Thankfully the dress code wasn’t the major talking point as Royal Ascot started in style.
The unbeaten super-horse Frankel bolted up in the Queen Anne Stakes and routed the field winning by 11 lengths. It was arguably the best performance in this horse’s stunning career and made the odds of 1/10 look more generous than Santa on crack.
There was an upset in the Kings Stands Stakes though.12/1 shot Little Bridge from Hong Kong won the sprint ahead of hotly tipped Bated Breath who was 11/2. It was bad news for our tipster Ruby Walsh who fancied the Australian Ortensia, but the favourite was unplaced.
Trainer, Aidan O’Brien was looking to carve out another place in the history books by winning the St. James’s Palace Stakes for an unprecedented seventh time, but his well-backed favourite, Power was never a factor. It was 9/1 shot, Most Improved who lived up to his name, claiming victory on the back of finishing a distant and disappointing 14th at Chantilly earlier this month. French raider, Hermival finished strongly, but couldn’t close the gap before the winning post came along.
Jim Bolger described Dawn Approach as being ‘as good as any two year old I’ve ever had’ and that hype won’t be quenched by his victory in the Coventry Stakes. By the end, he had little more than a length in hand over Olympic Glory, but once he got going, he never looked like losing. He made it four wins from four starts and with more greens to be eaten and more growing to be done, thoughts turned to next year’s 2,000 Guineas betting where he was trimmed from 14/1 into 7/1.
The was more Irish success not long after, but from a source not often associated with Royal Ascot. Irish Champion National Hunt trainer, Willie Mullins sent Simenon to post for the marathon Ascot Stakes. The five year old hurdler was very disappointing in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival back in March, but he used his proven stamina to great effect by claiming the two and half mile contest by six lengths at 8/1.
A day for the bookies was rubber stamped not long after as the 14/1 shot, Hototo claimed the Windsor Castle Stakes for northern trainer Kevin Ryan.