Royal Ascot 2018 - Aljazzi

Aljazzi Gunning for Royal Ascot in 2018

Marco Botti is eyeing a second shot in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes for 5-year-old, Aljazzi, at this year’s Royal Ascot. The impressive mare could be looking to go one better in the mile contest on Wednesday 20th June, having finished recently finished third on her return to the track at Sandown.

The Italian trainer appeared happy with her recent performance, saying, “The ground was not ideal, as the rain made it soft ground before the race, but we took the chance and I think she ran really well.”

Botti believes that Aljazzi won’t have too many runs this year, and is instead targetting a direct route to Royal Ascot.

On last year’s Royal Meeting, he added, “That was her best run last season and going straight to Ascot gives her time to recover.” Following a trip to Ascot, Botti posits that a place in the Falmouth Stakes could be next on the agenda. The 5-year-old is certainly worth keeping tabs on this year.

Wednesday 20th June could also see Newmarket trainer, James Tate, in action this year at Ascot with Invincible Army. The 3-year-old colt made a winning comeback in the Pavilion Stakes at the track on Wednesday – the 11/8 favourite, ridden by Ryan Moore, stretched clear for a length and a half to overcome rival Eqtidaar.

Speaking of his victory on Wednesday, Tate said, “I’m chuffed to bits with that. We knew he had trained on, it’s just a question of how far we can go, I guess.”

Will you be at the treasured Royal Meeting this year?

Royal Ascot Hospitality 2018

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With places available within the Pavilion, the Furlong Club, and the brand new Gallery facility among others, there is plenty for racegoers to choose from this year. Make it a summer to remember with a fabulous corporate package.

Royal Ascot 2017 - Ascot Racecourse

Trainer looking for answers after Mecca’s Angel’s Ascot flop

Trainer Michael Dods is still searching for answers after favourite Mecca’s Angel flopped in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot last week, but he believes it could be due to the mare being in season.

The five-year-old was the well fancied for the Group 1 sprint on day one of the Royal Meeting. With the adverse the weather conditions turning the ground at Ascot Racecourse to soft, last season’s Nunthorpe Stakes winner was backed into 6-4.

But under regular jockey Paul Mulrennan she failed to fire on all cylinders and finished ahead of just one other runner as Profitable continued his dream season by winning a maiden Group 1 race. The 12-length defeat left Dods baffled with no conclusive evidence returning from a variety of tests on his stable star.

Dods said, “We tested her thoroughly and could find nothing wrong with her, and though she didn’t show it, I am sure she was in season.”

Now Dods will be targeting the star sprinter at return to the York Ebor Festival and the Nunthorpe Stakes. In 2015 Mecca’s Angel overcame impressive Royal Ascot winner Acapulco in one of the finest performances of the season.

Dods added, “She is fine and although there is a race in Ireland for her next month we might go straight for the Nunthorpe at York.”

Star sprinters including Royal Ascot hero Twilight Son all-set for July Cup

The Darley July Cup one of the best sprint contests of the season could be set for a vintage year with the last two winners of Royal Ascot’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes set to line-up.

2015 Diamond Jubilee Stakes hero Undrafted was beaten by just three-lengths in the 2016 renewal as Twilight Son showed that he is the class horse that everyone suspected he was. The Wesley Ward star will be hoping to take the July Cup back to the USA.

Trained by Henry Candy, Twilight Son, has been well backed since his Royal Ascot success and is currently priced at 9-2 for the Group 1 Newmarket event on July 9. Magical Memory finished fourth in Diamond Jubilee and has also been well supported for the thrilling race.

Another exciting addition to the field is the Hugo Palmer-trained Home Of The Brave who will have his first run at six-furlongs since his three-year-old campaign. After taking the Group 3 Jury Stakes at Haydock his trainer is excited about dropping his star back in trip.

Palmer said, “I’m very excited about the prospect of trying Home Of The Brave over six furlongs for the first time since his excellent run in last year’s Group 1 Commonwealth Cup.”

Other potential entrants include Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Mongolian Saturday, Limato and Commonwealth Cup winner Quiet Reflection.

A thrilling race in-store.

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Royal Ascot Review - Ascot Racecourse

The Stars of Royal Ascot 2016

So another year at Royal Ascot has passed and what a week it was. Some fantastic action on the track despite the less than ideal weather conditions. We take a look back at some of the stars who graced the hallowed Ascot Racecourse turf during a memorable Royal Meeting.

Tepin – Queen Anne Stakes – Tuesday

The five-days of action kicked-off with the Queen Anne Stakes and it didn’t take long for the packed crowds to see a special performance.

