Ascot Summer Mile: Horse-by-horse guide plus Sky Sports Racing pundit Freddy Tylicki gives his verdict on Group Two feature

Sir Busker heads a field of 10 for Saturday's Summer Mile Stakes at Ascot; William Knight's five-year-old finished third in the Queen Anne Stakes; watch Summer Mile Stakes day at Ascot live on Sky Sports Racing on Saturday from 12.30pm

Tilsit wins the Group Three Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes at Goodwood
Image: Tilsit wins the Group Three Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes at Goodwood

The Group Two Betfred Summer Mile, live on Sky Sports Racing, has firmly placed itself as a well-desired prize since its switch back to Ascot in 2007 and is very much on the radar for the older milers - being restricted to four-olds plus.

The race was afforded Group Two status in that year and the first running of the race went to the James Fanshawe-trained Cesare who landed the spoils under Jamie Spencer.

Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum has been the most successful owner in the contest and took the race with Aqlaam (2009), Aljamaaheer (2013), Mutakayyef (2016 and 2017) and was also successful with Mohaather 12 months ago, whilst the Andrew Balding-trained Beat The Bank was another dual winner in 2018 and 2019.

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This year's event looks very competitive with course specialist Sir Busker, winner of the 2020 Silver Royal Hunt Cup, currently heading the market at 3-1 after putting in an eye-catching performance when third to 2-7 shot Palace Pier in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Sky Sports Racing presenter Freddy Tylicki casts his knowledgeable eye over the 10 contenders for Saturday's renewal and gives his verdict of what he hopes will be the next name on the illustrious roll of honour.

1 - Al Suhail (Draw: 10) Jockey - P Dobbs; Trainer - C Appleby

"Al Suhail is relatively lightly raced but he ran a blinder when beaten only half a length by Lord Glitters in the Group One Jebel Hatta at Meydan in March but was never at the races next time in the Group 1 Dubai Turf won by Lord North later that month. He has missed 105 days and it'll be hard for him to take on and beat these."

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2 - Century Dream (7) J Spencer; S&E Crisford

Century Dream (green) beats Top Rank in the Midsummer Stakes at Windsor
Image: Century Dream (green) beats Top Rank in the Midsummer Stakes at Windsor

"Century Dream ran as though he needed the race when well beaten in the Juddmonte Lockinge at Newbury on his reappearance and has been an admirable performer throughout his career.

"He failed by only a nose behind Oh This Is Us in the Diomed Stakes at Epsom in June and then returned to winning form with a length and a half defeat of Top Rank in a listed race at Windsor a fortnight ago.

"He is 5lb worse off with the runner-up and is another who wouldn't mind a drop of rain and is another who should be right there."

3 - Duke of Hazzard (9) C Bishop; P Cole

"Duke Of Hazard was sent off at even money when finishing third to Space Traveller in a listed race at York in June and ran a better race last time at Newmarket when third to Glorious Journey but this looks too much of an ask for him."

4 - Happy Power (5) D Probert; A Balding

Happy Power's last victory came in the Challenge Stakes at Newmarket in October
Image: Happy Power's last victory came in the Challenge Stakes at Newmarket in October

"Happy Power finished a creditable fourth to Dream Of Dream in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot but the trip was clearly inadequate for him.

"He has won over a mile, but he has run most of his best races over seven furlongs and I getting the feeling he might be just a little stretched in the closing stages over a mile."

5 - Haqeeqy (3) R Havlin; J&T Gosden

"Haqeeqy looked better than a handicapper when landing a gamble in the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster first time out, but things haven't gone according to plans since and he will have to improve to win this.

"John Gosden is a past master at doing exactly that, but he wouldn't be my idea of the winner and he has a few pounds to find on official ratings."

6 - Regal Reality (1) R Kingscote; Sir M Stoute

"Regal Reality didn't make much impression when 10th to Palace Pier on his reappearance in the Queen Anne Stakes here in June but should improve for that first run.

"His form, when beaten by only half a length by 2000 Guineas winner Kameko in the Group 2 Joel Stakes at Newmarket last September with Benbatl back in third, would put him right in the mix but it would take an act of faith to suggest he will come back to that form here."

7 - Sir Busker (2) C Shepherd; W Knight

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Trainer William Knight compared Summer Mile hope Sir Busker to rugby great Va'aiga Tuigamala and says his five-year-old is in great shape for Ascot this weekend

"Sir Busker won the Silver Royal Hunt Cup here last year and ran a great race when third to Palace Pier in the Queen Anne Stakes but he has still to win at this sort of level.

"He was beaten four and a half lengths by Century Dream in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood last year and would have plenty to do with that rival in these terms.

"Nevertheless, he has shown a real liking for this course and that should stand him in good stead."

Sir Busker

8 - Space Traveller (4) D Tudhope; R Fahey

"Space Traveller has been an admirable servant to the Richard Fahey team and he made a welcome return to winning form when winning a listed event over a mile at York in June.

"This looks a much tougher assignment, and he could struggle against these rivals."

9 - Tilsit (8) K Shoemark; C Hills

"I like Tilsit a lot and I thought he ran an absolute blinder in the Group 1 Prix D'Ispahan at Longchamp at the end of May when beaten by only a head by the prolific winning Skaletti.

"He was meant to have run at Ascot but connections decided to bypass that, and this looks a great opportunity for him. He was beaten by a very good horse in Skalleti and he is an improving horse who would welcome any rain."

10 - Top Rank (6) L Morris; J Tate

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Having steered Top Rank to victory on debut in 2018, jockey Luke Morris is excited to reunite with James Tate's five-year-old in the Ascot Summer Mile on Saturday

"Top Rank has some very solid form although I think he was slightly disappointed at Royal Ascot when only fifth to Palace Pier. To be fair he was caught out a bit on the wing in the Queen Anne and the pace of the race probably didn't suit him either.

"He has since finished runner-up to Century Dream in a listed race at Windsor who he is seeing here again but he is 5lb better off with that rival and James Tate's team are back to their very best form with five winners from their last 15 runners as we go to press. He's a lovely horse and I expect him to be in the thick of the action."

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The verdict

"I thought Century Dream did well when winning at Windsor last time and could well be coming to his peak. I can see him confirming places with Top Rank but TILSIT would have to be my selection as he was only edged out by a very tough and prolific winning opponent in Skalleti at Longchamp, comes here a fresh horse and I can see him progressing a little more."

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