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Royal Ascot 2023: Group 1 Races Guide

Royal Ascot 2023: Group 1 Races Guide



Queen Anne Stakes (2.30pm)


The preliminary race to kick-start Royal Ascot on the opening day of the five-day meeting is the Queen Anne Stakes, which is run over 1 mile and primarily attracts some of the best milers in the world which features an excellent roll of honour.


It is open to horses aged four years or older and has been won by some of greats, including the likes of the unbeaten Frankel, French star Goldikova, Toronado, Palace Pier and Baaeed who was successful last year.


The favourite for this year’s renewal is the Charlie Appleby-trained, four-time Group 1 winner Modern Games, who was last seen winning the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. As the second favourite goes, we have Inspiral, who was last seen running below form at this course in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes when only sixth.


It should be another great spectacle but expect the Godolphin team-member to take the beating, though don’t rule out another big run from Chindit, who chased home the favourite at Newbury when second in the Lockinge and is surprisingly available at double-figure odds once more.


King’s Stand Stakes (3.40pm)


Next up for the Group 1 events on the opening day is the King’s Stand Stakes, a race that is spontaneously fast and furious, is run over 5 furlongs, and is another race that predominantly attracts the best sprinters on the planet.


In recent times, the race has been won by the US, courtesy of Lady Aurelia in 2017 and by the Aussies last year, in which Nature Strip delivered a famous win for the Chris Waller team.


Other notable winners of the race this decade include the mighty sprinting sensation Battaash, dual winners Blue Point and Sole Power, Oxted for Roger Teal and the hugely popular The Tatling 19 years ago.


The market this year is headed by Highfield Princess, who dominated the sprint division last season, winning three Group 1 events on the bounce, including the Nunthorpe at York before an excellent fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.


John Quinn’s mare ran well under a penalty on her return at York when second and should take a bit of catching with fitness guaranteed this time. She’s a speedy mare, with a high-cruising speed and it will take a good one to beat her given she’s improved from a rating of 57 to 119 with probably even more to come this season.


Her biggest dangers might appear to be Aussie raider Coolangatta, who was last seen winning the Black Caviar Lightning in Flemington and is initial second favourite, while Karl Burke’s Dramatised, who won the Temple Stakes impressively on her reappearance, is the current third favourite.


St James’s Palace Stakes (4.20pm)


Last but certainly not least, we have the final Group 1 race on the first day of the action-packed week in the shape of the St James’s Palace Stakes, competed over 7 furlongs and was won last year by 2000 Guineas winner Coroebus for the boys in blue.


Some other highlighted winners of the race over the years include Palace Pier, Jim Bolger’s Poetic Flare, Barney Roy, Kingman, Dawn Approach Frankel, Henrythenavigator and many more. It is often one of the races of the week and the roll of honour is remarkably full of high-class horses to say the least.


The market for this year’s event is headed by 2000 Guineas winner Chaldean, trained by Andrew Balding, and is probably Frankie Dettori’s best chance of a Group 1 winner at Royal Ascot, his final Royal Ascot before heading off for a well-earned retirement at the end of the season.


He is most likely going to face Irish 2000 Guineas winner Paddington from the all-conquering Aidan O’Brien team but is a strong favourite, in my opinion, and is the one they all have to beat. The unbeaten Charlie Hills-trained Cicero’s Gift could be the surprise package at a bigger price and adds depth to the race.




Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (4.20pm)


Just the one Group 1 race on the second day of Royal Ascot but it certainly has all the ingredients to be an absolute belter. The race itself is run over 1 mile 1 furlong and some of the famous winners of the race this century includes Ouija Board, Rewilding, one of Australia’s greats, So You Think, Highland Reel, Crystal Ocean and last year’s globetrotter winner, State Of Rest.


