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Aussies hatch 'Queen Anne' Royal Ascot plan

It seems a very long time until high summer and the Royal Ascot racing extravaganza, but it is actually just four months away until those splendid five days of world class Flat racing action, writes Elliot Slater.

Australian challengers have done particularly well at the meeting over the last decade with Choisir's double strike in 2003 proving that the southern hemisphere could prove more than a match for their European counterparts. Indeed, with successful subsequent strikes at the meeting in the shape of Miss Andretti, Scenic Blast and the rag-to-riches horse Takeover Target, Australian horses are hugely respected and certainly feared by the local racing fraternity and anyone looking at the horse racing betting should take their challenge very seriously indeed.

It looks as though the latest in the line from Down Under to challenge for a big prize at Royal Ascot will be the smart mare Melito, a winner of five of her 20 career starts and close on £1 million in prize money. Plans are afoot for the five-year-old daughter of superstar Australian sire Redoute's Choice to bid for the seven furlong Queen Anne Stakes on the opening day of the Royal meeting, following a fine return to form at Rosehill last weekend when she ran out a comfortable winner of the Group 2 Apollo Stakes, under Brenton Avdullah.

Last year Melito proved herself one of the very best of her sex with two Group 1 victories, landing the T J Smith Stakes at Randwick in April over six furlongs, and then clocking up another top level victory over a furlong further when winning the Sky Racing Winter Stakes at Eagle Farm in late June.

A mare with an excellent temperament, the Gerald Ryan-trained star is expected to be untroubled by the journey and acquit herself very well against the best European horses at the distance.

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