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Last Updated: 19/06/12 1:12pm
Carlton House: Questions to answer as he steps up in class
Carlton House will attempt to give the Queen a big winner at Royal Ascot in Diamond Jubilee year in Wednesday's Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Victory for Her Majesty's colt in the mile-and-a-quarter showpiece would be ample compensation for his narrow defeat in the Derby last year when he finished a close third after little went right in the race.
Carlton House was then a disappointing fourth in the Irish Derby at the Curragh, after which he missed the remainder of the season.
The Street Cry colt only returned to action at Sandown last month but looked impressive in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes over this distance.
Trainer Sir Michael Stoute told British Champions Series TV: "It was a satisfactory return in the Brigadier Gerard at Sandown.
"We were concerned there wouldn't be much pace and he was race-fresh and did a little too much.
"It was a solid performance, he's now got to go forward.
"We think he's better at 10 furlongs, he actually has got an Arc entry but at the moment we would not want to be going beyond 10.
"He's got a great attitude. When you look back to the Dante, third time on a racecourse, he came through a very narrow gap there.
"Sandown the other night he really wanted it. In the Derby he wanted it but nothing went right, including in the build-up during that week when we had big problems with him.
"He didn't jump very well and then he got messed about by some no-hopers and got pushed very wide. He ran a big race in the Derby. He's very honest."
Ryan Moore has ridden Carlton House in all of his six starts and, while his partner's task has been made slightly easier with Champion stakes winner Cirrus Des Aigles not coming over, Moore is still wary of So You Think.
He told At The Races: "Obviously Cirrus isn't coming but So You Think will be very hard to beat.
"I was quite happy with Carlton's performance at Sandown. Obviously he's stepping up in grade and there are still questions to answer but he's still lightly raced.
"He's got a bit more scope for improvement yet but he's got a hard task."
Marco Botti believes Planteur represents his best chance of a victory at the meeting.
The former French-trained entire is having his third run for the Italian-born Newmarket-based handler after third-placed finishes in the Dubai World Cup and the Prix d'Ispahan.
"He's a proper horse - he knows he's good. Physically I think he has done so well," Botti said.
"In Dubai, he got really warm before the race and a bit worked up. In France it was totally different, he was chilled out and since he ran he has improved again.
"Since he arrived, we always thought he had a lot of class and he looks a strong colt, we've been happy with him."I think he's probably my best chance at Royal Ascot."
Joseph O'Brien rode So You Think in the Dubai World Cup, in which he was fourth, and to an easy victory last time out in the Tattersalls Gold Cup.
The Derby-winning jockey sees Carlton House as the main danger to Ballydoyle's big hope, who was beaten in this race 12 months ago by Rewilding.
"He seems to have come on from his run at the Curragh OK and we're hoping for a good run," said O'Brien jnr.
"Carlton House had a nice start to the year and might be the one to beat."
Sri Putra was a gallant third last year and usually runs well in the top races.
He managed his first win in over two years at Kempton last month but then uncharacteristically ran below-par in a Group One in Italy.
Trainer Roger Varian believes he is back in great shape and is hoping to pick up some prize-money.
"Sri Putra often saves his best for the championship races because the track, ground and fast pace seem to suit him," he told www.varianstable.com.
"He certainly seems back to his best following his disappointing run in Italy and hopefully he can get in the money."
Wigmore Hall has been a grand servant to connections, but is without a win since the Northern Dancer Stakes at Woodbine in September 2011.
He has, nevertheless, run plenty of sound races in defeat since then, with most of them in top company.
While trainer Michael Bell is realistic about his chances, there is still the chance of picking up some of the big prize-money on offer.
"He's got good form at the highest level. On the book it's pretty exposed that he will struggle to beat the principals, but he's entitled to run," said Bell.
"Hopefully he won't come home empty-handed."