Tuesday, 13 November 2012

“Horse of the Series” Vote Launched


An amazing year of Flat racing has drawn to a close and with the second edition of the QIPCO British Champions Series having climaxed at Ascot last month, our expert panel has come back with the three names to go forward for the “Horse of the Series” vote.

Michael Owen, Cornelius Lysaght, Lee Mottershead, Alex Hammond and Nick Luck not surprisingly all had one horse at the top of their list. There can be no doubt as to who will win the poll, but what percentage of the vote will Frankel claim? 

Stoke City and former England striker, Michael Owen, said of the Sir Henry Cecil-trained superstar: “Heads into retirement with his unbeaten record intact, after heading off Cirrus des Aigles in a thrilling Champion Stakes. One of the greats."


Frankel’s impact on the Series cannot be under-estimated. No other horse has won more than two Series races since its inception – Frankel has won nine, four last year and five this season. 


His two rivals in the poll are both trained by Aidan O’Brien. 


First up is Excelebration, who stepped out of Frankel’s shadow to blow the opposition away in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO, earning himself a rating that confirms him as the second best miler in the world after Frankel.


BBC Radio’s Cornelius Lysaght said: "Excelebration showed us Frankel's brilliant worth when putting in his own top notch, Group One performance in the QEII."


Frankel’s second rival is Camelot, who came so agonisingly close to winning the elusive Triple Crown.

Sky Sports presenter, Alex Hammond, said: "Camelot is another Aidan O'Brien star. He deserves to be in the top three given his achievements this season."

The Racing Post’s Lee Mottershead summed up the voting shortlist perfectly: "Like all the races Frankel has run in this year, this one is hugely one-sided, not due to a lack of meaningful opposition but because of his own incomparable and perhaps unprecedented ability.


"Frankel is head and shoulders above all other horses and that fact that Excelebration is still clear number-two choice is a further compliment to the great one.


"Camelot deserves to come home third, not necessarily because he was the third best horse to race in the Series, but because of a fine Guineas-Derby double and a valiant assault on the Triple Crown."


Everyone who casts a vote will be automatically entered in a free prize draw to win two tickets to QIPCO British Champions Day in 2013 plus a QIPCO British Champions Series cap.


Votes can be cast at www.britishchampionsseries.com. The vote will close at 10.00am next Monday 19th November.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Shergar Cup Jockey Chantal Sutherland Retires


The moment has come where I have decided to announce my retirement from being a professional jockey; I almost can’t believe it myself. I’m not sad, but rather looking at another opportunity to begin a new chapter in my life. Looking ahead, I’m excited about new challenges and new opportunities that life has in store for me.

Horse racing has been my life for the past 14 years. I’ve reached many of the goals that I set for myself. I’ve lived out many of the dreams I had as a little girl, back when I was riding my pony, mucking stalls, feeding cows, aspiring to finally become a professional jockey and racing in stakes races on a worldwide stage. I’m so very blessed and grateful of the life that I have lived and career that I’ve had.

This past year or so has been so amazing it’s actually overwhelming having to put it to words. I crossed paths with a horse that happened to change my life. That horse is named Game On Dude and what a horse! He’s a soldier. Together we travelled the world. We won the Santa Anita Big Cap, Goodwood, almost won the Breeder’s Cup Classic; we won the San Antonio, Hollywood Gold Cup, and the Californian. We travelled to Dubai and raced in the world’s richest race, the Dubai Duty Free World Cup. As if that wasn’t enough, I was asked to be the poster girl for Santa Anita and Del Mar racetracks, and had my picture on billboards and magazine covers. I can’t even describe how flattering that is. Another honor for me was being asked to represent Canada and the USA in a worldwide jockey challenge in England, titled The Shergar Cup. To top it all off, I was also able to win on my brother’s horse “Awesome Fire” in the Whonder Where stakes. In an ironic twist of fate, my dad, who started me off in this crazy love affair with horses, is also the proud owner of the last racehorse I will ride.

In the last year I also met and married the man of my dreams. It’s been a whirlwind. I’ve never really had weekends or holidays off, I’ve always spent so much time racing or focused and preparing for racing. Racing takes so much determination, guts, and sacrifice to be on top. I once craved, lived, and breathed racing. I can honestly say now, I’m ready to slow down and enjoy my life. Maybe I’ll cut loose and have a cheeseburger or some pizza. Those types of indulgencies are not allowed, when you constantly have to monitor your weight. Racing is so much hard work and takes so much mental toughness; I can honestly say that I’ve had enough.

I will forever miss my fans. They were always giving me encouragement and making me feel special and successful. I’ve made so many memories and good friends along the way that I can’t even begin to describe. I want to give a special thanks to my agents, valets, and everyone else in this industry that has stood by me.

So now, with the support of my husband, family, and friends I am ending one chapter in my life and starting a new one. I’m excited about my future and the challenges it will bring. I enjoy working hard and striving to achieve goals, so who knows; maybe you will see me pop up somewhere soon.

XO’s
Chantal

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Q & A with Fuller's

Today is the last day of the Ascot CAMRA Beer Festival in association with Fuller's, which is showcasing over 220 real ales, cider and perries.

We managed to have a chat yesterday with National Account Executive at Fuller's, Arthur Voelcker about the history of this famous brewery and what he's been looking forward to tasting at this year's festival.  


Profile
Name:  Arthur Voelcker
Location: Chiswick Brewery
Occupation: National Account Executive








Questions

1. Fuller’s has been brewing beer for over 300 years, how did it begin?

That’s right. Beer has been brewed at the Fuller’s Chiswick site for over 350 years. The original founders Douglas and Henry Thompson and Philip wood had to seek another investor due to financial trouble and approached John Fuller for help. The new partnership was difficult and in 1841 when Douglas Thompson left it broke down. Finding it increasingly difficult to run the brewery on his own John Fuller looked for help and was soon joined by Henry Smith of Romford Brewery and his brother in law, and head brewer, John Turner. This formed Fuller, Smith & Turner in 1845. To this day Fullers is still very much a family orientated business with many of the family working for the Brewery.


2. How long does it take to brew a typical Fuller’s real ale?

For a typical brew it takes about 14 days for the raw products malt, hops and water to be transformed and fermented into beer. For more specialist beers the brewing process can be longer.


3. Fuller’s brew many different beers, but what would you say is the most popular?

We do have many different beers but London Pride has to be our most popular and well-known brand.

4. Are there any new Fuller’s beers that we should look out for in the future?

We launched a new seasonal beer this summer called Wild River. This is a classic double hopped American style beer which is one to look out for next summer.  However for now we have some great seasonal beers coming out with Bengal Lancer, Red Fox and jack Frost all appearing this Autumn and winter.