American superstar mare Tepin was thought of as one of the week’s bankers ahead of the Queen Anne Stakes, but with heavy rain falling before the meeting, the softened ground pushed the Breeders’ Cup Mile winner was ousted from the top of the market.

But the fears about the ground were quickly dispelled as the five-year-old produced a majestic performance. Racing in a good position throughout she always seemed to be travelling powerfully; just over a furlong out she took up the running, staying on well to deny Lockinge winner Belardo in second.

The victory made Tepin the first horse from outside Europe to win the Royal Ascot opener and her owner Robert Masterson praised his superstar saying: “She is the best thing in the world. It’s all her, we just represent her. She is fantastic and she did a fantastic job again today.

“People say the Americans need to have drugs in their horses. Well she had no drugs in her, no nasal strip, nothing. It’s a great message to send back home.”

Not a bad way to kick-off the week.

Lady Aurelia – Queen Mary Stakes – Wednesday

The USA struck again on day two of Royal Ascot as Lady Aurelia produced what many considered to be not just one of the best performances of the week but one of the most breathtaking in Ascot’s recent history.

In what appeared to be a decent renewal of the six-furlong juvenile contest, Wesley Ward’s charge was sent-off as the 2-1 favourite; and the punters faith was rewarded in stunning fashion. Frankie Dettori immediately sent the filly into a quick lead and she never looked back.

As the field entered the final furlong-and-a-half Dettori pushed the button and Lady Aurelia responded in spectacular style, surging clear of the field. As she crossed the line she was seven-lengths clear and the crowd were blown away.

After the race Dettori said: “That was breathtaking from the top. To win by seven lengths at Royal Ascot was sensational and I’ve never seen or experienced anything like it especially for a two-year-old.”

Order Of St George – Ascot Gold Cup – Thursday

The feature race of Ladies Day of Royal Ascot 2016 was the Ascot Gold Cup and it went the way of Aidan O’Brien and Order Of St George, who gave him his seventh win in the race.

The race attracted a post-war record field with 18-runners going to post, but the buzz was all about one horse. Order Of St George was a superb winner of the Irish St Leger in 2015, but there were doubts over his stamina for this marathon contest. But under the masterful Ryan Moore he took it all in his stride.

Settled in midfield throughout, the five-year-old was given a beautifully patient ride by Moore who knew he had a class horse underneath him. There was a bit of trouble in-running as Moore looked to switch his ride to the outside but once he got out he never looked back.

Heading into the straight Order Of St George still had plenty in the tank and he stayed on powerfully to win by three-lengths.

Dartmouth – Hardwicke Stakes – Saturday

Entering the final day of Royal Ascot, The Queen was still awaiting her first winner of the week, but that wait came to an end on Saturday as Dartmouth took the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes for Sir Michael Stoute.

The Chester May Festival winner wasn’t particularly well-fancied ahead of the race but under French jockey Olivier Peslier he produced a career best performance; in a race where the market principles failed to fire.

Two-furlongs out the four-year-old began to make smooth headway to join the leaders, eventually entering a titanic tussle with Highland Reel. The pair appeared to clash on the run-in but Dartmouth always seemed to going the best and got-up by a head on the line.

The victory drew the biggest cheer of the week from the Ascot crowd as Her Majesty The Queen celebrated her 90th birthday with a first Royal Ascot winner since 2013 when Estimate took the Gold Cup.

What a perfect way to end a spectacular week.

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Royal Ascot Hospi0tality 2016

A Shin Hikari heads field for Prince of Wales’s Stakes

Japanese superstar A Shin Hikari heads of field of just nine runners for the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes on day two of Royal Ascot – Wednesday 14th June 2016.

The ace five-year-old took the Hong Kong Cup at Sha tin in December, but it was his performance in the Group 1 Prix D’ispahan at Chantilly that marked him out as a potential superstar for Royal Ascot 2016.

Masanori Sakaguchi’s stable star travelled powerfully throughout the race and eased into the lead two-furlongs from home; a devastating burst of speed quickly took him clear of the field and saw him claim victory by 10-lengths.

That victory also made him the highest-rated Japanese horse since his sire Deep Impact was crowned world champion back in 2006.

Now he has his sights set on more Group 1 glory in the showpiece event on day two of Ascot Racecourse’s Royal Meeting.

Masahiro Watanabe the racing manager for the owners of the grey, Eishindo Co Ltd, has spoken of his excitement ahead of next week’s big race, saying: “I think it’s a very beautiful racecourse. I’ve just walked the course and I think compared to Chantilly and Japan, I think it might be a tough course.

