Royal Ascot - Feature Races

Royal Ascot is one of the top weeks of the Flat Season with an incredible race card over the 5 days including 12 Group races. There is much speculation in the lead up to any big race that takes place over the week, but here is a look at some of the names that you may be familiar with already that are due to make an appearance.

Tuesday 18th

St James Palace

Run over 1 mile, this is Group 1 for 3yo colts and looks a very competitive field already.

An interesting entry for this race is, PHOENIX OF SPAIN after an impressive comeback at The Curragh for the Irish Guineas last month, from what had been a stop start career. It will be interesting to see how he comes back after this. Charlie Hills said he has settled back in well at home after his trip to Ireland and looks forward to seeing this horse run for the first time at Ascot.

A horse that is a hot topic at the moment, is TOO DARN HOT. This race will be a rematch for these two horses after finishing second to PHOENIX OF SPAIN in the Irish Guineas. It was a close call and will be all to play for with these two contenders meeting once again. I didn’t think TOO DARN HOT could be beaten and I am sure he is still the horse we all thought he was, but it will depend who turns up best on the day.

They both however, cannot afford to be complacent as there is danger in the form of MAGNA GRECIA, after storming home to victory in the Newmarket QIPCO Guineas. He is a strong horse who didn’t quite get up to the line with the likes of the others mentioned but is a strong card to play from the O’Brien powerhouse and is set to make an appearance in this race in a couple of weeks time.

Wednesday 19th

Prince of Wales Cup

The 1 mile 2 furlong race for 4 year olds has a line up of true racing stars, but one that shines brighter than most will sadly be missing; John Gosden trained ENABLE has been said to miss Ascot and instead, head to Sandown Park for the Eclipse.

We will however have SEA OF CLASS aiming for this race as far as we know. After just missing out in Pairs and without ENABLE, the race could be in the bag for this filly.

The biggest competition will of course be another of Aidan O’Brien’s line up, MAGICAL. Still no word from Ireland if they will run her but if they do it will be well worth watching.

After winning at Ascot last year it seems like CRYSTAL OCEAN will be back to the Royal meeting once again. With a strong start to the year and currently unbeaten I think SEA OF CLASS may have to watch out.

The only other danger will be MASAR making his comeback from the Epsom Derby 2018, it looks like this will be his first outing so it will be interesting to see what form he is in.

Thursday 20th

The Gold Cup

Many people see this as the biggest race of the week. The Group 1 is run just over 2 miles 3 furlongs and is sure to be an exciting race.

We have to start with last years winner STRADIVARIUS, who is back to defend his title. Hitting the papers this week Willie Mullins has said THOMAS HOBSON is preparing for his rematch with STRADIVARIUS after finishing second to him back in October. The two horses however, have hot competition in the form of CROSS COUNTER; the 2018 Lexus Melbourne Cup winner, a horse that made history by becoming the first british trained horse to win this prestigious race. Then DEE EX BEE who is currently undefeated this year, is also heading to the Royal meeting for a chance to win the Gold Cup. There is no doubt whoever turns up on the day, the competition will be tight.

Friday 21st

The Commonwealth Cup

The 6 furlong trip which has hit the headlines this morning with CALYX being ruled out of the race this year due to a leg injury.

So who else is in? Aidan O’Brien’s TEN SOVEREIGNS is currently favourite for the race, taking a step down in trip after coming 5th in the Guineas; they feel 6 furlongs will obviously suit him more.

Another horse that catches my eye is a big outsider ADVERTISE, at 16/1, another horse taking a step down in trip who I think could do better at Ascot.

Saturday 22n

Diamond Jubilee

The last big race of the week the Diamond Jubilee, is run over 6 furlongs, being over 2 weeks away still the race is very open and uncertain but so far we have-

Unbeaten this season INVINCIBLE ARMY is currently looking a strong favourite, but close behind fresh from Dubai is BLUE POINT. After a strong campaign in Dubai it will be interesting to see how he does back here. INNS OF COURT has also caught my eye, the french trained horse has done very well in France and Andre Fabre doesn’t send many over for English meetings, so must think he has something special here.

We will have to wait until next week for the final runners but hopefully this will give you an idea of who to look out for in this years’ star runners!

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