A Royal treat awaits at Ascot

Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor aims for Royal Ascot riches with a strong Dubai-owned team of horses



Godolphin's Real World. — Reuters
Godolphin's Real World. — Reuters

By Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Tue 14 Jun 2022, 12:13 AM

Long-serving Godolphin handler Saeed bin Suroor returns to his favourite hunting ground at Royal Ascot this weekend as he attempts to shrug off some disappointing form and relive his glory years at the world’s most famous flat-race meeting. The Emirati, who has saddled 37 winners at the five-day summer spectacle since 1996 and won four top trainer titles, forms a formidable pairing with fellow Godolphin handler Charlie Appleby, who has sent out 11 winners so far. The event, which celebrates British heritage, culture, and hi-fashion, has attracted the crème de la crème of British and Europe’s equine athletes.

Here, we look at the five top horses and five top races to watch out for as the Royal meeting welcomes crowds for the first time since the pandemic struck in 2019.

Tuesday:

Real World — The Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1) 1,600m

Founded in 1840, the race commemorates the monarch, Queen Anne, who established racing at Ascot in 1711.

Run over a straight mile as the opening race of the week, it will once again set pulses racing as it is part of the Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ series.

Bin Suroor chases a record eighth Queen Anne success with Real World, a horse who has been campaigned at the highest level in Dubai and Saudi and was last seen finishing second to Shadwell’s unbeaten miler Baaeed in the Juddmonte at Newbury. Another notable runner is Order Of Australia for Royal Ascot’s most successful handler, Aidan O’Brien.

Trivia: Frankel, arguably the greatest racehorse of all time, stormed to an 11-length success in 2012.

Wednesday:

Lord North — Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) 12,000m

Another race in the Breeders’ Cup series, the Group 1 contest was first run in1862. Godolphin’s Dubai Millennium, one of the modern-day greats, was an outstanding winner of the race when coming home an eight-length winner.

Godolphin, who was successful on five occasions, is not represented this year. Lord North who the race in 2020 and looks to have genuine claims as he seeks out a fourth Group 1 career victory for his owner HH Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed Racing. A dual winner of the $6m Dubai Turf at Meydan in March, Lord North faces very strong opposition in the form of Bay Bridge, who has won his last five races.

Trivia: Godolphin is the most successful owner with 5 wins.

Thursday:

Stradivarius — Ascot Gold Cup 4,000m

If there’s one race that represents the best of what Royal Ascot has to offer it is the Gold Cup which is one of the most prestigious races. Run over a grueling distance of two miles and four furlongs, it offers a stiff test to horse and rider.

All eyes will be on the brilliant Stradivarius who is looking to win the great race for the fourth time at the age of eight and to further cement his place in Royal Ascot folklore. Standing in his way is Irish raider Kyprios who is four years younger and is likely to have the fitness edge.

Trivia: French-trained horses have won the race 15 times with Westerner being the most recent in 2005.

Friday:

Cachet — Coronation Stakes 1,600m

The Coronation Stakes was founded in 1840 to commemorate the crowning of Queen Victoria in 1838. It is fillies’ equivalent of the St James’s Palace Stakes and traditionally attracted horses that have run in 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in early May.

Cachet was an impressive winner of the fillies’ Classic and bids to make up for his narrow defeat in the French equivalent when beaten a head. Four-race winner Inspiral looks like a big threat as she seeks out back-to-back Group 1 victories.

Trivia: 32 favourites have prevailed in the last 76 runnings of the race.

Saturday:

Creative Force — Platinum Jubilee Stakes (6f)

Formerly known as the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, the race has been renamed to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee of the Queen. It is the most valuable sprint at the Royal meeting with a purse of £700,000.

Home Affair is hoping to follow in the footsteps of legendary Australian speedballs like Choisir and Black Caviar and win the race for Hall of Fame trainer Chris Waller. However, Charlie Appleby is planning to spoil the Aussie party with his two-strong team of Creative Force and Naval Crown.

Trivia: The late Lester Piggott won this race nine times.

Top 5 Leading Trainers

Aidan O’Brien IRE (76)

Sir Michael Stoute (82)

John Gosden (55)

Mark Johnston (47)

Saeed bin Suroor (37)


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