5. What is Fuller’s relationship with the Campaign for Real Ale?

Fuller’s Brewery has had a strong relationship with CAMRA since the group’s inception in the 1970’s, and we worked closely with them throughout the past 40 years. Fuller’s focus has always been on real ale, and the close affiliation with such a remarkable pressure group (which continues to grow) has been beneficial to both parties.

In fact, Fuller’s holds somewhat of a record with CAMRA; being the only brewery to win the Champion Beer of Britain award with three very individual beers – London Pride, Chiswick Bitter and ESB. ESB has actually won the award an incredible three times.

Fuller’s now one of the country's leading real ale brewers and a flagship brewery for craft
brewing, and the strong relationship between Fullers and CAMRA continues.


6. If someone’s palate is new to beer, what would you suggest they try first?

There is no right or wrong beer to start drinking if you are new to beer. Everyone’s tastes are different and there are many different types of beer that appeal to them. However for people who are new to beer it is best to start with one that is not too bitter and is easy drinking like London Pride.

7. Apart from Fuller’s beers, what is your favourite beer to drink on an autumnal evening?

If it’s not London Pride then my next choice and favourite for an Autumn evening would have to be St Austell Brewery’s Tribute.


8. What are you looking forward to tasting at this year’s Ascot CAMRA Beer Festival?

I am very much looking forward to tasting some of the beers from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland…and of course do some quality control of our own beers as well!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Q&A: Loch Ness Brewery

Today and tomorrow Ascot Racecourse will showcase over 220 real ales, cider and perries at the Autumn Meeting featuring the 6th Ascot CAMRA Beer Festival.

This year we are pleased to welcome breweries from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland to feature on our regional bar. With this in mind, we decided to have a chat with Stephen Crossland from the Loch Ness Brewery in Drumnadrochit.He took the time to let us know the beer he brews and what he’s looking forward to tasting at this year’s Beer Festival.




Name: Stephen Crossland
Location: Drumnadrochit, Loch Ness
Occupation: Hotelier/Brewery dogsbody

Questions





1. Why did you decide to get into brewing?

Long story! We (my brother Allan and I) have run the Benleva Hotel in Drumnadrochit (Loch Ness) for 11 years and from Day 1 we've specialised in cask ales. Pretty soon we , with considerable help and encouragement from Angus MacRuary of the Isle of Skye Brewery,  that The Loch Ness Brewery was a good idea, it just took us 10 more years to bring it to fruition!

2. How easy was it to start your own brewery?

Not easy – mainly due to the problems with acquiring finance. The Hotel is a very old building and has required a lot of investment iover the years and, with the fact that our banks appear to be incapable of lending money for investment, that's caused us a lot of problems with establishing the brewery. George Wotherspoon also appeared on the scene a couple of years ago and gave us the impetus to finally get everything in place. We also had problems with other folk trying to steal the name, but a quick Trademark registration sorted that one out!

3. Is brewing real ale a lengthy process?

Not really. A day's work will get you a brew done, but then you have to wait a couple of weeks before you can drink it.

4. What was the first ale you brewed? 

A blonde beer which we ended up calling Hoppy Ness. The beer naming decision was fairly straightforward once we decided to focus on the “Ness” names, rather than Nessie herself!

5. What ale’s do you currently brew?


Dark Ness (my favourite), Light Ness, Loch Ness, Hoppy Ness, Red Ness and Wilder Ness. We've also experimented with a few specials – Mild Ness, Sleekit Ness (for Burns Night), Ness Minister (for Parliament), Nesster Piggott (for Ascot of course!), Ness Un Korma (a curry ale for reasons best known to George!) and Prince of Darkness (a 10% Imperial Stout)

6. Are there any differences between Highland & Island Ales and those brewed in England? 

Not really – there's such a wide variety of styles within the Highlands and in England that it's impossible to generalise. I reckon we probably do have an advantage up here with the purity of our water though. We have plenty of it too!

7. If someone’s palate is new to ale, what would you suggest they try first?

A nice light pale ale – not too hoppy – or a nice malty ale, perhaps a good mild. Try as many as you can, you're bound to find one you love eventually.

8. Apart from your own fine ales, what is your favourite beer to drink on an autumnal evening?

Black Cuillin or Black Gold from up here, but I do love a nice bottle of a Kernel ale. Or anything from Rob Hill's Highland Brewing Company, or Fyne Ales. I do have a lot of favourites which is probably why my kilt seems to shrink each year.


9. We hear you may be wearing some tartan attire at the Beer Festival, is this true?

 Come along and see for yourselves......

10. What are you looking forward to tasting at this year’s Ascot CAMRA Beer Festival?
To be honest I've been so busy with trying to organise the 11th Loch Ness Beer Festival which has just ended, and sorting out the Highland beers for Ascot I haven't even had time to look at the list! However, I was there last year and had a fantastic time, so I know there are plenty of good ones to choose from. I was particularly fond of the Ascot Ales themselves last year so will definitely be giving them a go again.


For the opportunity to taste some of the beers available from the Loch Ness Brewery and the numerous other breweries, book your tickets today to the Ascot CAMRA Beer Festival. Tickets from £13pp and can be purchased on the gate.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

How to Taste Real Ale courtesy of CAMRA

There are over 5,500 different real ales brewed regularly in the UK. With such an amazing range of different beer styles, such as bitters, old ales, milds, barley wines and stouts and the biggest variety of draught beers in the World it’s no wonder that tasting British real ales has become every bit as sophisticated as tasting wine.

There has never been a better time to appreciate our traditional British drink, but you don’t have to be an expert. Such a wide range of flavours are available to you that you will soon realise what beers most appeal to your taste buds, whether they are chocolatety stouts or light floral golden ales.

Tasting beer is just like tasting wine, but forget about spitting it out. The first step is to make sure the beer you are tasting is served at the right temperature. Too cold and real ale loses many of its complex flavours. Served too warm, it can develop some you don’t want and quickly loses condition in the glass.

Use your eyes!

Beer should look good. It should be colourful and bright and if it is meant to have a significant head of froth, this should be thick and creamy. Remember that many beers, particularly from the south of England, are not brewed to be served with creamy heads. Remember too that some beers, such as wheat beers may be cloudy, but these too should look attractive and not dull or flat in appearance. Generally though, your beer should be bright and clear and your glass should not contain any sediment.
 

Use your nose!

