All-Star Line Up for opening day of Royal Ascot 2013
Royal Ascot will do well to match the start of last year’s meeting when Frankel stormed to a remarkable 11-length victory in the Queen Anne Stakes. American raider Animal Kingdom is carrying the burden of kicking off the meeting in style and has been backed down to odds-on favourite.
His main rivals appear to be Declaration Of War and Elusive Kate whilst the Lockinge Stakes second and third, Sovereign Debt and Aljamaaheer must have each-way claims.
South African sprinter Shea Shea is all the rage for the King’s Stand Stakes at 3.05 following impressive victories in Dubai earlier this year. If he is in the same form on Tuesday he will take some stopping.
Australian horses have a great record in sprint races here and Shamexpress is also expected to go well. The best of the home team could be the three-year-old Reckless Abandon who finished a close third in a thrilling Temple Stakes at Haydock in the hottest sprint of the season to date.
Bookmakers will be hoping that at least one of the first two favourites has been beaten by the time Dawn Approach lines up for the St James’s Palace Stakes at 3.45. The 2000 Guineas winner is out to make amends for his Derby failure and the recent setback to Magician has left the Godolphin horse as clear favourite.
Toronado was a big disappointment at Newmarket but Richard Hannon’s stable believe he is a lot better than he showed that day. Mars is a surprise addition to the field due to doubts surrounding the participation of Magician but he ran well in the Derby and could reach a place.
The two best backed horses in the Coventry Stakes at 4.20 have been Stubbs and Championship. Stubbs is one of three runners from Aidan O’Brien’s stable whilst Richard Hughes has chosen Championship from three Hannon entries.
The biggest cheer of the day could be reserved for Tiger Cliff in the Ascot Stakes at 5.00. The horse is running for Lady Cecil as she bids to send out a winner at the Royal meeting only a week after the sad death of Sir Henry.
A thrilling opening day ends with the Windsor Castle Stakes at 5.35 and America could be celebrating a first and last race double if Ogermeister wins for Wesley Ward. He trained two juveniles to win at the 2009 meeting and will be hoping that his Belmont Park winner can provide him with further success.