Royal Ascot Group One Review

Royal Ascot Group One Review

Five days of Royal Ascot, eight Group One's, the highest category of racing.

Royal Ascot really was the best of the best locking horns, and despite the odd absentee, we had some cracking racing to preview and enjoy, and later on review and digest.

The meeting certainly lived up to it's name, but did the feature contests go the way they planned?

Did the feature Group One's go the way we thought they would?

The opening day kicked us off with arguably the best day's racing as a whole from the week, with three top-banded contests.

The Queen Anne Stakes raised the curtain on Day One, and was won by 14/1 shot Lord Glitters, which can hardly be considered as a shock despite his price.

Second in the race last year, he ran a cracker in Meydan behind Almond Eye in the Dubai Turf, and was very much back to form after a poor run in the Lockinge, which probably answers the question surrounding his starting price.

Accidental Agent did not even come out of the stalls, and if he had, the result may have been different, but the classy grey got his head in front and began a great week for jockey Danny Tudhope, who had only ridden two royal winners in his career before the day began.

The King's Stand was all about the rematch between Battaash and Blue Point; to find out who really was the undisputed champion.

Everything look set for a bold run from Charlie Hills' speedball given his return to the scene at Haydock and his behaviour in the preliminaries, but Blue Point confirmed the form from last year to assert close home.

Blue Point the winner, another day perhaps for Battaash given the latter has now been retired, with Soldier's Call the best of the rest in third.

Then the feature; the St James's Palace for the three-year-olds on the old mile start. It was a clash of the Guineas winners despite Magna Grecia's absence, but neither Fox Champion or Phoenix Of Spain could land a blow to the winner Circus Maximus.

Sixth in the Derby at Epsom, genius trainer Aidan O'Brien once again put on his white gloves and performed a bit of a magic on the Dee Stakes winner, winning back over the mile distance for the first time since breaking his maiden last September.

King Of Comedy was a definite best of the Gosden duo, with Too Darn Hot no better than third - failing to bounce back from poor displays in the Dante and Irish Guineas.

Onto Wednesday, and it was all about the Prince Of Wales's Stakes - headlined by the two fillies Magical and the returning Sea Of Class.

Zabeel Prince and french raider Waldgeist looked decent contenders on paper too, but it was Crystal Ocean who landed the spoils for Sir Michael Stoute and Frankie Dettori.

The horse's first Group One, it was a real testament to the training methods of the 73-year-old - patience and virtue.

The son of Sea The Stars recovered from a poor stalls exit to make it three from three for the season, and fulfilling the potential his trainer and connections knew he had in him.

Magical settled for second, whilst Sea Of Class will be better on a better going day in the near future.

Day Three was dominated by Frankie Dettori, but regardless of his quick-fire hat-trick, the pressure was certainly on for mostly everyone's banker of the week; Stradivarius in the Gold Cup.

The Italian had the bookies on tender hooks after the opening three races saw him take a 225/1 treble, but John Gosden's star stayer was his big ride of the meeting.

Trapped in by Capri, it did not look all that simple for the five-year-old in running, but when the gap came he took full advantage to storm to the front and hold off the pursuers.

He won in typical close fashion, making it seven in a row and on his way to another Stayers million.

A jubilant Dettori performed his customary leap in the winners enclosure, with retirement the last word on everyone's mind.

Friday entertained two Group One's, the first of which was the champion three-year-old sprint in the Commonwealth Cup.

Ten Sovereigns was a very strong favourite since the news Calyx would miss the meeting, but even stronger on the day of the race given what Dettori had done 24-hours before.

Ryan Moore had a book of favourites to ride for Ballydoyle, but Ten Sovereigns could not fulfil the hype of his juvenile season, leaving Advertise to bounce back in the first-time blinkers for Martyn Meade.

The three-year-old has been frustrating since winning a Group One over this distance in Ireland last term, but relished his return to six furlongs having flopped in the Guineas over a mile at Newmarket.

Another for Dettori.

Later in the day, Hermosa looked to do the Guineas/Coronation treble, but was collared by France's Watch Me for Pierre-Charles Boudot.

Unlucky in the French Classic last time out, she was not denied any gaps at Ascot and her class saw her home from the O'Brien filly who could just not catch her.

Jubiloso was the eyecatcher in third for Sir Michael Stoute - her first start above Class Three level, and her day will almost certainly come in the future, in the same way it has for stablemate Crystal Ocean.

Hermosa will be back potentially for the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood, with the Pretty Polly Stakes coming too soon for her at the Curragh this weekend.

Aside from the Group Two Hardwicke Stakes, the final day of Royal Ascot on Saturday was all about the Diamond Jubilee, and whether Blue Point could repeat what Choisir did in 2003, by winning the King's Stand and the Group One six furlong contest in the same week.

It was close but he just prevailed, asserting himself as one of the finest sprinters Ascot has ever seen - particularly for Godolphin.

Charlie Appleby has since retired his superstar, and was no surprise to see him go off at odds of 6/4 favourite, given how well he performed on Tuesday over five.

In review, of the eight Group One's, just two of the favourites landed the odds.

So to that degree, they did not go as planned, and despite Frankie's Thursday paradise, the bookmakers certainly had edged the punters.

Credit - At The Races, Timeform, ITV, Ascot

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