The best way to sniff your beer is with a glass which is half-empty. This enables you to give it a quick swirl, place your hand over the glass to hold in the lovely aromas fighting to escape and then dive in and take a nice deep breath. You will soon learn to recognise key features such as hoppiness from a classic pale ale, the burnt chocolate flavours of a stout or the banana nose of a wheat beer.

Now the taste!

As you take your first taste of the beer you’ll notice the sweetness from the malts at the front of your mouth while dry bitter flavours from the hops dominate the back of your mouth as you swallow the beer and learn to appreciate the ‘finish’

Just like wine, beers have their own unique characteristics and complexities from the style, the ingredients and the recipe. Tasting beer is every bit as satisfying as tasting wine and you’ll soon learn to appreciate the various styles. Beer can be enjoyed on its own, but it is also exceptionally good with food, so don’t think for a moment that the dining table should be reserved for wine!

Experiment and you’ll soon become skilled in matching different beers to different food dishes.


How to Taste Real Ale is reproduced courtesy of the Campaign for Real Ale; www.camra.org.uk

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Q&A: Ascot Ales

On Friday 5th and Saturday 6th October Ascot Racecourse will showcase over 200 Real Ales, Cider and Perries at the Autumn Meeting featuring the 6th Ascot CAMRA Beer Festival.

This week we decided to take some time out of the office and have a chat with Chris Gill, brewer at Ascot Ales in Camberley. He took the time to let us know how he decided to get into brewing and what he’s looking forward to tasting at this year’s Beer Festival. 





Profile
Name: Chris Gill
Location: Camberley Surrey
Occupation: Brewer






Questions

1. Why did you decide to get into brewing?

Simply, a love of beer. Both my wife & I use to work for Samsonite Luggage & at the time their European HQ was in Belgium. So we fell in love with Belgian beer & haven't looked back since. About 8 years ago I gave up the steady pay cheque & went self employed, running a small bottled beer stall in Spitalfields Market London. That was only part time & we moved on to Ascot Ales.


2. How easy was it to start your own brewery?

For us very easy, we did a “Remmington Razors”. We liked the beers so much we bought the business. Our predecessor took 6 months setting up the brewery, with the first brew June 2007. He quickly discovered how much hard work it was & as he was a computer programmer by day, found it very difficult to do both. Then Dell made him an offer to go full time, which was a 7 digit contract. It wasn't too much of a tough choice, as you'll never become a millionaire running a micro brewery. We took over December 2007 & haven't looked back since.

3. Is brewing real ale a lengthy process?

It takes about 6-7 hours to brew, then 7 days to ferment the beer out ( the yeast turning the sugars into alcohol), then we condition the beer in cask for a further 7 days. So 15 days from brewing to ready to go out to a pub.

4. What was the first ale you brewed?

Posh Pooch, our 4.2% Best Bitter, this is still our best selling beer.


5. What ale’s do you currently brew?
Lots! Posh Pooch, Alligator Ale, Alley Cat Ale, On The Rails, Aureole Ale, Anastasia's Exile Stout, Anastasia's Imperial Stout, Penguin Porter, Red IPA, a monthly Single Hop and our current seasonal is Oktoberfest


6. If someone’s palate is new to ale, what would you suggest they try first?

Alligator Ale. It's our 4.6% Golden Ale that has a citrusy grapefruity aroma from the Cascade hops. It's very popular at beer festivals and appeals to lager and cider drinkers as well as real ale fans.

7. Apart from your own fine ales, what is your favourite beer to drink on an autumnal evening? 

That's a tough one to narrow it down to just one, but I guess I'll go for Orval. It's a 6.2% Belgian Trappist beer and I love. In fact I'm currently on holiday in Mallorca as I write this and I was drinking an Orval last night.

8. Last year you won Beer of the Festival with Coconut Crocodile, are you brewing a special ale to claim the title for the second year in a row?


Unfortunately not as we haven't been asked to this time, but I have high hope for Aureole Ale our new low strength Golden Ale at 3.3%. This was initially a jubilee beer & is named after the Queen's horse that ran in the Epsom Derby 6 days after her coronation. Also our Red IPA our 5.5% heavily hopped IPA is a big crowd pleaser at beer festivals.
 

9. Apart from winning Beer of the Festival last year, what has been your highlight from past Ascot Beer Festivals?

Volunteering to work behind the bar has been good fun & brewing festival specials, like On The Rails our hoppy mild. This has gone on to become a regular beer for us.

10. What are you looking forward to tasting at this year’s Ascot CAMRA Beer Festival?

The Scottish beers in particular as I'm not very familiar with them. The hoppy beers specifically so Colonsay IPA, Fyne Ales Black IPA, Loch Ness Nesster Piggott and Highland Brewing IPA. Though I'm sure I'll try lots of the other too.

 

For the opportunity to taste some of the beers available from Ascot Ales and the numerous other breweries, book your tickets today to the Ascot CAMRA Beer Festival. Tickets from £13pp, to book call 0844 346 3000 or visit www.ascot.co.uk.

Monday, 24 September 2012

QIPCO British Champions Day Capacity Increased To 32,000 Following Initial Sell-Out

1,500 tickets to a new Champions Bar facility, which includes access to the Premier Admission lawn, to go on sale tomorrow

Following a sell-out of the original QIPCO British Champions Day capacity of 30,500 this weekend, four weeks in advance of Britain’s richest raceday, British Champions Series is pleased to announce that 1,500 additional spaces have been created at Ascot on Saturday 20 October.
 
They are in a bespoke new temporary facility, the Champions Bar, to the west of the main grandstand.
 
In all this increases capacity to 32,000 and that will be the cut off for admission on the day when five championship races will be run for prize money of £3m and the world’s best racehorse, Frankel, is expected to have the last race of his spectacular, unbeaten career.
 
Admission to this new facility, which consists of a Grandstand ticket and a Champions Bar badge, is priced at £36, or £10 to existing Grandstand ticket holders, and will allow access to the Premier Admission lawn as well as the private marquee.
 
For every upgrade sold to existing Grandstand ticket holders, a general Grandstand ticket will become available, so 1,500 additional racegoers can be accommodated on site.

Tickets went on sale at 9am today (Monday 24 September) on this Ascot ticket hotline only: 0844 346 3000. A maximum of four tickets will be sold per caller.

Rod Street, Chief Executive of British Champions Series, said:

"Notwithstanding the obvious additional interest generated by the Frankel factor, it is still a remarkable landmark for us to have sold out our original 30,500 capacity in year two of QIPCO British Champions Day so early.

"We have worked closely with Ascot to decide on the final capacity of 32,000. The customer experience is paramount and the priority for us is that racegoers - many first time or not regular visitors - have an enjoyable and comfortable day and want to come back.

