06/15/2010 11:00PM

Byword looks tough in Prince of Wales's


The decidedly French flavor on the first day at Royal Ascot on Tuesday will be tasted again Wednesday when the likely favorite for the Group 1, $663,885 Prince of Wales's Stakes will be the Andre Fabre-trained Byword. He will be accompanied in his cross-channel foray by the Mikel Delzangles-trained Shalanaya, one day after Goldikova and Makfi take dead aim at the Royal Meeting's two big Group 1 miles.

If Goldikova is successful in the Queen Anne Stakes, it will bode very well for Juddmonte's Byword. A Peintre Celebre half-brother to two-time Grade 1 turf winner Proviso, he finished just a half-length behind Goldikova in the 1 1/8-mile, 55-yard, Group 1 Prix d'Ispahan on May 23, prior to which he had won the listed Prix Jacques Laffitte at 1 1/8 miles and the Group 2 Prix du Muguet at a mile. He has won over the Prince of Wales's 1 1/4-mile distance at the allowance level and will have Maxime Guyon in the saddle.

Trained by Delzangles for the Aga Khan, Shalanaya won the prestigious 1 1/4-mile, Group 1 Prix de l'Opera in October prior to an unsuccessful trip to Japan where she was fourth in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup. She should improve off her seasonal debut when second in the Group 1 Prix Ganay against colts. Christophe Lemaire has the call.

British hopes rest mainly with the Henry Cecil-trained Twice Over, but the Breeders' Cup Classic third looks vulnerable. Just one length fourth in this race last year to Vision d'Etat, he was only 10th in the Dubai World Cup and will need to show much more if he is to repel the French challenge.

Mawatheeq was a half-length second to Twice Over in the 1 1/4-mile, Group 1 Champion Stakes on Oct. 17, but the Marcus Tregoning son of Danzig hasn't run since then. The Luca Cumani-trained Presvis always gets a lot of play, but one wonders why as he has not won in England since taking a handicap in September 2008.

Wiener Walzer, the Dynaformer German-bred winner of the German Derby last summer, can improve off his distant third to Goldikova and Byword in the Prix d'Ispahan, but he really needs 1 1/2 miles to win at this level.

* There are no American-trained horses running at Ascot on Wednesday, but the Kentucky-bred Free Judgement will start as the favorite for the $118,000 Jersey Stakes, a seven-furlong dash for 3-year-olds. Trained in Ireland by Jim Bolger, the son of Vindication was three lengths second to Canford Cliffs in the Irish 2000 Guineas and already has a Group 3 score at the distance. He will be tested by the front-running Shakespearean, Godolphin's winner of a seven-furlong listed race at Epsom who was a Group 3 winner at Sandown last summer and also won the one-mile Goffs Million at the Curragh.

* Another recent Godolphin winner at Epsom, Antara, goes in the Group 2, $184,000 Windsor Forest Stakes for older fillies and mares at a mile. Her victory in the Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes was her fourth in a row, and she has never been worse than third in nine career starts. The Michael Stoute-trained Strawberrydaiquiri is coming off a seasonal debut score in the 1 1/8-mile, Group 3 Dahlia Stakes, but the selection is Shamwari Lodge, who won her third straight for Richard Hannon on May 22 when taking the one-mile, Group 3 Ridgewood Pearl Stakes at the Curragh.

* Moonlit Garden will have the advantage of starting on the stands-side rail in the Group 2, $132,000 Queen Mary Stakes, the five-furlong sprint for juvenile fillies that was won by the Wesley Ward-trained Jealous Again last year. A six-furlong Curragh maiden winner for Dermot Weld, Moonlit Garden has the speed to lay close enough to the lead to beat Meow, who last won a five-furlong Tipperary maiden by seven lengths for Aidan O'Brien but has drawn post 17 on the unfavorable other side of the track.