Saturday, 23 June 2012

Caviar To Savour

It’s here – perhaps the most widely anticipated Saturday of Royal Ascot ever. Black Caviar, the highest-rated filly in the world, behind only Frankel on ratings, runs in the Group 1 6f Diamond Jubilee Stakes, the third race on today’s card.

It is going to be such a treat to see the great filly run as she aims to make it an amazing 22 wins from 22 starts and there is no reason at all to think that the speed she has produced to such devastating effect in Australia cannot be reproduced here.

With 1,000s of Australian supporters expected to be here to cheer her home, the atmosphere will be electric in the run-up to the race.

Opposition? Well, they are hard to find, but Krypton Factor produced a Group 1 win in Dubai in the spring, proving that he has true international-class ability. He had valid excuses for defeat last time in Singapore and looks a nice price, albeit that his recent form has been on a tapeta surface.

The French-trained Moonlight Cloud would have finished second to Deacon Blues in the Champions Sprint Stakes here at the Champions meeting last October but for trouble in running. Owned by yesterday’s winning owner George Strawbridge, she put in an impressive performance at the beginning of the month on her seasonal debut when winning the Prix du Palais-Royal (G3) over 7f.

Last year’s winner Society Rock is back again after a fitting outing at York over 6f. He always goes well at Ascot, but looks outclassed here today

So what’s the bet? A one-two for the fillies to lead home the boys.

21 Facts About The Aussie Sensation, Black Caviar

Black Caviar is the extraordinary Australian mare who has won all 21 races that she has contested, setting a new modern-day international record for the top level of Flat racing.

Here are 21 facts about her, one for each of her victories:

1. She is the greatest sprinter in the world and the second highest-rated horse on the planet behind the British-trained miler, Frankel. Both horses are set to race in QIPCO British Champions Series races during Royal Ascot, with Frankel targeting the Queen Anne Stakes over a mile on the first day, Tuesday 19 June, and Black Caviar the Diamond Jubilee Stakes over six furlongs on the final day, Saturday 23 June. Black Caviar is then expected to contest the Darley July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday 14 July.

2. The undisputed queen of the turf collected her 20th straight victory in the Sportingbet Classic at Morphetville on 28 April 2012, beating the previous Australasian record of 19 straight wins set by both Desert Gold (1915-1917) and Gloaming (1919-1921) almost 100 years ago.

3. That 20th victory also broke the modern day international record for the top level of thoroughbred racing set by the brilliant USA-trained mare, Zenyatta, who scored 19 consecutive wins before tasting defeat in her 20th and final start. Black Caviar subsequently made it 21 out of 21 in the Distinctive Homes Goodwood at Morphetville on 12 May.

4. Her fastest 200m (one furlong) split is 9.98sec between the 600m & 400m in the 2012 Lightning Stakes (her 19th win). She’s the first horse in Australia to break 10secs for a furlong in an official thoroughbred race, giving her a top speed of 72.14km/h or 45.09mph.

5. Eleven of her 21 victories have been in Group 1 races, the highest class of thoroughbred race, and she has won over five furlongs (1,000 metres) five times, six furlongs (1,200 metres) 15 times and seven furlongs (1,400 metres) once. However, she has never run outside Australia before, so testing herself against the best in Europe on her next start at Royal Ascot is a very brave step to take for her connections and will secure her international superstar status forever if she is successful.

6. Black Caviar cost 210,000 Australian dollars (about £132,000 at today’s rates) and she has now won over £3.6 million in prize money with a potentially very lucrative breeding career ahead of her once she retires. To illustrate this, her half-sister (by the sire Redoute’s Choice) just sold for 2.6 million Australian dollars (£1.64m) at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale – a record price for a yearling filly in Australia.

7. She has won her 21 races by a combined total of exactly 70 lengths – about 560 feet or 170 metres, or the equivalent of about 13 London buses!

8. She has started odds-on favourite in the betting on every occasion except her first ever race on 18 April 2009 at Flemington in Melbourne. The shortest price she started at was 1/33 meaning that if you had put £33 on her to win, your return would have been just £34! The local totalisator has taken numerous $100,000+ bets on her, the biggest being $200,000 at $1.04 when she won the Sportingbet Classic to record her 20th win – the punter’s profit was just $8,000. She is currently available with British bookmakers at 4/9 for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and a huge number of Australians are expected to back her.

9. She is trained by Peter Moody at his stable at Caulfield racecourse in Victoria, Australia.

10. Luke Nolen has been her jockey in 18 of her 21 races, missing only her first two starts (when she was ridden by 16-year-old apprentice Jarrad Noske) and her first Group 1 victory in the Patinack Farm Classic in November 2010 (when Ben Melham was in the saddle as Nolen was suspended).

11. Black Caviar is owned by a group of life-long friends, Colin and Jannene Madden, Gary and Kerryn Wilkie and Neil Werrett, several of whom go right back to nursery school. They came up with the idea of buying a racehorse when enjoying their annual holiday together on a houseboat on the Murray river, not far from Adelaide. Neil Werrett knew Peter Moody, who, as it happens, had just come back from the sales with a big black yearling filly. They agreed to buy her, adding two others to their syndicate to spread the costs – Jannene Madden’s sister, Pam Hawkes, and another friend, David Taylor.

12. The wife of part-owner, David Taylor, was dead against her husband buying a share of the horse, so he had to do it behind her back – a brave move that paid off big-time and all is forgiven now!

13. Aussie Rules football star, Dale Thomas, who plays for top AFL team Collingwood, had a bet with David Taylor that Black Caviar wouldn’t win 20 consecutive races. Thomas has now fulfilled the terms of the bet by having an image of Black Caviar tattoed on his backside!

14. It was part-owner Pam Hawkes who came up with the Black Caviar’s name. The seafood lover explained: “Black Caviar’s grandmother was called Scandanavia. Helsinge, the name of her mother, is in Scandanavia and that’s where the salmon live. It made sense.” She added: “Besides my husband and children, Black Caviar is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It is a dream come true to have this beautiful horse.”

15. It was Gary and Kerryn Wilkie’s daughter who came up with the jockey’s very appropriate colours – salmon pink with black dots to represent the caviar! Gary said about Black Caviar: “You can’t imagine it. It’s a little surreal. You see the way she affects people, this animal we have equity in, and you just think, ‘How lucky am I’?”

16. When Black Caviar is running, racedays become something of a logistics challenge. The owners, their families and extended friends regularly push the number of attendees up to over 60, but that’s nothing compared with the party that will be at Royal Ascot on 23 June when she is due to contest her next race, the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.  It will number over 150 people!

