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Royal Ascot: Who to look out for next week

Updated: Jun 19, 2023


There are three Group Ones on Day One, as we gather at the crucible of British racing. Just as four days of the Cheltenham Festival serve as the pinnacle of jump racing, Royal Ascot is flat racing's steadfast five-day pinnacle, scrutinised and enjoyed by racing fans and fashionistas the world over. With its daily royal procession, and a dress code all but unaltered in its near 300-year history, the royal meeting began in 1768. Ascot Racecourse, however, is older, and was established by Queen Anne in 1711. It remains crown land. And, talking of Queen Anne, she lends her name to the first race of the week. At 2:30pm, will last year's French Guineas winner Modern Games (a recent Lockinge victor) be getting another nibble from sore loser Chindit?

Manaccan takes on Highfield Princess in the King's Stand at 3:40pm. That's one race before the return of this year's Guineas winner, Chaldean, who has our ambassador aboard in the St James's Palace. Under the hands of Ryan Moore, Irish 2000 Guineas winner Paddington is the one to beat here. But don't rule out Craven-winning duo Indestructible and Kevin Stott, nor last year's Richmond winner Royal Scotsman: he was only denied the Dewhurst by a neck, and held on for third in the Newmarket Guineas. Note that Jamie Spencer takes the ride today, rather than our other ambassador, Jim Crowley.


Last year's Irish Champions winner, Luxembourg, is our star today, as he looks to see off 2021 Derby winner Adayar, Bay Bridge and My Prospero in the Prince of Wales at 4:20pm. Fresh from a 2023 big race success in The Curragh's Tattersalls Gold Cup, the opposition is a tougher (but not insurmountable) challenge for the 4-year-old this afternoon. Elsewhere, our ambassador rides dual winner Gregory in the Queens Vase at 5:35pm.

Just as Aidan O'Brien seeks another tally on a now infinite Ascot scoreboard, son Joseph brings Jumbly to the Duke of Cambridge at 3:40pm. Rogue Millennium is his danger. Prosperous Voyage, too, for Ralph Beckett looks set to swoop, following Derby Day success in the Princess Elizabeth, when our ambassador was onboard. The Kensington Palace, Windsor Castle and Royal Hunt Cup complete a line up that begins with the Queen Mary at 2:30pm.


Last year, Day One of Royal Ascot belonged (at least in part), to the Australians, when Nature Strip stormed up in the St James's Palace for James McDonald and Chris Waller. This year, Day Three of Royal Ascot 2023 may end up belonging to the Americans. Wesley Ward has an entry in the Norfolk, our opening contest: with American Rascal making the trip over the Atlantic. The Norfolk leads on to our feature, a stayer's paradise with Coltrane, Subjectivist, Yibir, and last year's St Leger winner, Eldar Eldarov.

But that's only one race before our real feature, with the chance to see our very own RacingBreaks Ryder look to make it five on the bounce. We wish Ryder and James McDonald the very best of luck, of course. And they perform on a day that also sees the likes of Infinite Cosmos and James Ferguson's Land Legend rolled out. So too, in the supporting card, is Popmaster and Archie Watson's Brave Emperor, who's seen success across the continent, most recently with a win at Krefeld in Germany and a second at Bro Park in Sweden. Luke Morris takes the mount.


There were, quite understandably, tears from those closest to him as Kevin Stott was denied a perfect first Derby ride, with a win, on 3rd June. Could King Of Steel though, without the challenge of Auguste Rodin, put things right today, as the pair team up in the King Edward VII? Elsewhere, it’s a day for the Irish. Two-time Curragh and recent Haydock Sandy Lane winner Little Big Bear is here, and Dermot Weld’s Irish 1,000 Guineas winning Tahiyra has also made the trip over.

Tahiyra runs over 7f in the Coronation, while Little Big Bear is in the Commonwealth Cup over 6. There, his opposition comes from our ambassador on Lezoo. Look out, too for Soprano in the Albany (William Buick and George Boughey). Boughey also enters promising three-year-old Danger Alert in our last: the Palace of Holyrood House. Ed Dunlop, meanwhile, looks for glory with Haunted Dream in the Duke of Edinburgh, and Ceanna could further Benoît de la Sayette’s career with success in the Sandringham.


It’s a challenge to make something of a card where most entries haven’t yet been received. But one horse we surely can pick out is Hukum, full brother to last year’s British superstar Baaeed. Taking last year’s Coronation Cup as a 5-year-old, he runs in the Hardwicke at 4:20pm today. Hukum scored in the 2021 Cumberland Lodge at this course, before taking a Group Two in Dubai last year. His recent win at Sandown, denying 2022 Derby winner Desert Crown the perfect return, is testament both to our ambassador, Jim Crowley, and the training of Owen Burrows.

Look out too for Kinross at 2:20pm, and Duca Di Como in the Wokingham at 5pm. This evening, the curtain comes down on another royal meeting. Snapped shut, the pinnacle of flat racing for another year. But the 2023 season rolls on…


For 2023


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