“On top of the high-class racing action, we are going to have some superb attractions on the day and would like to encourage racegoers to arrive early and enjoy the occasion.”

 
QIPCO British Champions Series – the world’s finest Flat racing

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Cookery Demonstrations with Valentine Warner Part 2

On Saturday 8th September we are proud to welcome writer and cook Valentine Warner to our 6th Festival of Food and Wine Raceday. Throughout the day, you’ll be able to watch Valentine at work as he cooks three delicious dishes, all of which can be cooked by yourselves at home.

The second recipe that Valentine will be cooking is


'Venison Curry'


Serves 4

A large handful of shaved dried coconut or 3 tablespoons unsweetened desiccated coconut
40g ghee or butter
2 small red onions, finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick (about 4cm long)
6 black peppercorns
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large thumb-sized piece of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon flaked sea salt
4 cloves
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2½ teaspoons hot chile powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ star anise
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon garam masala
3 tablespoons tomato purée
500g venison fillet (be it red, fallow, sika, roe or muntjac), cut into medium cubes
300ml coconut water or water
Juice of ½ lime
Shredded coriander leaves, to garnish
Serve with rice or naan bread


All his culinary masterpieces will be cooked using ingredients from the Food Stalls located around the Grandstand and wine connoisseurs Bibendum will be on hand to suggest suitable wines to accompany these tasty recipes.
To see how this tasty dish is made, visit the Cookery Demonstration area on the day. Tickets from £18pp, to book call 0844 346 3000 or visit ascot.co.uk.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Cookery Demonstrations with Valentine Warner

On Saturday 8th September we are proud to welcome writer and cook Valentine Warner to our 6th Festival of Food and Wine Raceday. Throughout the day, you’ll be able to watch Valentine at work as he cooks three delicious dishes, all of which can be cooked by yourselves at home.

Over the coming weeks we will be providing you with a sneak preview of the 3 recipes that Valentine will be cooking and today’s recipe is


‘Crayfish or Langoustines with hazelnut and Pastis butter’

Serves 2-4

30 signal crayfish
Lemon wedges, to serve


STUFFING

A large handful of shelled hazelnuts
1 lemon
A large handful of picked parsley leaves
1 big ripped handful of slightly stale,good rustic bread
125g butter, cut into small cubes
2 good garlic cloves, peeled
A good splash of pastis
Large-flaked sea salt and a big grind of black pepper


All his culinary masterpieces will be cooked using ingredients from the Food Stalls located around the Grandstand and wine connoisseurs Bibendum will be on hand to suggest suitable wines to accompany these tasty recipes.


To see how this tasty dish is made, visit the Cookery Demonstration area on the day. Tickets from £18pp, to book call 0844 346 3000 or visit ascot.co.uk.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

The Scoring System for today's Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup

Points are awarded to the first five horses home in each of the six races

1st place……15 2nd place……10 3rd place……7 4th place……5 5th place……3

There are 40 points available per race – a total of 240 points for all six races, plus 4 points for non-runners (see below).

Dead-Heat
In the event of a dead-heat, each horse will receive an equal share of the aggregrate number of points for that finishing position and the subsequent finishing position.

Non-Runners
Horses may be declared as a non-runner up to 45 minutes before each race. In this event, the place on that team will be taken by one of the two reserve horses in racecard order.

If no reserves are available, the team represented by the non-runner and the individual jockey will automatically be awarded four extra points.

If you want to bet on the team competition or an individual jockey in each race visit Ladbrokes based in the Plaza area or on Concourse Level.

To make a note of the scores purchase a racecard from any of the kiosks on the day for £3.50.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Great Britain & Ireland Team: Dubai Duty Free and Shergar Cup

On Saturday 11th August four teams battle it out to win the coveted Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Trophy. Today we focus on the last team, Great Britain & Ireland:

The Team Anthem - Thin Lizzy's The Boys Are Back In Town


 

Kieren Fallon (Captain, Ireland) - Plain Silks

Born on February 22, 1965, in County Clare, Ireland, Kieren Fallon joined Kevin Prendergast's yard as an apprentice in 1983. Piccadilly Lord at Navan on June 18, 1984, was his first winner. He moved from Ireland to ride for Jimmy FitzGerald' s Malton stable from 1989 until 1991 and then spent three years with Lynda Ramsden' s yard from 1993 until the end of 1996.

At the start of the 1997 Flat season, Fallon was a surprise appointment as stable jockey to the Henry Cecil yard and promptly won the 1000 Guineas on Sleepytime and Oaks on Reams Of Verse. He ceased riding for Cecil in August, 1999, and was first jockey to Sir Michael Stoute in 2000 and 2001 after which he freelanced, still riding many of the Stoute team, before becoming retained rider to owners Michael Tabor, Sue Magnier and Derrick Smith in 2005.

He tasted Classic success when partnering Dancing Rain to victory in the German Oaks in August, 2011, before steering Krypton Factor to a comfortable success in the Group One Dubai Golden Shaheen on Dubai World Cup Night in March this year. He rode his first British Group One winner for six years on the Brian Meehan-trained Most Improved in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 19, 2012.

Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Wins: 2002 Tout Seul; 2003 Kinnaird, Shabernak; 2004 Pentecost

Johnny Murtagh - Hoops Silks



Born in Co. Meath, Ireland, on May 14, 1970, Johnny Murtagh who’s married to Orla and has five children, was apprenticed to John Oxx and became Irish champion apprentice in 1989. In 1995 he became Irish champion jockey (he was also champion in 1996, 1998 and 2009). He has since gained international prominence, winning the 1995 Breeders' Cup Mile on Ridgewood Pearl and the following year's Beverly D Stakes on Timarida.

He was the most successful rider at Royal Ascot in 2001 with five wins, including the Gold Cup on Royal Rebel and St James ' s Palace Stakes on Black Minnaloushe, aboard whom he also won the Irish 2,000 Guineas. He won the 2002 QIPCO 2000 Guineas for Aidan O ' Brien on Sir Alex Ferguson ' s Rock Of Gibraltar and landed a second Investec Derby on what again seemed the O ' Brien second string, High Chaparral, and landed a third renewal of that Classic with Motivator in 2005.

Murtagh’s association with the O' Brien stable saw him win a string of top races on stars such as Henrythenavigator, Duke Of Marmalade, Mastercraftsman, Fame And Glory, Rip Van Winkle, Dylan Thomas, Peeping Fawn, Cape Blanco, Soldier Of Fortune and Yeats, who he was aboard for a record-breaking fourth success in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 2009.

