraw from the confirmation stage, Rhododendron is the only remaining filly in a strong field.

O’Brien has a second string to his bow in Deauville.

Lightning Spear was just a short head behind Rhododendron in the Lockinge and renews rivalry for trainer David Simcock.

Godolphin has claimed this prize a record eight times and Sheikh Mohammed’s operation has a major contender for this year’s renewal in Saeed bin Suroor’s Benbatl, who was last seen running out a brilliant winner of the Dubai Turf at Meydan in March.

Recoletos represents France and American hopes rest on Yoshida.

The David O’Meara-trained trio of Lord Glitters, Suedois and So Beloved, the supplemented Century Dream from Simon Crisford’s yard and Andrew Balding’s Beat The Bank also feature.

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