17. Black Caviar, who was bottle fed as a foal, was born on 18 August 2006 – her sire (father) is Bel Esprit and her dam (mother) Helsinge. She is known in her stable as Nelly.

18. Her height is 16.2 hands (5 foot 4.8 inches or 164.6 centimetres).

19.  She loves swimming and going to the beach.

20. She has a massive fan base in Australia, where she is revered as the greatest racehorse since the legendary Phar Lap died 80 years ago, and her own range of merchandise, from T shirts and baseball caps to ties and key rings. One of her fans made a 30+ hour round trip from Chicago to see her record her 18th victory at Caulfield, staying in Australia for only 24 hours, while thousands of Australians are expected to go racing when she runs in the UK.

21. After her British foray, she will return to Australia to be prepared for the all-important Spring Carnival in Melbourne, where her legions of fans will be looking forward to welcoming “The Wonder from Down Under” back to Australian racing.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Destiny Fulfilled with Royal Winner

The hopes of every single racegoer at Royal Ascot came true today with Estimate’s success in the Queen’s Vase for Her Majesty the Queen, giving her victory at the meeting in her Diamond Jubilee year.

The likelihood of a Royal winner had looked to be dwindling as Carlton House was second on Wednesday in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, and then Momentary was well beaten in the Ribblesdale Stakes yesterday, but Estimate and jockey Ryan Moore were not to be denied and ensured that destiny was fulfilled. Moore kicked the filly off the bend and she galloped to a 5l success.

Every available space in the stands was taken as racegoers rushed from racecourse side to paddock side to see the Queen greet her returning heroine. The cheers rang out as she patted her filly, and then again when the Duke Of Edinburgh gave the winning owner her prize. Today was the first time he has handed over a trophy to his wife at her meeting.

“We always thought the filly would get the trip,” said winning trainer Sir Michael Stoute. “It’s a nice position to have horses for Her Majesty running in races such as this with a chance, particularly in a Jubilee year.

“The Queen deserves the success, she contributes so much to racing, and I’m sure the whole country will have appreciated the victory. And for me it’s a great honour.”

The Queen’s beaming smile on the winner’s podium said it all as she enjoyed her 21st success at Royal Ascot as an owner and her first since 2008.

Three-timer for Gosden and Buick

It has also been a day of days for trainer John Gosden and jockey William Buick, who enjoyed the small matter of winning three races: the opening Albany Stakes with Newfangled, the Group 1 Coronation Stakes with Fallen For You and the Listed Wolferton Stakes, courtesy of Gatewood.

All three were for owner-breeder concerns: Fallen For You is owned by Philipa Cooper’s Normandie Stud, while George Strawbridge is the US-based owner of Gatewood. Newfangled, although in Princess Haya’s ownership, was bred by her husband Shiekh Mohammed’s Darley Stud.

The non-Gosden trained winner of the second race, the King Edward VII Stakes (G2), was Thomas Chippendale, trained by Sir Henry Cecil, who also got the one-two in the race. Sir Robert Ogden, who has put so much into horseracing ownership, owns the colt.

Buick said after his third success: “I knew I had some good rides, but then so do a lot of jockey here. To have one winner is amazing, but to have three, well it’s the stuff of dreams. The horses are here in top order, and it is down to the hard work everyone puts in at home.”

Strawbridge, who was enjoying his first Royal Ascot success, laughed: “Breeding racehorse is a little like chicken and feathers – most of the time you end up with feathers.”

Newfangled, a daughter of first-season sire New Approach, took herself to the top of the ante-post betting for next season’s 1,000 Guineas after her impressive victory in the Albany Stakes.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

It was Dettori’s Day

After the recent press speculation that Frankie Dettori was losing his position as number one jockey for Godolphin, and was also considering retirement from race riding, the jockey put those rumours to bed in no uncertain fashion by winning the Ascot Gold Cup aboard Colour Vision.

To make matters even more satisfying he beat his Godolphin riding rival Mickael Barzalona, who was aboard the Godolphin-trained Opinion Poll, though a stewards’ enquiry was required to confirm the result. Frankie's winning leap in the Parade Ring was sky high.

“Sheikh Mohammed gave Frankie the choice of rides and he picked Colour Vision feeling he would stay better,” said Simon Crisford, racing manager to Godolphin. “He was proved right today.”

It was the second year in a row that Opinion Poll has finished second in the Ascot Gold Cup – his conqueror last year was Fame And Glory, who was sent off the 4/5 favourite for a repeat success.

“He has come back fine and seems fine after the race. It was an interesting race,” said trainer Aidan O’Brien.

“It was just not to be,” said jockey Jamie Spencer.

Following in Mum’s Footsteps

Whatever mum Irresistible Jewel did ten years ago, daughter Princess Highway can match, the Dermot Weld-trained filly picking up the Ribblesdale Stakes (G2) in fine style today. She has to be considered the best three-year-old filly over middle-distance this year – she has already beaten the Oaks winner and today came home ahead of the Oaks runner-up and third.

“She is a proper filly,” said Weld. “That race [she won in Ireland] is named after Blue Wind, who was very special and the best filly I’d trained before this one, but I’m hoping Princess Highway could be even better. They went a good pace and Pat [Smullen] rightfully took his time and rode a good race as always. We need stars like Frankel and Black Caviar and maybe we’ve seen a future star here.”

Trainer Clive Cox picked up his third Royal Ascot winner courtesy of Reckless Abandon’s Norfolk Stakes success. Cox is another trainer hopeful that he has a future star on his hands.

“I’m sure he’ll get 6f in time, but he’s got so much speed that we wanted to stick at five for the moment. We’ll take it a step at a time, but so far it’s all working out as planned,” he said.
Planning also reaped rewards for German connections, who enjoyed a great success in the Tercentenary Stakes with Energizer. Application of a hood has helped the colt settle better in his races and has allowed connections to step him up from a mile to the 1m2f trip of this Group 3.

“I was hopefully beforehand, especially when I saw him relaxed in the paddock beforehand,” said winning jockey Adrie de Vries. “The horses are struggling in the final furlong because of the testing ground, but it helped me I think as he likes soft ground.”

William Haggas is hoping that the buyers from Hong Kong don’t come shopping for his colt Fast Or Free after winning the mile Britannia Handicap.

“We were lucky to get in off a mark of 98, but you need luck in these races – now I hope the agents from Hong Kong don’t come knocking and take him off me!” he smiled.

