Equine bluebloods take centre stage at Royal Ascot

United Kingdom: Royal Ascot hosts six of the top 15 rated thoroughbreds in the world this week when the five-day meeting, hosted by Queen Elizabeth II, starts on Tuesday.The pomp and ceremony will be ratcheted up several notches as Royal Ascot celebrates its 300th anniversary this year.The meeting commences with three consecutive Group 1 races, the first of which is the Queen Anne Stakes, named after the monarch who saw the potential of Ascot heath in 1711.Canford Cliffs clashes with three-times Breeders’ Cup winning mare Goldikova in the 1,600m contest.Canford Cliffs’ victory in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May was considered the fourth-best performance in world racing this year by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities.Later in the St James’s Palace Stakes the world will once more catch a glimpse of Frankel, whose demolition of a classy field in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket in April ranks alongside Black Caviar, the Australian sprinter, as the best performance by any racehorse in the world.Trained by Sir Henry Cecil, who received a knighthood in the Queen’s 85th birthday honours list on Saturday, Frankel has reportedly grown in stature since winning the first British Classic of the season.”He’s stronger than Newmarket and has done very well physically since the race. He’s growing up and beginning to relax a lot more and we’re very happy with him,” said Cecil.”He’s more complicated than most as he wants to get on with things but he’s not a monster. He’s just a hot-blooded individual,” he added.Also on the Tuesday card is the King’s Stand Stakes, which alongside the Golden Jubilee on Friday forms the first two British legs of the Global Sprint Challenge, a series of nine races that take place around the world from February to December.The third race of the series in Britain is the July Cup, held at Newmarket next month.

On Wednesday So You Think, third in the Melbourne Cup in November, bids to improve on his two subsequent runs in Ireland that have placed him in third place on the world stage.The exciting Australian recruit has left trainer Bart Cummings and now races for Aidan O’Brien.The five-year-old colt has barely been extended in both of his runs this season and is the 1-2 favourite for the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, run over 2,000m.In opposition are a host of highly-rated colts such as Twice Over, whose victory in the Maktoum Challenge in Dubai in March is considered the equal of Planteur’s success in the Prix Ganay in April.

The performance of both colts is rated seventh in the world rankings, while Rewilding, who lines up for Godolphin, is ranked 13th for his victory in the 2,400m Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan racecourse in March.Rewilding last ran over the shorter distance of Wednesday’s contest when trained by Andre Fabre in France in 2010 and Simon Crisford, Godolphin’s racing manager, is eager to try the experiment of dropping the colt back.”It’s a touch race,” said Crisford.”He’s running over ten furlongs, which is a first for him since he left France. It is going to be an interesting exercise to see how he copes with it. It looks as if the pace will be genuine so we will see how he gets on.”Thursday sees the 204th running of the Group 1 Gold Cup over the marathon distance of 4,000m, while Friday’s highlight is the Group 1 Coronation Stakes.The cornerstone to Saturday’s racing is the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes, run over 1,200m. – Yahoonews