Royal Ascot | Fitzdares share their top tips
The highlight of the equestrian calendar and an event synonymous with sartorial elegance, Royal Ascot – and its legendary dress code – returns tomorrow. We spoke to a number of Walpole members – from milliners to winemakers – on what to wear, what to drink, and, of course, what horse to have a flutter on during this, our week-long Royal Meeting takeover.
But first: as the finest equine talent and horsemen from across the Globe prepare for battle, Fitzdares’ Head of International Racing Glyn Warne casts his eye over some of the principals that may have the bookies running for cover.
Star Turn – Cracksman (Prince of Wales’s Stakes, Wednesday)
Officially Europe’s best horse, Cracksman is the star name on show next week. John Gosden’s colt is strongly expected to put an underwhelming display at Epsom, attributed largely to hitting his head on the stalls, behind him. He returns to the scene of last October’s scintillating Champion Stakes victory, where he trounced today’s main rival Poet’s Word by seven lengths.
Trainer to Follow – Wesley Ward
Wesley became the first US-based handler to ship a horse and win at Royal Ascot, and has since become an integral part of the meeting. This year he claims to have assembled his strongest ever raiding party, and he is fully expecting to add to his nine Royal winners. Lady Aurelia is the headline act, attempting to win successive King’s Stand Stakes.
Dark Horse – Saltonstall (Royal Hunt Cup, Wednesday)
The one mile cavalry charge often requires a deal of luck, but the Mick Halford trained Saltonstall looks to have slipped under the radar. The Irish trainer took this race two years ago with another Godolphin owned four-year-old colt and like him, Saltonstall will compete under a penalty for winning last month. The similarities are striking.
Race of the Week – Diamond Jubilee Stakes, Saturday
That last year’s winner The Tin Man is not even favourite illustrates just how competitive this race is. Europe’s top sprinter Harry Angel and Merchant Navy, now trained by the all-conquering Aidan O’Brien, top the list, however they will all have to go to beat crack Aussie sprinter Redkirk Warrior, who will be looking to join some illustrious compatriots who have won this. Remember Black Caviar?
Working Well – Chelsea Cloisters (Queen Mary Stakes, Wednesday)
Her trainer has won the Queen Mary three times. This year Wesley Ward’s representative, Chelsea Cloisters, has been the subject of glowing training reports. ‘’She looks as good as any two-year-old filly I’ve brought to the race – her works have been eye-openers.’’ We’ve all been warned.
Queen Elizabeth II presents The Gold Cup Trophy, in Honour of The Queen’s 90th Birthday, for winning horse Order of St George, to Jockey Ryan Moore on day 3 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 16, 2016 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse)