The best five days of flat racing in the world, not to mention the UK’s longest horse racing festival, makes its return next week, packing in an incredible 5 days of first class action plus a phenomenal number of Group races each day.
In total, there are 30 races across the five day program which includes eight Group Ones and a further nine Group races.
This year’s Royal Ascot will be taking Tuesday 16th June through Saturday 20th June.
True, everything will be behind closed doors with NO members of the public in attendance but the mere fact that it is going ahead at all is fantastic news for all fans of horse racing.
There are a few minor alterations to the 2020 schedule meaning some events will not be taking place on their traditional days as well as six extra races being added to proceedings.
Added on to the 2020 agenda are the Copper Horse Handicap, the Golden Gates Handicap, Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap, Silver Royal Hunt Cup and the Silver Wokingham Handicap. Plus The Buckingham Palace, last seen in 2015, will return to open the meeting and get things underway.
There has also been a reshuffling of events which sees the St James’s Palace Stakes and the Coronation Stakes being held on the Saturday for one year only. The thinking behind this is to lengthen the time between races since the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas run at Newmarket last weekend.
Likewise, The King Edward VII Stakes and Ribblesdale Stakes will run on the opening day in order to maximise the gap before the Derby and Oaks in early July.
So, who should be watching at Royal Ascot 2020?
Tuesday: Royal Ascot Day 1 Tips
|13.15||The Buckingham Palace Handicap||3+||£35,000||7 Furlongs|
|13.50||The Queen Anne Stakes||4+||£250,000||Group 1||1 Mile|
|14.25||The Ribblesdale Stakes||3 Fillies||£110,000||Group 2||1 mile, 4 furlongs|
|15.00||The King Edward VII Stakes||3 Colts & Geldings||£110,000||Group 2||1 Mile 4 Furlongs|
|15.35||The King’s Stand Stakes||3+||£250,000||Group 1||5 Furlongs|
|16.10||The Duke of Cambridge Stakes||4+ Fillies & Mares||£100,000||Group 2||1 Mile|
|16.40||The Ascot Stakes||4+||£35,000||Handicap||Two Mile Four Furlongs|
Tuesday gets the week off to a fantastic start with two Group One races on the seven race card.
Normally the feature race on the first day of Royal Ascot is the St James Palace Stakes but this year that is going to run on Saturday so The Queen Anne’s Stakes at 13.50 takes prominence.
Circus Maximus has moved clear in the betting following the withdrawal of favourite King Of Change who will now be swerving Royal Ascot and waiting for the autumn instead, leaving the 4-year-old son of Galileo to lead the field in his absence.
For those of you looking away from the favourites, Mohaather can throw a little value your way should he run in this one.
After winning the Greenham last spring, injury cruelly ruled him out of the 2,000 Guineas, and was later beaten by five lengths by King Of Change in a Group One.
This time around, however, it is King Of Change that will be missing so Mohaather might just be one to watch, while French 2000 Guineas winner Persian King is another.
Wednesday June 17: Royal Ascot Day 2 Tips
|13.15||The Silver Royal Hunt Cup Handicap||3+||£35,000||1 Mile|
|13.50||The Hampton Court Stakes||3||£60,000||Group 3||One mile, two furlongs|
|14.25||The King George V Stakes||3||£60,000||Handicap||1 mile, 4 furlongs|
|15.00||The Prince of Wales’s Stakes||4+||£250,000||Group 1||1 mile, 2 furlongs|
|15.35||The Royal Hunt Cup||3+||£75,000||Heritage Handicap||1 mile|
|16.10||The Windsor Castle Stakes||2||£40,000||Listed||5 Furlongs|
|16.40||The Copper Horse Handicap||4+||£35,000||1 Mile 6 Furlongs|
Aiden O’Brien’s Japan has seen his chances of success in the Prince Of Wales Stakes enabled by the withdrawal of, ahem, Enable, after his trainer, John Gosden, opted to start her season off at Sandown instead.
The four-year-old has previously finished in the top four in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, as well beating last year’s winner in this race – Crystal Ocean – at York in one of her most recent run outs and O’Brien openly admits that she has had this race in her sights for some time now.
Former Greenham Stakes and St James’s Palace Stakes winner Barney Roy should go off as second favourite if the market remains stubborn, something Ghaiyyath, who captured the first British Group One of the season with victory in the Coronation Cup at Newmarket last week, may take issue with.
Thursday June 18: Royal Ascot Day 3 Tips
|13.15||The Golden Gates Handicap||3||£35,000||10 Furlongs|
|13.50||The Wolferton Stakes||4+||£50,000||Listed||1 Mile 2 Furlong|
|14.25||The Jersey Stakes||3||£60,000||Group 3||7 Furlongs|
|15.00||The Chesham Stakes||2||£40,000||Listed||7 Furlongs|
|15.35||The Gold Cup||4=||£250,000||Group 1||2 Miles 4 Furlongs|
|16.10 PM||The Britannia Stakes||3 Colts & Geldings||£60,000||Heritage Handicap||1 Mile|
|04:40 PM||The Sandringham Stakes||3 Fillies||£60,000||Handicap||1 Mile|
Thursday is all about the Gold Cup and if we’re honest it’s all about Stradivarius too. Can the magical trio of Stradivarius, Frankie Dettori and John Gosden really make it three Ascot Gold Cups in a row?
