Royal Ascot 2020: Day One Preview
The wait is over, Royal Ascot has arrived! Here we preview all the day one action, looking at the key runners in all the big races.
Given the circumstances, both trainer form and horses with a run already under their belt are two key factors to consider and John Gosden’s Terebellum ticks both boxes. The master trainer could hardly have his string in better form - 31% strike rate in the last 14 days - and the Godolphin filly was very impressive in victory over Queen Power in the Dahlia Stakes. If this doesn’t come too soon then she must have an excellent chance of notching a further win.
Of the rest of the field, Mohaather has gone well fresh previously but would want a lot of rain to fall before the off. Circus Maximus holds obvious claims on the form of his St. James Palace win last year but first time up might be the time to get the Galileo colt beaten. William Haggas’s Skardu has also been subject to positive reports over the break and could definitely hit the frame in a really competitive renewal.
Gosden and Aidan O'Brien have won five of the last six runnings of the race and have a stranglehold on the top of the market this year. Current favourite Frankly Darling is only a maiden winner but could hardly have been more impressive at Newcastle last time out and Frankie Dettori has opted to ride her over stablemate Miss Yoda.
O’Brien’s chief hope looks to be Passion, who was sent off favourite at Navan last week but finished 4th as if needing the run. It would be no surprise if the Ballydoyle inmate threw in a vastly improved performance here but it’s tough to see past Gosden's market leader.
A race that revolves around superstar sprinter Battaash, who will likely go off odds-on. However, given that he’s been beaten in the last two runnings of this race and has failed to get his head in front at Ascot in three attempts, it might be wise to take him on.
The opposition doesn't look as strong this year, though, and Prix de L’Abbaye winner Glass Slippers looks the only real threat to the market leader. Kevin Ryan’s filly has proven she’s up to this class but would benefit from a deluge of overnight rain to help her claims. At a bigger price, Shades of Blue’s last run was too bad to be true but could hit the frame if able to recapture some of her form from last year.
Nazeef, a cosy Listed winner for John Gosden last time out, heads the market for a race that could turn on its head with the weather. If the forecast rain does arrive then the likes of the unbeaten Miss O Connor for last year’s winning trainer Haggas would definitely hold strong claims, as well as French raider, Wasmya.
Queen Power benefitted from a change in tactics at Newmarket just over a week ago - despite being unable to reel in winner and Queen Anne market principal Terebellum - and settled much better than when fourth in the Ribblesdale here last year. Sir Michael Stoute’s four-year-old will have come on from that run and definitely offers some value against the favourite.