Frankel Hits an Official Mark Of 140

Following his breathtaking, 11 length Queen Anne Stakes victory at Royal Ascot on Tuesday, Frankel's official rating has risen by two pounds to 140.

It makes him officially the best since another Prince Khalid Abdulla-owned horse, Dancing Brave, in 1986 who ended his career with a rating of 141.

Apart from his own 138 in the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury last month, Frankel's 140 puts him a massive 16 pounds clear of the next best performances in the 2012 QIPCO British Champions Series - the Epsom victories of Camelot in the Investec Derby and St Nicholas Abbey in the Diamond Jubilee Coronation Cup (sponsored by Investec) and So You Think's Prince of Wales's Stakes triumph at Royal Ascot yesterday.

All three Aidan O'Brien-trained horses earned a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) performance rating of 124 to share top ranking in the Middle Distance division.

Excelebration's 125 when beaten five lengths in the JLT Lockinge Stakes keeps him in second place to Frankel in both the Mile division and the overall Series rankings, though he ran well below his best when finishing more than twice as far behind Frankel on Tuesday, for which he was rated just 115. The Queen Anne third, Side Glance, was rated 114.

Most Improved was awarded a rating of 116 following his St James's Palace Stakes triumph. In the light of that race, the ratings for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas have been dropped by two pounds with Hermival, third at Newmarket and second at Ascot, receiving the same 114 rating for both performances. Gregorian, who was a head back in third in the St James's Palace, was also rated 114.

Camelot's Guineas win drops to 119 and runner-up French Fifteen goes down to 118, but still well above Most Improved.

Hong Kong raider, Little Bridge now tops the Sprint division on a rating of 120 following his fine King's Stand Stakes victory at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.

The King's Stand runner-up, Bated Breath, took a step forward for the season to 118 after recording 116 in the first sprint of the Series, the Temple Stakes at Haydock Park. Sole Power ran second to Bated Breath that day and was third in the King's Stand, with both performances rated 115.

So You Think's 124 in yesterday's Prince of Wales's Stakes was a pound below his current official mark of 125.

The runner-up Carlton House, posted 119 - the same mark as he ended last season - while the unlucky third, Farhh, posted a career best 118 and must have the potential to go higher as the season progresses.

Dominic Gardiner-Hill, the BHA's mile handicapper, said: "Frankel's win in the Queen Anne was one of the most visually stunning I have seen in my time as a handicapper and I'm sure was a superior performance to his win in the Lockinge and therefore his rating will rise to 140.

"In the modern era, Dancing Brave is the highest rated horse we have had on 141 and I wouldn't want to put Frankel above him on what he achieved on Tuesday.

"If you look at the quality of the field that Dancing Brave beat in the 1986 Arc, it was chock-full of Group One winners and although Frankel finished a long way clear, beating Side Glance, Indomito and Windsor Palace (Group Two and Three horses at best) does not entitle him to be considered the superior horse at this stage in my opinion."

Rod Street, Chief Executive of the British Champions Series, said: "Frankel has led the way in the QIPCO British Champions Series at every stage, ever since the very first race last year when he blitzed his rivals in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas.

"It looks like he has three Series races left in his career to try to achieve the highest official rating ever, the Coral-Eclipse or the QIPCO Sussex Stakes, followed by the Juddmonte International and then either the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes or the QIPCO Champion Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day.

"We have to enjoy him while we can as we will surely never see another like him, but now our attention turns to the world's second best horse, Aussie superstar Black Caviar.

"Can she put up as visually stunning a performance as Frankel in Saturday's Diamond Jubilee? A sensational end to the week may await!"

An Irish One-Two in the Gold Cup?

There doesn’t appear to be anything good enough to beat Fame And Glory in the Gold Cup, with the rest of the field looking to be running for second spot. Opinion Poll, last year’s runner-up, should go close again, however Saddler’s Rock could give the Irish a big race one-two. The son of Sadler’s Wells should enjoy today’s ground and is trained by John Oxx, who won the race with Enzeli in 1999.

Last Year's Gold Cup Winner, Fame & Glory
At an each-way price, Mississippi could go well in the Britannia Handicap. A lightly raced type, there were reasons for his down the field run last time. Born To Surprise is the early morning favourite – he is dropping down in class after an eighth in the Craven Stakes (G3) when he missed the break, while it is expected that the stiff mile will suit Ralph Beckett’s Frog Hollow.

Tercentenary Stakes runner Tales Of Grimm is a lovely horse who has been given time after winning his sole start as a juvenile and finishing third to today’s rival Stipulate at the end of May. He could give some recompense to trainer Sir Michael Stoute for Carlton House’s defeat yesterday, while Mukhadam is similarly unexposed and this race has been the plan since the colt’s last time out success.

Juveniles to Start Day Three Off with a Blast

Fast two-year-olds in the 5f Norfolk Stakes (G2), some of the best three-year-old fillies of their generation in the Ribblesdale Stakes (G2) and then the best stayers of Britain and Ireland taking each other on in the Gold Cup (G1), three cracking races start off day three of the Royal meeting.

The Norfolk Stakes has attracted a fine field, including two former sales toppers – Ahern, who cost £80,000 at the Goffs Kempton Breeze-Up Sale in March, and Gale Force Ten, bought by Demi O’Byrne as a yearling on behalf of Coolmore for £280,000. Both horses have won for connections with both picking up maidens and looking promising types.

But the one with the best form in the book going into this is Cay Verde, a winner on his second start at Ascot before he was successful in a Listed race at The Curragh. The form of his win here is working our particularly well as he beat Hototo then by a cosy two and a half lengths; that one went on to win Tuesday’s Listed Windsor Castle Stakes. Cay Verde has recently been bought by Qatar Racing Ltd.

The Ribblesdale Stakes looks a race to savour with a number of exciting unexposed fillies taking on fillies who filled the places in the Epsom Oaks; today’s race could be worthy of Group 1 status

The Roger Varian-trained Pink Damsel is one from the unexposed group – she cost 600,000gns as a yearling, is by Galileo and a winner on her sole start so far, while the Dermot Weld-trained Princess Highway has already advertised her ability when winning a Group 3 in Ireland on good to yielding ground, beating subsequent Epsom Derby winner Was.

The Oaks runner-up Shirocco Star, third placed The Fugue and the fourth home Vow lock horns again: although The Fugue was unlucky in running at Epsom, she might prefer better ground, while today’s conditions should suit Shirocco Star.