“British racing, especially racing at Ascot is very famous. We are very honoured to be here and just looking forward to the whole experience.

“A Shin Erwin ran a really good race in France so he is in good form. As long as he gives it his all on the day I think he has a good chance to do well.”

It is no surprise to see A Shin Hikari as the 6-4 favourite for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.

Time Test hoping to make it a Royal Ascot double as he faces Japan’s best horse

Time Test looks to be the biggest danger to the red-hot favourite as the Roger Charlton star looks to make it a Royal Ascot double, after his victory over this course and distance in last season’s Tercentenary Stakes.

The four-year-old produced a gutsy display to take the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown at the end of May, a run which looks to have put him spot on for this high-class event.

While the race has only attracted nine runners at the final stage it is shaping up to be a real quality race. The Grey Gatsby who was so unlucky when finishing second in the same race last season will bid to go one better for Kevin Ryan.

Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Found could be an intriguing runner for the Aidan O’Brien stable, the four-year-old was just edged out in the Coronation Cup last season at Royal Ascot and is a classy type.

Dual Group 1 heroine Covert Love could bid to give Hugo Palmer more big race success, but she will only run on ground which is good or better.

What a race in store.

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Royal Ascot Hospitality 2016 - Ryan Moore

Zonderland on track for opening day of Royal Ascot 2016

Zonderland, the Clive Cox three-year-old is set to line-up in the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes on the opening day of Royal Ascot – Tuesday 14th June 2016.

The one-mile contest is the highlight of day one of the meeting and is set to feature the British 2000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold and Irish 2000 Guineas winner Awtaad. Now Cox will send his colt in search of Group 1 glory after he posted an impressive effort in the Heron Stakes at Sandown.

Under jockey Adam Kirby the Cheveley Park Stud owned horse found himself in a good position throughout the race and quickly put the listed contest to bed one-furlong from home to win by two-and-a-quarter-lengths.

After finishing sixth behind Galileo Gold in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, there is no doubt Zonderland will have to step up massively on his previous efforts, but connections feel the tougher test of Ascot Racecourse will play to his strengths.

Chris Richardson, Racing Manager Cheveley Park Stud, said: “He has run twice at Newmarket and he does not like going down the hill there.

“I think Sandown, with its stiff finish, suited him and ideally you would like to think Ascot would as well. He is a big horse that needed time, but you could not have asked him to have done it any more impressively at Sandown.”

Awtaad ready for Guineas rematch at Royal Ascot

Chris Haynes who will partner Irish 2000 Guineas Awtaad at Royal Ascot in seven days’ time has said his mount is ready for a rematch with Galileo Gold.

The Kevin Prendergast colt turned over the red-hot favourite at the Curragh and is on target for the rematch which will feature The Gurkha, a runaway winner of the Poule d’Essai des Poulains.

The Gurkha currently heads the market for the St James’s Palace Stakes at 6-4 for the Aidan O’Brien stable. Awtaad is second-favourite at 7-2, with Galileo Gold a best price of 9-2.

Haynes said: “It will be fascinating to see which horse is best. I just hope we get genuine good ground so no one can have any excuses. I personally think my horse is best but I’m obviously going to think that.

“”I’ve sat on him a good bit since the Guineas and he seems to have improved. That’s shocked me. I didn’t think he would be able to improve that much.”

This race is shaping to be one of the best of the entire Royal Meeting.

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Royal Ascot Hospitality 2016

Record-breaking sprinter Drafted set to wow the crowds at Royal Ascot

USA super sprinter Drafted is set to thrill the crowds at Royal Ascot 2016, with the Windsor Castle Stakes on the opening day of the meeting his main aim.

Eoin Harty trains the Godolphin owned colt who broke the track record at Keeneland in April when defeating the highly regarded Wesley Ward horse Spellker, over four furlongs. Now the exciting prospect will step up to five furlongs at the world’s biggest flat racing event.

The race is always one of the quickest contests of the season with some of the best juveniles thundering up the iconic Ascot Racecourse home straight. In 2015 the race was won by the deadly duo of Ryan Moore and Aidan O’Brien as Washington DC stormed home.

Harty appeared bullish about his stable star and said: “He worked on turf over five furlongs at Arlington, and it was a fantastic piece of work.

“He’s straightforward and precocious. We are always on the look-out for horses with potential, and he’s basically ideal for what we have in mind.

“He’s your typical precocious two-year-old. He’s got a big quarter horse forearm — and he is fast.”

