Moores lead Sussex charge for Royal Ascot glory
Five days of spectacular action is finally upon us as Royal Ascot gets under way on Tuesday.
Some 36 races will take place over five days, but with a significant difference to previous years. The pageantry, fashion and top hats usually associated with the meeting are gone as the meeting takes place behind closed doors.
Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has put paid to a crowd being in attendance, the action on the track still looks scintillating with strict social distancing protocols in place for the five days.
See a gallery of pictures of Royal Ascot as it should be - taken by our photographer Malcolm Wells last year - above
Sussex duo Ryan Moore and his father Gary have some interesting chances throughout the week and we’ve previewed their best hopes so you can pick plenty of winners from the comfort of your own home.
Ryan Moore, one of the outstanding jockeys of his generation, has ridden 58 winners at Royal Ascot and has won the meeting’s leading jockey award in eight of the last ten years. We’ve previewed his best rides at this year’s event, all of which are for Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien.
Circus Maximus – G1 Queen Anne Stakes (Tuesday, June 16, 10/3 favourite)
Successful in the G1 St James’s Palace Stakes at last year’s Royal Meeting, the Aidan O’Brien-trained Circus Maximus is a dual Group One winner over a mile (Moore was aboard both times) and is a worthy favourite for the opening race of the meeting given his trainer has spoken highly of his preparation in the build-up to the race.
Mogul – G2 King Edward VII Stakes (Tuesday, June 16, 13/8 favourite)
A 9/1 shot for the Derby at Epsom in June, Mogul looks one of Moore’s best hopes of the week. A 3.4 million gns purchase, he is related to stable companion Japan who won this race last year. The three-year-old was an impressive winner in Group Two company at Leopardstown in September and was not disgraced when fourth to subsequent 2000 Guineas hero Kameko in Group One company in November. The step up in trip will suit and he is an exciting prospect.
Japan – G1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (Wednesday, June 17, 11/10 favourite)
Japan developed into a top-class middle-distance performer last season enjoying G1 victories at York and Longchamp. A good fourth on his final start in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the four-year-old is one of the best horses in training and should make a winning reappearance at Royal Ascot, having landed the Group Two King Edward VII Stakes at last year’s meeting.
Kew Gardens – G1 Ascot Gold Cup (Thursday, June 18, 9/2 favourite)
This is set to be one of the races meeting as market rival Stradivarius (Evens) is targeting a third successive win in the Ascot Gold Cup for Frankie Dettori and John Gosden. However, Kew Gardens defeated Stradivarius over a shorter trip at Ascot in October and connections are bullish that he can repeat the feat at the Royal Meeting. A past winner at Royal Ascot and a St Leger winner, he has the form and talent to dethrone Stradivarius in what should be a thrilling event.
Wichita – G1 St James’s Palace Stakes (Saturday, June 20, 7/4 joint-favourite)
Second under Frankie Dettori in the 2000 Guineas, Wichita holds leading claims in the St James’s Palace Stakes. The current joint-favourite for the mile contest along with Godolphin’s Pinatubo (7/4) who finished third in the 2000 Guineas, that performance was a big step forward from Wichita and if that run at Newmarket has not left its mark, this looks a good opportunity to capture a Group One.
Gary Moore - West Sussex handler Gary Moore’s only victory at Royal Ascot came courtesy of Bergo in the 2010 Queen Alexandra Handicap. He has a number of entries this year.
Quloob Ascot Stakes (Tuesday, June 16, 25/1)
Quloob has yet to win for his new trainer in five starts, but ran well at Ascot in July last term and also holds an entry for Wednesday’s action.
Imphal Ascot Stakes (Tuesday, June 16, 33/1) & Ascot Copper Horse Handicap (Wednesday, June 17)
Imphal shaped nicely on his second start for Moore when third at Sandown last year and could be a lively each-way player for whichever race he ends up in.
Gossiping Royal Hunt Cup & Silver Royal Hunt Cup (Wednesday, June 17)
A dependable handicapper, Gossiping bounced back to form at Kempton in June but was disappointing a week later at the same venue and will need to make dramatic improvement to win this race.
Vorashann Ascot Copper Horse Handicap (Wednesday, June 17)
Formerly trained in France, the four-year-old has yet to run for Moore on the Flat, but even on his best form when trained by Alain De Royer-Dupre, he will have to improve significantly for this event.
Odds via www.bettingroyalascot.co.uk