The Queen’s Momentary could easily run well. This is the filly’s first step up to Group race company, but when she won the Listed Swettenham Stakes at Newbury in May, she beat Shirocco Star by a head. That race that is becoming something of an early season marker for top class fillies as last year’s subsequent Oaks and QIPCO Champion Fillies and Mares winner Dancing Rain got her three-year-old career underway with success there.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

So no Royal Celebrations Today…

So You Think ended dreams of a Royal winner on day two of the Royal Ascot meeting when the Australian-bred horse denied Carlton House success in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes today.

Although most of the watching crowd were disappointed not to see the Queen in the winner’s enclosure today, trainer Aidan O’Brien was obviously delighted with the outcome.

“So You Think was in danger of retiring a ‘nearly’ horse,” he said. “It has taken me a year and a half to learn how to train this horse – I just have to apologise to everyone in Australia for taking so long to get it right!

“But we listened to what we were told, and we changed the way we trained – we had been galloping him too much and too hard. He is all about speed and we were training that out of him.

“His work at home in the last month has been totally different. I am just delighted to have got him back to where Bart [Cummings] had him.”

It was a first Royal Ascot success for jockey Joseph O’Brien. Plans have not yet been made as to whether the horse will reappear at Sandown for the Eclipse before shipping to stud in Australia.
The Queen does have further chance this week: Momentary runs in the Ribblesdale Stakes tomorrow, while Estimate is entered later in the week.

So You Think’s win gave O’Brien a quick fire double on the card, having taken the opening Jersey Stakes (G3) with Ishvana for his wife Ann-Marie O’Brien, also breeder of the filly.

“Aidan doesn’t feel any more pressure when he is training one for me – he doesn’t listen to what I say anyway!” she laughed, adding that the filly will be kept to 7f for the time being but will probably step back up to a mile later in the year.

Joviality won the second on the card, the Windsor Forest Stakes (G2) for owner Princess Haya and trainer John Gosden, while trainer Tom Tate and jockey John Fahy achieved debut Royal Ascot successes in the Royal Hunt Cup with Prince of Johanne.

“He is a tough little horse and we are still finding out about him. The horse loves doing his own thing and his rider John Fahy is very intuitive and goes with him – he is a very good rider.”

The horse won the Cambridgeshire in the autumn and the double has not been done since 1949!

Competition Winners Enjoy Ascot Success

It was a day of days for The Master Bettors, owners in partnership with breeder Andrew Black, of Ceiling Kitty, winner of the Queen Mary Stakes (G2). The group are all employees at Black’s company betfair and won their shares in a company competition staged through the Cheltenham Festival.

It was an unexpected success though – trainer Tom Dascombe said: “We thought we would win, but not with this filly! But she has experience and is very tough and game.”

Dascombe won last year’s King George V Stakes for business partner Michael Owen with his homebred Brown Panther, and was delighted to have won a race this year for Black, again with a homebred. It’s even stephens over the board room table now!

The last on the card, the Sandringham Handicap Stakes (Listed), went the way of the Niarchos family’s Duntle. Trained by David Wachman in Ireland, unlike Dascombe’s experience with Ceiling Kitty, the trainer has always thought a lot of this daughter of Danehill Dancer.

“She has always shown us a lot at home, but we just got one run into her as a two-year-old,” he said.

“She then won her maiden very easily this spring and Alan Cooper on behalf of the Niarchos family came to see her then.

“She then had a difficult run in a Guineas trial and did well to finish fourth.

“We decided to wait for here. She will be going to the US eventually – she is tailor made for racing there. I am not sure when she will go; I hope I will have for a while longer! She holds plenty of entries

“It is a pleasure to have a winner at Royal Ascot for the Niarchos Family, they have done so much for international racing,” he added.

So What Do You Think?

After the wonderful racing on the opening day of Royal Ascot, today’s Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes sees the Dubai World Cup (G1) third and fourth resume battle.

It would be fine swansong for the Aidan O’Brien-trained So You Think (fourth in Dubai) to round off his racing career before he heads back to his native Australia to take up stallion duties, but the Marco Botti-trained Planteur ran with credit in Dubai when third, and again when filling the same spot in the Prix d’Ispahan behind Golden Lilac (last year’s French 1,000 Guineas and Oaks winner) and Cirrus Des Aigles, the globetrotting star and winner of last season’s Champion Stakes.

But this race could see a resurgence to Group 1 form for the Queen’s runner and last year’s Derby third, Carlton House. A strongly run 1m2f should suit really well – the son of Street Cry has only run twice over the trip, winning both times - and success by the Sir Michael Stoute-trained runner would be a fitting victory in the Diamond Jubilee year.

It is also worth taking a look at an each-way price at the US-trained Big Blue Kitten – he is by the best turf stallion standing in the US and is trained by Chad Brown, a highly capable trainer of middle-distance horses.

The opening 7f Jersey Stakes (G3) could see young trainer Roger Varian get off the mark at Royal Ascot with his improving Aljamaaheer, who finished fourth last time out to yesterday’s St James’s Palace Stakes third, Gregorian.

It could end up being a very good day for Varian, who has his Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) runner-up Nahrain in the Windsor Forest Stakes (G2). She has most to fear from the Group 1 winner Emulous. Both fillies, though, have to shoulder a winners’ penalty, and the record in the race is not good for those carrying such a burden.

Looking elsewhere, Chachamaidee, who finished second in last year’s Sun Chariot Stakes (G1), as well as the Epsom winner and improver Clinical for Sir Mark Prescott, have strong claims.

The Royal Hunt Cup is as ever a competitive handicap, and without the track looking to be carrying a draw bias, it will pay to go with form. Captain Bertie put in an “extraordinary run” (Racing Post) when successful in the Spring Mile earlier this season before winning the Spring Cup, gets in here on a good mark and should like the ground, while Dimension for James Fanswawe is a progressive type. Paul D’Arcy’s Edinburgh Knight is a 7f handicap winner at Ascot and finished fourth in the Lincoln behind Brae Hill

Richard Hannon’s two runners in the race warrant close inspection with King Torus having a first run in a handicap, while Cai Shen finished second in the Britannia Handicap last year, second in the Winter Derby in March and third in a conditions race last time.

Hannon and Mick Channon between them field five for the Queen Mary Stakes (G2). Stable jockey Richard Hughes has plumped for Jubilee Dream for Hannon so she is presumably the first string, while Channon’s Graphic Guest has posted some good form – she beat Hannon’s Hairy Rocket last time - and this race should be run to suit.

