There are a magnificent seven races to enjoy on Day 1 at Royal Ascot as the greatest show on turf gets off to an action-packed start behind closed doors.
It all gets going with the Buckingham Palace Handicap at 13:15 before a quintet of Group races, including the Queen Anne, King Edward VII Stakes and the fast and furious King’s Stand at 15:35.
ITV start their coverage at 13:30, and we’ve previewed every single contest on the card in our ITV Racing Tips.
Race 1 – Buckingham Palace Handicap – 13:15
We kick things off with a tricky looking handicap where Kaeso makes for an interesting contender in the hands of in-form jockey Oisin Murphy.
Nigel Tinkler’s inmate has a record of 5332 around Ascot, with the latter two runs coming in big-field contests over the same trip as this.
A prep-run behind fellow contender Daarik should leave him spot on for a big tilt in the opener, where Mutamaasik and Motakhayyel rate as the biggest threat behind the aforementioned Daarik.
Race 2 – Queen Anne Stakes – 13:50
The Queen Anne is becoming synonymous with big price winners. Accidental Agent, who will reoppose again this time around, got up at 33/1 in 2018, while Lord Glitters triumphed at 14/1 in 2019.
Circus Maximus is the favourite hoping to avoid being turned over this time. Aidan O’Brien’s charge is the standout miler in the field after a 2019 which produced wins in the St James’s Palace and Prix du Moulin.
He’ll take the beating, with progressive pair Terebellum and Fox Chairman also expected to go close. But it’s one of the outsiders, Billesdon Brook, who could maintain the trend of shock winners in the race.
2018’s surprise 1000 Guineas winner returned to form last season with wins in the Group 3 Oak Tree and the Group 1 Sun Chariot before finding a subsequent tilt in the Breeders’ Cup slightly too tough
She’ll be tuned up for this after finishing runner-up in Listed race at Kempton where she was giving 7lb to the winner, while the return to a straight mile is also expected to benefit her chances.
Race 3 – Ribblesdale Stakes – 14:25
John Gosden has won this event twice in the last three years and saddles two of the favourites in Frankly Darling and Miss Yoda. The former was impressive up at Newcastle but it’s the latter who could take this.
The Sea The Stars filly won an Oaks Trial earlier this month, overcoming problems in-running, and with a clear run can continue her progress at the expense of her stablemate, who carries the colours of last year’s winner.
Trefoil is also expected to go close after a promising run behind Run Wild in the Pretty Polly at Newmarket.
Race 4 – King Edward VII Stakes – 15:00
The King Edward VII Stakes is usually held a couple of weeks after the Derby, but with Epsom’s showpiece put back by a month, 2019’s contest is being used as more of a Derby Trial, hence the low turnout of six runners.
Mogul is the odds-on favourite after an impressive juvenile campaign which culminated in a staying-on fourth to subsequent 2000 Guineas winner Kameko in the Vertem Futurity at Newcastle in November.
He’s the one to beat with this trip set to suit. Arthur’s Kingdom, who finished runner-up in a Group 1 at Saint-Cloud on his last run is also from the Aidan O’Brien yard and is likely to be the main challenger.
Race 5 – King’s Stand Stakes – 15:35
The equation here is simple. If Battaash performs to anything like his true level, then there could be a fair deal of social distancing between himself and the rest of the field. If he doesn’t, then we have a race on our hands.
Glass Slippers is seen as the prime candidate to capitalise on any slip-ups by the favourite. Kevin Ryan’s four-year-old won a hat-trick of black-type contests at the back end of 2019, including the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye.
She finished well ahead of Battaash that day, and while some ease in the ground would help her cause, the filly cannot be discounted on any surface if she can reproduce the same form from her Longchamp run.
Race 6 – Duke of Cambridge Stakes – 16:10
Nazeef rattled off a hat-trick at the back end of last season and resumed her progress at Kempton earlier this month with victory in a Listed contest ahead of the aforementioned Billesdon Brook. This is tougher, but she has every chance of completing the five-timer in the hands of Jim Crowley.
Elsewhere, Jubiloso has claims if she can bounce back, while Queen Power ran well in the Ribblesdale last year and may enjoy the step back in trip after sound reappearance behind Magic Lily at Newmarket last week.
Race 7 – Ascot Stakes – 16:40
Technically there have only been 21 racedays between Cheltenham and Ascot, and while that’s a useless piece of info, one fact that is interesting is that nine National Hunt trainers have won this race in the last ten years.
Nicky Henderson accounts for one of those, and he relies on dual-purpose inmate Verdana Blue this time around, who was last seen when fourth to subsequent Champion Hurdle winner Epatante in December.
She looks set for another huge run if taking to the trip, with Land Of Oz and Moon King, both of whom performed well on reappearance, among the main dangers.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication