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Royal Ascot 2017: Four races to look out for

Date: 05/25/2017

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh
It is less than a month till the most grand event in the flat racing calendar takes place – Royal Ascot 2017. Top hat and tails are the standard gentlemen’s wear for the meeting, while the female species will be dressing up in their finery to make the five-day festival a sight to behold, on and off the track.

As you would expect, a Royal presence will be at Ascot for the meeting, as Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the British Royal Family will arrive each day in a horse-drawn carriage, with the Royal procession taking place at the start of each race day and the raising of the Queen's Royal Standard. Over 300,000 racegoers will attend Royal Ascot in what promises to be another fine showcase of racing.

With 30 races to take place over the five days, it has been a little difficult to choose, but here below is a brief preview on four of the more interesting contests over the festival to whet the appetite.

Queen Anne Stakes – Tuesday 20th June

The race is run over a distance of one mile for four year olds and over, and is always a popular betting heat given it is the first race of the five day meeting and the tipsters are always eager to get off to a winning start. Former winners include the legendary Frankel (2012) along with French raiders, Solow (2015) and Tepin claiming the last two renewals. Ribchester, owned by Godolphin and trained by Richard Fahey, is the current market leader at around 7/4 after an impressive win in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury recently and sets a strong benchmark.

Minding, who beat Ribchester in last years’ QEII Stakes at Ascot last October, is another potential challenger, but also has the option of moving up to ten furlongs in the Prince of Wales Stakes the following day. Galileo Gold will have to put a below-par performance in the Lockinge behind him if the former Guineas winner is to feature, while Aidan O’Brien’s Alice Springs is offered up as a lively outsider.

King’s Stand Stakes – Tuesday 20th June

Sole Power
The sprint race over five furlongs for three year olds and upwards is part of the Global Sprint Challenge with some of the leading contenders from overseas taking part in this dash to the winning post. Recent winners include the legendary Irish sprinter, Sole Power who won back-to-back in 2013-14, while Profitable won last year’s event from largely unheralded trainer, Clive Cox. American handler Wesley Ward has Lady Aurelia at the head of the betting at the best price of 9/2, while his recent inmate, Acapulco, now trained at Ballydoyle with Aidan O’Brien can be had at 5/1.

Sir Mark Prescott has the fast improving Marsha also at around the 5/1 mark, while Signs of Blessing is the first French trained horse near the head of the betting, trained by Francois Rohaut. Profitable can be had at around 16/1 to replicate the win of last year.

Ascot Gold Cup – Thursday 22nd June

Trainer Aidan O'Brien
Raced over a marathon trip of two miles and four furlongs, the Ascot Gold Cup is the true test of stamina for flat thoroughbred horses. Superstar Irish trainer, Aidan O’Brien has farmed this race in recent years with seven of the past eleven winners. Yeats won four on the bounce from 2006-09, while Fame And Glory (2011) and Leading Light (2014) have also claimed the spoils. Last year’s winner, aptly named, Order of St. George is another Ballydoyle inmate and is the ante-post favourite at the top price of 15/8 with leading bookmakers.

French challenger, Vazirabad is next in the betting for trainer, Alain De Royer-Dupre at 7/1, but is yet to be tried at the marathon distance. Ralph Beckett’s Simple Verse is another potential runner, without experience over the distance but could show further improvement as a five-year-old at 12/1.

Diamond Jubilee Stakes – Saturday 24th June

The final Group 1 of the meeting takes place over six furlongs and is for four year olds and upwards. The Diamond Jubilee is often a race with a plethora of runners, with many horses ground dependent on their chances. With little hope of offering the winner for such a difficult contest to fathom, we will just suggest some to keep an eye on for future reference. Henry Candy’s stable star, Limato currently heads the early betting at 5/1.

Magical Memory and The Tin Man trained by Charles Hills and James Fanshawe respectively can both be taken around the 8/1 mark. Karl Burke’s Quiet Reflection had a stellar year in 2016, although it remains to be seen if his stable star retains all of his ability, but is definitely worth consideration at around 10/1 in what promises to be a very difficult race for punters.

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