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Royal Ascot - Horse Racing: Preview

It's the most prestigious meeting of the entire Flat racing season and Royal Ascot is almost upon us once more.

(Article originally published 12.06.2022)

The Berkshire venue will be brimming with crowds in top-hats and tails as well as high fashion from Tuesday 14th June-Saturday 18th June, with five days of quality racing in store.

You can follow all the action from the meeting via our Sports Live Streaming platform and, ahead of it all, why not browse our Five Greatest Royal Ascot Performances as we look ahead to Royal Ascot 2022.

Day One: Baaeed to spring Ascot into life

Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated horse of the entire week will line up in the first race of the meeting, as William Haggas' unbeaten colt Baaeed looks to justify odds of 1/6 in the Queen Anne Stakes (14:30), the Royal Ascot curtain-raiser.

He ended last season by taking the scalp of Europe's top miler Palace Pier in the QEII on Champions Day and he began the new term by routing his rivals in the Lockinge at Newbury.

This Group 1 assignment is next for him and, with comparisons to Frankel now commonplace, can he emulate the great horse by winning a Queen Anne of his own?

The opener is one of three Group 1s on Tuesday, the King's Stand (15:40) and the St James's Palace Stakes (16:20) completing the trio.

American trainer Wesley Ward knows how to win races at this meeting and he's been talking up 3/1 Golden Pal for the five-furlong King's Stand.

Denied in the Norfolk Stakes here in 2020 and in York's Nunthorpe last summer, the Uncle Mo colt will attempt to make it third time lucky on British soil. Now a four-year-old, his trainer believes he's peaking.

Coroebus led home a one-two for Charlie Appleby in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, deservedly claiming the scalp of subsequent Irish Guineas winner Native Trail, and the Godolphin colt is 4/6 to add the St James's Palace Stakes and prove himself the top three-year-old miler in the land.

Day Two: Stoute aims for Bridge to success

Sir Michael Stoute first won the Epsom Derby with Shergar in 1981 and, soon after, Hard Fought gave him his maiden success in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes (15:40) at this meeting.

At the start of this month, Desert Crown gave the legendary trainer his latest Derby victory and, on Wednesday, 5/4 chance Bay Bridge will be expected by many to see him land that same Group 1 double 41 years apart.

After going 0-2 as a juvenile, Bay Bridge won all four starts in 2021 and he began this term with a taking display in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown in late May, cruising away for a five-length win. This will be his first assignment in top-level company.

Day two begins with the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes (14:30) over five-furlongs, with another exciting Wes Ward filly in 3/1 Love Reigns set to take on the likes of Karl Burke's once-raced winner Dramatised at 4/1, as well as Simon and Ed Crisford's impressive Nottingham scorer All The Time.

The Queen's Vase (15:05) is a Group 2 stayers event and sees the likes of Hafit, Newfoundland and Nahanni jostling near the head of the betting, while the Royal Hunt Cup (17:00) is amongst the most ferocious of the handicaps at the meeting and will provide a devilish punting puzzle.

Day Three: Stradivarius gets second shot at history

Yeats remains the only horse to win four Ascot Gold Cups after three-time staying king Stradivarius came up shy 12 months ago.

John and Thady Gosden's star is now eight years old and if he's going to emulate Yeats, he will do so in multiple ways, as he'd join him as just the second 8YO winner of the race since 1900.

Frankie Dettori will be on the board the recent Yorkshire Cup winner and they are 3/1 to reclaim Royal Ascot's centrepiece prize.

The Irish challenge looks strong, with Aidan O'Brien's Kyprios at 5/2 and Princess Zoe, second last year, a 8/1 chance to give trainer Tony Mullins the Holy Grail win he craves for his star mare.

Aidan O'Brien's juveniles have been sparkling this season and he has 11/4 The Antarctic as a possible contender for glory in the Norfolk Stakes (14:30), the day three opener, while the King George V Stakes (15:05) is the target for fellow Irish raider Yashin representing trainer Jessica Harrington.

Related Ascot News

Ascot - Horse Racing: Five Greatest Royal Ascot Performances

Ascot - Horse Racing: Five to Look For

Royal Ascot: All You Need To Know

Day Four: Weld's Songs hoping for Coronation call

Dermot Weld is no stranger to big-race success and impressive Irish 1000 Guineas winner Homeless Songs was expected to hold a real chance for glory in Friday's Coronation Stakes (16:20).

The Moyglare Stud filly had more than five lengths to spare in that Curragh Classic last month, form well and truly franked as the runner-up took out the Epsom Oaks since.

There were plenty of fillies hoping to challenge her but she now won't be heading to Ascot due to concerns over the ground.

That leaves Inspiral, 2/1 to start her season with a win here for the Gosden team, as the one to beat. The Frankel filly was outstanding last season, ending with victory in the bet365 Fillies' Mile at Newmarket.

A minor setback ensured the long-time antepost favourite had to skip the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, but her reappearance has been eagerly awaited since and the Cheveley Park filly's presence here would make for a mouthwatering showdown.

That's not the only Group 1 on Friday, with the Commonwealth Cup (15:05) bringing together the best three-year-old sprinters in Britain and Ireland over six-furlongs.

Perfect Power (4/1) for Richard Fahey, Karl Burke's El Caballo (5/1), the likeable Go Bears Go (9/1) for David Loughnane and Aidan O'Brien's Tenebrism are just some of the possible contenders.

Day Five: Platinum performance required

The remaining Group 1 race of the meeting is the Platinum Jubilee Stakes over six furlongs. Four days on from the King's Stand, there are often contenders who will take part in both races, with Blue Point in 2019 the most recent winner of both Royal Ascot Group 1 sprints.

With no Golden Pal for the King's Stand, trainer Wesley Ward could rely on Campanelle at 8/1, winner of the Commonwealth Cup at this meeting a year ago.

In what could be a truly international affair, Chris Waller's Australian raider Home Affairs is 7/4.

Saturday's supporting races include the Chesham Stakes (14:30) where Alfred Munnings aims to give trainer Aidan O'Brien his third straight win in the race, and the Group 3 Jersey Stakes (15:05) over seven-furlongs for three-year-olds.

The Hardwicke Stakes (15:40) has been won a record 11 times by Sir Michael Stoute, while the final days handicaps are the Wokingham Stakes (17:00) and the Golden Gates Handicap (17:35).

Royal Ascot's curtain call is the Queen Alexandra Stakes - a Conditions race over 2m5½f and the longest contest of the entire week.

The likes of Willie Mullins (2012, 2014, 2021), Gordon Elliott (2016, 2018) and Alan King (2020) ensure this race has a real National Hunt feel to it and plenty of the top jumps yards are likely to be represented once more.

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