Royal Ascot celebrates the Queen’s Golden Jubilee as scandal threatens the sport of kings
Royal Ascot’s five days of magical racing opens on Tuesday (18 June) under the cloud of the most damaging scandal ever to rock the sport.
The pomp and pageantry will serve only as a temporary gloss over last week’s allegations of a drug baron’s association with jockeys and the doping of horses.
The highest quality Thoroughbred competition in the world will lift the spirits of horselovers, if only for the time being until more of the industry’s dirty washing is hung in public.
The action begins
Henry Candy’s Kyllachy, so impressive when winning the Temple Stakes at Sandown, appeals as the opening day banker in the King’s Stand Stakes.
Candy’s father Derrick saddled Song to complete the Temple-King’s Stand double back in 1969. Candy, who was assistant to his father during Song’s reign as champion sprinter, says: “Kyllachy’s late burst of speed is very similar to Song’s.”
Frenchmans Bay at last has an opportunity to show off his full potential in the opening Queen Anne Stakes after an injury-plagued career full of promise. Frenchmans Bay was operated on for bone chips in his near fore knee last year, but histrainer Roger Charlton rates him very highly when he is sound.
Irish ace Aidan O’Brien may kick off the meeting by saddling Sir Alex Ferguson’s Rock Of Gibraltar to win the St James’s Palace Stakes and Spartacus to take the Coventry Stakes.
On Wednesday Bahamian Dancer should be worth waiting for in the last, the Chesham Stakes, following his promising Yarmouth debut last month.
With the ground drying out France’s Banks Hill, winner of last year’s Coronation Stakes, should find conditions suitable enough for her to complete her Royal Ascot double in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
Michael Jarvis’s stable continues on the crest of a wave, so don’t miss Millennium Dragon in the Jersey Stakes.
Going for gold
On Thursday Persian Punch should finally raise the roof at his sixth attempt to win the Ascot Gold Cup. David Elsworth has been training him since the spring specifically to putthe record straight after his narrow defeat by Royal Rebel last year.
Rest assured Sir Michael Stoute will have done everything in his highly talented powers to ensure that Green Line carries the Queen’s colours to victory in the Britannia Stakes, in this Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee year.
On Friday Luca Cumani’s mighty atom, Gossamer can lay further claim to the title of Europe’s champion miler (and that includes Rock Of Gibraltar) in the Coronation Stakes. She only needs to reproduce the sizzling speed, which swept her home in the Irish 1000 Guineas to win again.
On Saturday America’s brilliant speedball, Caller One is unlikely to cope with Johannesburg, who should complete yet another memorable week for the Aidan O’Brien stable in the Golden Jubilee Stakes.
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