Last time out, Stradivarius came in third at Newmarket in the aforementioned winning run from Ghaiyyath, which also included Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck.
The two time winner of the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers’ £1 million bonus will only face the latter here and has been lumped with a short price for his efforts, while Anthony Van Dyck is rated slightly further back behind Kew Gardens.
Prior to this, Stradivarius’ unbeaten run stretched to eleven, including a thrilling win in the Long Distance Cup on Champions Day last year and he will certainly be well backed for this one as a result.
Further down the betting and Search For A Song, one of our horses to watch this season, is one we will be keeping an eye on for sure, particular when the market starts moving.
Friday June 19: Royal Ascot Day 4 Tips
|13.15||The Palace Of Holyroodhouse Stakes||3||£35,000||5 Furlongs|
|13.50||The Albany Stakes||2 Fillies||£45,000||Group 3||6 Furlongs|
|14.25||The Norfolk Stakes||2||£50,000||Group 2||5 Furlongs|
|15.00||The Hardwicke Stakes||4+||£125,000||Group 2||1 Mile, 4 Furlongs|
|15.35||The Commonwealth Cup||3||£250,000||Group 1||6 Furlongs|
|16.10||The Queen’s Vase||3||£110,000||Group 2||1 Mile 6 Furlongs|
|16.40||The Duke of Edinburgh Stakes||3+||£60,000||Handicap||1 Mile 4 Furlongs|
Normally the Coronation Stakes are the highlight of day 4 but, for this year only, that will be running on Saturday.
This being Royal Ascot, however, another Group One isn’t far away meaning we can turn our attention instead to the Commonwealth Cup.
Pinatubo should be involved in the Commonwealth Cup fresh from his disappointing run in the 2,000 Guineas performance.
Priced way back, he went off as the favourite at Newmarket but was outclassed by one of our top ten flat horses to follow, Kameko.
Can he put his wounded reputation right? Yes, for sure, if he goes that is.
Pierre Lapin looks like he will be the ante-post favourite but the Roger Varian trained youngster is entirely untested at this level.
This will only be his third run out, having won both of his previous two career starts, the first of which was the Group 2 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury.
Wichita is another that I like the look of so stay alert for any sharp movements in the market.
Saturday June 20: Royal Ascot Day 5 Tips
|12.40||The Silver Wokingham Handicap||3+||£35,000||6 Furlongs|
|13.15||The Queen Mary Stakes||2 Fillies||£50,000||Group 2||5 Furlongs|
|13.50||The Coronation Stakes||3 Fillies||£250,000||Group 1||Old mile|
|14.25||The Coventry Stakes||2||£60,000||Group 2||6 Furlongs|
|15.00||The St James’s Palace Stakes||3 Colts||£250,000||Group 1||Old mile|
|15.35||The Diamond Jubilee Stakes||4+||£250,000||Group 1||6 Furlongs|
|16.10||The Wokingham Stakes||3+||£75,000||Heritage Handicap||6 Furlongs|
|16.40||The Queen Alexandra Stakes||4+||£35,000||Conditions||2 Miles 6 Furlongs|
The rescheduled Coronations Stakes is the second race of an event packed final day.
Aiden O’Brien has four runners listed for the Coronation Stakes on Saturday and it’s Peaceful that leads the betting at the start of the week.
This, of course, follows her winning performance at the Curragh at the weekend when she took down the Irish 1,000 Guineas.
Peaceful is the favourite at the time of writing but, be warned, she is described as “a maybe not rather than a maybe”.
Should she not go, O’Brien’s other charges Elfin Queen, Love Locket and So Wonderful might all be well back in the betting but any O’Brien charge cannot be ruled out.
John Gosden will be putting forward Run Wild who he believes is best over a mile and a quarter and as a consequence she wont be going for the Oaks, so makes her Ascot appearance here instead.
While Cloak of Spirits might well have something to say about that, Quadrilateral and Sharing are also likely to be in the mix with the former our pick.
The three-year-old filly, trained by Roger Charlton for Juddmonte owner Khalid Abdullah, may have lost her unbeaten run at the Curragh where she came in behind Cloak of Spirits and Peaceful, but Saturday at Ascot, if conditions hold, might well work in her favour.
Saturday’s fun doesn’t stop there though as the Diamond Jubilee Stakes holds on to its usual spot in the schedule and goes later in the afternoon.
As we write this, either of Hello Youmzain or Space Blues are likely to go off as favourites.
But we suggest you spend some time looking into the merits of Oxted also.
Roger Teal’s latest stable star has been specially prepared for a Group One, six furlong charge and, after victory in the Group Three Abernant Stakes at Newmarket most recently, looks to have responded to his boss’ demands.
Space Blues is another class horse and has placed in Group One previously.
Finishing high in events won by Too Darn Hot and Advertise at Deauville last summer, means we shouldn’t be surprised to see challenge if he brings his A game just like Watch Me did one year ago.
— ITV Racing (@itvracing) June 21, 2019