Others to consider include Ed Dunlop’s Sheikh Hamdan-owned Sharaarah as this not a usual race for connections to target and so they must be hopeful of chances, as well as the David Wachman-trained Mironica. Wachman’s string has been in good form this spring and this filly is one from one when beating stable mate True Verdict at Naas. That one has since finished second in a Listed event.

Friday, 15 June 2012

New Dress Code Takes Effect Next Week

Special Team of Dress Code Assistants on Hand to Help Racegoers
Ascot, UK, Friday June 15, 2012: Approximately 300,000 horse racing and fashion fans will
attend the five-day Royal Meeting which starts on Tuesday (June 19th). The event – one of
the most prestigious race meetings in the world – sees the introduction of a new dress code for racegoers visiting the Royal Enclosure and the Grandstand Admission area.
In order to ensure that this is implemented as smoothly as possible, a specially trained team of dress code assistants will be on hand outside the course to assist racegoers who may have any issues with their attire. A selection of waistcoats, ties, pashminas and other items will be available at the turnstiles for those who need them.
Attire by Hobbs and Hats by Ilda Di Vico
The new dress code was first announced in January and reminders were sent out with
badges and tickets.
Style Guides have also been distributed and can be seen online at:
  • For ladies in the Royal Enclosure, dresses and skirts should be of modest length defined as falling just above the knee or longer.
  • In the Royal Enclosure, hats should be worn; a headpiece which has a base of 4 inches (10cm) or more in diameter is acceptable as an alternative to a hat.
  • For gentlemen in the Royal Enclosure, it is a requirement to wear either black or grey morning dress, which must include a waistcoat and tie (no cravats), a black or grey top hat and black shoes.
  • In Grandstand Admission, a hat, headpiece or fascinator should be worn by ladies at all times. Strapless or sheer strap dresses and tops are not permitted. Gentlemen are required to wear a suit and tie.
Charles Barnett, Ascot Chief Executive said:

“Ascot is Europe’s flagship race meeting and one of the world’s greatest sporting and social events. We have tried to provide an appropriate dress code that is clear, workable and in line with the wishes of racegoers. Over the last few months, a huge amount of planning has gone in to making sure that the implementation of the new code goes as smoothly as possible. During the meeting itself, our team of special dress code assistants will help people with any queries that they may have.”

#AscotStyle with Lisa Armstrong

In the run up to Royal Ascot, some weeks ago, we invited Lisa Armstrong, Fashion Editor at the Daily Telegraph to take over the @AscotInsider twitter feed and share her styling advice as well as answering any questions put to her.

Both on twitter and in her weekly column in the Saturday Magazine, Lisa spoke of millinery, how to avoid looking too ‘matchy-matchy’ and this season’s bold use of colour and print. Here is a round up of her style advice, ahead of Royal Ascot.

Hats, headpieces and fascinators:

Of headwear trends, Lisa believes that “where people may not previously have worn hats, many will sport headpieces (not to be confused with fascinators).”

In line with the new Royal Ascot dress code, fascinators are no longer allowed in the Royal Enclosure but headpieces with a diameter of 4 inches/10cm or more, as well as hats, are still welcome.

Lisa recommended milliner Bundle MacClaren for stunning head pieces and hats that are relatively inexpensive, but also commented on how brilliant the offering from Marks and Spencer’s is this year. Royal Ascot also has a longstanding affiliation with milliner Stephen Jones whose designs this season are, as always, exceptional.

Jackets, Coats and Coverups:

To avoid looking too ‘matchy-matchy’ and with a typical, unpredictable summer in mind, Lisa suggests a Chanel style jacket as a great cover up that will add a little texture to an outfit. She advised being wary of the length, as too long can look frumpy and too short may appear boxy. She suggests Zara, River Island and Malene Birger as having great high street options.

As well as jackets and pashmina’s Lisa sighted the summer coat with bracelet sleeves as an elegant way of keeping out the chill and again, introducing a little texture and perhaps some print.

Tailoring and Fit:

Believing that “fitted is better than loose” Lisa recommends having clothes bought from the high street tailored to fit if the shape is not quite right and belting more voluminous pieces at the waist.

Colour and Print:

A big trend this season are colour clashes, Lisa suggests being bold with colour and clashing in blocks – a fuchsia dress with an orange shoe. In terms of print, floral is always a quintessentially British but Lisa suggests tribal to be a modern and eye catching alternative.

Maxi Dresses:

Avoid maxi dresses is Lisa’s advise, they can be tricky - looking either too beachy or too much like evening wear.

Lisa’s Favorite Ascot Look:

A smart suit for a modern take on formal daywear dressing or a ‘50s midi prom dress with a cropped cashmere cardigan…“a playful alternative to the traditional suit.”

Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Moody Stable Confident About Black Caviar

Black Caviar, the unbeaten Australian sprinting sensation, exercised in Newmarket this morning, Thursday, June 14, during a Royal Ascot media morning ahead of racing in the Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes over six furlongs on Saturday, June 23.
Even at 5am, she attracted a big turnout of camera crews, journalists and photographers eager to see the six-year-old mare, who is unbeaten in 21 starts.

Black Caviar cantered up the Al Bahathri Polytrack gallop and looked relaxed when led back to her temporary English home, Abington Place Stables, in Bury Road, Newmarket.

Jeff O'Connor, racing manager for her trainer Peter Moody, said: "Everything has gone to plan so far with her, the boys have been happy and she has been eating and sleeping normally.

"We've covered a lot at home and achieved everything we wanted to achieve there. Coming here is not about the prize money, there's a prestige in winning at Ascot that is a pretty big thing.

"We've been here before with two horses - one was placed (Magnus) and the other (Hinchinbrook) didn't get to run. So it's something for Peter to tick off personally as a horse trainer.

"Peter has said he doesn't want to train forever, going on into his 70s or 80s, so it would be a great thing to have an Ascot winner.

"The two boys here, Tony and Pat, have done a great job with Black Caviar and are enjoying it.

"I don't think we ever expected to deal with this sort of level of interest we've seen this morning - it's massive. We are seeing a lot of media crews that aren't normally racing followers today and that's growing and growing.

"We didn't know what to expect on that front but, seeing the turnout this morning, the interest next week is probably going to be a lot bigger than we thought.

"She's come here extremely fit. What we could gather from the record of Australian horses that came over and did well at Ascot was that they were horses that had been racing in the lead-up.

