Royal Ascot set to sparkle
Starting on Tuesday with possibly the clash of the meeting between International superstars Solow and Able Friend this years Royal Ascot meeting over 5 days will offer the best of the best against the best of the best all week long.
The Queen Anne Stakes is the first of a battalion of Group 1 feasts this week and in the Freddy Head trained French raider Solow and the Hong Kong winning machine Able Friend we will be providing the Global flavour of this meeting first race up. The local challenge is spearheaded by Night Of Thunder for Richard Hannon but the market is dominated by the raiders and Freddy Head is hopeful his charge will hold sway against the rarely traveled Able Friend.
The French handler told ATR “It’s a tough race but I’m very confident. There’s no doubting he’s a very good horse. He’s not met many good horses so we’ll find out how good he is. Able Friend has been very impressive but he hasn’t run on this side of the world and the straight mile at Ascot is a stiff mile and may be that will be new to him.”
Three Group 1’s to savour on Tuesday include the Kings Stand where Sole Power will line up at the top of the market taking on the likes of Muthmir, Shamal Wind for Australia who has Ryan Moore booked and the improving Mecca’s Angel. Whilst Gleneagles will be a short priced hot pot to take his dual 2000 Guineas wins at Newmarket and the Curragh and deliver again in the St James’s Palace Stakes with Andre Fabre’s Make Believe and the Sir Michael Stoute trained Consort leading the crop of 5 challengers to Aidan O’Brien’s star colt.
Round Two will bid to give Jim Bolger a big start to the week as the juvenile lines up in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes for the blue of Godolphin and Ireland hold a strong hand with Air Force Blue for Aidan O’Brien next in the betting from American speedball Finnegan of Wesley Ward next best in the markets.
We could see the big jump trainers get in on the act with the 2m4f Ascot Stakes as Willie Mullins, Tony Martin and Nicky Henderson lead an assault on the race with fancied runners. The Windsor Castle stakes looks the usual minefield to wrap up day one with a plethora of unexposed top class juveniles lining up and the best of them may be Clive Cox’s impressive twice raced and unbeaten charge Soapy Aitken but Wesley Ward is again in the mix saddling Ruby Notion who will go off close to the top of the market for the American handler.
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