Last season yielded further success for Murtagh, with Dancing Rain winning the Investec Oaks, Jukebox Jury dead-heating in the Irish St Leger and Lightening Pearl triumphing in the Cheveley Park Stakes. Dancing Rain and Deacon Blues formed a memorable double on British Champions Day in the British Champions Fillies’ And Mares’ Stakes and the British Champions Sprint Stakes respectively.

No previous Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup wins

James Doyle - Stars Silks



Born in Cambridge on April 22, 1988, Doyle comes from a racing family. His mother Jacqui, who now acts as his agent, formerly trained in Lambourn while his sister Sophie is a useful rider. He began riding out for his mother at the age of 10 and had his first winner on Farnborough at Wolverhampton on June 1, 2005.

He hit the headlines with a treble at Lingfield on January 25, 2006. But after quickly riding out his claim, the 5ft 9in Doyle - one of the tallest jockeys in the weighing room - the winners began to dry up and by 2010 he considered turning his back on racing and even enrolled on a plumbing course.

However, an upturn in the number of winners in 2011 caused Doyle to reconsider his decision and he never started the plumbing course. Horse whisperer Gary Witherford recommended Doyle to trainer Roger Charlton and he became first jockey to the Beckhampton handler this season.

The partnership started 2012 on a high when Cityscape won the Group One Dubai Duty Free at Meydan in March and enjoyed another big race success when Al Kazeem stormed to victory in the Group Two Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket in May.

Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup debut.

To find out whether the Rest of the World Team win the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, purchase a ticket today. Tickets from £26 per person. Generous group discounts available. To book, call 0844 346 3000 or visit ascot.co.uk

The Girls Team: Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup

On Saturday 11th August four teams battle it out to win the coveted Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Trophy. Today we focus on The Girls Team, new for 2012:

The Team Anthem - Eurhythmics's Sisters are Doin' It For Themselves

Hayley Turner (Captain, Great Britain) - Plain Silks

Hayley Turner, the joint champion UK apprentice jockey in 2005, is the most successful female rider to emerge in the 400-year history of the Sport of Kings in Britain. Born on January 3, 1983, in Nottingham, Turner was taught to ride by her mother, a riding instructor.


She started riding out for trainer Mark Polglase, who supplied her first winner, Generate, at Pontefract on June 4, 2000. She also attended the Northern Racing College, and then was apprenticed to Michael Bell in Newmarket. Turner became the first woman to be crowned champion apprentice when partnering 44 winners during the 2005 Flat (turf) season, sharing the title with Saleem Golam.



Turner was forced to miss four months of the 2009 Flat season after an incident on the Newmarket gallops that March, when catapulted from the horse she was riding and knocked unconscious. Turner's injuries - bruising to the brain - were originally considered serious enough that her licence was suspended for a year. However, following an appeal hearing at the British Horseracing Authority in July, she was declared fit to resume race riding and came back at Ascot the following day.

This season she became only the second woman to ride in the Investec Derby at Epsom Downs, although her mount Cavaleiro finished last.
 


Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Wins: 2007 Relative Order; 2008 Gee Dee Nen; 2009 Noverre To Go; 2010 Yorgunnabelucky


Chantal Sutherland (Canada/USA) - Stars Silks

Born on February 23, 1976, at Winnipeg in Canada, Chantal Sutherland is a leading jockey in both her homeland and the USA. She grew up in Ontario, where her father Hugh owns a horse farm. Although she competed in show jumping and dressage during her youth and was also an accomplished field hockey player (competing for Canada's national Junior World Cup team), she did not decide to embark on a career as a jockey until her graduation from York University in Toronto, where she gained a degree in Communications and Psychology.


After her initial success on Silver Bounty at Woodbine on October 9, 2000, Sutherland quickly established herself as one of the brightest talents in North American racing and gained the Sovereign Award for Canada's top apprentice jockey in 2001 and 2002. The 2002 campaign ended with Sutherland finishing third in the standings at Woodbine with 124 wins.

Last year Game On Dude also finished runner-up under Sutherland in the Grade One Hollywood Gold Cup and the Breeders' Cup Classic. The winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic, Drosselmeyer, ironically was ridden by her ex-boyfriend Mike Smith. Game On Dude also enabled Sutherland to become the first woman to ride in the world's richest race, the Dubai World Cup, at Meydan in March, 2012. The pair finished 12th.

 Sutherland is also a well-known celebrity off the track. She starred in the reality series "Jockeys" on Animal Planet, had a recurring role in the HBO TV series "Luck" and remains an aspiring actress. She has also modelled and was the face of Canada-based cosmetics line Mistura Beauty. As of July 2, 2012, Sutherland, who is 5f 2in, has ridden 922 career winners with earnings of $46,187,950. She currently lives in Huntington Beach, California, with her husband Dan and is the new face of Del Mar Racecourse, whose season opens on July 18.

Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup debut.
 

Emma-Jayne Wilson (Canada) - Hoops Silks

Born on September 1, 1981, at Brampton in Ontario, Emma-Jayne Wilson is a riding phenomenon from Canada, with nearly 1,000 wins to her name. She burst onto the North American racing scene in 2005 when landing the riding title at Woodbine. At its 167-day meet, Wilson rode 175 winners from 1,096 mounts, becoming the first female to take the title in its 50-year history, and only the third ever apprentice to do so, following Sandy Hawley in 1969 and Mickey Walls in 1991.


Wilson started riding at the age of nine and soon had her heart set on becoming a jockey. She studied equine management at the University of Guelph and spent two years riding out at Woodbine racecourse, where she caught the eye of leading agent Mike Luider.

She became the first female rider to win the Grade One Queen's Plate, part of Canada's Triple Crown, when scoring on board Mike Fox in June, 2007. Wilson competed in the Hong Kong International Jockey Challenge in December, 2007, and was granted a licence to ride in the former colony the following winter. She was out of action for nearly three months following a fall at Woodbine in August 21, 2010, when she suffered a lacerated liver. Wilson made an impressive debut at the Breeders' Cup in November, 2011, partnering Excaper to finish second behind Wrote in the Grade One Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. She ended 2011 with 135 winners at Woodbine and 143 in all.


As of July 2, 2012, she has recorded 974 wins in her career with prize money of more than US$46 million. Wilson, who won the inaugural Pimlico Female Jockey Challenge in June, 2011, is making her second appearance at the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, having participated in the competition in 2006.

No previous Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup wins.