"She has a big engine. Her big stride is probably the most significant thing she has got. Her stride has been measured and is longer than most horses.

"It was her first time travelling on a plane. We were hoping to go to Perth (in Australia) to run in the Ascot race that Paul (Messara) won (with Ortensia) because that would have involved a flight.

"Knowing how the horse had coped with everything , we thought we had the right animal to take to England. The flight was good.

"Pete will be here in the next 24 hours and have a look at her and see if she needs a gallop. Perhaps she could have one little breeze-up and that would be it.

"We're eight runs in (this Australian season) so it has been a long drawn-out plan getting here. The three gallops she did before coming over were as good as I've seen, the tracks were just a bit softer so she wasn't running her normal freakish times, but they were enough to say she was 100 per cent.

"We wanted to make sure we had everything in the tank for Ascot so she had the two races at Morphettville and it's all gone to plan. The signs we're getting are that there are no concerns.

"She took the flight all in her stride. She lost 9-10 kilos coming over which is normal and is eating and drinking well. She has not quite put the weight back on yet which is why she will do very little for the next couple of days.

"It's odd that's she's never been on a plane before and suddenly has to handle 30 hours in transit. She has a very laidback style at home. She puts up with a lot of media, so this is nothing new to her, and she doesn't mind the cameras.

"The owners will be as nervous as I've ever seen them and won't sleep much before the race. But we're fortunate that we have a lot of runners from the stable every week so it's another day at the races for us, just with more attention.

"We've never said this horse only runs to maintain her unbeaten record. We've picked her races and announced them and if rival trainers want to take their horses there they can or they can look for other races. That's probably the most respect she's got that other trainers will abort her races as soon as they know she's there. That's the best accolade you can get, the unbeaten run has just come with that.

"I pretty much believe there isn't a horse that can beat her but anything can happen on any given day in racing, horses get beat and jockeys fall off. Something going wrong out of our control is our biggest scare, and I don't really want to deal with that but if it happens we will have to.

"Newmarket is the home of racing, the gallops are amazing and it's a fantastic place to bring a horse. Any trainer in Australia would be proud to be based here.

"She's not a princess, she's a bit like a colt. She's not demanding but knows she's a bit special but doesn't push it too far.

"She's never raced on a slow or heavy track at home but we've seen her have a lot of gallops at Caulfield on those winter mornings and she's coped with that every time. She had a race trial at Cranbourne before she started racing and did a super time in the heavy going that day. Because of that, we have been confident she would cope with soft ground. Every time she has run, she has brought good weather with her and hopefully that will be the same next week.

"The race is there in July (Darley July Cup) but this comes down to a horseman's call. It is a perfect time frame - three weeks after Ascot - but Pete and his boys, Tony and Pat, need to sit down and make a decision. We are mindful that we do want to go home and race Black Caviar in the spring. With the trip here, there is the question mark about whether we will be able to get her back to race at Melbourne in October.

"We are focused normally on training the horses, which is a massive operation to deal with. I am on leave - my holidays - here and I am starting to see what it is all about. When you step back and see all the focus on her, it is definitely getting bigger and bigger - it is a bit of a cult.

"At home it is business as usual. Me and Pete will thrash out a lot of issues with a lot of horses and Black Caviar probably gets the least amount of time. We spent a lot of time on the plan detailing how we would get her here but during the week I might just get a grunt off Pete and I have to decipher that. I will send an email to the owners and turn a grunt into a paragraph.

"We don't put her above any other horse in the stable as regards assessing them and the owners appreciate that.

"A lot of Australians want to be here to see her run. They will have a lifetime memory, hopefully of her winning, and being here to cheer her home.

"There is the sort of passion you get from football fans - we hear a lot of advice from her fans - what to do and where to run her. They are very passionate fans.

"I would never mention something from a fan to Peter - I would probably get slapped around the ear. Things like should we try a different shoe on her - a lot of it is amusing and many put a lot of thought into their emails and their advice.

"If people get to know she is having a barrier trial at Caulfield, it is pretty much standing room only. We generally don't tell anyone which trial she is in - I feel a little bit sorry for the other horses. Sometimes they are un-raced maidens. It can work both ways as an-unraced maiden who gets within 10 or 12 lengths of her might be alright. We use these barrier trials as a training tool before a race - to get that last fitness. We don't like to run our horses and use a race as an improvement as regards fitness.

"We know we are closer to the end rather than the beginning of Black Caviar's racing career and she is rising six in southern hemisphere time. There is nothing left for her to achieve as a racehorse and she might tell us one day that she wants a bit of peace and quiet. At the moment she loves the camera and enjoys being a racehorse, but one day she might just turn up and say I have had enough - that will be a tough time.

"If you gave me a 100 dollars I would not put it on Black Caviar or Frankel next week as I would not make a lot of money. I would rather put the 100 dollars on odds that someone could offer about Frankel covering Black Caviar one day. From what I have seen of him, he is an outstanding racehorse and she deserves the best.

"Pete will be a bit nervous when you see him tomorrow. I would advise taking a packet of chocolate biscuits if you want to get a chat out of him. I think he will be a bit on edge because of the whole challenge. Nothing is ever done easily in this industry and we have been here before and it hasn't always worked out.

"Magnus was trying to establish a stallion career and it was positive to be placed. We could not have been any more confident with Hinchinbrook last year before he injured himself. We know Black Caviar is a better sprinter than him so we are quite confident on ability but everything needs to fall into place and it will be a nervous time for the next week.

"We don't need any setbacks or issues coming here for this race. If you are an English horse aiming for Ascot and you have a setback, there will be something else later on in the season, We don't want that - we want to go to Ascot and win so we need everything to go right.

"Peter is pretty adamant that if he is 110 per cent happy with her and she lines up she won't be beaten. It is not so much a question of being beaten on ability, it could be bad luck or injuring herself. We probably shouldn't be discussing this. A horse would have to run well above its highest rating to get near her on her current form.

"It would mean a lot for our stable, for Peter personally and for the owners to win the Diamond Jubilee but as far as she is concerned there is probably not a lot to be achieved over and above what she has already done. We know she is a champion. She can only come out of the race negatively if something goes wrong. If she was 17 from 21, there would be less pressure for sure.

"If she is beaten, I don't think Luke would even come back to the mounting yard - I think he would just keep going and find a little barn outside Ascot or Windsor and put her in a stable there and just hide.

"Ascot has been outstanding for racing for a couple of hundred years. Whether Australians enjoy the Queen's association with Australia or not, it is still great to be associated with her this year in her race for what she has done, not only for racing but during her life.

