Early Ascot Confirmations Whet The Appetite

Early Ascot Confirmations Whet The Appetite

Early ante-post betting can certainly form a mirage of future high-profile events whenever the markets open.

Just like any season in the build-up to next week's royal meeting; which commences on Tuesday 18th June, the majority of the biggest names around had more that one entry across the week.

Eventually each horse will fulfil one of those when they head to post in Berkshire, and scratch the others in the process, whereas some such as Arc heroine Enable miss out all together in preference of options elsewhere, and others sadly through injury like her stablemate Calyx.

It seems this year all the top guns are set to contest the biggest races across the week, and to not shy away in other contests in lower grades.

The early declarations for the two opening days of the carnival have been released, and they have already ensured we are in for a cracking five days.

It looks to be no holds barred in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes, where both Crystal Ocean and the returning Masar look set to trade their Hardwicke tickets, in attempt to fly their flags solo above the Ascot bandstands.

Crystal Ocean has begun this season in the same way he started the last, with an unbeaten sequence of prep runs in measure for the summer features.

He finished as the runner-up three times over the warm months last year; second to stablemate Poet's Word in the King George, second to Enable in the September Stakes and the same placing behind Cracksman in the Champion.

The one thing missing from his CV is the all-illusive first Group One, something Masar achieved last year in the Investec Derby, but he has been sidelined with injury since his trainer's greatest triumph.

Both of these horses will have plenty to prove against two top fillies in the shape of Magical and Sea Of Class.

The favourite is the Aidan O'Brien four-year-old, who after winning the Fillies & Mares race here last season and second to Enable in the Breeders Cup Turf, is a perfect three-from-three this season including winning the Tattersalls Gold Cup on her latest appearance.

She looks a very strong contender, along with William Haggas' Sea Of Class, making her first start since also finishing as the runner-up to Enable, when she was flying at her in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and Longchamp, and just being held off a victory.

James Doyle certainly has his work cut out as for a decision who he rides, as he is contracted to both Godolphin and WIlliam Haggas.

The St James's Palace on the first day was shaping up to be a clash of Guineas winners.

Sadly Magna Grecia has had to pull out, but we see Irish 2,000 Guineas victor Phoenix Of Spain renew his rivarly with Too Darn Hot, whilst he will have Fox Champion - the German 2,000 Guineas winner to contend with too.

Upcoming star King Of Comedy, Skardu and the French raider Shaman ensure that it looks one of the most competitive Group One's of the week.

Aside from the Newmarket Guineas winner [Magna Grecia], there were no shock exclusions from either Tuesday's or Wednesday's cards.

Zabeel Prince's entry in the Queen Anne was scratched, as he looks to step-up in trip for the Prince Of Wales's Stakes.

Thursday's card which is headlined by the Gold Cup, is set to be declared tomorrow on Friday 14th June.