To find out whether the Girls Team win the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, purchase a ticket today. Tickets from £26 per person. Generous group discounts available. To book, call 0844 346 3000 or visit ascot.co.uk

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Team Rest of the World: Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup

On Saturday 11th August four teams battle it out to win the coveted Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Trophy. Today we focus on the European Team:

The Team Anthem - Status Quo's Rockin’ All Over The World


Yutaka Take (Captain, Japan) - Plain Silks

The subject of national adulation in Japan, where he is the country's top sporting figure, Yutaka Take was born in Kyoto on March 15, 1969, the son of legendary jockey turned trainer Kunihiko Take, who was known as the 'Magician of the Turf'.
He rode his first winner on Dyna Bishop at Hanshin on March 7, 1987, and won 69 races when champion apprentice that year, a record for a first season rider.

Take is an internationally renowned jockey who has travelled extensively and was based in California in 2000 and rode in France during the 2001 and 2002 seasons, before returning to his domestic base. He partnered the great Deep Impact in all of his races, including the 2005 Japanese Triple Crown. Take participated at the 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2011 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cups.

He won his first race at Ascot in the 2007 competition, steering the Tony Martin-trained Leg Spinner to success in the Shergar Cup Stayers Handicap.

Take reached another milestone in his career when becoming the first JRA rider to record 3,000 victories. That win, on two-year-old Sky Beauty at Kyoto racecourse, was his 14,288th JRA ride and came 20 years and eight months after the jockey made his career debut. The 5f 7in jockey's numerous notable victories include three in the Japan Cup thanks to Special Week (1999), Deep Impact (2006) and Rose Kingdom (2010).


Previous Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup wins (4): 2007 Leg Spinner; 2008 Strike Up The Band; 2008 Nan's Joy; 2011 Ile De Re

Aaron Gryder (USA) - Hoops Silks

Born on June 5, 1970, Aaron Gryder grew up in West Covina, California, near Santa Anita Racecourse and although he had little contact with horses when he was younger, he was influenced by his father and uncle, who were racing fans, and wanted to be a jockey. He left home aged 13 to learn to ride at the invitation of former jockey Rudy Campas and returned to Santa Anita to ride professionally at the age of 16. The racecourse stewards suggested he got experience at a smaller racecourse, so Gryder chose to improve his riding at Agua Caliente Racetrack in Tijuana, Mexico. He partnered his first winner on January 19, 1987, on Ragin Henry and quickly established himself as a leading jockey at Agua Caliente.

Gryder has made frequent appearances on television, starring on Animal Planet's series "Jockeys" whilst he also offers analysis on TVG. He also had television roles in "Dellaventura" and "The Sopranos". Gryder, also involved with children's charities, is one of the founders and directors of The Giving Circle, originally created to help Hurricane Katrina victims and now helps communities all over the world. Gryder's hobbies include cycling, water sports, running and working out.
The 5ft 6in jockey has partnered 3,556 North American winners (up to July 2), with earnings of over US$111 million and has ridden in Britain once before when American-trained Diamonds Galore finished third in the 1992 Nunthorpe Stakes at York.

Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup debut

Matthew Chadwick (Hong Kong) - Stars Silks

Matthew Chadwick, born on July 12, 1990, is the rising star in Hong Kong racing after a sensational start to his riding career. Chadwick, of Chinese decent, was adopted as a child by Hong Kong-based British couple Jennifer and Chris Chadwick who are both teachers. Matthew's passion for horses and riding was ignited on a holiday to Britain where he rode ponies and, although achieving good grades at school, he signed up for the Hong Kong Jockey Club's training scheme aged 14.


As with many young jockeys, the HKJC sent Chadwick to Australia to gain some experience. He impressed many racing professionals and punters in Australia, riding a further 21 winners before being granted a licence in Hong Kong in December, 2008. He was based with leading trainer Tony Cruz and despite starting late, he ended the 2008/09 season as champion apprentice with 43 winners. The 2009/10 season yielded more success for Chadwick, including his first Group victory on Egyptian Ra in the National Day Cup. In January, 2010, he set a new benchmark when riding out his claim (70 winners) in a one year and three weeks, the fastest in Hong Kong history, while also partnering Egyptian Ra to a second Group Three success in the Chinese Club Challenge Cup. Chadwick ended the season in fourth place in the jockeys' championship.

In February, 2011, he gained his first HK Group One victory on California Memory in the Hong Kong Gold Cup before partnering the grey gelding to an even bigger success in the Group One Hong Kong Cup in December, 2011, becoming the first homegrown jockey to win a Hong Kong International Race. Chadwick has 43 victories on the board this season (up to July 2) and lies fifth in the jockeys' championship. As of July 2, 2012, he has enjoyed a total of 173 winners in Hong Kong.

Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup debut


To find out whether the Rest of the World Team win the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, purchase a ticket today. Tickets from £26 per person. Generous group discounts available. To book, call 0844 346 3000 or visit ascot.co.uk

Monday, 6 August 2012

Team Europe: Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup

On Saturday 11th August four teams will battle it out to win the coveted Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Trophy. Over the next 4 days we will announce each of the teams competing and today we focus on the European Team:

 

The Team Anthem - Yolanda Be Cool & DCup’s ‘We No Speak Americano’


Frankie Dettori (Captain, Italy) - Plain Silks


Born in Milan on December 15, 1970, the son of Gianfranco, 13-time champion jockey in Italy, Frankie (christened Lanfranco) Dettori arrived from his homeland to join Luca Cumani's Newmarket yard as an apprentice in July, 1985. His first success came on Rif at Turin, Italy, on November 16, 1986, and he rode his first British winner on Lizzy Hare at Goodwood on June 9, 1987.

 
He has since captured the hearts of racegoers with his flamboyant style, phenomenal riding successes, and charisma in and out of the saddle. Champion jockey in 1994, 1995 and 2004, Dettori created history when riding all seven winners on the Saturday at the Ascot Festival in September, 1996. His ground-breaking exertions brought recognition beyond racing's own sphere when he was voted into third place in the 1996 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards and was a team captain on 'A Question Of Sport'.

 

He has ridden well over 3,000 winners with more than 900 of them being for Godolphin, including 110 at Group One level. Dettori, who survived a horrific plane crash at Newmarket in 2000 in which the pilot was killed, is married to Catherine. They have five children and live near Newmarket.



Previous Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup wins (3): 1999 Mythical Girl, Diktat; 2004 Justaquestion; 2007 Strategic Mount

Andreas Suborics (Germany) - Hoops Silks
Andreas Suborics was born on August 11, 1971, in Vienna, Austria. He rode his first winner on Donjana at Vienna on April 4, 1988, and moved from his homeland to Germany in 1993 and is currently based in Cologne. His first major win on the European scene came at Longchamp in the 1996 Group One Prix de la Foret, partnering A Magicman to victory. Suborics has gone on to enjoy success at the highest level around the world.

