A Royal Appointment
The eyes of the thoroughbred world will be firmly fixed on the pinnacle of British racing, the 5-day Royal Ascot meeting, next week from Tuesday June 19 to Saturday June 23.
Whilst the prizemoney across the 30 races sits just below $10m Australian (an increase of 10% on 2017) the prestige of winning on the Royal Ascot stage is unlike any other on the globe. Runners from UK, Europe, Dubai, USA and of course Australia have all made their mark in recent times. On the local front, the likes of Black Caviar, Miss Andretti, Takeover Target, Scenic Blast and Choisir have all tasted victory as Australian trained runners, as have ‘dual citizens’ So You Think, Haradasun and Starspangledbanner.
With Racing.com broadcasting all the coverage (you can tune in on Tuesday from 10:30pm AEST) we’ll be able to keep a close eye (and a weary one, by the time they run at 1:20am Sunday morning) on this year’s Australian contingent of Redkirk Warrior and Marchant Navy, who are both set to compete in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes over 1200m up the famous Royal Ascot straight.
The Lindsay Park prepared Redkirk Warrior will attempt to become the team’s first Royal Ascot winner in somewhat of a homecoming for this former UK trained gelding, who has built a well-documented and imposing record in straight races since arriving to Australia. It would be a great sight to see David Hayes and the Lindsay Park team secure their Royal Ascot victory with a horse that made his debut over 2000m back in June 2014.
Speaking of interesting debuts, Aidan O’Brien enjoyed a winning debut when he saddled up Merchant Navy for the first time in Ireland recently in a G2 lead up race in preparation for his Grand Final in the Diamond Jubilee. Merchant Navy, still a 3 year-old by Australian standards will be listed as a 4 year-old in the northern hemisphere, but has already proved in the Newmarket Handicap he can mix it with our best, when a close up third (arguably on the wrong side of the track) to Redkirk Warrior.
Add to the mix England’s best 1200m horse Harry Angel, and we’ve got ourselves an enthralling race!
Other key races to look out for are the Queen Anne, the King Stand Stakes (the battle of speed machines Battash and Lady Aurelia), the St James Palace, the Prince Of Wales Stakes (Cracksman will be most people’s lock of the week), the Ascot Gold Cup (Order Of St George heads the markets), and the Commonwealth Cup (James McDonald rides co-favourite Equilateral).