Updated on 06/13/2016 3:41PM

A Shin Hikari can give Japan first Royal Ascot win

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Hong Kong Jockey Club
A Shin Hikari wins the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup in December.

A Shin Hikari, who might be the most exciting horse racing at Royal Ascot this week, gets his chance to shine Wednesday in the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes, the featured fourth race on an excellent six-race program that also includes the Duke of Cambridge Stakes, headlined by the American filly Miss Temple City.

Equine performance, however, probably will be the only thing shining Wednesday at Ascot, where the forecast continues to call for clouds and rain. The course was rated good-to-soft on Monday but could very well be downgraded to soft all around by the time the five-day meet begins Tuesday.

Wet going, however, should not trouble A Shin Hikari, who is the world’s top-rated horse in 2016 based on his 10-length tour-de-force victory over heavy ground May 24 in the Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan at Chantilly. Going into that start, A Shin Hikari was thought to prefer firmer turf, but the emergent Japanese star showed that afternoon that he can deliver a top performance on any going.

Trained by Masanori Sakaguchi, the 5-year-old son of Deep Impact has thrown two clunkers in his career, finishing ninth in both of them, but has won his other 10 starts. In December, he captured the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin under conditions vastly different than those at Chantilly, and with a reportedly strong workout last weekend, A Shin Hikari is set to become the first Japanese winner at Royal Ascot.

Heading his competition in the 1 1/4-mile Prince of Wales’s (which goes at 11:20 a.m. Eastern) is the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner, Found, who already has packed four starts into her 4-year-old campaign. She has won only at the Group 3 level so far this year but was second last out to Postponed, among the world’s best horses this year, and should not be bothered by wet conditions Wednesday.

That’s not the case, though, for The Grey Gatsby, who could be scratched from the race if the ground does go to soft. Tryster thrived on good going and Meydan’s flat track this winter, Western Hymn also appears to go better on good-to-firm, and My Dream Boat was beaten more than 14 lengths in the Ispahan, and this is A Shin Hikari’s race to lose.

Rain-softened ground has done nothing for Miss Temple City’s chances in the Duke of Cambridge (post time 10:40 Eastern), and her strong fourth last year at Royal Ascot in the Coronation Stakes came over good-to-firm going. Miss Temple City, trainer Graham Motion said, has traveled well, however, and she’s in career-best form with a strong win over males last out in the Grade 1 Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland.

The race favorite is Usherette, who has won five of six career starts, though only her most recent effort, a two-length victory over Golden Horn vanquisher Arabian Queen in the Dahlia, came at the group stakes level.

Lady Aurelia, who trainer Wesley Ward called his best hope for an Ascot win this week, heads the Group 2 Queen Mary for 2-year-olds over five furlongs, which goes at 10:05 a.m. Eastern. Lady Aurelia won her debut on dirt at Keeneland in April by more than seven lengths and punched her ticket to Ascot with a strong work over turf at Arlington last month. Soft turf, however, could diminish her chances, and there are 16 other horses entered in the Queen Mary.

A previous version of this article misstated the distance of the Prince Wales's Stakes. It is 1 1/4 miles, not 1 1/2 miles.