"The owners will be so nervous next week. I have spent a lot of racedays with them and they are OK then. It is the lead-up to a race where they don't sleep and this will be even bigger after a 24-hour flight here. All they will be thinking about is can we be beaten, will we be beaten and that kind of thing.

"The pressure will only ease once Black Caviar retires. The day Pete says that's enough, I think we will all take a month off and look back. The plan is not to retire her immediately unless she tells us to and I can envisage her racing for another year or longer.

"Black Caviar's track work is almost better than any of her races. A lot of time she does not run up to her track work because she has an easy time as she is a 100 per fit from the track work.

"When horses come into the stable for the first time as youngsters, they are given a random nickname and she just happened to get Nelly which was perfect for her. I dare say she will be the last Nelly we ever have. She will be the only horse to wear her colours too.

"If she had been a colt, she probably would have been retired by now. She puts on weight easily and as she gets older it may become harder and harder to get that off. Her racing weight is around 570 kilos - it can get down to 560 and she can get up to 620 in the paddock. We worry a bit when she gets up to that level because it is too much pressure on her legs.

"Eventually she will have some niggles and tell us she has had enough or that she will not be at her best. If she cannot be at her best, she won't race any more. She has always been very strong ever since Pete was in love with her at the yearling sales.

"We went into her first start very confident and we knew on her second start that Black Caviar would go on and be special.

"I am really happy at the welcome Black Caviar has got in England. For me it is not about Black
Caviar beating the poms, an angle which has been put forward. I am thrilled that Black Caviar and Frankel are racing at Royal Ascot in the same week and we can adore them both. We just want to turn up and compete."


Derek Cruz is hopeful that nine-year-old Joy And Fun can fly the flag for Hong Kong in Tuesday's King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot although the trainer admits the recent rain could prove a concern.

"My horse likes a firm track or good to firm but I think he will handle ground that is yielding or just a bit on the soft side," said Cruz. "He seems to be striding out well in his work and has acclimatised well to Europe.

"He was very unlucky on his last start in Dubai when he half missed the start, hopefully it will be a closer race on Tuesday, when Brett Doyle will ride him.

"I think Ortensia is again the one to beat, but if mine runs up to his normal races then he should be in the firing line.

"We are staying away from Black Caviar by going for the King's Stand and I like to take it one race at a time with him but the Darley July Cup at Newmarket could be on his agenda."


Also representing Hong Kong is Little Bridge, who heads to Ascot on the back of two victories for trainer Danny Shum.

"I wanted to come here because England is a fantastic country for horseracing and it is a local Hong Kong trainer's dream to be here," said Shum. "He will run (in the King's Stand Stakes) over 1,000 metres because he is very good at that trip. His best distance is a straight 1,000 metres although he can handle a turn over six furlongs.

"I hope he can handle the track and run a good race for me at Ascot. It's very hard to compare the ground here with Hong Kong, where the track is usually good to firm. I would like to walk the track on Monday with my jockey and my owner. I'd like good ground.

"This is his first trip away since he came from New Zealand (where he was bred) to Hong Kong. It is a long trip but he has acclimatised well - the vets and Clive Brittain helped look after him when he arrived. It's quite hard to get used to the weather here and the new training facilities in Newmarket but he is working better each day in the run-up to the race.

"When he came sixth to Joy And Fun, I made a mistake because I put blinkers on him and he didn't like them. But after that he has run well without blinkers.

"He will not run on Saturday because we plan to run him in Japan in September so he will go into quarantine on Friday in Newmarket then go home to Hong Kong."


Bahrain-based owner-trainer Fawzi Nass is another keeping an anxious eye on the weather as he targets Krypton Factor at the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on Saturday week. The four-year-old was an excellent winner of the Dubai Golden Shaheen in March before finishing fifth in the Krisflyer International Sprint in Singapore in May.

"We were confident of a good run in Dubai but to win in such a fashion was a bit of a surprise," admitted Nass. "We didn't see the best of Krypton Factor in Singapore and I put that down to two things. Firstly he didn't travel over there so well and secondly the ground turned very soft on the raceday, which he didn't enjoy.

"Unfortunately, we've come to a wet country here and we hope for a nice summer week next week. We still have to see him perform on turf at this level. He did well on grass as a two-year-old when trained here by Sir Mark Prescott and also scored on it in Dubai but not at this level.

"Unfortunately, we have Black Caviar in our race, I keep being reminded we are running for second spot and it will certainly take a hell of a horse to beat her. Kieren Fallon will ride."


Australian trainer Paul Messara admits there is a chance that the mare Ortensia could line up in both the King's Stand Stakes on Tuesday and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes four days later at Royal Ascot.

"We had trouble travelling Alverta when we came over a couple of years ago so we decided to bring Ortensia here as early as we could this time. That way if there were any problems we could get her settled. She travelled brilliantly from Dubai and is in top order. Even with this weather, she has managed to keep a pretty good coat.

"She was the best she had been before Dubai and I feel she is coming into this race in the same sort of form.

"The ground is a concern, she has mixed form on rain-affected tracks and is better on top of the ground. She has a devastating turn of foot on a quick surface.

"If we were running on a drier track I'd be confident but four or five of the horses in the betting also prefer it firm so it could be an open race. I'd prefer this weather to blow away. I've had a really good look at the form and I think we have most of them covered. If we got good ground, I'd assess her chance very well.

"She is likely to run in blinkers on Tuesday and we look at how she is going into a race before deciding if she will wear them. She's very relaxed going into this so a little focus will help her.

"I will always put the horse's welfare first but if she came through the race fine and the weather was fine then I'd consider running her on Saturday as well. But Black Caviar is the best we have ever seen in the sprinting division.

"I think a stiff five at Ascot would be perfect, although six furlongs in the Darley July Cup would be her limit

"This is a special week and we're thrilled to be here to compete, it's the championship of racing around the world."

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

#AscotAsks Nick Smith, Head of Communications and International Racing

This week #AscotAsks our Head of Communications and International Racing, Nick Smith about his career in racing and the international horses we can expect to see at this year’s Royal Ascot.

Name: Nick Smith
Location: Ascot Racecourse
Occupation: Head of Communications and International Racing at Ascot Racecourse

1. Nick, how did you first get involved in racing?

I did the BHA (then BHB) Graduate Scheme and ended up working for the Daily Mail for a while with Marcus Townend and Colin Mackenzie… I’d wanted to do nothing else since getting hooked during the “Salsabil” flat season. I never got over her getting beaten in the Arc.