Amazing Maria returning to Royal Ascot in the Queen Anne Stakes

Amazing Maria who was a shock winner of the Duke of Cambridgeshire Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2015 will return to the Berkshire course and take on the boys in the Queen Anne Stakes on day one of the Royal Meeting.

After success in the Group 2 contest the David O’Meara mare went on to claim two Group 1 races at Newmarket (Falmouth Stakes) and Deauville (Prix Rothschild).

The five-year-old made her comeback at Guineas Weekend when finishing third in the Dahlia Stakes and now O’Meara is keen for his star to take on the males in the opening race of Royal Ascot 2016.

O’Meara said, “She was very good at Ascot last year in the Duke of Cambridge and I think she’ll run in the Queen Anne this year.

“She was very good in Ascot, in the Falmouth and in France last year, so rather than take on the fillies with the penalty, we’ll have a crack at the Queen Anne.”

There are just 11 days to go until the start of Royal Ascot.

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Royal Ascot Hospitality 2016

Tepin ready to thrill the crowds at Royal Ascot

Breeders’ Cup Mile superstar Tepin is all set to thrill the crowds at Royal Ascot 2016 after coming through her prep run in fine style.

The biggest meeting of the flat racing season is now just two weeks away, with the world’s best horses preparing for five unrivalled days of action at Ascot Racecourse, Berkshire.

The supreme mare is one of the world’s leading horses and is a four-time Group 1 winner; she took a five-furlong contest at Churchill Downs on Saturday morning and owner Robert Masterson has confirmed its all systems go for Royal Ascot.

The five-year-old is the 9-2 ante-post favourite for the Queen Anne Stakes the opening race of Royal Ascot 2016, a race won by the likes of Frankel, Canford Cliffs and Goldikova in recent years.

Masterson said: “We are planning to take the filly to Royal Ascot and run in the Queen Anne.  Right now, all systems are go and everybody is on board.

“She obviously has some things to overcome that are different than the way she is running here, but we would like to go and try it and see how she does.”

Manatee is a Ascot Gold Cup possible after solid run in France

French training legend Andre Fabre could send Manatee to the Ascot Gold Cup on Royal Ascot Ladies Day after a solid run in Sunday’s Prix Vicomtesse Vigier.

The Godolphin owned five-year-old was a Group 2 winner in 2015 when scoring over a a-mile-and-a-quarter, now he could step up massively in trip for one of the biggest races in the world.

On Sunday he moved up to a trip around two-miles and thrilled his connections by finishing third, just a couple of months after finishing sixth in the Dubai Gold Cup.

Godolphin’s French representative Lisa-Jane Graffard said: “We were delighted with Manatee’s run. It was a semi-comeback and he really needed the outing.

“At the moment, the trainer is strongly considering running Manatee in the Gold Cup, but we will see how the horse is after this performance and consult.”

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Royal Ascot Hospitality 2016

Royal Ascot switch for The Grey Gatsby and Ashadihan

Trainer Kevin Ryan will send The Grey Gatsby and Ashadihan straight to Royal Ascot 2016; after the pair were both withdrawn from their races at the Curragh on Irish Guineas weekend.

The Grey Gatsby, second in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes in 2015, was due to make his seasonal reappearance in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup. While Group 3 winner Ashadihan was due to take on Minding in the Irish 1000 Guineas.

There was a major shock in the 1000 Guineas as 4-11 favourite Minding was unable to get to the leader Jet Setting who completed a remarkable victory for a horse who cost just 12,000 guineas and was supplemented for the race.

However the rain softened ground on day two of the meeting would have gone against both runners and Ryan took the decision to remove them from their respective races. Now they will head straight to Royal Ascot.

The Grey Gatsby will be looking to go one better after his narrow loss to Free Eagle at the Royal Meeting in 2015.

Ryan said: “We’ve taken both horses out. The ground is very soft, neither of them would like it, so it’s pointless running them.

“They’ll both go straight to Ascot now. We’ll take him (The Grey Gatsby) for a racecourse gallop and we’ll have him spot-on for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. She probably won’t run in the Commonwealth Cup. We’d be looking at the Coronation Stakes.”

Ryan’s Ashadihan could meet Jet Setting at Ascot after trainer Adrian Keatley said, “She has an entry at Ascot. She wants a bit of ease in the ground so we’ll have a look and go from there.”

Clive Cox looking for a Profitable Royal Ascot visit with stable star

Clive Cox is aiming for Group 1 glory at Royal Ascot with his star sprinter Profitable, who will run in the King’s Stand Stakes.