 
In recent seasons, the most famous horse he has partnered is the superstar Hungarian sprinter Overdose although the partnership was denied a famous victory in the 2008 Prix de l'Abbaye when the race was declared void. In March, 2010, Suborics sustained head injuries following a fall when riding work in Hong Kong and, on medical advice, announced his retirement that August. However, in December, 2010, the jockey revealed that he had made an excellent recovery and had been given the green light by doctors to resume his riding career. He has participated in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup three times - in 2002, 2003 and 2007.

No previous Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup wins


Cristian Demuro (Italy) - Stars Silks

Italian champion jockey Cristian Demuro, born on July 8, 1992, is the youngest brother of five-time Italian champion jockey Mirco Demuro. Cristian grew up in Rome and had experience with show jumpers before joining the Pisa Racing School. He graduated in 2008 and joined Bruno Grizzetti's stable - one of the leading yards in Italy. 

In 2011, Demuro rode in Japan between January and March before returning to Italy and partnering an astonishing 222 winners to be crowned champion jockey. He also gained his first winner at Meydan, Dubai, on Averroes in a 14-furlong handicap on December 31.  Demuro went back to Japan earlier this year and enjoyed a successful spell, winning the Grade Three Himba Stakes on Donau Blue on January 29 and the Grade Three Tulip Show on Hana's Girl on March 3. Since his return to Italy in mid-March, Demuro has amassed over 100 winners including a Group Three victory on Noble Hachy in the Premio Carlo Chiesa in April. Demuro has had 16 Listed race winners and four Group Three winners in his career to date. The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup introduces Demuro to British racing. His older brother has been riding here since May.

Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup debut.


To find out whether the European Team win the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup, purchase a ticket today. Tickets from £26 per person. Generous group discounts available. To book, call 0844 346 3000 or visit ascot.co.uk



Saturday, 28 July 2012

The Stars from the Here & Now 1980s Concert on Saturday 11th August Part 3

In 2 weeks time 7 stars from the 1980s will perform their classic hits at the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup and ‘80s Concert on Saturday 11th August. Today we take a look at another two stars and how they became so popular.


Midge Ure

James ‘Midge’ Ure, OBE is a guitarist, singer, keyboard player and songwriter from north of the border. He enjoyed particular success in the 1970s and 1980s in bands including Slik, Thin Lizzy, The Rich Kids, Visage and most notably as the frontman of Ultravox.


Midge co-wrote and produced the charity single “Do They Know It's Christmas?” and co-organised Band Aid, Live Aid and Live 8 with Bob Geldof. Ure acts as trustee for the charity, and serves as ambassador for Save The Children. His stage name, Midge, is a phonetic reversal of Jim, the diminutive form of his real name. Ascot is indeed honoured to have a such a legend performing on the hallowed Old Paddock turf, belting out his 1980 track “Vienna” (famously beaten to the top spot by Joe Dolce's novelty hit “Shaddap You Face” – but the less said about that the better!)


Bananarama

Bananarama were formed in 1982 by teenagers Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward, Sara then met Siobhan Fahey at the London College of Fashion while studying journalism. Sara and Keren lived above the rehearsal room of former Sex Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook. They ended up recording a demo “Aie a Mwana” with Paul. It was signed by Demon Records and was given its first radio play by John Peel. 

The song was a club hit and a favourite of Terry Hall from The Specials. He promptly called them up and asked if they would collaborate on his latest project the Fun Boy 3. Their first hit together was “Ain't What You Do”. In 1987 they entered the GUINESS BOOK of WORLD RECORDS as the most successful girl band in the world (the most Top 40 hits) and still hold the title to this day with 30 Top 40 hits, 11 albums and over 40 million records sold. Having taken the title from the Supremes they decided to pay tribute to them by recording “Nathan Jones”.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

QIPCO and British Champions Series Announce New Long-Term Deal

£4m QIPCO British Champions Day on the horizon

 
QIPCO Holding has today signed a new contract to extend its sponsorship of the British Champions Series and British Champions Day for a further five years in an improved deal which enables a £4m QIPCO British Champions Day within the term of the enhanced new contract.

The Day is currently worth £3m, already by far the most valuable raceday in this country.

The improved deal secures ongoing title sponsorship of the QIPCO British Champions Series, including full partnership rights for its starting point at the QIPCO Guineas Festival at Newmarket, the QIPCO Sussex Stakes at Goodwood mid-way through the Series, and the grand finale on QIPCO British Champions Day.

The new agreement will enable British Champions Series to make regular six-figure prize money increases on QIPCO British Champions Day. Significantly, the deal provides additional prize money incentives which elevate the sponsorship levels still further should any of the three non-Group 1 races on QIPCO British Champions Day be upgraded.

The upgrading of these races remains a major short-term goal for the Series and its sponsor, with substantial prize money increases for these races set to follow as soon as this is achieved.

A combination of planned prize money increases and upgrades to all three races could make a £4m QIPCO British Champions Day a reality as early as 2016.

Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani, Chief Executive of QIPCO Holding, said:

“We believe that Britain hosts the world’s best horseracing. We respect and appreciate the heritage of the sport and we would like it to maintain its status as the most important and deep rooted in the world.

“This new deal highlights our commitment to the sport in this country and our desire to make QIPCO British Champions Day the best day’s Flat racing in the international calendar.

“We are still in the early stages of a journey which we hope will contribute to the overall wellbeing of top level Flat racing in this country for many years to come, with the subsequent benefits filtering down to the industry as a whole.

“This objective complements  our own expanding bloodstock and racing operation, in which we have made a very substantial, ongoing investment and which will continue to be based in the UK. 

“The deal reflects the very positive experience that we have enjoyed with British Racing to date, and the pleasure we derive from our association with Britain’s most famous and iconic race meetings such as the Guineas, Derby, Royal Ascot, Goodwood and York.

“We believe that the British Champions Series helps to signpost Britain’s most important and prestigious races to a wider audience and are delighted that it has already contributed to a new broadcast deal for the sport starting in 2013.”


Chris McFadden, Chairman of British Champions Series Limited, said:

“This is fantastic news for British Horseracing. We are absolutely delighted with this new, long-term deal with QIPCO, which puts British Champions Series Limited on a firm financial footing and which will enable us to meet our commercial objectives.

“Our shareholders have made a huge financial investment in delivering the Series and the Day, but none of this would have been possible without QIPCO Holding.

