Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Will You Be Able To Say “I Was There”?

After 300 years of racing at Ascot, is next Tuesday’s opening day of the Royal Meeting the best raceday the course has ever seen?
Goldikova storming to victory in the 2010 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot

Well, genuinely, quite possibly and there is still time for you to say “I was there” on the day when Goldikova took on Canford Cliffs, when seven nations went head to head in the King’s Stand Stakes and when the most impressive winner of the 2,000 Guineas in living memory took on Japan’s best three year old, Grand Prix Boss.

2011 St. James's Palace Stakes winner Canford Cliffs

Goldikova, the pride of France, is bidding for back to back wins in the opening Queen Anne Stakes and will be lining up on Tuesday against Canford Cliffs for last year’s top Royal Ascot trainer, Richard Hannon. Canford Cliffs will be bidding for a third Royal Ascot success having won championship races at two and three years old. But it’s not a two horse race – the powerful Irish stable of Aidan O’Brien looks likely to send over Cape Blanco for a fascinating clash that will likely decide Europe’s champion older miler. In fact, given that Goldikova has won no fewer than three Breeders’ Cup Miles in the USA, the Queen Anne is almost certain to determine the name of the best older miler in the world.

But that’s just the starter, and next on the menu is the King’s Stand Stakes – the first of two championship sprints at Royal Ascot and Europe’s most international race. This year, seven nations will be represented; Australia, the USA, Hong Kong, France, Ireland, Hungary and of course the UK. Four Australian horses have won the King’s Stand Stakes and that nation is responsible for the favourite once again in Star Witness and a fascinating battle is in store, especially with the Americans and Hong Kong’s Sweet Sanette likely to set an electric pace from the start. The track record is surely on the line…

The phonomenal Frankel winning the Juddemonte International Stakes at Ascot last September

The third Group One race on the card sees the next challenge for Henry Cecil’s Frankel, who missed the Derby in preference for the St James’s Palace Stakes, which crowns Europe’s top three year old miler. Will Tom Queally allow him to make all the running as he did in the 2,000 Guineas or will a more conservative approach be required to hold Japan’s champion, Grand Prix Boss, and several other star names, including Wooton Basset, for the sensational stable of Richard Fahey.

All in all, whether you’re a racing regular, a once a year racegoer or haven’t been racing for ages, this is the day to get dressed up and come to the greatest race meeting in the world and witness a once in a lifetime spectacle of the best the turf has to offer.

There are three further races after the three Group One races, including the Coventry Stakes, the early season championship for two year old cots. Also, readers may be interested to note that the statue commemorating the great four time Gold Cup winner Yeats will be unveiled before racing.

Tickets for Tuesday 14th June are still available. Call 0870 727 1234 or visit There will be a limited number of tickets available for sale on the day.

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