For this year’s contest, we have joint-favourites in Luxembourg and Adayar. The former was last seen beating Bay Bridge in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh, while the latter claimed the Gordon Richards Stakes on his return at Newmarket. It is difficult to split the pair from a form perspective, but Charlie Appleby’s charge is probably just about the one to beat with the course form in the locker.


Behind the front pair as third and fourth favourites, respectively, is Bay Bridge, who chased home Luxembourg in Ireland and won the Champion Stakes over course-and-distance back in October when beating Adayar by half-a-length, in which My Prospero was back in third and is fourth favourite. This is a race you don’t want to miss.




Gold Cup (4.20pm)


The main dish on the third day is the Gold Cup, the sole Group 1 event on this day, which is run over a distance of 2 miles 3 furlongs. It has been won by some of the greatest stayers to ever step foot on a racecourse, most notably Yeats four times and Stradivarius three times, while other great winners of the race include Big Orange, Order Of St George, Estimate and many more.


While we sadly won’t see last year’s winner Kyprios attempt to defend his crown, who is ruled out due to a setback, a new champion will be crowned. Impressive Sagaro Stakes winner Coltrane heads the market but will face much sterner opposition in this race, taking on last season’s St Leger winner Eldar Eldarov, who ran well in the Yorkshire Cup on his return when second.


He should be well-suited to the longer distance and has previously tasted success at the Royal Meeting, having won the Queen’s Vase last year. He is second favourite, while Emily Dickinson, Haskoy, Broome and Yibir add further spice to the race and that’s not forgetting 2021 winner Subjectivist, who ran well on his reappearance in the Dubai Gold Cup when third. He could go very well.




Commonwealth Cup


A couple of Group 1 events are in wait for the fourth day, starting with the ever-so-popular Commonwealth Cup, which is a race for three-year-old’s and is run over a distance of 6 furlongs.


This is one of the newest top-tier races at Royal Ascot with only eight previous runnings. The first edition of the race went to Muhaarar who trained by Charlie Hills and last year’s renewal went to Richard Fahey’s Perfect Power, who was guided to success by Christophe Soumillon.


Aidan O’Brien trained Caravaggio to success in 2017 and he has the favourite for this year’s line-up in Little Big Bear, who returned an impressive winner of the Sandy Lane Stakes when last spotted and will be one of the highest-rated runners to have contested the race at a rating of 124.


Coronation Stakes


An exclusive Group 1 for fillies over 7 furlongs is the Coronation Stakes, the second of two Group 1 events on the fourth day and it normally features those who have competed in the Irish, French and English 1000 Guineas races.


This year’s field is no exception, as the both the English and Irish 1000 Guineas winners are set to collide as both Tahiyra and Mawj meet for a second time this term. The latter, who represents the boys in blue, marginally beat Dermot Weld’s subsequent Irish 1000 Guineas winner when the pair met at Newmarket.


It is hard to split the pair but either way this has the makings of a serious race and whoever comes out on top will add their name to the list of great winners such as Attraction, Sky Lantern, Alpha Centauri, Alcohol Free and Inspiral, who won the race last year. It is a race that draws the attention of trainers from across the world.




Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes


Regarded as one of the biggest sprint races in the world of horse racing, the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes is another race that attracts horses from around the globe and is run over a distance of 6 furlongs.


Some of the best winners I can recollect in recent times include Black Caviar, The Tin Man and Blue Point, who completed that famous double in 2019 having won the King’s Stand a few days earlier. Artorius came close to winning this race last year when third behind Naval Power and is the current market leader to potentially go two places better this year.


He hasn’t been seen since finishing sixth in the Arc Prix Maurice de Gheest but connections have firmly had this race in mind for a long time and he is undoubtedly a leading candidate. Sacred ran well in this race on her return last year when fifth and was an excellent, easy winner of a Group 3 when last spotted. She has leading claims with fitness assured in her second attempt at the race.

The post Royal Ascot 2023: Group 1 Races Guide appeared first on Colossus Blog.

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