“The Series is a partnership between QIPCO and British Racing and on behalf of everyone involved in the industry in this country, and in particular Newmarket and Goodwood who are thrilled to benefit from the long-term sponsorship of the Guineas Festival and Sussex Stakes, I would like to thank Sheikh Hamad and his brothers for their fantastic ongoing support.”


Rod Street, Chief Executive of British Champions Series, said:

“It took considerable effort and sacrifice to get the concept of British Champions Series and British Champions Day off the ground and QIPCO’s long term commitment reflects the benefits of such innovation.

“Securing a major sponsor is part of virtuous circle of higher prize-money, high quality horses, customer participation and broadcast coverage, all of which safeguards the status of British Flat racing, and a five-year deal gives us the time and resource to grow the Series and Day further.

“The inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day last October attracted six of the world’s ten highest-rated, active horses, something that no other raceday in the world could match last year, and it is vital that we increase prize money as much as possible going forwards to establish the day as a really serious player on the international stage.”

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Stars from the Here & Now 1980s Concert on Saturday 11th August Part 2

In 3 weeks time 7 stars from the 1980s will perform their classic hits at the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup and ‘80s Concert on Saturday 11th August. Today we take a look at another two stars and how they became so popular.

 

Belinda Carlisle

Belinda Carlisle makes a welcome return to the ‘80s Day line up having wowed the crowd in 2010. Once of the Go-Gos, Belinda Carlisle launched her solo career in 1996. She didn’t have to wait long for a number one, when the next year “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” reached number 1 in the UK and seven other countries, including the US. Belinda went on a have a further five top ten hits, including “Leave A Light On” in 1989 and “(We Want) The Same Thing” one year later.





Midge Ure

James ‘Midge’ Ure, OBE is a guitarist, singer, keyboard player and songwriter from north of the border. He enjoyed particular success in the 1970s and 1980s in bands including Slik, Thin Lizzy, The Rich Kids, Visage and most notably as the frontman of Ultravox. Midge co-wrote and produced the charity single “Do They Know It's Christmas?” and co-organised Band Aid, Live Aid and Live 8 with Bob Geldof. Ure acts as trustee for the charity, and serves as ambassador for Save The Children.


His stage name, Midge, is a phonetic reversal of Jim, the diminutive form of his real name. Ascot is indeed honoured to have a such a legend performing on the hallowed Old Paddock turf, belting out his 1980 track “Vienna” (famously beaten to the top spot by Joe Dolce's novelty hit “Shaddap You Face” – but the less said about that the better!)


To see these artists perform at the Here & Now Concert on Saturday 11th August plus watch some thrilling horseracing action from Britains premier jockey competition, call 0844 346 3000 or visit ascot.co.uk. Tickets from £26. Generous group discounts available.


Don't forget children under 18 and all entertainment is included in the ticket price!

What a Group 1 Race We Have To Savour

We have a fantastic day’s racing in store today, the second day of Betfair weekend, with the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by Betfair) the headline race and due off at 4.35pm.

It is a race that is looking as though it will not only one of the Group 1 races of this year’s British Flat season, but also of the international racing calendar with many of the world’s leading middle-distance turf horses in the line up.

Of the 10-runner field, six have travelled to Ascot from abroad, with the furthest jet setter being the Japanese-trained runner Deep Brillant; the mileage the horse has had to travel has not been listed in the Racing Post’s “furthest travellers to Ascot” slot.

A case can be made for so many of the runners. Race favourite Nathaniel is bidding to make it back-to-back wins in the race and was impressive last time out when winning the Eclipse Stakes (G1); the improving Sea Moon, second in the Breeders’ Cup (G1) to St Nicholas Abbey last year, beat Dunaden when taking the Hardwicke Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot; St Nicholas Abbey is coming here in the peak of form after winning the Coronation Stakes (G1) at Epsom and finishing second to the top performer Cirrus Des Aigles at Meydan in March.

The hard-knocking Dunaden, the Melbourne Cup (G1) winner last November, put in his best race so far when second to Sea Moon here, and while this season Danedream has not rediscovered her winning Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) form, she is a high class filly and the winner of three Group 1s.

The Japanese raider could be anything. Winner of the Tokyo Yushun (the Japanese Derby), he gets a serious three-year-olds weight allowance and is by Deep Impact, who is developing into one of the most exciting young stallions in the world.

Making up the rest of the field is last year’s Prix du Jockey-Club (G1) (French Derby) winner Reliable Man, who was fourth in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) at the Royal meeting; the Michael Owen-owned Brown Panther, winner at last year’s Royal Ascot, a runner-up in the St Leger (G1) and a Listed winner in June; Masked Marvel, winner of last year’s St Leger (G1) and, finally, Robin Hood, who is fulfilling pace making duties.
In total, the field has already won an amazing 14 Group 1 races between them.

Which horse will be the one to make it 15?

With the sun having at last appeared and the ground turning good, there will be no excuses for any runner and we are guaranteed a thrilling race. If looking to steer away from the race favourite, then St Nicholas Abbey, a 9-2 chance at writing, might be a bet worth having.

Whatever your fancy, this is going to be a race to savour.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

#AscotAsks Sally Duckett, the Live Reporter on the New Ascot Racecourse App

In a special edtion of our #AscotAsks series, we chat to Sally Duckett the Live Reporter on our new Ascot Racecourse App, launched at Royal Ascot this year. Sally will report live from the Parade Ring on every raceday including the Betfair Weekend starting this Friday.

Sally’s wealth of horseracing knowledge, which we found out after chatting to her this week, is perfect for the live reporter.

Racing Background

She initially worked for National Hunt trainer, Robin Dickin and had a few rides under Rules for him and then, throughout her degree and after, she spent much of her time riding racehorses and in point-to-points.

After this, Sally worked for a couple of trainers including Mick Channon, and Charles Egerton, whom she became secretary for but decided she wasn’t organised enough to be a trainer’s secretary (the toughest job in racing!).


She then decided to enter the editing world and became a sub-editor at Raceform. From there, she went onto work at Darley Stud in its marketing department and then the Racing Post with its bloodstock advertising team. After three years she moved onto becoming editor of the Pacemaker magazine.

Sally was then lucky enough to be given the opportunity to run her own business, Thoroughbred Publishing and develop its magazine, International Thoroughbred which to this day is going from strength to strength.



To follow Sally and her up-to-date news from the Parade Ring plus

• Racecards and Results including entries, form and starting price
• Interactive Course Map enabling you to explore the racecourse from your mobile
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Download the Ascot App FREE today by Clicking Here for the iPhone version or Clicking Here for the Android version.

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