The four-year-old has made a superb start to the 2016 season taking the Group 3 Palace House Stakes, before beating red-hot favourite Mecca’s Angel in the Group 2 Temple Stakes at Haydock on Saturday.

After the race Cox confirmed that Royal Ascot was the next meeting on the agenda for the progressive sprinter saying: “He will go to the King’s Stand Stakes now. He has come out of his last race absolutely super and I am pleased with the way that he has taken it.

“I did feel he would come on for his first run at Newmarket and for him to win first time up was fantastic.

“I was a little bit concerned about the ground on Saturday as I always felt he is better on a better surface.

“To win like he did on Saturday confirmed that he has progressed over the winter.”

The market for the prestigious event is currently headed by the Wesley Ward star Acapulco, who will be looking for a second consecutive season.

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Royal Ascot Hospitality - Solow returns for 2016

2000 Guineas stars set for Royal Ascot decider

Galileo Gold and Awtaad will meet at Royal Ascot in a battle of the British 2000 Guineas winner and the Irish 2000 Guineas winner.

The Hugo Palmer trained Galileo Gold was looking for British and Irish Guineas double on Saturday at the Curragh, but was beaten by the Kevin Prendergast star Awtaad, who made it four wins from five starts in the Group 1 event.

Under Frankie Dettori, Galileo Gold, was sent off as the 5-4 favourite and looked to have a good position on inside of the field throughout the race. But Chris Haynes and Awtaad were travelling powerfully and took up the running two furlongs out; an electric burst pushed him clear of the field.

Dettori and his mount were unable to match the speed of the winner but finished well clear of the rest in second.

Now the pair look set for a deciding clash on the opening day of Royal Ascot in the St James’s Palace Stakes.

The Epsom Derby had been mooted as a potential race for Galileo Gold, but the world’s most famous flat race is not an option and Palmer is keen to take on Awtaad once again.

He said:  “The St James’s Palace is meant to be the championship decider between the two Guineas winners and if The Gurkha comes as well what a race we have to savour – better than the Derby.

“I’m not afraid to take on the Curragh winner again on better ground. It’s a very exciting prospect that I’d relish and would be fantastic for racing.”

While connections of Awtaad have also ruled out a tilt at the Derby with Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Hamdan Al Maktoum saying: “I think it would be hard to give up the chance of the St James’s Palace Stakes by jumping him up half-a-mile.

“He beat the English Guineas winner and the other top milers at the Curragh and would be a wonderful stallion prospect if he won the St James’s Palace against the best ones around.”

O’Brien could hold trump card in St James’s Palace Stakes with The Gurkha

Despite the race featuring two classic winners, the favourite is currently the Aidan O’Brien colt The Gurkha.

The three-year-old is unbeaten in all three starts of 2016 and was ultra-impressive when destroying his rivals in the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains at Deauville.

He too holds an entry for The Derby but is also a best price of 7-4 for the St James’s Palace Stakes. Where will O’Brien send this potential superstar for his next race?

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Royal Ascot Hospitality 2016 - Ryan Moore

Royal Ascot 2016 targets set for Nathra and Litigant

Nathra who produced an impressive run in the French 1000 Guineas at the weekend will now be aimed at the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot 2016.

The John Gosden filly made an impressive reappearance in the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket in April, but was well-beaten by Minding in the 1000 Guineas.

However the three-year-old bounced back with a tremendous performance at Deauville finishing just one-length behind the unbeaten La Cressonniere.

Now the Champion Trainer will target the Group 1 Coronation Stakes on Friday 17th June, during the biggest meeting of the season – Royal Ascot 2016.

Bruce Raymond, racing manager for owner Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah told Sky Sports: “She’s come out of the race very well.

“She’ll go for the Coronation Stakes next, that’s the obvious next target for her. I think that’s where John will point her towards.”

Litigant will aim for the Ascot Gold Cup according to his trainer

York Ebor star Litigant could be back on track within the next month, with the prestigious Ascot Gold Cup one of the aims.

Joe Tuite produced one of the best training performances of 2015 as he nursed the eight-year-old back from a 16-month absence to win the richest flat handicap race in Europe.

That performance showed him to be a stayer of high quality and while a run in the Gold Cup would require a big step up, you wouldn’t rule this progressive horse out.

Tuite will be waiting for favourable conditions for his stable star and if the Gold Cup is out of the question a trip to Ireland for the Curragh Cup.

Tuite said: “He’s back in full work. It’s all systems go for Ascot at the moment and then we’ll see nearer the time whether we get to Ascot or instead go to Ireland for the Group Two.

“We just need nice ground. He wouldn’t run on fast ground.”

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