Royal Ascot 2011

Royal Ascot which kicks off tomorrow (Tuesday 14th) is the Flat racing equivalent to the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival. Royal Ascot is over five days as opposed to Cheltenham’s four. There are some mouth watering races in store, none more so than the reappearance of Frankel (pictured) in Tuesday’s St James’s Palace Stakes run over one mile on the round course. Lets hope he wins this impressively. It will be great for racing to have another “all- time great” to enjoy.

St James’s Palace Stakes will be the third Group 1 of the afternoon. The first race on the card is the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes run over one mile on the straight course. This promises to be a clash between Canford Cliffs and Goldikova. Neither horse would want it too soft as it would blunt their fine turn of finishing speed. Trainer Richard Hannon has always maintained that Canford Cliffs is the best horse he has ever trained so it would be good to see him win at Royal Ascot again having won the St James’s Palace Stakes last year.

The second Group 1 of the day is the King’s Stand Stakes run over 5 furlongs. The race is worth £300,000.00 and looks a truly international affair and a very open race. Kingsgate Native has run well on the course in previous seasons and might be the eachway value.

Wednesday’s feature race is the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes run over 1 mile 2 furlongs. The race is worth £400,000.00 and should be won by So You Think from the Aidan O’Brien yard. He seems to have frightened most of the opposition away.

Thursday is ladies day at Royal Ascot and the feature race is the Ascot Gold Cup, a race for stayers aged 4 and above run over 2 miles 4 furlongs. Although the main race of the meeting the race is only worth £250,000.00. Fame and Glory is the class horse in the race but will he stay the trip ?  I remember Ask and Manifest being first and second favourite last year but neither stayed the distance. The race does have a very open look and few will last the distance if there is a strong pace. Askar Tau is a quirky sort but an out and out stayer and does seem to have captured his old form this season. As a three year old he was a progressive sort and ran 4th in the Newmarket Cesarewitch when made favourite. He won the Lonsdale Cup and the Doncaster Cup in 2009 as a four year old but was completely out of form last season. At 20/1 he looks worth taking a chance with.

Friday and Saturday’s runners are a bit sketchy at the time of blogging but it will be interesting to see if Hooray does line up for the Golden Jubilee Stakes on Saturday. This is the Group 1 worth £400,000.00 run over 6 furlongs. Hooray did not stay the mile in the Newmarket 1000 Guineas and is clearly best at sprint distances having recently won at Epsom. Her odds at the moment are 16/1 and if she runs must surely be worth an eachway bet.

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