2. Could you explain what the “International Racing” part of your job entails?

Throwing a huge amount of darts to get as many people as possible interested in running horses at Ascot, knowing that 95% of the work ends in disappointment – losing Curren Chan and Curren Black Hill from Japan was a real blow, plus Foxwedge. In the end when we get a team as strong as this year over, headed by Nelly of course, it’s all worth it.

3. What is the importance of having international horses run in the UK?

For Ascot it is a fundamental part of our brand. We are Europe’s flagship international racecourse and Royal Ascot is the country’s premier race meeting.

4. Last week Australia’s famous mare, Black Caviar, landed here in the UK.  Could you briefly explain what her journey from home to Royal Ascot will be?

30 hours tullermarine airport to heathrow via Singapore and sharjah and about another 30 hours on the m25 to newmarket! Then its 6 hours round trip from Newmarket to ascot for a horse box.

5. What international horses can we expect to see at Royal Ascot this year?

Black Caviar, with The Diamond Jubilee Stakes her target, heads the international cast for this year’s Royal Meeting. Compatriot, Ortensia, arrived in the UK shortly after winning the Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai and she is being aimed at The King’s Stand Stakes.

Bahrain-trained Krypton Factor, winner of the Dubai Golden Shaheen on World Cup night before disappointing on unsuitable ground in Singapore, will lock horns with Black Caviar in The Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

To view the full list of international horses, Click Here.

6. Are there many opportunities for international horses to compete against each other, for example, specific competitions?

Competitions are difficult in racing. The Global Sprint Challenge is a mechanism to promote the world’s top sprints and there’s a US$ 1 million bonus for winning three races in three different countries. But really it is a marketing tool. QBCS in this country is similar – the races are linked for marketing purposes, but there is no champion horse as such.

7. What is the highlight of your international racing calendar?

Royal Ascot is what it is all about for me. It’s the best racing in the world and the focus of my international calendar. I genuinely enjoy it, even with the pressure and demands, more than any of the many trips I make each year. Of those trips the most important are my round the world trip in February and the Dubai World Cup in March, plus the double header of the Melbourne Cup and Breeders’ Cup in November. Hong Kong in December and indeed Singapore in May are becoming more and more important every year too.

8. In a dream situation whereby you could take a year from work to travel the world racing, what would be your route?

J&B Met in Cape Town in January; Lightning Stakes at Flemington in February; Dubai World Cup in March; Kentucky Derby and Singapore Cup in May; Belmont Stakes and Royal Ascot in June; Deauville, Saratoga and the Arlington Million in July and August – the King George at Ascot, July Cup, Glorious Goodwood and the Ebor Meeting at York of course too; British Champions Day and the Arc in October – and the Canadian International; Breeders’ Cup, Melbourne Cup and Japan Cup in November;  Hong Kong Internationals in mid December and finish up at the Arima Kinen at Nakayama on Christmas Day.

9. For someone wishing to get into the racing industry abroad, how would you suggest doing so?

Make contacts and know racing at home and abroad inside out. Don’t guess. You can’t bluff racing.

10. Finally, what are you most looking forward to at Royal Ascot 2012?

Black Caviar of course, but I would love Stephanie’s Kitten or any of Ken Ramsey’s American team to give him the Royal Ascot win he has always dreamed of.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Upgrade Your Ticket to Full Hospitality

Make your visit to Royal Ascot a day to remember. Upgrade your ticket to a hospitality experience and not only will you enjoy the world class racing on the track but you will also be treated to sumptuous dining in one of our fine dining restaurants for only £135 inc VAT per person.


On Tuesday 19th, Wednesday 20th and Saturday 23rd June you can dine in style in the Royal Ascot Pavilion with sweeping views across the lively plaza lawns towards the Parade Ring and south side of the Grandstand. On Friday 22nd June, this upgrade offer is available in the Old Paddock Restaurant with beautiful views over the Pre-Parade Ring.

Your package will include:

• Reserved table for the day (exclusive tables of 10 or shared tables for smaller groups)
• Three course luncheon
• Cellar Master’s selected wines
• Light afternoon tea
• Complimentary bar* throughout the day (excluding Champagne, until 30 minutes after the last race)
• Television viewing and betting facilities

*Complimentary bar includes: selected wines, house spirits (vodka, gin, white rum, and whisky), lager, bitter, soft drinks and mixers.

For more information or to make a booking please call the Hospitality Team on 0844 346 0346 or email Please quote Upgrade Package when booking.

Please note this offer is not available on Thursday 21st June and does not include admission to the racecourse which must be purchased prior to booking this offer.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Hat’s Off to Stylish Hair

For the fourth consecutive year, Toni & Guy are supporting Royal Ascot, and will be creating the stunning catwalk hair for the Fashion Show in the Bessborough Restaurant.

The increasingly popular trend of millinery fused with hairstyling, as worn by the late Isabella Blow and seen more recently on Lady Gaga and Headonism milliner, Charlie Le Mindu, was pioneered by Toni & Guy’s Creative Artistic Director, Indria Schauwecker.

As millinery is such an important part of Royal Ascot but can be a tricky trend to pull off, we invited Indria Schauwecker to offer her hair styling insight and advise on how to wear your hair with hats in mind.

“Hair can often be a challenge when thinking of a style to wear with your fascinator or hat. Should you wear it up, down, simple or styled?”

“If you’ll be wearing a hat, the low chignon will be your style saviour. Update the style with a romantically disheveled finish, using an organic texture in the hair. If your hat is a simple statement use, your hair to create detail by incorporating fish-tail braids into the chignon.”

“We worked on several shows at London Fashion Week this season with floral fascinators; I think the trend will be huge at the races. If you choose a fascinator this summer take some style inspiration from the roaring twenties and Great Gatsby glamour and add feminine detail with soft and wearable Marcel waves.”

Indira also recommends the humble ponytail – “versatile, simple enough to complement a decorative hat, always the picture of elegance and suitable for whatever British weather throws at us!”

Please note the revised Royal Ascot dress code, details of which can be found by Clicking Here.

The TONI&GUY Session Team will be styling the hair backstage to accompany Spring/Summer collections from design icons: Amanda Wakeley, Giles Deacon, Todd Lynn, Vivienne Westwood and Stephen Jones, highlighting the true essence of British talent and eccentricity.

To book a table in the Bessborough Restaurant, call 0844 346 0346 or visit

Share This